Now that the first quarter of the season is over, it’s time to look back over the first four weeks and look for the greatest improvement across the three units. We’ll start today with defense.
Through the first two games of the season, the Redskins allowed 60 percent of opposing red zone drives to convert for touchdowns. But since the team took its show on the road, the Redskins have allowed only one red zone touchdown, and have improved to fifth in the NFL in red zone defense (36 percent touchdowns).
Sunday showed another stellar performance, against three second half red zone opportunities for the Rams. The first test did not come until the beginning of the fourth quarter, when Rex Grossman threw an interception to Rams cornerback Justin King. King returned the ball to the Washington 31-yard line, putting the Rams immediately into field goal range. A run, pass, and penalty later, the Rams had first and goal at the Redskins 3-yard line.
An offense with four downs to get three yards typically has the advantage over the defense. But the Redskins didn’t panic or fold. Read more »
Tags: Brian Orakpo, defense, red zone defense, rex grossman, Sam Bradford, st. louis rams, washington redskins, win
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Statically and emotionally, one of the toughest tasks in sports is winning on the road in the NFL. Players felt a great sense of relief after they exited the field at Edward Jones Dome and boarded a victorious flight home.
Defensive captain and team patriarch London Fletcher was pumped about the win over his former team:
On the plane headed back to Va. Gonna be a great flight!—
London Fletcher (@LFletcher59) October 02, 2011
Tags: london fletcher, plane, road win, st. louis rams, twitter, washington redskins
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Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and the man that his family and friends knew as “Dinger,” were close friends and college roommates at Eastern Illinois University. Their professional careers also crisscrossed several times, when Shanahan hired Heimerdinger to his first NFL job as his wide receivers coach in Denver from 1995-99. After leaving to be the offensive coordinators for the Titans and Jets, he returned to Denver in 2007 as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.
Even after all that, Shanahan still owed him one.
One day during spring practice in college, Shanahan got jacked up on a play, and came back to the room throwing up blood. It was Dinger that called the ambulance for his ailing roommate.
“I did lose my kidney my senior year,” Shanahan recalled last year. “Dinger saw me throwing up in the sink and knew something was wrong. He saved my life.”
Shanahan released a statement about the death of his friend before the game, but did not address reporters on the topic until the game on Sunday. He stayed poised and professional at the podium after the game, but it was clearly still an emotional moment for him.
“Well, I think he had something to do with maybe some of those plays,” he said. “Especially some in the fourth quarter.”
Whether or not your personal sense or spirituality allows you to believe in such things, it wouldn’t be the first time that Dinger was looking out for Shanahan.
“Any time you lose a dear friend, somebody that you’ve been very close with for a very long time–especially at his age–is very tough,” Shanahan reflected. “He’s got a great family, great kids, and it’s gonna be tough. But they’re gonna make it. If you guys knew him, you’d know that we just lost a great person.”
Catch the rest of Shanahan’s post game comments below: Read more »
Tags: Mike Heimerdinger, mike shanahan, washington redskins
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I got home from St. Louis last night, and everything in northern Virginia was just a little bit nicer. I didn’t hit a single red light on the way home from the team facilities. I woke up before my alarm this morning. And I didn’t have to wait for hot water in the shower.
Winning really does fix everything.
Getting the road win in yesterday’s matchup against the Rams helped to calm fan’s fears that this was the same Redskins team as in recent years. After last week’s loss to the Cowboys, some of the more vocal members of Redskins Nation threw up their hands in disgust, and the air came out of their sails faster than a whoopee cushion.
Not nearly as comically, though.
Remember that 10 weeks ago, this was a team that legitimate publications were predicting would go 2-14. The Cowboys game was misconstrued as a must-win, when it was really a speed bump and a “gut check.” Gut checks allow you to see the character and perseverance of a team. Veteran teams don’t need gut checks very often, but this is a young team that the fans don’t really know yet.
Yesterday wasn’t perfect, but no win in the NFL is. The Rams were a quality opponent, and they gave the Redskins some looks and experience that will only serve them down the road. The Week 6 matchup against Philly looms large, but the Redskins have a week to rest up and relax before that happens.
The Redskins passed their gut check in St. Louis.
Here are some team factoids about yesterday’s win:
Tags: Brian Orakpo, ryan torain, sav rocca, st. louis rams, stephen bowen, washington redskins, win
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