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Fourth Quarter Frustrations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 5:05 pm

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Despite a bright-sunny day today, the Panthers rained on the John Beck parade as the Redskins fell short in Charlotte.

Like last week, the injury bug took it’s toll once again, with Tim Hightower, Santana Moss and London Fletcher all leaving the game with injuries.  But unlike last week, the story of the day wasn’t turnovers or lost opportunities.

This game didn’t boil down to a particular turning point, as the Redskins never led in the game.  As I’ve been saying all year, this team wins as a team and loses as a team, and today, they just didn’t have enough, as a team.

On offense: The running game was red-hot for the first two quarters, but stalled with the absence of Hightower.  Rookie receiver Niles Paul recorded his first two receptions of his career, both on acrobatic catches in the fourth quarter.  Moss, a Washington quarterback’s best friend, was lost in the first quarter to a hand injury, and did not return.  John Beck recorded the highest quarterback rating (80.8) since the first game of the season (110.5, Grossman), but a late interception deflated the comeback. Read more »

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Who is your MVR(edskin)?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 4:16 pm

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It’s been a tough afternoon so far for the Redskins, but there have been a few good performances on both sides of the ball.

It’s the 2-minute warning, and this game isn’t over yet.

If the coach had one player to pull aside after the game, who deserves that pat on the back?

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 3:32 pm

Imitation is said to be the greatest form of flattery.

The Panthers took their first drive of the half, the length of the field for a touchdown.  The drive was capped off by a quarterback-keeper run up the middle for a touchdown.

The Redskins responded by marching the length of the field for a–you guessed it–quarterback-keeper up the middle for a touchdown.

Redskins fans heard all week (and throughout training camp), that Beck was a mobile quarterback.  He has now proven that with back-to-back weeks with a rushing touchdown.  Trailing by 10, the Redskins really needed to put points on the board, and when the play broke down, Beck did it himself.

This was a gritty finish to the best drive of the day.  The Redskins turned to their tight ends on the drive, tallying 81 yards through the air.  Fred Davis finally got involved on offense, with two catches for 33 yards.  Logan Paulsen had a career-drive, with a pair of 24-yard catches, the longest of his career.  It is also a career-high two catches in a single game.

Not bad for a ‘blocking tight end.’

The drive did come at a price, however, as running back Tim Hightower planted on a cutback, and crumpled holding his knee.  Teammates Mike Sellers and Donte Stallworth assisted him off the field, as he seemed very uncomfortable putting weight on it.

As the quarter wound down, the Panthers had found the end zone again to extend their lead back to 10.  The Panthers are driving again, and the Redskins need a big play and a defensive hold in the fourth quarter.

Redskins trail after three, 13-23.

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Second Quarter Sequiturs

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 2:47 pm

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Whatever Adam Carriker eats before games (and we now know) is clearly working, as he has a career-high 1.5 sacks for the game, in only one half of football.  The Redskins are dialing up some tremendous pressure on Newton, and the Panthers have yet to find consistent protection.

When they keep their tight ends in to block Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins get pressure up the middle.  When they made the mistake of giving Orakpo a running start at Newton…ouch.

As a product of the pressure, the Panthers have been able to complete screen passes to the flats, but the defense has limited the damage.  The Panthers still look primarily downfield to Steve Smith and the tight ends, and the Redskins have done a good job at covering these receivers.

On offense, the running game provided the necessary shot in the arm.  Over the first four games, there has been growing consternation about sticking with the run.  So far, the Redskins have run the ball 18 times, compared to just 12 passing attempts.

That’s dedication to the run.

Hightower’s 75 first half yards are second best in the NFL so far, only to Chicago’s Matt Forte (108).

The line is protecting the quarterback and opening holes in the running game, so it’s *theoretically* only a matter of time until the opportunities present themselves.

Redskins trail in a barn-burner at the half: Washington 6, Carolina 9.

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First Quarter Impressions

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 1:48 pm

The Redskins defense didn’t really take the field until three minutes into the game, as the Panthers marched the length of the field to the doorstep of the Redskins end zone.

And then they barred the doors and raised the drawbridge.

That was textbook bend-but-don’t-break defense, and the Redskins red zone defense once again kept their opponents out of the end zone on the opening drive.  Credit linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Stephen Bowen for the goal line stand.

We’ve all heard of batted balls, but batting a quarterback out of the air has to be even more satisfying.

No points would be the best result, but giving up three compared to seven is a good way to start.

On the ensuing offensive drive, Leonard Hankerson was on the field for the first play, a credit to the progress that he’s made since training camp.  The drive stalled at mid-field when pass protection broke down, but the Redskins already look more comfortable on both sides of the ball than they did last week.

Tim Hightower has looked better in the first quarter than he has at any point this season.   This is likely a product of a healthy Hightower and fullback Darrel Young, but he’s finding great blocks from this allegedly patchwork offensive line.  The Redskins are going to lean on the running-game-by-committee approach, but the executive members are imposing their will today.

Hightower finished the quarter with 67 yards, a career-high for the first quarter (64, against the Rams in 2009).

For those of you not able to watch the game, yes, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is “that good.”  But he is not unbeatable.  When the play breaks down, he’s able to move, and Redskins defenders will need to take better angles to him, in order to stop him.

The way to beat him is to force him to make mistakes.  Newton comes into this week leading the league in interceptions, so force him to be a quarterback and the Redskins can be more opportunistic.

Redskins are rolling, but trail in a defensive battle, 0-3.

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The John Beck Influence?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 12:52 pm

Of interesting note before the game, is the viewing map for FOX’s NFL broadcast today.  From it, we know that Redskins fans and Panthers fans (as well as Cowboys fans, Giants fans and Arkansas Razorback fans) will be watching the Burgundy and Gold take on the Panthers. Read more »

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Your On-The-Field Pregame Pass

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 12:42 pm

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Given the predominantly “Burgundy sprinkles” on this “blue raspberry sherbet” stadium, this game might qualify as the ninth home game for the Redskins this season.

I’m hungry.

As Redskins players trotted out on the field, they were met with raucous applause and cheering.  The hometown Panthers came out under a chorus of boos.

Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson earned his first activation today, which could potentially lead to his first NFL action.  There are seven active receivers today for the Redskins, but this could be a big spot for him to excel.

Here’s video of him warming up with receivers coach Keenan McCardell, who has invested a lot of time in preparing Hankerson for this day: Read more »

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Redskins’ Twitter-iffic Pregame Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 12:29 pm

As per usual, there’s a lot of pregame excitement from the Redskins players, as they realize that this is a golden opportunity to right the ship.

And that will be my last nautical term for the week.

Here are players’ thoughts as kickoff approaches.  Each of these four players is active, and all will have a role in today’s game:

Read more »

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The Pregame Meal Of A D-Lineman

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 11:34 am

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Last week, we learned that cornerback Kevin Barnes can’t handle his pregame solids, and fullback Darrel Young saves space in his pregame diet for antioxidants.

I’m still fascinated by Brandon Banks’s pregame, “Buddy the Elf Diet.”

Now we take an inside look at the diet of defensive end Adam Carriker, who offered a deep enough analysis of his diet, that he earned his own post.

“Usually when I get to the stadium, I have a banana, and a protein bar,” he said.  “I used to do yogurt, but I don’t do that anymore, because they’re a pain and you need a spoon.”

The downfall of many great snacks.

“Then, right before a game, about three hours before, I try to eat a lot of pasta.  Try to get my carbs up,” he explained.  “They always have broccoli there.  I really don’t like broccoli, but for some reason, I always get some.”

Somewhere, his mother is very proud of him for feeling obligated to eat his greens before leaving the table.

“I think so,” he said with a laugh. “I feel like I should eat healthy right before a game.  So it’s spaghetti and broccoli.  I really like oatmeal, I’m usually smackin’ on some oatmeal.  It’s a really good food and I like the taste.”

Considering that oatmeal usually tastes like wallpaper paste (or whatever you put in it), I had to ask what the hulking lineman adds for flavor. Read more »

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Locklear Gets First Start For Home Crowd

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 10:13 am

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Redskins left tackle Sean Locklear has come a long way to get back to Lumberton, N.C.

A lifetime Carolina native, Locklear spent the last seven years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks in the great Northwest.  After signing with the Redskins–his favorite team growing up–Locklear has a chance to get his first Redskins start in front of his home crowd.

“It feels good,” he said with a smile.  “Y’know, it’s kind of ironic that they’re coming to see me, because I’ve always been in Seattle. I played in Carolina once while I was in Seattle and everybody wanted to come to that game. This game was on the schedule early in the year, and what are the chances of me playing? NONE.”

That is, until last Sunday, when the Redskins offensive line went from a strength, to several pairs of crutches.  When left tackle Trent Williams went down with a high ankle sprain, Locklear went from being a sideline fixture to protecting the quarterback’s blindside.

“You don’t wanna go in because someone got hurt, but you have to,” he said.  “Getting in there, and getting my feet wet, it felt good that I was able to play.  Now with Trent out a couple weeks, I’m excited about the chance to get out there and play a little bit.”

After all, as an eight-year NFL pro, this is the opportunity that Locklear was looking for in free agency.  When no team stepped up with a starting offer, Locklear embraced his role with the Redskins.

“I was a little disappointed, but I take it as is,” he said of free agency.  “Y’know, I’m excited about the chance to be here and get to play. I like the zone scheme, I like Shanahan and his coaching style, and it plays to what I do. I thought it would be a great fit.”

Now Locklear will have to pull off a major feat this week, and win on Sunday with a rebuilt left side of the offensive line.  Despite not starting with Locklear, Will Montgomery and Erik Cook at those positions at any point so far, Locklear feels confident in his group. Read more »

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