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First Quarter Impressions

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 30, 2011 – 4:40 pm

Who said punting wasn’t exciting?

Through the first three possessions of the game, the Redskins and Bills traded punts, with Australian phenom Sav Rocca landing three total inside the 20 (one negated by penalty) in the first quarter.

The international man of mystery is locked in today, and so is his coverage team.

Despite the Bills’ second drive ending in a touchdown, the Redskins are still doing one thing right: gang tackling.  Both near the line and down the field, the Redskins are swarming to the ball.  Unfortunately, the drive amounted to two big passing plays to receivers that had gotten open in the secondary.  Not sure what happened, but there were no burgundy hats in the area.

The score woke up the Redskins offense, who showed signs of life on the ensuing drive.  After a self-inflicted fumble on a scramble, quarterback John Beck took to the air, hitting Leonard Hankerson for a 23-yard gain.  This is the first catch of his young career, and a good rebound from the miscommunication that ended last week’s game.

Running back Ryan Torain looks good early, hitting the hole with conviction and fighting for the tough yards.  The Redskins don’t have anything to show for it in the first quarter, but all three units seem to be warming up as the game goes on.

Bills on top after one, 0-7.

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Redskins Game Time Tweets

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 30, 2011 – 4:06 pm

Here’s the last minute messages from your Washington Redskins:


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Dome, Sweet Dome

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 30, 2011 – 3:54 pm

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Welcome to the Rogers Centre [sic].

Time will tell if this is a hostile environment, but as of right now, the 55,000 seats are not yet filled.  Once again, I was impressed this week by the turnout of Redskins Nation in a foreign land, including this motley group from Hamilton, Ontario:

And they said I wouldn’t post the photo.

The players were locked in during warmup, talking only amongst themselves and their coaches.

Injured safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is back and healthy enough to start this week, warming up with the coaching staff during warmup.  He obliged my photographic needs by running a defensive route near my sideline:

Quarterback John Beck looked loose warming up with Rex Grossman (who looks dramatically better after last week’s bout with pneumonia), rolling out of the pocket and warming up with his receivers:

The open-air press box is deafening, and I love it.  The Redskins have taken the field under a chorus of boos, as the stadium is slowly filling up.  This is a big one for the Redskins.  We’ll find out how big it is in the next 12 minutes.

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Sav Rocca’s World Tour Continues

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 30, 2011 – 2:20 pm

As the plane touched down in Toronto yesterday, it was an all too familiar feeling for Redskins punter Sav Rocca.  The Italian-Australian footballer has now played for four teams, across two major professional sports, on three continents, four countries, spanning 21 years.

“I’ve played in Australia, the U.S., Canada, and we played an exhibition game in London when I was in Australia,” he said.  “That’s about it playing wise.”

That’s twice as many as any of his Redskins teammates, and four more than you or I have. Read more »

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Photographic Tribute: Remembering Ryp

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 30, 2011 – 12:11 pm

[Editor’s Note: Despite the black and white photo and “Remembering Ryp” headline, he’s alive and quite well.  It’s just a tribute.]

As the Redskins prepare for their first regular season international contest in the land of Shania Twain and igloos, it’s important to look back and honor the greatest Canadian in Redskins history: Mark Rypien.

Mark Rypien was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, about a day-and-a-half drive from Toronto.  He came from a family of a family of tremendous athletes, including his quarterback daughter Angela Rypien, his golden gloves boxing uncle Wes Rypien Sr., and his pro hockey playing cousins Wes Jr. and Rick Rypien:

Read more »

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Flying North For Warmer Weather

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 29, 2011 – 6:43 pm

The Redskins flew out of the DMV under a winter storm advisory, bound for Canada (eh).  I’m no meteorologist, but I hear some folks saying that this is the earliest meaningful snowfall since 1979, when the area was hit by a whopping one-third of an inch on Oct. 10.

I can’t really say that I remember it, but for the sake of this story, “it was a wild one.”

The team charter had to be de-iced before taking off today, a delay that I was more than grateful to wait out.  When we left Dulles Airport, it was 36 degrees and snowing.  When we reached Toronto, it was 7 degrees.


We left behind “gray” and “wet” and landed in “dreary” and “dry.”  Somewhere in between (around 30,000 feet), I saw the sun, and took a picture as proof: Read more »

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Atogwe Going True North Strong And Free

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 28, 2011 – 5:17 pm

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Apparently “True North Strong and Free” the best-known nickname for Canada.  It’s at least the most polite name that I’ve heard.

If Canada is America’s northern neighbor, then Redskins safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is the neighbor’s kid who spends more time at your house than his own.  It’s been months since Atogwe went home, and even longer since he played football in Canada.

“It’s been since high school,” he said.  “I’m excited to go back.”

Atogwe grew up in Windsor, Ontario, which is just outside of Detroit, Mich.  Toronto is just outside of Buffalo, N.Y., 225 miles away.

Or in Canada, that would be 364 kilometers.

Despite the haul, it’s a lot closer than Washington or anywhere else that the Redskins will play this year, and Atogwe has lots of family and friends making the trek. Read more »

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Fletcher-Jackson Connection Runs Deep

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 28, 2011 – 3:42 pm

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One matchup to look for in this Sunday’s matchup, will be Redskins linebacker London Fletcher against Bills running back Fred Jackson.  Not only are they the key to their respective units’ success, but they’re also old friends and Division III college-mates.

Via Rodney McKissic of The Buffalo News, Fletcher took Jackson under his wing during their mutual time in Buffalo:

Fletcher was a mentor to Jackson when he was signed to the Bills’ practice squad in 2006.

“When I got my first start the first guy I played against was London Fletcher. I’ve always had a great amount of respect for him being he’s a Division III player as well. He was one of the guys I used to talk to a lot when I first got here.” Read more »

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Torain Credits Hightower For Pass-Blocks

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 28, 2011 – 2:41 pm

AP Image

The trade for Tim Hightower this offseason brought a running back to Washington that was well-versed in pass-protection.  A running back that can perform in all three facets of the game offers the offense more possibilities while he’s in the game, something that has been missing since Clinton Portis in his prime.

But now that Hightower’s season has ended on injured reserve, his influence will carry on in his fellow stable-mates, especially Ryan Torain.

“Y’know, Tim was definitely a specialist in studying hard, and I tried to take a little bit from him,” Torain said.  “I’ve been putting in work and trying to be a student off the field, and that’s the way I’ve been approaching it this year.”

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by his coaches, who will be relying on him to pick up a lion’s share of the carries in Hightower’s absence. Read more »

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Hail! Finds Some Farmyard Amusement

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 28, 2011 – 1:37 pm

Cut the whole team? Forfeit the rest of the games?  Hire replacement players?  Move the team to L.A.?

These were all suggestions made following last week’s loss, and this week’s edition of Ben Ceccarelli’s Hail! comic reminds us all to take a step back…deep breath…and remember that it’s only Week 8:


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