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Family Prepares Royster For Lead Role

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 26, 2011 – 3:25 pm

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In his first NFL start, running back Evan Royster showed gritty determination against one of the league’s better rushing defenses.  He gained the most yardage of a running back against the Vikings since Stephen Jackson in 2006, and he gained the most by a Redskins rookie back since 1993.

According to a chat I had with him on Thursday, his training in physicality has been a long time coming, as the youngest of four brothers.  Some of his best holiday memories were of getting presents, and then trying to keep them away from his brothers.

“My favorite gift growing up, was the Sega Dreamcast,” he remembered fondly.  “I was so excited to get it!  I had wanted it forever, it was my gift, and I didn’t get to play it for a couple days because my brothers took over.

“As the youngest, I was spoiled, yes, but I took the punishment for it.  I was given gifts, but it didn’t mean they were always mine.”

But those days are behind him, as Christmas is now a peaceful time with family.  Yesterday was actually the first Christmas that Royster got to spend with family since 2005, when he was a senior in high school. Read more »

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Richie Petitbon Immortalized At FedExField

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 26, 2011 – 2:04 pm

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On Sunday at halftime, the Redskins bestowed longtime defensive mastermind Richie Petitbon with his rightful place in the Redskins Ring of Fame.

Petitbon got his start in Washington as George Allen’s strong safety in the “Over The Hill Gang” defense, where he appeared in Super Bowl VII against the Dolphins.  He currently ranks 35th on the list for career interceptions, with 48.  He also ranks 22nd on the list for career interception return yards, with 801.

After his playing career, he went on to serve as the team’s defensive coordinator on the way to three Super Bowl victories.  He was given the nod as the next head coach after Joe Gibbs retired in 1993.

He was introduced at midfield during halftime by one of his brightest pupils, cornerback Darrell Green.  General manager Bruce Allen presented him with the commemorative plaque, and his name was unveiled in the north end zone.  Upon receiving the award, he said simply to the Redskins faithful:

“Let me just say that today, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Petitbon is also a member of his native Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame.

Check out the video of the ceremony, below: Read more »

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Redskins Players Christmas Day Recap

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 26, 2011 – 1:31 pm

In honor of yesterday’s moderately well-known holiday, most players had a chance to spend time with some version of family or adopted family.

While many players hosted family or made it home, some of the visits were unexpected.  Safety DeJon Gomes was his own surprise present, playing Santa Claus for his delighted mom.  From the looks of his pristine suit, I don’t think he had to brave the chimney:

Other players had a visit from Santa…or at least from nose tackle Chris Neild’s “nutty Nephew”: Read more »

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Minnesota Vikings In The Rear View Mirror

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 26, 2011 – 10:05 am

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It’s safe to say that too many of the storylines in the NFL are predicated on pregame predictions.  Going into the Redskins-Giants game two weeks ago, no one gave the Redskins a chance to win.  Going into the Redskins-Vikings game on Saturday, no one gave the Vikings a chance to win.

We know what happened in both cases.

The fact is that the Redskins had a good chance to win on Saturday, and did what they needed to do to ensure that, at least against the Vikings’ starters.

On defense, running back Adrian Peterson gained only 38 yards in the game before he was helped off the field early in the third quarter.  Ponder was similarly limited to 58 yards through the air and 5.2 yards per completion, and no touchdowns.

Problems occurred once the replacements to those players came in, due to injury.  Unlike many teams, the Vikings not only have talented backups, they also have backups with wildly different skill sets.  The Redskins defense had the Vikings’ starters pegged, but the backups were wild cards that they couldn’t account for.

With that being said, there were still outstanding performances on the field for the Burgundy and Gold.

London Fletcher had 17 tackles and a half-sack, extending his NFL-lead in total tackles.  Cornerback Josh Wilson had another outstanding game, managing six tackles and a forced fumble on a long, would-be touchdown run.

On offense, the Redskins were wise to get Evan Royster started early.  He gained a career-high for yards in a game, with 48 in the first half.  He finished up with steady diet of 19 rushes for 132 yards, with an additional two receptions for 15 yards.  He was the workhorse for the offense, finding gaps and running lanes against the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney also provided production that the Redskins have been accustomed to from No. 10, hauling in six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.  He has already met his career-high in touchdowns, and surpassed his career high in receiving yards for a season this week.

We like to gauge our team in terms of plays, quarters, games, and seasons, but to do so with the 2011 Washington Redskins would be, quite frankly, irresponsible.  This is a team in transition, a team in progress.  On offense, there are five starters that played even one snap together last season, and only three that played the whole season.  On defense, there are six starters that played together last season, and only four that played the whole season.  In a game where success is built on consistency and cohesion, this team is only starting to achieve that.

For some of the veterans, this is their second year in the system, but for all of the free agents and rookies, this is new.  That’s not an excuse–it’s a fact.  This roster is bedazzled with gems that project to much higher levels.  This group of Redskins has one more week to prove their muster, and I would expect them to rise to the occasion in Philadelphia.

Here are some other notable stats from Saturday’s game: Read more »

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