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Coach Open To All Options For Playmakers

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 5:32 pm

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In a recent one-on-one interview of head coach Mike Shanahan by ESPN blogger Dan Graziano, he made it clear that he intends to search high and low for offensive playmakers this offseason.

The team finished the season ranked 16th in the NFL in offensive yards per game, but 26th in scoring.  Part of the drop off has to do with the player that lines up under center, and part of that has to do with who he’s throwing to.  Shanahan commented on both aspects of that relationship, with a cautionary warning.

Everyone wants a franchise, but there aren’t enough to go around:

“Not everybody understands that,” he said.

“Everybody wants a franchise quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Every team you talk to, if you don’t have a franchise quarterback, everybody’s looking for a franchise quarterback. I understand…If they’re out there, you try and get one.”

Every great quarterback has a franchise wide receiver to throw to:

“We’ve got to get a wide receiver that’s a playmaker. You’ve got to have a No. 1, no question about it…You’re still looking for a guy that can go the distance and make plays, running on a short shallow cross and go the distance. Everybody’s looking for that.”

In that same conversation with Graziano, Shanahan noted that Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney were quality players, but with 11 and 10 years in the league, respectively, they aren’t part of the long-term solution.

Shanahan commented on budding receiver prospect Leonard Hankerson, who got injured at the end of his breakout game in Miami:

“I think he’s got a chance to be the guy. Health is what we don’t know…You can see in practice where he’s a natural. Big. The thing that separates guys at No. 1 is when they can beat bump coverage and they don’t have to slow down to beat it. They’re able to keep their speed and be able to get by somebody. He’s got that.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Shanahan also noted that he will again target players that are reaching free agency for the first time (in their mid to upper 20’s), rather than those in their early 30’s.  That strategy was employed last year with starters like Josh Wilson, Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield.

Check out the rest of Graziano’s exclusive for full Shanahan quotes.

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Rocca Came Here To Win A Championship

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 2:29 pm

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Shortly before Christmas, I had the opportunity to talk football with Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Craig McMurtrie and his cameraman Louie Eroglu at Redskins Park.

It turned out that not only has Redskins punter Sav Rocca been a punting stud in Washington this season, but he’s also turned heads 10,000 miles away in his native Australia.  The reason why the American correspondents were uncharacteristically focused on sports that day, was to cover Rocca for the a national radio and television piece in Australia.

Here’s the radio clip, read in an authentic Australian accent: Read more »

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Season Ending Power Rankings Roundup

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 12:43 pm

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Power rankings are designed to be equivalent to an approximate rankings of NFL teams, No. 1-32.  What it actually turns into is an over-hyped barometer that shamelessly follows winning and losing streaks, and has no ability to predict future results.

In other words, it’s pointless in principle, product and practice.  But they are fun when your team is winning.

Throughout the course of the season, win or lose, I’ve brought you the power rankings roundup, looking at the somewhat respected rankings of CBS, FOX, NBC and ESPN.  Before Week 1, the Redskins were ranked in the bottom five teams on all charts.

Going into the team’s Week 5 bye week, the team ranked as high as the Top-10 on the ESPN charts, and was not far behind on others.  After Week 17, the Redskins are a whole lot closer to the Week 1 rankings than most would have predicted in Week 5.

But, as I noted before, power rankings do little to predict where a team is going–only where it’s been.  So take these power rankings as you will: Read more »

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Olsen Headed To The Saints, NFC Playoffs

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 10:28 am

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The season continues for one member of the Burgundy and Gold, as Redskins practice squad offensive lineman Eric Olsen is Bayou-bound.  Earlier this week, he was officially signed to the 53-man playoff roster of the New Orleans Saints.

He broke the news himself during locker room clean-out on Monday, telling ‘Redskins Insider’ Mike Jones that he was sad to leave:

“I’m sad because I really like the guys around here, and this is like football heaven, and Coach Shanahan is bigger than a legend,” said the former Notre Dame standout, who last season appeared in one game for the Denver Broncos. “But I’ve got to take this.”

He shared it with the world on Twitter (@EOlsen69) a short while later:

Yesterday during his media session with the New Orleans media, Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed the news of Olsen’s signing, announcing that he will wear No. 70. Read more »

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