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Coach’s Turn: Mike Shanahan At The Mic

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 10:36 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

Redskins fans—how are you feeling right now knowing that your team is back and better than ever?

If you heard it through the grapevine that this was the first time the Redskins completed the preseason undefeated since 1985, your ears are indeed not deceiving you. It wasn’t just a play here or a series there that led the burgundy and gold to 4-0—it was dominate performances week in and week out from every player. The offense doubled up their opponents, the defense strapped up after an early miscue against Chris Johnson and the special teams—well Kai Forbath didn’t spend his offseason admiring his glass enclosed cleat in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Anyway, after the victory Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan talked to the media and gave some news that, trust me when I say you won’t want to miss.

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Fourth Quarter Conclusions: WAS-TB

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 9:57 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

Barring an incredible change of fortunes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the last 15 minutes of a game that has been controlled by the defending NFC East champs, the Washington Redskins are well on their way to the first undefeated preseason since 1985.

After trading field goals in the third quarter (Forbath’s seventh of the preseason) the Redskins entered the fourth quarter up 30-9.

Here’s are some highlights from the fourth quarter:

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Third Quarter Thoughts: WAS-TB

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 9:18 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

If there’s one word to describe the first half of the Washington Redskins’ preseason finale it’d be domination–or whatever you use to describe a game where one team has more touchdowns (three) than the other has first downs (two) that’s what it’s been. Barring one play, Pat White’s second quarter interception after a linebacker jumped a slant route, the Redskins have looked every bit the part of  Super Bowl contender.

The offense, which received a quick boost of confidence thanks to Dezmon Briscoe’s 66-yard catch on the third play of the game, has looked fluid and moved the ball with relative ease. Despite being on his third team in as many seasons, Phillip Merling looks like a fantastic addition, swatting passes and jumping on loose footballs and has led the defense to another outstanding performance, limiting the Buccaneers to 35 yards. David Amerson, who’s biggest label coming out of college was “ball hawk”, nabbed his first NFL interception and Nick Barnett looks like the Nick Barnett of 2005 when he was an All-Pro. Did I mention Chris Thompson’s punt return for a touchdown and Kai Forbath hitting every single kick of the preseason so far?

Anyway, here’s how the third quarter went:

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Second Quarter Summary: WAS-TB

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 8:24 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

You couldn’t ask for a better start to the preseason finale as Dezmon Briscoe, fighting for a roster spot, make two quick moves to get the Redskins deep in Tampa Bay territory before Evan Royster capped it off with a touchdown. For a moment it looked like the Buccaneers were going to match them with an incredible weaving kickoff return for a touchdown, but not only did Lance Lewis stop the return at the two, there was a holding call on the play that reeled them back to reality–on their own seven.

The only really notable play from the Buccaneers first drive was a personal foul on Phillip Merling. He made up for it though, by swatting a Mike Glennon pass down with authority. It’s the second time during the preseason he has knocked down a pass, the other coming against the Titans.

And then, just before it looked like the quarter would end at 10-0 rookie Chris Thompson made the biggest statement any returner could–with a monstrous 69-yard punt return for a touchdown. Great stuff from the rookie back in his home state.

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First Quarter Happenings: WAS-TB

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 7:37 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

It may not be the most well-known starting 22 to trot out onto the field in the Washington Redskins prestigious 81-year history, but they have the potential to do what neither the 1987 or 1991 Super Bowl-winning squads could—go undefeated in the preseason.

An omen of good things to come in this franchise’s eight-ball? We’ll soon find out. In the meantime though, tonight’s game serves as the perfect final evaluation hurdle before final cuts are made on Saturday night.

For rookies defensive back David Amerson nothing will make a bigger impact in this game than picking off his former NC State teammate Mike Glennon. Bacarri Rambo on the other hand–well he doesn’t care who he’s going against as long as he can lay down some jarring hits. In Saturday’s game we saw the fearless side of him when he went one-on-one with C.J. Spiller and came away with a beautiful tackle, stopping him for a short gain.

I’ll also make sure to keep a close eye on the normally seldom watched punt return game.

The Buccaneers won the opening coin toss but the Redskins are receiving. Chris Thompson is back deep.

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Pregame Pass To Redskins–Bucaneers

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 6:46 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

With a little less than an hour until kickoff, the Washington Redskins getting the last of their customary pregame warm-ups.

On Tuesday, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announced that former West Virginia star Pat White would be quarterbacking the team during tonight’s now annual preseason finale tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Around 4:30 or so, the players started trotting out onto the field to get in some wind sprints in the humid Florida weather.

Sprints you might ask? Well that’s the consolation prize for not playing in tonight’s game.

Anwyay, here’s what’s going on starting with kicker Kai Forbath, who earlier sent out this inadvertent Throwback Thursday tweet:

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Nails Always Shorter After ‘Skins-Bucs

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 2:25 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

For the third consecutive season, the Washington Redskins will close their preseason slate with a tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The last two have been Redskins victory to include a 24-22 victory in 2011 where the burgundy and gold orchestrated their first game-winning drive of the season in the waning minutes and a 30-3 walloping last season where Kirk Cousins picked apart the Buccaneers defense and Roy Helu Jr. pounded his way to pay dirt twice.

In total, the Redskins and Buccaneers have played each other 20 different times in the regular season and postseason, the most recent being this 24-22 victory at Raymond James Stadium in Week 4.

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Sunshine State Will Live Up To Name

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 2:16 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

There’s a reason why people retire, pack their bags and move to the Sunshine State and it always has something to do with this fickle thing called weather.

Unpredictable as it may be in the DMV (last check it’s raining out—oh wait its sunny and bright blue skies out) Florida’s weather is nothing short of beautiful year round.  While those of us are freezing our burgundy and gold tails off come January, Floridians enjoy 70 degree days routinely.

Having said that, as Redskins Nation continues to dell through another dreary day, tonight’s game in Tampa will be provide nothing but gorgeous weather.

Here’s a complete game time forecast courtesy of Accuweather.com.

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Chris Thompson–Just One Play

Posted by Evan Redmon on August 29, 2013 – 12:55 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

Mike Shanahan has always been known as a no-nonsense coach.

So when a rookie running back fumbles the football in consecutive preseason games, it doesn’t bode well for his chances. Shanahan has little tolerance for turnovers by his ball carriers.

Chris Thompson probably knows that as well as anyone. So when the fifth round pick out of Florida State put the ball on the turf against the Buffalo Bills last Saturday, he had to know that he needed to redeem himself.

And that’s the magic of the preseason. One play can change the fortunes–literally–of a player in an instant.

Flash back a few weeks ago to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond. At one of Shanahan’s many press conferences, he was asked why Thompson wasn’t practicing on a particular day. The coach said Thompson had some nagging foot soreness and looked “sluggish”.

That’s a coach’s way of saying ‘I’m not too thrilled about his performance so far’.

Then came Thompson’s two fumbles; one against Pittsburgh and again the next week against Buffalo. With the roster cuts looming, this is not how a rookie wants to make an impression.

In the preseason however, guys are looking for “just one play” to turn the coach’s heads. Thompson made such a play, and fate may have intervened on his behalf.

With the 3rd quarter winding down, Thompson fielded a Sean Powell punt in stride at the Redskins 39 yard line and shot forward like flash of lightening, eliciting gasps and cheers from the FedEx faithful. Thirty-one yards later, Thompson had set up the Skins well into Buffalo territory, and fellow running back Keiland Williams capped the short drive off with a 1-yard touchdown.

Thompson also had a 27-yard kickoff return earlier in the game.

Sometimes, a bit of unfortunate news to a fellow teammate opens a door. When it was determined that presumed No. 1 punt returner Richard Crawford will need season-ending surgery on his left knee, the door to Thompson’s future suddenly blew wide open after impressing everyone on that punt return.

Some say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Chris Thompson made the most of his opportunity in “just one play”, and he may have made the Redskins final roster in the process.


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E.J. Biggers: ‘Going To Be Fun Going Back’

Posted by Stephen Czarda on August 29, 2013 – 12:18 pm

(AP Images)

(AP Images)

Tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers serves many different purposes for the currently 75-man Washington Redskins squad. For starters like Alfred Morris, London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall, they may sparingly at most, resting their bodies for what will assuredly be another season of constant pounding on their built frames. For rookies such as Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson and Nick Williams, not only are they fighting for the possible right to field Philadelphia Eagles punter Donnie Jones’ skyrockets on September 9th, but are jockeying for depth placement at their respective positions.

Then there is E.J. Biggers who’s spot on the roster was all but confirmed the day he signed on the dotted line of his new contract in March. In four seasons in the NFL, Biggers has appeared in 45 games (24 starts) amassing 153 tackles (131 solo), three interceptions, 27 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one sack and 16 special teams tackles–all of which came with the Buccaneers.

While he is now a Washington Redskin, Biggers said that he knew that he’d be entering uncharted waters tonight in a stadium best known for a pirate ship.

“It’s going to be fun going back coming out of the opposite locker room and tunnel for the first time.”

So yeah—no SportCenter Not Top 10 appearance for Biggers tomorrow morning for failing to recognize which locker room is his.

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