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  • Thu., Sep. 21, 2017 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruiden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky talk at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
  • Fri., Sep. 22, 2017 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Matt Cavanaugh At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh talk at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
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Signings, OTAs, Pictures, and Even Some Smoot: A Monday Miscellany

Posted by Matt Terl on May 17, 2010 – 11:52 am

Today marks the start of OTAs for the 2010 Redskins. Last year, for some idiotic reason, I waited until the OTAs were three-quarters over to fully define what the acronym means. So let’s knock that out right now, quoting last year’s explanation directly:

OTA stands for organized team activities, fourteen offseason full-team training sessions that coaches are allowed to schedule.

Unlike the mandatory minicamp that took place earlier this offseason, the OTAs are voluntary — although all coaches leaguewide seem to strenuously encourage attendance — and they have more in common with regular in-season practices than they do with the more grueling training camp practices that are coming up in July and August.

If this were the analogy section of the SATs, you might lay it out like this:

 minicamp:training camp::OTAs:in-season practice days

(If the SATs no longer have an analogy section, just disregard that last bit.)

Anyhow, with the minor difference that there are currently just 13 OTA days scheduled, rather than 14, that definition pretty much holds true. So the short version is this: the team is getting some more practice in today.

In preparation for that, a flurry of signings were announced this morning: the team added veteran defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday and rookie undrafted free agents WR Brandon Banks, WR Shay Hodge, and DB Melvin Stephenson.

After the jump, a little bit more on each of those guys, including pictures from today’s on-field work. Read more »

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Carlos Rogers Appears Happy With The Current Situation

Posted by Matt Terl on April 13, 2010 – 11:46 am

Every day since the offseason conditioning program started, cornerback Carlos Rogers has come into the facility. He’s done his lifting, his running, and his jawing with his fellow defensive backs. And, on the whole, he’s seemed happy about the whole thing — so it’s been easy for me to forget just how cranky he was at the end of last season.

Like Jason Campbell and a whole bunch of other players leaguewide, Rogers found himself as a restricted free agent this year because of the uncapped season. He didn’t have the freedom to choose a team — or to land a generous new contract — that he’d expected, and he was coming off a frustrating campaign that saw him occasionally beaten for deep passes and briefly benched for reasons that seemed somewhat unclear.

As recently as March 4, Rogers was having grouchy conversations with reporters that prompted headlines about him wanting “a new start” elsewhere. But apparently a lot can change in a month and a half. Read more »

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DeAngelo Hall Promises Defensive Confusion This Season (In A Good Way)

Posted by Matt Terl on April 1, 2010 – 3:47 pm

When Brian Orakpo addressed the media last Thursday, I half-joked that he hit on both of the major defensive-player talking points of this Redskins offseason:

A) Enthusiasm about the level of competition at Redskins Park this offseason
B) Are the Redskins transitioning to the 3-4 defense?

Orakpo was effusive about Item A and coy about Item B, but DeAngelo Hall took a slightly different approach today. Like the exact opposite approach. The level of competition went largely unmentioned except to note that the addition of Phillip Buchanon gave the team “another playmaker, another guy who can catch the ball, who can score, has return ability.”

But the 3-4 thing? Hall didn’t even treat it as an “are they” question, instead talking at some length about what he expects the 3-4 to bring to the team’s attack.

And, according to Hall, “attack” is very much the right word.

Read more »

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Brian Orakpo Unveils His Draft Board

Posted by Matt Terl on March 25, 2010 – 1:55 pm

Brian Orakpo addressed the media at Redskins Park today, fielding questions about the absent Albert Haynesworth (“He handled his situation and he’ll be back soon”); new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (“You can relate to him. He played this game”); and who he models his game after (“I look at everybody”).

He also delved a bit into such now-familiar 2010 Redskins offseason topics as A) How enthusiastic he is about the level of competition around Redskins Park.

“I love competition,” he said. “Lot of guys here love competition. You don’t ever wanna be in the situation where, hey, my job’s secure so I’m gonna stop working. I hope that the next guy behind me is gonna be comin’ in, try to take my spot, it makes me work better. Try to take Haynesworth’s spot, it makes him work better. Andre, Fletcher, everybody. Nobody’s spot is secure until we start the season, and that’s what’s gonna make us better. We won four games so it’s subject to change.”

And offseason topic B) Are the Redskins transitioning to a 3-4 defense?

“I didn’t get the word we [were going] 3-4 yet,” he said. “Tell you the truth, I don’t know, man. We’ll see. But whatever scheme we’re in, I know the coach is doin’ a great job getting some stuff set up for all of us to make plays. The number one thing [is], we gotta make turnovers. We were last in the league, and we gotta create turnovers and get the ball back to our offense. I’d be excited either way. Either/or, it doesn’t matter. Long as I move forward and rush the passer, it don’t matter. 4-3, 3-4, just get me rushing and I’m good.”

But perhaps the most entertaining part of Orakpo’s appearance was when it turned into an impromptu session of Brian Orakpo Previews The 2010 NFL Draft. It started with a question about Russell Okung, the highly-rated offensive tackle out of Oklahoma State who battled Orakpo when he was rushing the passer at Texas. From there, it seemed like everyone wanted Orakpo’s opinion on a different player, leading him to laugh, “Y’all gonna ask me everybody, huh? What about Coach [Mack] Brown?”

Still, without further ado, here are Brian Orakpo’s takes on a few of the top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. Read more »

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Chris Horton Follows Up On A Down Year

Posted by Matt Terl on March 23, 2010 – 4:36 pm

Entering last season, Chris Horton was one of the real bright spots from the Redskins’ 2008 draft class.

There was a lot of hope as 2009 began: that wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas would break out, that tight end Fred Davis would make an impact, that Chad Rinehart would contribute along the offensive line. (And, of course, among that ever-vocal subset, the fond wish that Colt Brennan would become the gunslingin’ quarterback of the future.)

But Horton was the closest the Redskins had to a sure thing. The seventh-round pick had surprised in his rookie season, leading the team in interceptions, being named to the Pro Football Weekly Rookie All-Pro Team, earning multiple NFL honors, and was a highlight of a down year. In 2009, it was hoped, he’d develop further down the path to stardom.

It didn’t really happen. Read more »

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FOXSports: 'New Era' In Washington

Posted by Matt Terl on March 20, 2010 – 10:25 am

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Redskins’ new, quieter, more measured approach to free agency has been watching some of the team’s harshest critics try to figure out how to react. Generally, it’s followed a pattern of complete disbelief followed by cautious skepticism, which I presume will eventually blossom into general accolades if the approach persists through the offseason.

Adam Schein of FOX Sports, though, has sprinted clear through those first two phases and straight into outright approval.


I don’t agree with everything that he says (the criticism of Fred Smoot particularly stung), but Schein has long been critical of the Redskins and the way the team does business, so him saying things like this is most definitely worthy of note.

Here’s the transcription, for those who can’t bring themselves to listen to Schein’s abrasive New York accent for the full ninety seconds: Read more »

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Colt Brennan Sees Potential In A Familiar Situation

Posted by Matt Terl on March 19, 2010 – 3:01 pm

During his brief and relatively unformed Redskins career, quarterback Colt Brennan has been so popular among a devoted group of fans that it’s strange to think of him as hard luck case. But from a certain perspective, that’s exactly what he is.

Since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 draft, Brennan has had one impressive preseason, one disappointing preseason, and, in his words, “three pretty significant surgeries in a year and a half” that culminated with a stint on injured reserve last year.

This offseason, Brennan has been working hard to get himself back in shape, to prove that the flashes he showed in his first preseason weren’t just flukes. “I spent two months of my offseason down in Arizona at a facility called Fischer Sports,” Brennan says, “and basically invested two months, five to six days a week of just reshaping and rebuilding my body.”

It wasn’t how Brennan spent his first NFL offseason, but the results last preseason frustrated him so much that doing something like this seemed obvious. “What I’ve realized is that the off-season is definitely for you to relax, but it’s also for you to maintain and also grow physically,” he says, “you know, become stronger and faster, and that’s what I did this year. I acted like I was a top player in the NFL, as far as how I trained.”

The result of that effort is that Brennan is healthy, his hips work properly, and he’s in the best shape of his professional career. “I feel like this is going to be the first time that the NFL truly going to see what I am as a quarterback,” he says, “physically and mentally.”

The question is, does he have time for that to matter here in Washington.

Read more »

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Mike Williams Is Relieved Not To Be An Offseason Story

Posted by Matt Terl on March 17, 2010 – 11:46 am

Today, in Cheap Irony For Dummies, an offseason story about how glad Mike Williams is not to be an offseason story.

For a stretch during last year’s offseason, Williams was the only thing going. He showed up at Redskins Park weighing northward of 400 pounds, and the next thing you knew there were blog posts about bison meat and graphs with his head on them. Then the season started and Williams moved from position to position, sometimes looking like a guy who had been out of the league, other times looking like he was starting to settle in. The whole time, though, the story was that he was a guy who had lost a bunch of weight.

This offseason, though, is much quieter for Williams. He’s got his deal signed already. There are no writers analyzing his choice of food. No long diet plans or calls for a personal chef. No graphs with his head on them. And he’s okay with that.

“That’s pretty much last year’s story,” Williams told me. He declined to reveal his current weight — “I’m definitely nowhere near where I was when I came in in April, put it like that,” he said — but he looks like a completely different guy. Leaner, with a bit more muscle definition than previously. Oh, and the jacket he’s wearing is baggy and ill-fitting, because he hasn’t replaced his whole wardrobe from a year ago.
Read more »

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Pro And Con On Jim Haslett, The Bill Belichick Of The UFL

Posted by Matt Terl on January 15, 2010 – 4:20 pm

The Redskins named Jim Haslett their defensive coordinator today, confirming a move that’s been rumored for a few days now, and filling a position that opened when Greg Blache retired.

Haslett coached the UFL’s Florida Tuskers to an undefeated season and a loss in the championship game last year, which pretty much makes him the Bill Belichick of the UFL. (It also means that he fills an interesting parenthetical niche as the second guy the Redskins have signed who was involved with that UFL Championship game — mid-season replacement kicker Graham Gano kicked the gamewinning field goal to beat Haslett’s Tuskers.)

And he has NFL cred as well. He was the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints in 1996, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1997-99, and the St. Louis Rams in 2006, 2007 and for the first four games of 2008 before being named interim head coach in St. Louis. (And beating the Redskins the following Sunday, in fact.)

He played in the NFL as well, as linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, where he won defensive rookie of the year in 1979 and went to the Pro Bowl in 1980. The picture above — Haslett stopping Tony Dorsett for a short gain — is really all the backstory I need to embrace the guy as a Redskins coach. But not everyone agrees with me on that. Read more »

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Tuesday, January 12: Rooting For … The Cowboys?

Posted by Matt Terl on January 12, 2010 – 11:21 am

An interesting item on ProFootballTalk this morning about the provisions put into the CBA to prevent an uncapped year from turning into the rich getting richer. I hadn’t been thinking about it much because it was so far from relevant to the extremely non-playoff 2009 Redskins, but it boils down to this: teams in the final eight will be faced with certain limitations in the upcoming 2010 free agency period.

Here are the four major restrictions as cited in PFT, with me attempting to do a lawyerese-to-English translation on each one. Read more »

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