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Wednesday, March 10: Responses To The Redskins 2010 Free Agency

Posted by Matt Terl on March 10, 2010 – 9:41 am

“‘Don’t Panic.’ It’s the first helpful or intelligible thing anyone’s said to me all day.”

Well, the 2010 Washington Redskins offseason has proved … interesting so far, albeit not in the way that most people expected. With the free agent signing period almost a week old, here’s what the Redskins have officially accomplished:

  • Released ten players, many of them aging (and expensive) veterans.
  • Signed or re-signed four of their own free agents: two aging veterans (although they’re at two wildly disparate degrees of “aging” — Phillip Daniels makes Casey Rabach look like a wide-eyed rookie by comparison), one versatile young player entering his prime (Lorenzo Alexander), and one difficult-to-pigeonhole guy in Mike Williams. Two offensive linemen, one defensive lineman, and one defensive utility player currently listed as a linebacker, if you’re counting.
  • Signed Artis Hicks, a versatile utility player along the offensive line.

Unofficially, the team has reportedly met with a number of free agents. They’ve either elected not to pursue or otherwise missed out on such “big” names as Julius Peppers, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, and Chad Clifton. And they’ve generally been biding their time, apparently content to wait and cherry-pick guys for the price they’re willing to pay.

All of this squares with what general manager Bruce Allen has been saying all along:
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Casey Rabach, Elder Statesman

Posted by Matt Terl on March 9, 2010 – 10:42 am

Center Casey Rabach drove through the night on Sunday to sign his contract at Redskins Park yesterday. He left behind a winter of snowmobiling and ice fishing in his native Wisconsin to return to … the remains of the enormous snowstorms that blanketed Loudoun County this winter.

“You know, you guys got more snow than we did,” Rabach told me. “We were thinking of bringing the snowmobiles back and just riding ’em to work down the WO&D [trail], but it’s gonna be kinda hard now with all this warm weather.”

Rabach’s return home yielded a pleasant surprise: instead of damage from the snow, he found his house in better condition than when he left. “A toilet that didn’t work when I left is actually working now,” he said, “so I’m pretty excited about that.”

With the departure of Randy Thomas and retirement of Chris Samuels, Rabach also returned to sunny Ashburn (and his newly-operational toilet) as the undisputed elder statesman of the Redskins’ offensive line.

Well, “undisputed” by everyone besides Rabach.

“No,” he explained patiently, “I’m the most experienced offensive lineman.”

I asked if there was really any difference, and Rabach laughed. “No,” he said, before going ahead and embracing the role. “There’s a new offense, a new coaching staff, but — y’know, being the guy with the most experience — I definitely want to help get everybody on the same page. I think we’re gonna have some new guys around here, so it’ll definitely be some extra time in the film room.”

And Rabach also had a chance to sit down with his new head coach, Mike Shanahan, and his new position coach, Chris Foerster. Read more »

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Keenan McCardell Named Wide Receivers Coach

Posted by Matt Terl on February 2, 2010 – 3:17 pm

The Redskins today announced the hiring of Keenan McCardell as wide receivers coach. McCardell takes over for the departed Stan Hixon — a guy who happens to have been McCardell’s final position coach in the NFL.

McCardell, of course, was drafted by the Redskins in the twelfth round of the 1991 draft — the only Pro Bowl player from the final five rounds of that draft — and got his name onto the trophy for Super Bowl XXVI before going on to greater NFL success with Jacksonville, and another Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. He returned to the Redskins in 2007 for the final season of his NFL career, catching 22 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, and often serving as a coach-on-the-field.

He’ll be starting his official coaching career in the same place he started his playing career; his previous coaching experience came coaching the receivers for the West team in this year’s East/West Shrine Game, and as part of a Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship program during the New York Giants training camp.

Even during the limited experience, though, McCardell was able to make a fairly significant impression working with one of the Giants’ young wide receivers. Read more »

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Two More Coaches: Steve Jackson and Sean McVay

Posted by Matt Terl on January 22, 2010 – 3:29 pm

The Redskins announced two more coaching moves today — or, rather, one move and one staying-in-the-same place. Steve Jackson has been retained as Safties Coach and Sean McVay has been added as an Offensive Assistant.

Jackson has been the Safties coach here since 2004; he was instrumental in the development of the late Sean Taylor, and has also done wonders with unheralded young players like Reed Doughty and Chris Horton. He’s a popular coach who also has some incredibly stylish golf pants and made an interesting sartorial decision at this year’s Welcome Home Luncheon. On the whole, this is a good keep-around, for both on-field and on-blog reasons.

McVay worked as a Quality Control/Wide Receivers coach on the UFL’s Florida Tuskers (with new Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett) last year, and was an Offensive Assistant with Tampa Bay the year prior. “Sean is a young, energetic coach who comes from a great football background,” new Head Coach Mike Shanahan said in a statement. “We are excited to have him on our staff.”

Here’s how precocious McVay is: he played his college ball at Miami (Ohio), where he was a wide receiver. But he never caught a pass from noted Miami (OH) alum Ben Roethlisberger, because McVay arrived at the school in 2004, the year Roethlisberger was selected in the NFL Draft. That is today’s sign that I am catastrophically old.
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Thursday, January 21: A Different Feel To The Offseason

Posted by Matt Terl on January 21, 2010 – 11:47 am

It can’t come as a surprise to anyone that there’s a different feeling around Redskins Park this offseason.

There are a lot of reasons for it, some of them obvious (an almost entirely new coaching staff and a new general manager are going to create a slightly different feeling) and some of them less so. I have a suspicion that I’ll be spending a lot of this offseason trying to pinpoint some of these less obvious differences.

One of them became eminently clear on Friday night, at the Pigskin Club‘s 72nd Annual Awards Dinner in D.C.

“The Pigskin Club,” Brig Owens explained, “has a very rich history.”

The former defensive back, named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins on the occasion of the team’s 70th Anniversary, should know — he was a two-term president of the club. (That’s him on the far right of the picture on top of this post.)

“It was originally started to honor those African-American players who weren’t normally honored back in the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties,” he said, “so there’s a rich tradition. And it’s also a community. You’re able to bring players in from around the country regardless of what color they are; it’s all about democracy in sports.”

Friday’s event was, according to the club’s description, “a celebration to acknowledge the accomplishments of our young people and community leaders who serve as role models.” I was there mainly because Brian Orakpo was slated to receive the John W. Posey Award for his rookie season, and I thought it might provide an excuse to ask him a couple of dumb questions.

“Brian Orakpo came in as a rookie and made an impact right away,” Owens said, explaining the meaning of the award. “The Pigskin Club took note of that and said we’ve gotta honor the young man and introduce him to the community here in Washington D.C. I think he’s gonna have a great career here, and the Pigskin Club recognized that right off the bat.”

Orakpo wasn’t able to attend because of a prior commitment, but Owens was there. As was Bobby Mitchell, another of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Mitchell is second from the right in the photo.)

Oh, and new General Manager Bruce Allen. He was there, too. (He’s second from the left.)

It wasn’t the first Pigskin Club event for any of those three.
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NFL Offers FAQ On The Uncapped Year

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 12:34 pm

The two guys in the picture above have a lot at stake with the current negotiations around the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is currently scheduled to expire in March of 2011. Assuming nothing changes, Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers are both slated to be restricted free agents this offseason, rather than unrestricted free agents as they otherwise would have expected.

We know that, and I think most fans pretty much understand that that’s the result. But the NFL today sent out a Q&A to help explain some of the other details of the uncapped 2010 year — the “Final League Year” of the current CBA — and I found it helpful enough to offer here without comment or further elaboration, at least for the moment.

If nothing else, it helps to make sure we’re all on the same page as far as what this uncapped year means and what it doesn’t. The Q&A is after the jump; if you have any questions about it, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Read more »

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Tuesday, January 5: Redskins Sign Futures Guys

Posted by Matt Terl on January 5, 2010 – 12:52 pm

It’s the big Redskins news you’ve been waiting all day for: the team signed a bunch of guys to futures contracts!

These are players who weren’t on the active roster at the end of the season but that the team wants to bring in to camp next year. And … they’re pretty much the guys from the practice squad (hence the Anthony Alridge video above), along with linebacker Darrel Young (who was with the team in training camp last year) and tight end Lee Vickers but minus fullback Jonathan Evans.

Here’s the full list:

  • Anthony Alridge, RB
  • Anthony Armstrong, WR
  • Doug Dutch, CB
  • Antoine Holmes, DT
  • Clint Oldenburg, OL
  • James Robinson, WR
  • J.D. Skolnitsky, DT
  • Lee Vickers, TE
  • Darrel Young, LB

If there’s any other news today, I’ll be sure to mention it, but it’s tough to imagine anything topping this for excitement and relevance to next season. Read more »

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