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There’s No Place Like Homefield

Posted by Brian Tinsman on July 26, 2011 – 5:19 pm

AP Image

The overwhelming sentiment in the halls of Redskins Park today, was relief to be back.  There were smiles, hugs, and handshakes all around as players settled in and get acclimated to being back.

After the longest lockout in NFL history, players and fans alike can experience a decade of labor peace, the longest such agreement ever designed.  Most players currently in the league will never experience another labor negotiation, and that’s just fine by them.

Center Casey Rabach was looking forward to an agreement in order to get back to work with his teammates. Read more »

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Casey Rabach On Nutrition, Dairy Farms, And Smoothies

Posted by Matt Terl on January 21, 2011 – 3:33 pm

Casey Rabach is the guy who tried to convince Harris Teeter that his signature sandwich should be “a brat on a bun with onion rings and cheese”, and whose entry in a burger contest was topped with a slice of deep-fried beer-battered cheddar cheese. So he seemed like something of an unlikely choice to speak to a gymnasium full of ninth graders about healthy eating as part of Fuel Up To Play 60, and an even unlikelier choice to wind up making smoothies with the Gwynn Park High School Chef Club.

But you can’t judge a person by the deep-fried beer-battered cheese slices, I suppose. “I’m a big smoothie guy,” Rabach says. “The one we made wasn’t bad, actually. I like mine a little more frozen; we could’ve thrown a little more ice into it.”

That smoothie drew some gasps from the crowd when Rabach (and the Chef Club) mixed apple juice, milk, and carrots (among other ingredients), but Rabach was pretty unfazed by the ingredients. “As long as you put apples with carrots — and they did, they threw apple juice in there — they’re actually really good,” Rabach says, “and it gives you that beta carotene. They can also taste bitter if you don’t put any sort of sweetener in there, but we used the agave stuff and the apple juice, so it was quite tasty.”

Rabach, it turns out, has a lot of thoughts on what makes for a good smoothie, although he’s adamantly non-dogmatic about it. Read more »

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A Look Back At Casey Rabach's Signature Sandwich (And One That Wasn't)

Posted by Matt Terl on December 16, 2010 – 11:41 am

Two days ago, in a post about the signature sandwich Phillip Daniels debuted at Harris Teeter, I mentioned in passing that Casey Rabach and Andre Carter had also had signature sandwiches this year. I was at Carter’s sandwich debut, although I don’t seem to have written about it. I remember two things about Carter’s sandwich: it was perfectly tasty, and — in keeping with Carter’s west coast roots — it had a California theme.

Which made me very curious about Rabach’s sandwich. Rabach is from Wisconsin, and tends to enjoy Wisconsinite things like cheese, bratwurst, and other kinds of cheese. When he found himself in a burger contest last year, Rabach developed a burger topped with bacon, mushrooms, special sauce … and beer-battered deep-fried cheddar cheese. So it seemed possible that he’d gotten Harris Teeter to sell something equally Wisconsonian, and therefore entertaining.

He didn’t, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Read more »

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Casey Rabach And Will Montgomery Review Some Chicago Pizza

Posted by Matt Terl on October 24, 2010 – 12:15 pm

Casey Rabach grew up in Wisconsin, with Chicago as his nearest big city, so he knows Chicago style deep dish pizza. “Very familiar with it,” Rabach says. “It’s a big hit throughout the Midwest. It’s a workingman’s pizza, not a flimsy New York style pizza — nothing against New York style pizza, but it’s not that.”

So when the team got to Chicago yesterday afternoon, Rabach and a few other Redskins players headed out — on a recommendation from former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman — to Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza. What that is, for those who are unfamiliar, is a deep-dish pan lined with a buttery pizza crust, filled with cheese and inaccurately-named toppings, then sauced on top and baked. Forever. If you go to Giordano’s, be aware that a pizza takes upwards of 40 minutes to hit your table.

Anyhow, here’s their review:
Read more »

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The Philly Media Drops By

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2010 – 11:56 am

ABC-7’s Britt McHenry snapped the above picture at Donovan McNabb‘s press availability today. Some of the faces (and backs of heads) are regular attendees to these weekly events — John Keim and Barry Svrluga are holding down their usual posts, and the dynamic radio duo of Chris Russell and Grant Paulsen can be clearly spotted — but there’s some unfamiliar faces as well, out-of-state media types including a few national crews, a Canadian crew, and a whole bunch of reporters down from Philadelphia.

McNabb’s press conference was the most obvious target (you may not have heard this, but the Redskins are playing his old team this week), but the Philly beat reporters were also making their way around open locker room, getting quotes from the Redskins players who made themselves available.

Not everyone did. Artis Hicks — also making a return to his old team, although one that’s not quite as heralded as McNabb’s — declined to chat.

And some players didn’t even realize why the media throng looked so much throng-ier. “I saw a couple of different people,” wide receiver Anthony Armstrong said after speaking briefly to a crowd of press, “but you don’t always know who’s who. They don’t wear big ol’ shirts that say PHILLY on them.”

One of the guys who spoke the longest, through several waves of alternating local and out-of-town media, was center Casey Rabach. He’s a reasonable target for this kind of thing, as he’s both the guy who snaps the ball to McNabb on every play and an agreeable talker.

Of course, part of being a good talker as a football player is knowing what the media wants from you, and Rabach knew perfectly well what the Philly guys were looking for. Read more »

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Chris Foerster's Approach To Coaching

Posted by Matt Terl on June 3, 2010 – 12:51 pm

New offensive line coach Chris Foerster is a very different kind of coach from his predecessor, Joe Bugel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It seems unfair to Foerster to mention them both in the lede, in fact, but it’s a comparison he’s been facing literally since he arrived at Redskins Park. Bugel is a legend in D.C., and the Redskins have perhaps the strongest tradition of rooting for their offensive line of any team in the NFL.

Following a legend is a difficult task, to say the least, so maybe it’s best that Foerster takes such a different approach. Bugel was a yeller, a curser, an old-school guy who called violence his turn-on and wanted things done his way all the time, every time. Foerster characterizes his own coaching style in just SLIGHTLY different terms.

“I’m a teacher first,” he says. “I’m gonna teach the guys how to play the position. I’m gonna give them what they need. I’m very much about meeting each guy where he is individually. I’m gonna try as best I can to get to know each guy, try as best I can to find out what makes him tick, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and I believe in developing a foundation and relationship with the player and trying to reach them where they are.”

He continues, “More than anything, I want to develop a trust with my players. A trust that they can believe what I tell ’em, and that what I have to say will give them a chance to succeed. And hopefully in that process, I can get them to maximize their abilities, and in that we can have a good offensive line, a good offense, and win some games.”

Now, you never know if a guy’s actual coaching style (or teaching style or managing style, for that matter) actually comes across the way he thinks it does. So I asked a few of Foerster’s players about his style, especially where it contrasted with Bugel’s. The answers were … consistent, to say the least, often down to word choice.

Here, look:
Read more »

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Another Post Kedric Golston Did Not Approve Of

Posted by Matt Terl on May 25, 2010 – 3:23 pm

Today’s picture of a rookie carrying helmets wasn’t the first thing I’ve done this year that Kedric Golston didn’t approve of. Back when I posted about Mike Sellers trying on Ma’ake Kemoeatu‘s helmet, Golston took issue with that as well.

“You don’t even know the guy,” he told me. “You can’t just write stuff like that without having met someone.” This came after a number of people in the building had mentioned that Kemoeatu had been asking about who wrote the blog.

So I went to Kemo and owned up. I apologized, explained that I have an enormous skull, that my kid has a head that measures in the 95th percentile, that I didn’t mean any offense, so on and so forth for what felt like an hour. Eventually, he stopped being able to keep a straight face, told me it was fine, and that was that.

Still, Golston was still insisting that I had been out of line, even interrupting group media sessions to mention the topic. I, of course, felt guilty about all of this, until Casey Rabach pulled me aside and told me a story about Kemoeatu’s rookie year, when both had been in Baltimore. Read more »

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The Offensive Line Gets Used To Chris Samuels, Coach (And To Someone Else Wearing 60)

Posted by Matt Terl on May 21, 2010 – 2:28 pm

Redskins seventh-round draft choice Selvish Capers is learning a lot as he gets used to life on the professional level.

“It’s different,” Capers says. “It’s a lot faster, there’s a lot more that they’re putting in and installing at one time, but I can pick it up. The veterans are there helpin’ me out throughout the process. I’ve been grateful and it’s been fun.”

And Capers isn’t just dealing with the usual rookie whiplash. He’s also wearing number 60, which — for the entire last decade — belonged to all-pro, all-star, all-everything left tackle Chris Samuels.

The pressure doesn’t daunt Capers, though. “Not really,” he says. “Not much. I just keep hearin’ that I’m wearin’ a big-time jersey, and it’s probably gonna be retired, and all this other stuff. We’ll see what happens.”

So far, the only thing that’s happened is that his teammates are slightly confused. I ask center Casey Rabach how he feels about seeing someone else wearing 60 after all this time.

He says, “Who is?”

Selvish Capers, I say.

Read more »

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Redskins Players Seem Pretty Unified In Predicting The Pick

Posted by Matt Terl on April 12, 2010 – 12:43 pm

As we begin the final approach to the 2010 NFL Draft — just 10 days and six-plus hours as I write this, according to ESPN’s handy-dandy draft countdown! — and we’re at the point now where everyone and their sister will be offering predictions of what’s going to happen.

Most of those predictions will be wrong.

Many of the predictions will be offered by current and former NFL players. The theory seems to be that these people are much closer to the action and therefore have a better understanding of what teams need. Or, in some cases, they’ve dealt (or are currently dealing) with the coaches and general managers, and therefore have better insight on which to base their predictions.

Most of those predictions will still be wrong.

During his Lite Brite press conference last Thursday, Chris Cooley explained why this is. “As far as the draft goes, I’m out in the dark,” he said. “My knowledge is about as much as the fans’. I actually had to meet with my tight ends coach and he said, ‘I’ll be in the draft meeting.’ I opened the draft door where our entire staff was and basically got the boot. So I don’t think they wanted me to know anything going on in there.”

But that didn’t stop Cooley from saying what he thought the team SHOULD do in the draft.
Read more »

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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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