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Reed Doughty and Chris Horton: The Depth Chart Switch And That Penalty From Last Week

Posted by Matt Terl on October 1, 2009 – 6:40 pm

Things have been pretty good for Reed Doughty this season, and he knows it. Every time I’ve spoken to him, he’s emphasized just how much better he feels, how much smoother he’s playing, what a difference this is from the start of last season.

Here’s what he had to say on Monday about his steadily-increasing role in the defense: “Whatever coach wants, whatever he feels is necessary at that point. I’m focused on special teams and I’m playing third down; if he says, hey, you’re up with first defense, I’m up with first defense. That’s just how I play it.”

Today, that’s pretty much what the coach said, elevating Doughty to starter in place of second-year safety Chris Horton.

“Reed’s playing as good of football as he’s ever played for us right now,” defensive coordinator Greg Blache said (between long paragraphs of throwing himself under the bus). “He’s got experience, he’s very savvy player. So we always thought those guys were 1 and 1. One guy has a little bit better athleticism, another guy’s got a little bit more in experience and recognition, and it was just a decision that we made.”

Horton and Doughty are close — the two are always together around the edges of the practice field, almost always talking with the elaborate hand motions that go with describing plays and coverages — and this will do little to change that relationship. Read more »

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Greg Blache Throws Self Under Bus, Implies More Attacking From Defense

Posted by Matt Terl on October 1, 2009 – 1:54 pm

Big day for defensive coordinator Greg Blache‘s media availability, and not just for clever turns of phrase. First of all, he announced that Reed Doughty will be replacing Chris Horton in the starting lineup.

“Reed’s actually played better the last couple of weeks,” Blache said, “and Chris has struggled a little bit. You know, he had a play last week with bad eyes and got the interference call; he had an incident the week before … and it’s not that we’re down on him. But the fact that you have a guy in Reed that’s so close to him, it gives you an opportunity to get a guy that gives Chris a chance to catch his breath, refocus, come back strong. It’s a long season, and at the same time it gives Reed a chance to get out on the field more and give us an opportunity to make some plays.”
Read more »

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Inside Redskins Park: The Lunchroom Suggestion Board

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 12:31 pm

The crowdsourcing trend has finally hit Redskins Park, in a somewhat unexpected spot: the dining room. Before last week, there was a line of chafing dishes containing an assortment of different main dishes, sides, starches, followed by a sandwich platter and usually a wrap or two, and a salad bar.

At some point this preseason, though, the catering company decided that it was time to solicit some opinions from their customers and a dry-erase board went up with the title “Requests From The Chef”. The suggestions have ranged from the quotidian (“chicken parmesan”; “flounder”) to the more exotic (“oxtail stew”) to the non-food-related (“rest”). I was curious about the oxtail stew, but had no way of narrowing down who would be interested in something like that.

But when “poutine” was written on the board one day, I could immediately narrow it down. Poutine — french fries covered with beef gravy and cheese curds — is a distinctly Canadian dish, so I knew we were looking at the Canadian Contingent: actual Canadian Shaun Suisham, and former CFL players Dominique Dorsey and Chris Wilson.

Dorsey had never even tried poutine. “I looked at it, and I was like, ‘What is that?’ People keep telling me to try it, but….” He trailed off. During his time in Canada, he stuck to tastes of home. “I just ate the regular stuff they had up there: KFC, Popeyes, and all that good stuff. I never branched off too much,” he said. “I know my limits.”
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Friday, August 28: The Dead Man Suit Award

Posted by Matt Terl on August 28, 2009 – 9:20 am

In the run-up to this year’s Welcome Home Luncheon, I talked to a few of the guys about their memories of last year’s event. They gave the answers I expected: good to meet the fans, great way to kick off the season, and so on.

Not one of the mentioned what is apparently one of the biggest draws of the day: the Dead Man Suit award.

Since Rocky McIntosh was the first one to spill the beans, on his Twitter feed Wednesday night, I’ll mash together a few of his updates here and let him explain what the award is about:

Dead Man Suit Awards..its givin to the player who wears a ugly 1960’s suit that looks like they stole it from a body at the graveyard. Past 2 yr winners were Andre Carter(sorry) and most recent Justin Tryon…Rick James was left freezing in his grave last yr cuz of this guy. Who will b next??? Stay tuned….. I will have flowers for this years winner.

And then this, from the bus on the way to the event:

Omg there r 2 many contestants for this years dead man suit awards.it’s going 2 be funny to see who wins we might have a repeat award winner. From d lineman to kickers nobody safe were checking all funeral homes for break-ins cuz we have suspects right here on the team……

At the event itself, I started asking who was likely to “win”; a lot of candidates were mentioned (Anthony Alridge and Eddie Williams being the most-suggested), but everyone said the final decision came down to one guy: Fred Smoot. Read more »

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Another Link: Chris Horton Chats

Posted by Matt Terl on June 30, 2009 – 8:52 am

Chris Horton is probably best known for being that diamond-in-the-rough seventh-rounder that fans and general managers everywhere dream about, and for having very noticeable hair. The breakout rookie season earned him a laundry list of honors — 2008 Pro Football Weekly Rookie All-Pro Team, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his first career start (against New Orleans) — and the hair earned him the nickname Predator, after the similarly coiffed movie character.

He’s less well-known for being a genuinely affable, funny, likeable guy, but a few more chats like this one on NFL.com should change that right quick. For example:

NOVA, Ashburn: When you see Chris Cooley running with the ball in practice do you think a) Who let this escaped mental patient on the field b) He looks like a week old fawn running c) There is no way anyone who runs that goofy had be that hard to tackle

Chris Horton: You have to go with “C” Nova. This guy is really hard to tackle, and everyone makes fun of his running form, but he does break a lot of tackles!

Leaving aside the fact that NOVA in Ashburn is probably Casey Rabach writing in under a pseudonym, that’s a pretty solid Q&A. Or this one: Read more »

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Tuesday, April 28: Golfing With Redskins

Posted by Matt Terl on April 28, 2009 – 3:41 pm

I stayed at Redskins Park for the Brian Orakpo press conference yesterday, so I missed the reported mobbing of Jason Campbell by the local media. It sounded like quite the scene, with Campbell surrounded and fielding endless questions in his characteristic classy manner, and his teammates staying rock solid in support of him. Kelli Johnson’s piece for Comcast SportsNet gives a good overview of that angle on things.

By the time I arrived at the Lowes Island Club golf course for the Jason Campbell Leukemia Golf Classic, the players had scattered across 36 holes of golf and were just generally having a good time hacking away at the ball and enjoying the warm weather.

As the name suggests, the tournament benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and from that standpoint yesterday was an unmitigated success. The event raised over $225,000 for the group, a marked jump from last year’s successful effort. Campbell, by all accounts, actually helps to plan the event, attending meetings and working with the group, not just lending his name.

There were two things worthy of special note yesterday.

One of them is vastly more important than the other, so that’s where I’ll start. Read more »

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Performance Based Pay Is Complicated; Chris Horton Pleased Anyhow

Posted by Matt Terl on March 24, 2009 – 2:27 pm

In my previous post on the Redskins’ compensatory pick, I mentioned Chris Horton‘s performance-based pay, which has prompted a few people to ask me for an explanation of how this money is awarded.

I’ll be honest with you: I barely understand it myself. I’ve read the league’s press release on the subject a few times now, and it never seems to fully clarify itself. Here are the “explanatory” paragraphs:

Performance-Based Pay was created as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement extension with the NFL Players Association. The system creates a fund used to supplement player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. This program will stay in place through the remaining years of the CBA in which a Salary Cap exists. In 2009, the Performance-Based Pay fund will be approximately $3.5 million per club, which is a five percent increase over the 2008 fund.

Players become eligible to receive Performance-Based Pay in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.

Under the system, Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a “player index.” To produce the index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay.

Ooookay. To clarify this (at least in theory), the league has included this chart, which looks at a hypothetical four person team. (Click for a larger image.)

So essentially what happens, when you clear away all the jargon and the details, is that a player’s playing time is matched up against his compensation, and that ratio determines how much of his team’s allocated performance-based pay he receives. Fair enough.

All of which led me to an important question: did this unexpected check make up for the non-existent bonus Randy Thomas told Horton he would be getting? I’m not at Redskins Park at the moment, but Intern Matt was kind enough to ask Horton my question, along with some follow-ups of his own. Read more »

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Tuesday, March 24: Hey, An Extra Pick!

Posted by Matt Terl on March 24, 2009 – 10:27 am

Last night, the Redskins were awarded a compensatory pick in the seventh round of this year’s NFL draft, the 243rd overall. It’s easy to be sarcastic about this pick.

You could point out that it would technically be an early eighth round pick, not a late seventh, for example. Or you could say that it really is roughly accurate compensation for losing Mark Brunell’s 2007 performance — zero games started, zero games played — or for his similar performance in New Orleans this year (zero games started, two games played, no passes attempted).

But all of that misses the more optimistic point, which is this:
Read more »

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Tuesday, March 17: Two More From Yesterday

Posted by Matt Terl on March 17, 2009 – 8:46 am

Chris Cooley and Chris Horton — arguably the two most productive Chrises on the 2008 squad, although I’m sure Chris Samuels and Chris Wilson would disagree — also spoke to the media during yesterday’s first-day-of-offseason-conditioning extravaganza.

Both of them were upbeat, as you’d expect. (I really can’t imagine a pro player getting up on the first day of offseason conditioning and saying, “Yeah, we’re just an umitigated disaster. We’re doomed.”) Cooley has set the totally realistic goal of 110 catches for the year (which would break Tony Gonzalez’s NFL record for catches in a season by a tight end), and Horton is prepared to compete for LaRon Landry’s roster spot. So you can say this, at least: everyone’s spirits seem to be starting off high.

Here are Horton’s comments. Cooley is after the jump.

On the competition at safety:

Horton: “I’m competing with all of those guys, Kareem (Moore), Reed (Doughty). I even compete with LaRon (Landry) and I don’t even play his position, but you just never know how things are going to go. I just look at it as show up every day and put forth your best effort.”

On what he had to do today:

“Today was fairly easy. You come in, they test your measurements on stretching. Then you do the treadmill run.”

On what he has done this off season:

“I spent a lot of time on the west coast, around UCLA. I can’t get enough of that place. I did spend a couple weeks back in New Orleans. I just hung out with my family. I’m not really a guy into big trips and doing all that stuff, at least not yet.”

On what he personally needs to improve on to become better:

“I still think there are some things that I need to get better at in the film room. I need to look at myself from last year and do a self evaluation and figure out where I went wrong in certain games. How could I have done certain things better? I just want to get my physical strength up and just stay healthy.” Read more »

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Redskins Links – 1/26

Posted by Matt Terl on January 26, 2009 – 4:10 pm

  • The Curly R has the audio of a solid interview Chris Horton conducted yesterday on Sirius NFL Radio. Nothing earthshaking, but if you’re fiending to hear the voice of someone from the Redskins, this is one option.
  • Meanwhile, Rich Tandler and Mister Irrelevant look at the offseason cornerback situation, and they come to very different conclusions regarding DeAngelo Hall. Tandler, methodically going through the current players, suggests that Hall “may be growing up and that his ‘MeAngelo’ days are behind him”. Mr. I, responding to today’s reports on ProFootballTalk, offers a more succinct reaction to the idea of signing Hall: “DO NOT WANT.” (For me, I can see both sides. Hall played well and genuinely seemed to fit in well in the locker room, but I’d still be leery of breaking the bank for ANY single player in this particular market.)
  • The folks over at ExtremeSkins are breaking down the Senior Bowl with a focus on players in the Redskins’ areas of need. A useful resource whether you saw the game or not.

Read more »

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