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Revisiting That Positive Sequence With Chris Wilson

Posted by Matt Terl on December 28, 2009 – 12:10 pm

After the second quarter of last night’s debaclicious game, I described a three play sequence that represented — to me — the most consistent stretch of positive Redskins performance of the entire evening:

  1. Chris Wilson sniffs out and shuts down a Cowboys reverse for a 13-yard loss.
  2. Reed Doughty intercepts a tipped Tony Romo pass.
  3. The Redskins overturn an apparent Jason Campbell fumble via a successful replay challenge.

After the game, I was able to get a little bit of follow-up to two of these. (There really wasn’t much to say about the replay challenge, and the fact that I’m listing it as a positive play grows more and more depressing by the minute.)

Anyhow, Doughty hobbled into the postgame locker room wearing a walking boot on his sprained ankle — an injury that looked much, much worse when it occurred — and shook his head. “Well, this has been a great season,” he said, grimacing. “Finally get my first career interception and wind up writhing in pain on the field.”

If you’re scoring at home, one of my positive moments was a replay challenge; the other was described sarcastically by the main guy involved.

Fortunately, Chris Wilson’s play was legitimately positive, and he was willing to describe it in more detail.
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Saturday, December 12: On Flintstones And The Heisman

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2009 – 10:48 am

Not everyone in the Redskins locker room has a rooting interest in tonight’s presentation of the Heisman Trophy. There are plenty of guys who simply couldn’t care less; as far as they’re concerned, Tim Tebow is the same as Toby Gerhardt is the same as Colt McCoy is the same as Ndamukong Suh is the same as Mark Ingram.

Linebacker Chris Wilson is not one of those guys.

“Mark Ingram, baby,” Wilson was shouting the other day. “Flint!”

Alabama running back Ingram is from Flint, Michigan, Wilson’s hometown. And it’s the sort of hometown that inspires fanatical loyalty from its proud children.

“The latest pride of Flint is holding it down like never before,” Wilson said. “It’s just good to see somebody on the football side get this much college hype. You know, not to disrespect any of the former Flintstones, but it was just nothing that could compare to that basketball hype, with Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, Antonio Smith, and Morris Peterson.”

Wait a second. Are all people from Flint called Flintstones, or just the former Michigan State basketball superstars? Read more »

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Toys For Tots: Fred Smoot, Chris Wilson, and Devin Thomas Debate Big Wheels

Posted by Matt Terl on December 4, 2009 – 3:01 pm

As the holiday season marches inexorably forward, folks attending this Sunday’s game at FedExField are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys For Tots. With that in mind, I figured I’d ask around the locker room for some toy suggestions. (What the heck, it worked out with children’s books — twice.)

I made it as far as Fred Smoot and Chris Wilson. Once those two got revved up and going, it didn’t matter who tried to interject … as Devin Thomas discovered.

“My favorite toy as a kid,” Smoot began, “had to go between the Big Wheel — I had this Dukes Of Hazzard Big Wheel with the brake on the back, right? [NOTE: That’s it pictured to the right.] I would go fast as I could, hit the brake, spin around. So the Big Wheel was one of my greatest, but I also loved the Etch-A-Sketch. I couldn’t draw a lick, but with that Etch-A-Sketch, I could make a million, just goin’ around, making my cousin mad [by] paintin’ ugly pictures of her. You know, Etch-A-Sketch is a powerful toy.”

Wilson was getting dressed at his nearby locker and overheard the end of the conversation, asked, “Etch-A-Sketch?”

“He asked me the favorite Christmas present I ever got,” Smoot said. “I told him my favorite was my Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel.”

Wilson was thrilled by this. “I was ’bout to say the Big Wheel!”

“Yep,” Smoot said, “I’m ’bout to tell you why the Big Wheel is essential.”

Devin Thomas had heard enough. “Man,” he said, “not the Big Wheel. Power Wheel!”

Wilson and Smoot were appalled, Wilson nearly shouting, “No, no!” and Smoot adding “[Forget] the Power Wheel,” only, you know, not actually “forget”. Read more »

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Thursday, December 3: Redskins Laugh At The Saints Defense. Sort Of.

Posted by Matt Terl on December 3, 2009 – 11:21 am

Former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams currently heads up the defense for the 11-0 New Orleans Saints. With the Saints coming to FedExField this weekend, there have been a lot of questions for the current Redskins players who played under Williams, and two things have been remarkably consistent in all their responses: an unwavering respect, and laughter.

It’s a weird kind of laughter, though. Not exactly a nervous chuckle; not a sinister, gloating laugh. It’s similar to the laugh of someone who’s just leaving a particularly draining amusement park ride while they look at the folks waiting in line to get on, but that’s not exactly it either.

Anyhow, as I was transcribing these various quotes, I realized that the laughter really added to the context, so I’m tried my best to include it.

For example, here’s Carlos Rogers, after being asked if he and the defense needed to have their track shoes ready for the Saints’ potent offense. “Jason [Campbell]‘s probably gonna need to have his track shoes on too, because Gregg gonna be …” and then he degenerates into a sinister laugh. Read more »

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Malcolm Kelly's Old Freestyle Not As Popular As You Think

Posted by Matt Terl on December 2, 2009 – 5:03 pm

Ever since Malcolm Kelly was drafted — since well BEFORE he was drafted, in fact — this is what most of the Redskins fans I know have associated him with: his locker room freestyle after the Sooners’ Big 12 Championship Game win back in 2006.

So when I spoke to hip-hop artist (and Redskins fan) Wale yesterday, I asked him when he’d have Kelly do a guest verse on something. “One day,” Wale said. “We both have to get further in our careers.” But something in the way he said it led me to believe that he had no idea why I was asking the question, a suspicion that quickly proved true. I explained about the freestyling and the YouTube video and all of that, and he shrugged and moved on.

When I told Kelly that story today, he returned the favor, saying that he wasn’t hugely familiar with Wale — “You know,” he said, “I’m just now getting’ up here to the East Coast, so it’s a different thing up here. I heard he jams, though.” — but when I mentioned the YouTube video, Chris Wilson chimed in from a few lockers down.

“What you got on YouTube?” Wilson asked. Kelly and I both tried to explain.

“Wait,” Wilson said, “you was rappin’? I never seen it. Was it good?”

Which is how I found out that no matter what my friends and I liked about Kelly before he got here, virtually no one in the locker room had seen what made Kelly YouTube famous.

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Phillip Daniels Has A High Pain Threshold

Posted by Matt Terl on October 12, 2009 – 5:06 pm

One thing head coach Jim Zorn really seems to enjoy in his weekly day-after-the-game press conferences is describing the injuries players have received. He’s rarely satisfied with your basic sprain/strain descriptors, and likes to go into loving, borderline-obsessive detail in his descriptions.

This can get pretty disgusting. Example A: today’s talk about Phillip Daniels.

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Antonio Dixon Gets To See A Charity Event From The Other Side

Posted by Matt Terl on September 4, 2009 – 5:05 pm

All of the Redskins players who attended Lorenzo Alexander‘s Big Play Back To School Giveaway today had good reasons for being there. Most of them, though, were fairly general: a desire to help kids, for example, or to give back to the community.

For some of the guys, it was a little more specific. Chris Wilson, for example, still remembers what it was like to be a kid and encounter an NFL player.

“I remember going to Lions camp at Saginaw Valley State University as a kid and watching them practice,” he told me. “I remember personally running into Barry Sanders at the mall, not at an event or anything. He was out with his kids and I just happened to be in the same store. I was just kinda following him and peeking around the corner; I think he knew I was following him, but I thought I was bein’ slick.”

(I asked at this point if Sanders had eluded him by running backwards ten yards and breaking into an elaborate spin move, but Wilson was trying to make a reasonably serious point and wisely ignored me.)

“If you can see somebody and touch ’em and really size them up,” he continued, “I think it gives you a better sense of reality. Cause when you see someone on TV all the time, you kinda hold ’em so high. And even though it does take a lot of work to accomplish being in the NFL, once you see them in person, you realize, ‘I could do that,’ because he’s a human being.”

And that’s a lesson that holds particularly true for undrafted rookie defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, because around fifteen years ago — during a part of his difficult childhood that he was spending in Georgia — Dixon was on the other side of one of these “athletes take underprivileged kids shopping” events. Read more »

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On-The-Bubble Redskins Go Shopping With Kids

Posted by Matt Terl on September 4, 2009 – 4:36 pm

There was a long stretch between my interview for this job and the call offering me the job, and during that stretch I was more or less useless for anything else. This wasn’t just the usual job hunt stress, either. As you can imagine, I understood very clearly that I was interviewing for a dream job, and the pressure of waiting to hear the results was correspondingly magnified.

And that was just after an interview. It was not after weeks and weeks of minicamp and training camp and preseason games, with my every move being scrutinized by an enormous pack of cameras and voice recorders, and with each and every shortcoming endlessly discussed on talk radio. If that had been the situation, I’d probably have just curled into a ball and hidden somewhere until it was over one way or the other.

Some of they young Redskins now find themselves in exactly that situation, and instead of going into the fetal position, they decided to go shopping at Target with at-risk low-to-moderate income kids. 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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An Ethical Dilemma Is Discussed In The Ice Tub

Posted by Matt Terl on August 17, 2009 – 2:56 pm

After practice, certain guys swear by the ice tubs. These are exactly what they sound like: big Rubbermaid tubs filled with cold water and ice that sit outside the facility. Guys soak in them to help with injury prevention and recovery, usually still in their uniform pants and t-shirts along with neoprene covers on their toes.

(While some guys swear by the ice tubs, other guys emphatically don’t. One guy who doesn’t is Clinton Portis — “It’s too cold,” Portis says. “It hurts.” — and another is Fred Smoot. “I don’t take it,” Smoot says. “Have you seen me in there? I’m from Mississippi, right? You know, I’m a southern guy, I don’t deal well with ice. That’s why they ran me from Minnesota. I’m a warm climate guy.” Although even Smoot has been known to get in on very rare occasions.)

Whether by coincidence or climate-related inevitability, the guys who have played in Canada are ice tub regulars: Shaun Suisham, Chris Wilson, and Domonique Dorsey. Suisham is in there enough that even the Associated Press has written about it (in the same story that correctly notes that he sounds just like actor Owen Wilson).

Ice tub conversations can run the gamut from sincere to mocking, as you’d expect, but every so often you hear one that is genuinely surprising, amusing, and even thought-provoking. This particular episode of the Suisham And Wilson Happy Ice Tub Funtime Show started on Saturday when the duo was sitting in one tub, with people giving Suisham a hard time for his lack of work in the Ravens game.

“Hey,” he said, “last time we played the Ravens in preseason, I got my first unnecessary roughness fine.” No one seemed to believe him.
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