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Wednesday, December 2: Redskins Discuss Easy Bake Ovens

Posted by Matt Terl on December 2, 2009 – 10:52 am

One last bit from yesterday’s “Holiday Wishes Come True” event, hosted by Renaldo Wynn and his wife LaTanya (along with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, the Family of Faith foundation, and Target).

Even though the event was about giving tangible gifts to kids as we get into the meat of the holiday season, Wynn made absolutely certain to remind everyone what the real purpose of the event — and the holidays — is. “Whenever we’re given the opportunity,” he said, “that’s our goal as human beings: to serve others. And it’s just a great feelin’ when you come and you give yourself to someone else, I think that’s the greatest gift you can have.”

And he’s probably right about that. Still, though, the kids seemed really enthusiastic about the material gifts they were getting, too. Read more »

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Chris Cooley Has A Scooter

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2009 – 5:54 pm

Here’s the bad news about Chris Cooley: he’s already been declared out for Sunday’s game. He’s moving around with a walking boot and, occasionally, crutches. Even if he can possibly come back this season, it won’t happen for weeks.

Here’s the good news about Chris Cooley: he’s still got his sense of humor. He showed up in the offices at Redskins Park today riding this contraption, which he compared to a Razor scooter.


A bystander observed that it was awesome and asked if he could buy one. “Sure,” Cooley said, “Just go to InjuredGuyScooters.com.”

“Really?” the bystander asked.

“No,” Cooley said, and scootered off.

(The actual website is scootaboutkneescooters.com, which doesn’t go the Razor scooter route, instead describing the device as “an alternative to crutches or walker for individuals who want to remain active and continue working or going to school, even with foot or ankle injuries.”) Read more »

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On The Sideline At Practice, As Is Colt Brennan

Posted by Matt Terl on September 9, 2009 – 5:08 pm

You can click to enlarge the picture above, but it really won’t change very much. The three quarterbacks participating in practice will still look small and far away. That’s because, relative to Colt Brennan, wearing burgundy sweats and a gray Redskins long-sleeve T-shirt on the right of the photo, they ARE small and far away.

This was the second practice since Brennan was put on injured reserve, ending his 2009 season before it could even start, and it’s the second straight time that I’ve noticed him staring fixedly at the quarterback group. They run drills and dodge the rush from one of the strength coaches and get the ball away, and Brennan stands well off to the side with his arms crossed, watching.

Even if he’s watching, though, Brennan is careful to stand far enough away that he can’t hear what the coaches are saying, because — while he’s allowed to be outside for practice — he’s not allowed to participate. At all.

You might ask Brennan how that feels; I certainly did. His answer, initially, was one word long:

“Boring,” he said, flatly. Read more »

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Monday, August 24: On Colt Brennan's Interception

Posted by Matt Terl on August 24, 2009 – 10:54 am

Over at The Cooley Zone, Tanner Cooley sat down with Colt Brennan after Saturday night’s game to talk (mainly) about Brennan’s inteception. It’s an interesting interview, to say the least, and a much less guarded view of that kind of thing than we usually get.

Here, for those of you who don’t watch video on the internet, is how Brennan described the play that ended in the interception:

“We were driving down — I think it was third down, so we were trying to get the first — and I had Todd Yoder go and do a little pivot route; he had a route on top. Todd kinda popped open early; I threw it, but I may have been … everyone thought I was just a tad bit late. So by the time I threw it, the linebacker was able to close, make the pick.”

I had talked to Yoder about this after the game, and here’s his take on the play. “I had my little zone. I was sittin’ there, and I think Colt maybe just threw it a hair inside where the guy was. If he throws it a foot or two to the outside shoulder, I think maybe it’s a touchdown.”

We’ve seen it before this preseason with Marques Hagans, and now we’re seeing it with Brennan: this is what it can come down to for the guys who are working to make the bottom of the roster. A catchable ball off the hands, “a tad bit late,” “a hair inside,” can all be the kinds of things that can cost you playing time or more.

Dan Steinberg has more of the excellent Brennan interview transcribed; you can find a few more quotes from Yoder after the jump. Read more »

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Friday, August 21: A Horse Named Captain Chaos

Posted by Matt Terl on August 21, 2009 – 9:41 am

Now that the roughest grind of training camp has let up, I have a chance to go back and use some stuff that somehow fell through the cracks over the last few weeks. This is one such item.

I don’t know much about horses. I vaguely remember one stepping on my foot once at summer camp twenty-five years ago, but other than that, they’re big, mostly-inedible animals that run in circles three times a year and sometimes inspire unsettling outpourings of emotion from the general public. (NOTE: Parts of that assessment may not be entirely correct.)

But the people who do like horses tend to like them quite a lot, and they put tremendous thought into every aspect of their horses’ lives, from housing to cleaning to naming. So when Amanda Schroeder shouted from behind the ropes at training camp that she had a horse named after Chris Cooley, I was somewhat intrigued.

“I just love [Cooley],” Schroeder told me. “He’s my favorite player.”

The horse isn’t actually named Chris Cooley, but instead goes by the nom de horse of Captain Chaos. “He’s living up to his name now,” Schroeder said. “He was not like this before I named him Captain Chaos.”

This struck me as somewhat unusual. Nowhere on the About.com Guide to Choosing A Horse Name does it suggest “name your horse after your favorite athlete,” after all. So I asked Schroeder and the people she was with what other things one might name a horse after. The girl behind Schroeder shrugged. “I named mine after a movie: Blue Steel, like Zoolander.”

That didn’t make the Captain Chaos moniker seem any less unusual to me, so I did what I always do in these circumstances: I went straight to Fred Smoot. Read more »

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Afternoon Practice – Two Happy Events

Posted by Matt Terl on August 16, 2009 – 5:49 pm

Afternoon practice was a little less peppy than morning practice, in the good way — no fights — and the slower-paced not-so-good way. And the practice was bizarre in some ways as well. For example, as I noted on Twitter — and, yes, I will still be able to Twitter from practice — Carlos Rogers was making one-handed grabs in early drills. And, as anyone who has followed this team for awhile knows, Rogers’ hands are not his strong suit.

(Maybe it’s the start of a trend. Here’s DeAngelo Hall after the morning session, talking about Rogers’ hands. “Coach Gray has been working with us as far as catching the ball. We have repercussion push-ups if you miss them. He has been catching them, though. He’s been catching them out here in practice. Hopefully that translates to the game and we can get some more turnovers.”)

There were ups and downs for almost everyone, as there tend to be in practice, sometimes in a single play. Reed Doughty, for example, broke well on a ball in the air, caught it in stride … and then missed on his attempted goalpost dunk.

But for two guys out there, the downs still stemmed from Thursday’s loss, and they were only slightly counterpointed by more recent happy events. Read more »

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Saturday, August 15: Morning Practice – Justin Tryon Moves On

Posted by Matt Terl on August 15, 2009 – 12:24 pm

Let me cover the biggest story from this morning’s practice first, in case you weren’t following on Twitter: Colt Brennan is NOT dating Jessica Simpson, despite what the gossip columns are apparently saying.

“My life coach Chris Cooley told me to neither confirm nor deny,” Brennan said, before denying the rumor. (“Oh, she’s not dating Colt,” center Casey Rabach said, “she’s dating Chad Rinehart.” I hope you’ll all forgive me for not trying to chase down Rinehart for comment.)

On the football field, the word was “healthy”. The only people who did not practice were Scott Burley (quad), Anthony Alridge (foot), and rookie Robert Henson (birth of child, as announced on Twitter — congratulations to Robert and his family).

Practice was in shorts and shells, and — while Jason Campbell looked sharp and it was great to see Carlos Rogers back out on the field — I mainly found myself watching a few of the guys who had a rough time in Thursday night’s game. Read more »

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Morning Practice – Throwing To The Wrong Guys

Posted by Matt Terl on August 9, 2009 – 11:41 am

This morning’s practice was relatively light and short — no pads, just shorts and shells, and over in less than 90 minutes. Which was good, because the heat was coming up fast.

Many of the previously injured players returned to at least do some light work with their position groups, including J.D. Skolnitsky, Carlos Rogers, Malcolm Kelly, Mike Williams, Randy Thomas, and Devin Thomas. Not practicing were Jeremy Bridges, who we knew about, and speedster Anthony Alridge, who has an injured toe. And rookie Kevin Barnes hyperextended his knee yesterday and was forced to take things very slowly today.

Today, according to Coach Jim Zorn, “was a skills practice. We had a lot of drill work. Our quarterbacks, except for that 7-on-7, really did a lot of servicing and we served both offense and defense. We threw to linebackers, defensive backs, just trying to get the idea of quarterback ball speed and interceptions.”

Well, the ball speed thing definitely worked out okay — on one occasion, Todd Collins nearly took off Lendy Holmes‘ head with a pass. But today’s drills mean, essentially, that the quarterbacks spent an awful lot of time this morning throwing to the wrong guys.

So I asked Jason Campbell if that sort of thing worries him at all. Read more »

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Marcus Mason Tries Again

Posted by Matt Terl on August 6, 2009 – 6:16 pm

I refer to running back Marcus Mason as a fan-favorite a lot, but calling him that does him something of a disservice. The local-guy-made-good didn’t just impress the fans last preseason; he led the league in preseason rush yards and stood out to his teammates, too.

Especially the Redskins other preseason star and fan-favorite: when you ask Colt Brennan about Marcus Mason, the superlatives just start flowing. “He’s a natural football player,” Brennan tells me, “a natural baller . I can’t tell you how many times in the preseason last year it was so nice to have him, because he would make good plays, make good runs. You only get so many chances when you’re young, and you’ve got a running back like that, gaining extra yards, picking up first downs for you, doing the little things.

“My second touchdown pass was to him,” Brennan continues, barely pausing for breath. “He got me a ton of extra live reps, because he was able to extend our drives. We really had a great combination of run and pass with him in the games. He played unbelievable last year in the preseason, and he’s done just as well this year, and I think everybody knows that he’s a great football player.”

Asking Mason about Mason earns a slightly less effusive answer, although almost any answer would’ve been less effusive than Brennan’s.

“I’m doing pretty well,” he says when asked about this latest chance. “I’ve picked up on the offense pretty fast. Last year I was out trying to learn it and I was worried about whether I’m going the right way or if I’m not, now I’m comfortable and ready to have fun.” Read more »

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Afternoon Practice – Almost A Trashcan Challenge

Posted by Matt Terl on August 5, 2009 – 5:50 pm

Afternoon practice was more interesting for the insanely long injury report than for anything else notable that happened. Again, many of these guys would’ve been able to play if this were a regular season game, almost all of them did conditioning drills on the side, and some of them are already scheduled to return to practice tomorrow, but here’s the list:

  • Lorenzo Alexander (foot)
  • Alfred Fincher (groin; also now sporting a stylish mohawk)
  • Malcolm Kelly (hamstring)
  • Anthony Montgomery (knee)
  • Reuben Riley (ankle)
  • Carlos Rogers (calf)
  • J.D. Skolnitsky (hamstring)
  • Devin Thomas (hamstring)
  • Randy Thomas (knee)
  • Eddie Williams (hamstring)
  • Mike Williams (groin)

Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin, and Albert Haynesworth didn’t practice, but that’s what’s become expected at second practices.

Kelly, as you can see above, was one of the ones who did some work on the side — and after practice as well.

The post-practice drills were particularly interesting, mainly because they replaced a promising trashcan challenge between Jason Campbell, Colt Brennan, and Chase Daniel. The trashcan was set up in the back corner of the endzone, and the quarterbacks were out around the 10-yard line. Campbell went first, dropped back, and missed. Brennan was next, and he hit on his first try. Read more »

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