Looking strictly at the scoreboard of today’s game, there aren’t a whole lot of positives to take away. ’Pride games’ are supposed to end in wins–or at least near misses. Not 24-point deficits.
But to focus exclusively on the score wouldn’t really be the story of this season. The story of this season was–and has always been–about development. And the best way to illustrate the development of this team is to look at how a fully healthy Redskins team fared against the Eagles in Week 6, as compared to the team that took the field today.
In Week 6, the offense managed only 245 yards and turned the ball over four times. The Redskins had a fully-rested, fully-healthy roster take the field that day, with two playmakers at tight end, a dominant left side of the line, and zero rookies in the starting lineup. With that team, they managed only 13 points at home.
In Week 17, the offense managed 377 yards and turned the ball over once. The Redskins were eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, with a patchwork lineup, including three rookies in the starting lineup. With this team, they managed 10 points on the road.
In Week 6, the defense yielded 422 yards and had two takeaways. The Redskins defense had a full-rested, fully-healthy roster take the field that day, with two playmaker safeties, two budding young outside linebackers, and a front seven that was leading the NFC in sacks. With that team, they yielded 20 points at home.
In Week 17, the defense yielded 390 yards and had two takeaways. The Redskins defense has also taken hits this season, losing both starting safeties, replacing three defenders altogether due to injury and performance. They didn’t finish out the fourth quarter that they wanted today, but they still managed to keep the Redskins in the game until late.
The progress that the Redskins achieved on both sides of the ball, despite losing important players during the season, is not something that is reflected in the season record (5-11). Development isn’t a consolation prize, and it isn’t anything that this team or organization wants to hang their hats on. But when this team regroups in the coming months for OTA’s and mini camps, it’s something that will be reflected in the elevated play of the young guys on the team. It’s something that will be reflected in various units, which now have great familiarity with one another. And for a team that isn’t going to the playoffs this year, roster development is something that can pay off for years to come.
Today was an unsung hero sort of day, so here are your unsung heroes of the afternoon:
The danger of in-game reporting is in drawing conclusions too hastily. For example, after the 62-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, Twitter went crazy with conclusions that Oshiomogho Atogwe’s injuries had reduced his ability to make plays, and that he was, thus far, a disappointment as a free agent.
And perhaps up to that moment, these reports were fair. Until, on the ensuing drive, Atogwe intercepted Michael Vick for the second time this season, down near the goal line. He then–with the help of cornerback DeAngelo Hall–returned the ball to the 30-yard line.
All of this is not to say that Atogwe has had his ideal season, but he’s played very well in big games. Atogwe got all three of his interceptions against division opponents this season, with two against the Eagles and the other against the Giants. The best part of his contributions to the defense, is that he’s done everything that’s been asked, including accepting and excelling in a reserve role. His last two interceptions have come in games that he didn’t start.
Evan Royster and Roy Helu both gave gritty performances today, with Royster rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries, and Helu catching a touchdown pass for 47 yards.
Both rookie backs had back-to-back 100-yard games to their name this season, a rarity in any organization, and a testament to their ability to step up. Royster had to be taken to the locker room in the second half for rehydration, while Helu battled leg injuries that visibly hobbled him on his touchdown run. But both stayed focused and active in the game, supporting each other and keying the offense.
Not bad for two rookie backs taken after the fourth round.
This was a tough day for the 2011 Redskins, but with positives that can allow them to march forward into 2012. Will this team be able to get healthy and capitalize on the development and maturation of the players in the scheme? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait nine months to find that out. But from the 300 level of Lincoln Financial Field, I think the Redskins will find their stride in 2012.
That’s all from Philadelphia on this New Year’s Day, as the Redskins fall to the Eagles, 10-34. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year.
Tags: 2011 season, DeAngelo Hall, evan royster, fourth quarter, oshiomogho atogwe, philadelphia eagles, roy helu, washington redskins
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At the time of Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder’s respective exits from the game, the Vikings lost their team’s top passer and the team’s top two rushers.
The Vikings responded by finding the next two top rushers in quarterback Joe Webb and Toby Gerhart. Webb was the beneficiary of Gerhart’s relaxed approach to the end zone, which ended in a fumble inside the 10-yard line. I sang his praises after the first quarter, but Josh Wilson has exploded for the Redskins in recent weeks, and he was the one defender who was able to make a play on Gerhart, chasing him down from behind.
Knowing that Gerhart wasn’t aware of him and wasn’t protecting the ball, he went for the fumble and got it. Teammates DeAngelo Hall and DeJon Gomes made a heads-up effort to recover the fumble, but it just barely went out of bounds. Good awareness, good communication, and fantastic effort, refusing to give up on what would otherwise be a runaway touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Banks followed his blocks to the tune of 43 yards, very nearly breaking it to paydirt. Credit his blockers for springing him, especially Niles Paul who has the speed to stay in front of Banks, and the ferocity to be a lead blocker.
Paul has been a little bit of everything for the Redskins in his first season, performing ably as a receiver, returner, running back, goal line tight end, and special teams beast. He has the talent to one day blossom into a purely offensive player, but he has the selfless approach to the game that this team needs now.
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell had a career rate of 600-for-608 on extra points and 74 percent on kicks of 40-49 yards, coming into today. He’s missed one of each today, proving that history is not an indicator of future success. He is a dome kicker now, but he kicked for most of his career in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, so he should be capable of anything.
However, his four missing points have kept this game at a three-point Vikings advantage.
With one quarter to go, running back Evan Royster is on the cusp of his first career 100-yard game in his first-career start.
Redskins need to answer back in the final frame: Washington 20, Minnesota 23.
Tags: 2011 season, brandon banks, DeAngelo Hall, dejon gomes, evan royster, josh wilson, minnesota vikings, Niles Paul, third quarter, washington redskins
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Halftime is the enemy of any team with momentum, because they risk cooling off in the locker room.
But the Redskins are sizzling like fajitas in the second half, with DeAngelo Hall picking off Eli Manning on the second play from scrimmage. The interception was a one-handed beauty, good for Hall’s third pick of the year and 35th of his career.
This is only the second time all season that the Redskins have had two interceptions in a game, and the first time since Week 6 against the Eagles.
With the play, both opening drives of the respective halves ended quickly in turnovers. The difference is that the Redskins capitalized with points, as Graham Gano booted it through from 43 yards out. Washington back on top by 17: 20-3.
There’s a surreal sense of disappointment in the stadium right now. When the Giants are on defense, there’s no emotion, even on third down plays. Giants players are walking on and off the field, seemingly in a daze. The only thing anyone has shown excitment to do for the last 30 minutes of football, is boo, as they did half-heartedly at the end of the quarter.
The Redskins have assumed control through the first 45 minutes, and can begin transitioning into a clock-control offense. Through three quarters, the Redskins have leaned on the ground game, with 30-of-51 offensive plays coming via the rush.
After being punished with two deep interceptions in the first quarter, the Redskins aerial attack has embraced a short and mid-range game of safe passes and check-downs. With each catch and run, the Redskins move the chains and roll the clock.
Special kudos to kicker Graham Gano, who battled through a mid-season slump to establish a new career high with 25 field goals on the season. Nice work Graham, and his 11 points today have been another day of steady production for the once maligned Scotsman.
Redskins on top going into the final frame: 20-3.
Tags: 2011 season, DeAngelo Hall, graham gano, new york giants, third quarter, washington redskins
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On this week’s Adam Rank “Gridiron Podcast For Kids” segment of the NFL.com’s Dave Dameshek Football Podcast (51-minute mark), Rank chats with Week 12 NFC Defensive Player of the Week, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Hall has made a lot of headlines in the last two weeks, from his critical assessment of his play in Dallas, to his stellar play against the Seahawks. While it may have surprised people to hear that he would cut himself for his level of play, Hall revealed to Rank, that that’s just the type of outspoken leadership he provides
Me being the captain of this team and the captain of this defense, I felt like the onus was on me to make that play that sealed the win for us and I didn’t do it.
I never said go out and cut me. I grew up in Washington, played college ball in the Virginia area, and this is the place I always wanted to be. This is a dream job for me and there’s no other place I’d rather be. But definitely going against the Dallas Cowboys, that’s a game that we all get up for, the owner, the front office, all the fans–myself included, growing up and knowing how intense this rivalry is. I wanted it so bad, and to have it right there at the tip of my fingers and not be able to reach it or claim it–it was tough. It was tough.
In the age of free agency and high roster movement, there’s some talk of the rivalries not being as heated as they once were. If that’s true, it’s news to Hall: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, Adam Rank, Cornerback, DeAngelo Hall, gridiron podcast for kids, nfl.com's dave dameshek football podcast, washington redskins
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Earlier today, it was announced that Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall had been selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
That’s a major turnaround for a guy that told the media after the Cowboys game that if there’s finger-pointing to be made, he would want it at him. Today in the locker room, the media was pointing fingers again–but in a good way.
Unfortunately for them, Hall wasn’t ready to take the good with the bad yet. When asked how he felt about his seven passes defensed on Sunday, he had a few regrets
“Yeah, a lot of dropped picks, basically,” he said with a smirk. ”I definitely dropped a couple gifts. But, y’know, we got the win, and that’s kinda all that matters.”
“But it was a nice award, a nice honor.”
Hall rebounded physically and emotionally from any disappointments he weather during and after the Cowboys game. This may not have been the statement game that he was looking for, but his efforts on defense were part of a larger team effort that won the game.
And that’s kinda all that matters.
Catch the rest of his understated thoughts, and his preview of Rex Ryan and the Jets: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, Cornerback, DeAngelo Hall, nfc defensive player of the week, washington redskins
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The Redskins have finally awoken from their bye week slumber, grabbing their first win since Oct. 2, a span of 56 days. To put it in perspective, here’s a few other ways of measuring how long it’s been for the team:
- They’ve made 26 changes to the active roster (and not all of them have involved Brandyn Thompson).
- They’ve traveled approximately 7,733 miles on road trips.
- They’ve had six other games, 22 team practices, and more than a dozen additional walk-throughs.
- They’ve celebrated two major corporate holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving), and spent almost all of Mo-vember.
It’s been a long time coming, it was a hard-fought battle, and it’s a win that everyone can share in and enjoy until Wednesday.
The Redskins proved a lot of people wrong with yesterday’s win, including every NFL prognosticator except for Mark Schlereth, and we’re here to give Stink his due credit. On a more global perspective, they also surpassed the deflated expectations of ESPN The Magazine and Phil Steele’s NFL Magazine, both of whom predicted a 3-13 inept finish for the Redskins. They’ve spent a long time searching for that fourth win, but it’s always nice to prove the doubters wrong.
Yesterday also wrapped up a dominant season series against the NFC West, against which the Redskins finished 3-1, beating Arizona, St. Louis, and Seattle. Sure, these three teams have 10 combined wins, but those are the games that the Redskins were expected to win, and they did so. It would have been nice to pull out a win against San Francisco, but there’s no shame in losing to one of the best teams in the NFC, if not the whole NFL.
No shame in beating them either, but you take what you can get.
One unexpected byproduct of this rough patch has been witnessing the emergence of several young playmakers on offense and defense. With the loss of Chris Cooley for the season, the Redskins were able to confirm what they thought they knew about tight end Fred Davis. With the loss of Santana Moss, the Redskins were able to get a look at both Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson, who showed tremendous development during their rookie campaigns. With the loss of offensive guard Kory Lichtensteiger, the Redskins were able to look at seventh-rounder Maurice Hurt, who has been more than serviceable at guard. With the loss of Tim Hightower, the Redskins were able to get a look at both Roy Helu and Evan Royster in the backfield.
Helu showed yesterday that he has the dual-threat ability to be an offensive catalyst, getting 30 touches for 162 yards and a long touchdown run. The instant success that he and his fellow rookies have had is just a testament to the scouting and player development behind April’s draft. Early, premature indicators suggest that the 2011 Redskins draft class could go down as one of the best.
In between buying holiday gifts this Cyber Monday, enjoy a few game stats from Victory Monday: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, anthony armstrong, Brandyn Thompson, Brian Orakpo, Chris Cooley, DeAngelo Hall, evan royster, Fred Davis, Kory Lichtensteiger, leonard hankerson, london fletcher, maurice hurt, mike shanahan, Niles Paul, rex grossman, roy helu, ryan kerrigan, Santana Moss, seattle seahawk, stephen bowen, tim hightower, washington redskins
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I’ve written frequently about the Redskins’ frustrations in the fourth quarter this year, but the tempers at CenturyLink Field boiled over before the Redskins and Seahawks could even flip the coin. In an awkward moment for the girl serving as the honorary coin flipper, the players started jawing at each other, causing officials to cut off the microphones and intervene. The party of captains was reduced to one from each team, and DeAngelo’s tails call produced a winner.
These teams may be 3-7 and 4-6 respectively, but no one can accuse them of not caring. Given the especially chipper nature of the first 15 minutes of football, this could be the culmination of a lot of frustration finally coming to a head.
If receiver Donte’ Stallworth is getting involved in extra-curricular discussions in the first five minutes of the game, you know that the stove is on boil. Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, DeAngelo Hall, Donte Stallworth, first quarter, Fred Davis, Jabar Gaffney, roy helu, Santana Moss, Seattle Seahawks, washington redskins
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Losing in the NFL usually leads to the proverbial finger-pointing by media and fans to figure out “Who done it?” After Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall jumped the route on the situation and put the blame squarely on his own shoulders.
His conclusion was, that for his cost vs. provided value, he would cut himself from the roster.
On Wednesday, he softened his words, but didn’t back down from his assertion that this team needs to be more accountable.
“If I’m the only one that feels that they could improve on their performance, then we’ve got a problem,” he said, bluntly. ”That needs to be the echo from everyone in this locker room. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard, because that’s the only way we’re gonna get a win.”
It’s been a down year for Hall, statistically speaking, who has 72 tackles and two takeaways through 10 games. In 2010, he finished with 112 tackles and eight takeaways (six interceptions).
But no matter what the stat sheets, highlight reels, and critics are saying, Hall has maintained his high level of confidence.
And his post-game comments? Dude, he’s fine:
“I had all these dudes from around the league calling me, and I was like, ‘Dude, I’m not on suicide watch,’” he said. ”I mean, it was amazing just the reaction that I didn’t think it was gonna get. I had guys like [Larry] Fitzgerald, [Ben] Roethlisberger, Chad Johnson–different guys calling me to try to encourage me.”
[That's 'Chad Ochocinco' to the rest of us.]
“I was like, ‘Dude, I am fine,’” he repeated. ”My mom’s calling me, and she’s like, ‘Are you okay?’ And I’m like, ‘Mom! I’m good.’”
Head coach Mike Shanahan said after practice today that he appreciated Hall’s ability to step up and take accountability for a loss.
“He was disappointed in a couple of plays during the game and I like the way he handled himself,” Shanahan said. ”He has a lot of emotion, wanted to make the play, put the blame on himself. I think that’s what winners do.”
Hall stood by those sentiments today:
“If they’re gonna point a finger, I’d rather they point it at me than anybody else,” Hall said today. ”We don’t need anybody going in the tank or feeling bad about theirselves. We need the best performance out of everybody.”
“I’m the type of guy that can take that, I’ve taken it before,” he concluded. ”I’ve won some games, I’ve lost some games. It’s part of the business.”
Catch his full comments, below: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, Cornerback, dallas cowboys, DeAngelo Hall, washington redskins
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Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was excused from practice this morning to be there for the birth of his twins. Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that they were officially born at 11:15 this morning: 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and 6 pounds 1 ounce.
Together, they weigh slightly more than I did at birth.
Imagine if they had been born four minutes earlier–they would be the luckiest twins ever. I’m guessing that Hall spent his 11/11/11, 11:11 a.m. wish on their good health. Read more »
Tags: DeAngelo Hall, graham gano, twins, twitter, washington redskins
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At last night’s third annual “Walk This Way” fashion event in support of Becky’s Fund, members of your Washington Redskins cut up the runway in support of domestic violence education and prevention.
DeAngelo Hall, Brian Orakpo, Anthony Armstrong and Gary Clark tried their hands at modeling, while Tim Hightower offered his support from the sidelines.
Yours truly was in attendance to catch the action and offer poorly-informed critiques.
Armstrong kicked off the quartet with a simple, stoic approach:
Gary Clark represented The Posse with a dapper gray suit and a big grin, earning a huge applause from the crowd. It’s great to know that the man is still a legend in this town, 20 years later:
I got a chance to speak with Hall before he went backstage, and he talked about the importance of preventing domestic abuse.
“It’s a cause that I think needs a lot more attention, nationally, and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved,” he said. ”Clinton Portis brought it to my attention last year, and I immediately jumped on board. This year, it was a no-brainer. I grabbed a couple of my teammates to come down with me.”
Knowing that Hall can clean up well, from seeing him on road trips and the Welcome Home Luncheon, I asked him if he would be strutting the catwalk as well.
“Yeah, yeah, unfortunately I am,” he said, modestly. ”They asked us to come out and do something, and we had to come down and give them a little something. I’m gonna show off a little something that they have made up for me.”
Entrance music? Right said Fred?
“I dunno man, I don’t think I got to pick my own,” he said with a laugh. ”If I had my pick, it would definitely be something hot, but I’ll make it work with whatever they put on. I’ve walked a time or two before, so hopefully I don’t look too crazy.”
Here’s the grizzle fashion vet:
And then there was the catwalk rookie, Orakpo. Orakpo has never blinked on third down, never found a left tackle he couldn’t beat, and never left a punishing hit undelivered. But backstage, he solicited some pointers for the fashionistas, with pretty good results.
Here he is, rocking the scarf and flashing the open jacket:
It was a great night for the Redskins and fashion, and it was done in the name of a cause that needs champions. The mission of Becky’s Fund is to foster awareness, encourage advocacy, promote activism, and create support for the victims of domestic violence. One of every three women is affected by it, and the runway last night featured three doors to symbolize this statistics.
With the funds raised from the event, Becky’s Fund will be launching an unprecedented program, endDV, that will fundamentally alter the way domestic and dating violence resources are provided. endDV is a social and mobile platform combining technology and digital media to raise awareness while empowering victims and community members with the necessary tools and knowledge to address and prevent abusive situations.
Tags: anthony armstrong, Becky's fund, Brian Orakpo, DeAngelo Hall, gary clark, tim hightower, Walk This Way, washington redskins
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