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Gaffney Gets A New Serenity Prayer Tattoo

Posted by Brian Tinsman on April 3, 2012 – 4:49 pm

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Anyone who has ever gotten a tattoo knows that maximum contact sports like football don’t mix well with fresh ink.  It takes several weeks for the skin to heal, or risk damaging the design.

Good thing Gaffney has two weeks before the team officially re-assembles at Redskins Park for the start of offseason training.  Gaffney will look to build on an impressive first season in Washington, in which he was the team’s leader in receptions, yardage, and receiving touchdowns.

He will also look to find a renewed sense of serenity in his life, a reminder of which will be forever printed on the right side of his torso.  Have a look (via @JabarGaffney): Read more »

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Receivers Headline A Misleading NFL List

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 7, 2012 – 3:49 pm

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The fine NFL mathematicians over at Pro Football Focus recently compiled a list of the best and worst receivers in the league, based on the rate of passes dropped in 2011.

Drops are one of the trickier stats in the NFL, because one man’s drop is another man’s incomplete pass.  Determining if a pass was ‘catchable’ is a judgment on the part of the stats crew, and is rarely a black and white discussion.

With that being said, the Redskins had one of each in their top two receivers catching honors: Jabar Gaffney, for his ridiculously good hands this season, and Santana Moss for being uncharacteristically shaky.

Here’s a look at the numbers, with a possible explanation for the failures. Read more »

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Celebrating Redskins Aerials On Leap Day

Posted by Brian Tinsman on February 29, 2012 – 2:45 pm

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Happy soggy Wednesday to Redskins fans in the DMV, and a very happy Leap Day to everyone around the globe that follows the Gregorian Calendar.  For the record, we have respect for all calendars here at Redskins.com.

In honor of the obscure extra day that’s four years in the making, as well as all of the award shows going on this time of year, I thought we’d take a look back at the 2011 season and honor the top Redskins “leaping” plays of the year.  The plays were voted on by yours truly, and preferential treatment was given to those with commemorative Youtube clips.

With that being said, it’s a pretty good batch of plays: Read more »

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Coach Open To All Options For Playmakers

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 5:32 pm

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In a recent one-on-one interview of head coach Mike Shanahan by ESPN blogger Dan Graziano, he made it clear that he intends to search high and low for offensive playmakers this offseason.

The team finished the season ranked 16th in the NFL in offensive yards per game, but 26th in scoring.  Part of the drop off has to do with the player that lines up under center, and part of that has to do with who he’s throwing to.  Shanahan commented on both aspects of that relationship, with a cautionary warning.

Everyone wants a franchise, but there aren’t enough to go around:

“Not everybody understands that,” he said.

“Everybody wants a franchise quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Every team you talk to, if you don’t have a franchise quarterback, everybody’s looking for a franchise quarterback. I understand…If they’re out there, you try and get one.”

Every great quarterback has a franchise wide receiver to throw to:

“We’ve got to get a wide receiver that’s a playmaker. You’ve got to have a No. 1, no question about it…You’re still looking for a guy that can go the distance and make plays, running on a short shallow cross and go the distance. Everybody’s looking for that.”

In that same conversation with Graziano, Shanahan noted that Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney were quality players, but with 11 and 10 years in the league, respectively, they aren’t part of the long-term solution.

Shanahan commented on budding receiver prospect Leonard Hankerson, who got injured at the end of his breakout game in Miami:

“I think he’s got a chance to be the guy. Health is what we don’t know…You can see in practice where he’s a natural. Big. The thing that separates guys at No. 1 is when they can beat bump coverage and they don’t have to slow down to beat it. They’re able to keep their speed and be able to get by somebody. He’s got that.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Shanahan also noted that he will again target players that are reaching free agency for the first time (in their mid to upper 20’s), rather than those in their early 30’s.  That strategy was employed last year with starters like Josh Wilson, Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield.

Check out the rest of Graziano’s exclusive for full Shanahan quotes.

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 1, 2012 – 3:27 pm

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Following a long touchdown pass to Roy Helu–the first receiving score of his career–the Redskins were right back in the game.  However, if they want to stay in it for the fourth quarter, they have to eliminate the big 15-yard penalties that are consistently pushing them backward.  So far, they have three of them on the afternoon.

The first was a penalty on Santana Moss for taking his helmet off after a play. He was understandably frustrated, but that’s a long-standing rule–on the field, helmets stay on.

The second penalty was on Donte’ Stallworth on the Roy Helu touchdown catch and run.  It’s unclear what exactly was going on, but Stallworth took a knee in the end zone and was flagged for excessive celebration, going to the ground in the end zone.

The third penalty was for a hit on a defenseless receiver, on the defense.

You can say what you want about the legitimacy of the rules, the interpretation of said rules, and whether or not the Redskins players violated those rules.  I certainly have my own thoughts on all three facets.  But no amount of angst or debate on the topic will change the fact that the Redskins put themselves in a position to be flagged for three flagrant fouls in a game that they’re losing.

This is a game for pride alone, and this isn’t the type of focused football that’s going to win this afternoon.

On a very positive note, running back Evan Royster is over 100 yards from scrimmage again this week, piling up 73 on the ground and 37 through the air.  It’s hard to project how Royster and Helu will pan out to a 16-game season, but the experience that they’ve gained in their respective rookie campaigns have laid the groundwork for an informed, focused offseason.

Although the Redskins haven’t found their top guy in the passing game today, Grossman has spread the ball around, finding nine different receivers, including Brandon Banks for the time this season.  Receiver Jabar Gaffney was a non-factor in the third quarter and still needs 53 yards to reach 1,000 on the season.

After three quarters in Philadelphia, it’s still in reach for the Burgundy and Gold: Redskins 7, Eagles 13.

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Halftime Report From Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 1, 2012 – 2:41 pm

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Redskins fullback Darrel Young spent four years of college only 17 miles from Lincoln Financial Field at Villanova University.  Villanova Stadium holds only 12,500 people, each of whom cheered on his defensive prowess

Today, in front of five time as many people, he’s silencing the Philadelphia crowd with his offensive ability, piling up 32 yards from a non-traditional playmaker position.  On top of that, he’s cleared the way for Evan Royster who continues his run of dominance as the Redskins tailback.

Averaging only 1.8 yards per carry in the first quarter, Royster has found his stride with 41 yards in the second quarter, including a 28-yard churn and burn scamper.  On that 28-yard run, he broke four tackles, something that Redskins running backs have struggled to do this season.  Forget the strategy of “one cut and go”– Royster cut four defenders nearly out of their shoes on one play.

At the half, Royster leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards.  Young is second and fourth, respectively.

One player that we should be celebrating in the first half is receiver Anthony Armstrong.  Armstrong has stretched the field deep today, but has been unable to sync up with quarterback Rex Grossman.  On two plays, Grossman was pressured and either checked down or forced the ball deep.  On the other play, he had time but it appeared that he waited half a beat too long, as the corner popped the ball in the air and the safety picked it off.

By trying the deep ball, the Redskins have opened up running plays and short passing routes underneath.  But the offense really needs these plays to work if they expect to keep pace in this game.

The Redskins passed up their best opportunity at points in the second quarter, when a field goal attempt from Graham Gano was blocked up the middle.  It’s been a frustrating year for blocked field goals, something that has been attributed in the past to the injuries and suspensions that the Redskins have weathered along the offensive line.  Whatever it is, it’s something that will need to be addressed in the offseason.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney had a solid first half, surpassing his career high in receptions with 67 this season.  His 25 yards put him within 56 yards of 1,000 on the season, for the first time in his career.  The Redskins need someone to step up big in the passing game in the second half.

After 30 minutes in The Linc, the Redskins still trail: Washington 0, Philadelphia 10.  Redskins will receive first in the second half.

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Redskins Ready To Rumble In ‘The Linc’

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 1, 2012 – 1:02 pm

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Redskins players have taken and exited the field this afternoon, and they look ready to find meaning in this supposedly meaningless Week 17 game.

For Redskins punter Sav Rocca, this is his first return to his first NFL city, to take on a team that wanted to get younger at the punter postion.  In the first game against the Eagles this season, Rocca had a fine game, booting four times for a 42.5 average, a long of 53, and two punts downed inside the 20.

In pregame warmup, he and battery mate Nick Sundberg was rocketing bombs down the field.  Here’s his last effort:

Fellow special teamer Graham Gano was knocking his own missiles through the uprights from distances of 60 yards.  They both look calm and unaffected by the 10-15 mph winds.

On the offense, this is also the return of Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth to Philadelphia.  Gaffney is chasing a career-year, having already matched his touchdown mark and exceeded his yardage output for a season.  With a touchdown and 81 more yards, he’ll finish the season as the team’s top receiver, with his first 1,000 yard season and six touchdowns.

Stallworth wasn’t backing down from heckles during pregame warmup, and seemed especially fired up–even for him.  Here’s footage of the receivers warming up with coach Keenan McCardell:

Gaffney seems to have perfected the one-handed touchdown catch.  Nothing like a little flair to go with his best season ever.

Here are the players’ tweeted thoughts as kickoff approaches:


And in case you were wondering, not even one nationally recognized NFL expert is picking the Redskins to win.  This reminds me of when the Redskins went on the road two weeks ago and knocked off the Giants in decisive fashion.

Don’t count that out from happening again.  And don’t forget to participate in the “2012 Social Showdown” in the next few minutes.

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A Shift Back On ESPN’s All-Division Team

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 29, 2011 – 10:43 am

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In gauging division honors over the course of a 16-game season, it’s logical that the cream will rise to the top and the best of the best will be fairly set in stone.  But with the inconsistency of the entire NFC East this season, it’s been difficult to determine who is not only the best, but can perform most consistently.

In this week’s edition of Dan Graziano’s ESPN NFC East Blog’s “All-NFC East Team,” there are a new set of seven Redskins representing the best in the division at their position.  The honors are based on a body of work over the course of a season, with wry commentary to follow.

Enjoy: Read more »

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Gaffney’s Grab Makes ESPN Top Plays

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 27, 2011 – 3:04 pm

On Saturday, receiver Jabar Gaffney tied his career-high in touchdown receptions (5, New England 2007), and did it in spectacular fashion.

With six minutes left in the third quarter and the ball at the Vikings 5-yard line, Grossman dropped back to pass. Gaffney did a simple slant from the right side, and got one-on-one coverage in the middle of the end zone.  Grossman fired the ball to him high, the only place where Gaffney could make a play.

And he did: Read more »

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Minnesota Vikings In The Rear View Mirror

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 26, 2011 – 10:05 am

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It’s safe to say that too many of the storylines in the NFL are predicated on pregame predictions.  Going into the Redskins-Giants game two weeks ago, no one gave the Redskins a chance to win.  Going into the Redskins-Vikings game on Saturday, no one gave the Vikings a chance to win.

We know what happened in both cases.

The fact is that the Redskins had a good chance to win on Saturday, and did what they needed to do to ensure that, at least against the Vikings’ starters.

On defense, running back Adrian Peterson gained only 38 yards in the game before he was helped off the field early in the third quarter.  Ponder was similarly limited to 58 yards through the air and 5.2 yards per completion, and no touchdowns.

Problems occurred once the replacements to those players came in, due to injury.  Unlike many teams, the Vikings not only have talented backups, they also have backups with wildly different skill sets.  The Redskins defense had the Vikings’ starters pegged, but the backups were wild cards that they couldn’t account for.

With that being said, there were still outstanding performances on the field for the Burgundy and Gold.

London Fletcher had 17 tackles and a half-sack, extending his NFL-lead in total tackles.  Cornerback Josh Wilson had another outstanding game, managing six tackles and a forced fumble on a long, would-be touchdown run.

On offense, the Redskins were wise to get Evan Royster started early.  He gained a career-high for yards in a game, with 48 in the first half.  He finished up with steady diet of 19 rushes for 132 yards, with an additional two receptions for 15 yards.  He was the workhorse for the offense, finding gaps and running lanes against the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney also provided production that the Redskins have been accustomed to from No. 10, hauling in six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.  He has already met his career-high in touchdowns, and surpassed his career high in receiving yards for a season this week.

We like to gauge our team in terms of plays, quarters, games, and seasons, but to do so with the 2011 Washington Redskins would be, quite frankly, irresponsible.  This is a team in transition, a team in progress.  On offense, there are five starters that played even one snap together last season, and only three that played the whole season.  On defense, there are six starters that played together last season, and only four that played the whole season.  In a game where success is built on consistency and cohesion, this team is only starting to achieve that.

For some of the veterans, this is their second year in the system, but for all of the free agents and rookies, this is new.  That’s not an excuse–it’s a fact.  This roster is bedazzled with gems that project to much higher levels.  This group of Redskins has one more week to prove their muster, and I would expect them to rise to the occasion in Philadelphia.

Here are some other notable stats from Saturday’s game: Read more »

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