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Fourth Quarter Frustrations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 5:05 pm

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Despite a bright-sunny day today, the Panthers rained on the John Beck parade as the Redskins fell short in Charlotte.

Like last week, the injury bug took it’s toll once again, with Tim Hightower, Santana Moss and London Fletcher all leaving the game with injuries.  But unlike last week, the story of the day wasn’t turnovers or lost opportunities.

This game didn’t boil down to a particular turning point, as the Redskins never led in the game.  As I’ve been saying all year, this team wins as a team and loses as a team, and today, they just didn’t have enough, as a team.

On offense: The running game was red-hot for the first two quarters, but stalled with the absence of Hightower.  Rookie receiver Niles Paul recorded his first two receptions of his career, both on acrobatic catches in the fourth quarter.  Moss, a Washington quarterback’s best friend, was lost in the first quarter to a hand injury, and did not return.  John Beck recorded the highest quarterback rating (80.8) since the first game of the season (110.5, Grossman), but a late interception deflated the comeback. Read more »

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 3:32 pm

Imitation is said to be the greatest form of flattery.

The Panthers took their first drive of the half, the length of the field for a touchdown.  The drive was capped off by a quarterback-keeper run up the middle for a touchdown.

The Redskins responded by marching the length of the field for a–you guessed it–quarterback-keeper up the middle for a touchdown.

Redskins fans heard all week (and throughout training camp), that Beck was a mobile quarterback.  He has now proven that with back-to-back weeks with a rushing touchdown.  Trailing by 10, the Redskins really needed to put points on the board, and when the play broke down, Beck did it himself.

This was a gritty finish to the best drive of the day.  The Redskins turned to their tight ends on the drive, tallying 81 yards through the air.  Fred Davis finally got involved on offense, with two catches for 33 yards.  Logan Paulsen had a career-drive, with a pair of 24-yard catches, the longest of his career.  It is also a career-high two catches in a single game.

Not bad for a ‘blocking tight end.’

The drive did come at a price, however, as running back Tim Hightower planted on a cutback, and crumpled holding his knee.  Teammates Mike Sellers and Donte Stallworth assisted him off the field, as he seemed very uncomfortable putting weight on it.

As the quarter wound down, the Panthers had found the end zone again to extend their lead back to 10.  The Panthers are driving again, and the Redskins need a big play and a defensive hold in the fourth quarter.

Redskins trail after three, 13-23.

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The John Beck Influence?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 23, 2011 – 12:52 pm

Of interesting note before the game, is the viewing map for FOX’s NFL broadcast today.  From it, we know that Redskins fans and Panthers fans (as well as Cowboys fans, Giants fans and Arkansas Razorback fans) will be watching the Burgundy and Gold take on the Panthers. Read more »

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Behind Enemy Lines With Ron Rivera

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 21, 2011 – 11:33 am

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is an NFL rookie.  Redskins quarterback John Beck is in his fifth season in the league

Newton has already started more games this season than Beck has in his career.

Newton will have had six days to prepare for this start.  Beck will have had 1,393 days, or approximately 199 weeks.

Newton has six weeks of game-tape for the Redskins defense to review, and Beck has 15 minutes at the end of the Eagles game.

Advantage, Redskins.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera tried to downplay the situation during his Washington media conference call on Wednesday. Read more »

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Hail! Prepares For The John Beck Era

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 21, 2011 – 9:47 am

With all of the intense media coverage of the Redskins quarterback change, it’s time for a light-hearted perspective.

John Beck takes the field on Sunday for the first time in regular season action since his rookie season in 2007.  For the football heads and devout followers of the Redskins, he’s a familiar entity.  But when No. 12 takes the field on Sunday, it will be a new experience for many.

And as this week’s edition of Ben Ceccarelli’s Hail! comic illustrates, he may need some introductions:

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Shanahan Makes Beck-Brees Connection

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 20, 2011 – 10:54 am

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Back in August, we learned that Redskins quarterback John Beck spent time with All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees this offseason in order to hone his craft.

There are obvious comparisons between the two quarterbacks in terms of size, skill-set, age, and history in the league.  Brees didn’t catch fire until he went was put in the proper setting to accentuate his skills.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is hoping that Beck finds a similar comfort level in Washington.

“Everybody’s looking for a difference maker,” he said.  “You take a look at a guy like Drew Brees. He was released by San Diego. Who was going to pick him up? Miami? Nobody knew he was a difference maker. Everybody knew he was probably pretty good, but now everybody knows he’s a difference maker.”

Shanahan gave a glowing review of Brees, with the premise that none of it would be possible with an the right opportunity.

“To me, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League,” Shanahan said of Brees.  “I’m amazed every time I watch him, so there are people like that that get the opportunity to take advantage of it. There’s a lot of things that go into it. But everybody’s looking for a difference maker.”

Will the Redskins find their difference maker in Beck?  Fans will get their first peek on Sunday.

Check out Shanahan’s full presser below: Read more »

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No Sour Grapes For Rex Grossman

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 19, 2011 – 5:34 pm

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Seven weeks ago, quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck stood on the eve of the decision for who would start for the Redskins, and who would backup.  Whoever won would be expected to win football games, and whoever lost would be expected to be supportive in reserve.

Following Sunday’s Eagles game, the coaching staff decided it was time for a change, and the same rules apply: starter needs to win, backup needs to be supportive.

Today, Grossman let it be known that he was disappointed, but would not be a distraction for the team, or for Beck.

“I’m a professional,” he said.  “I’m going to go about my business the same way.  I’m just going to try to get better and build on things that I did well.  Obviously, there are things that I need to clean up, but, for the most part, I’ll be in a good frame of mind.”

This is good news for a team looking for a spark on offense.  Wet blankets tend to put those out.

Grossman also said that he has somewhat of an idea for how to avoid the turnovers that have plagued him during the season, including a four-interception performance on Sunday.

“Maybe my mindset,” he offered.  “That’s maybe the only thing that I could do that would maybe encompass all turnovers.  Just have a little more conservative approach due to the fact that turnovers are bad.”

“Having that mindset might help.”

Check out the rest of his presser below: Read more »

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Redskins Go Beck To The Future

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 19, 2011 – 2:29 pm

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The last time John Beck was handed the keys to an NFL offense, his team resembled a beat-up ice cream truck.  Beck’s 2007 Dolphins would only win one game that year, and not while Beck was under center.

This time around, Beck may actually have the tools to do the job.

The 2011 Redskins offense has yet to be determined, but it certainly has the pieces to compete.  Now that Beck has been handed the reins, he’s expected to have a better shot this time around.

“The situation that I stepped into as a rookie was a very difficult on because we were winless,” Beck said.  “The organization had been through a lot of struggles that year and we were already 0-9.  This is still the beginning part of the season and this team has a good feeling about it.  When we’re together on gameday, when we’re with our coaches, we feel good about the situation.  That’s different than the one I was in.”

It was only six short weeks ago that the Redskins announced that he lost the starting quarterback position to Grossman.  Beck said that he considered it a blessing to have the time to sit behind Grossman, while he awaited an opportunity.

“Since that time, I’ve been able to learn the offense a little more,” he said.  “Now when I watch Rex at practice and in games, my knowledge is greater.  I kind of look at things with a different eye.  The quarterback room is a different feeling now with the knowledge I have.”

If knowledge is power, Beck is starting to look like Adam Carriker.

Check out the full video below: Read more »

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Starting Quarterback In-House, T.B.A.

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 17, 2011 – 4:35 pm

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The danger of using an elaborate anecdote to justify a decision, is that it can backfire from time-to-time.

During today’s press conference with Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, the questions came fast and furious about the team’s quarterback situation.  Shanahan reiterated that he would watch game tape before deciding on his quarterback and would address the situation again on Wednesday.

When pressed for further explanation of previous anecdotes and explanations, Shanahan admitted, “I’m gonna use facts whichever way I want to, to prove whatever point I want to make.”

This is clearly a joke, but it illustrates why coaches usually stick to bland cliches rather than delving into elaborate rationale.

Shanahan also noted, “Both of these guys, I’m hoping, will be here for a long time–both of these quarterbacks.”  He asserted that he would continue to stake his reputation on their success.

Hear the quarterback situation from the respective horses’ mouths, below: Read more »

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Eagles Morning After Silver Lining

Posted by Brian Tinsman on October 17, 2011 – 11:00 am

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Well, that was unexpected.

Perhaps it’s my eternal optimism showing through, but here are a few ‘silver lining’ notes to bring up at the water cooler today:

  1. Good teams lose games.  Great teams lose games.  The very best teams of all-time lost games (with respect to the 1972 Dolphins, who lost the second game in ’73).  It’s never about whether a team wins or loses, but how they respond to wins and losses.  This team hasn’t lost back-to-back games yet [knock on wood], and after a Cowboys loss yesterday, remain in sole possession of second place in the NFC East.  They have a better record than nine NFC teams, including four-of-six 2010 playoffs teams.  After six weeks of football, it’s simply too soon to stress about playoff picture–although the Redskins are right in the thick of things.
  2. The Redskins lost some of their best players on offense, in guard Kory Lichtensteiger, tackle Trent Williams, and tight end Chris Cooley.  No word on how long each of them will be out, but injuries happen in the National Football League.  The situation at quarterback could dictate the solutions on the line, and the personnel groupings on the line could determine who plays quarterback.
  3. No matter how well the Redskins have played so far, the same questions remain in play, that made preseason prognostications so dreary.  This is a young team that is learning its identity on the fly.  Most of these players have known each other for no more than two months, and are still learning how to work together when it counts.  Provided that they can stay healthy, this team is going to continue to improve throughout the season.
  4. The Redskins come out of yesterday’s game with a noticeable limp, and a lot of introspective questions to ask.  The next opponent up for the Redskins are the Panthers on the road in Carolina.  Had the Redskins won yesterday, the (1-5) Panthers would be considered a ‘trap game’ that overly-confident teams fall into.  After yesterday, no Redskins player is punching his Week 8 ticket to Toronto, so look for a team that works hard all week and comes out much more focused in Week 7.

Here are some team stats worth mentioning from yesterday: Read more »

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