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Bizarre Play #1: The Kevin Barnes Muffed Punt

Posted by Matt Terl on December 6, 2009 – 6:52 pm

Easy as it is to blame the kicker (as noted in the previous post) this game turned on a number of plays. Some of them were fairly normal — a great throw by Drew Brees, a blown coverage, a missed block — and others ranged from unusual to downright bizarre. (This point was driven home in the locker room by the number of TV reporters walking around asking players if this was the largest number of wacky plays they had seen. “Yes,” said Jason Campbell, for one example, “Definitely the strangest game I have been a part of.”)

Anyhow, one of those bizarre plays came just after Brian Orakpo stuffed Reggie Bush on a third-and-1 just inside the two-minute warning of the first half. From their own 30-yard line, the Saints punted 27 yards to the Washington 43, where Antwaan Randle El was waving guys away from the ball. Read more »

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Tuesday, November 3: Time For Young Guys To Step Up

Posted by Matt Terl on November 3, 2009 – 8:55 am

Last year, as the 2008 season wound down and the Redskins seemed unable to get themselves back in the win column on a consistent basis, head coach Jim Zorn was emphatic about playing his starters to the very end. Every week, reporters (and emailers, and blog commenters) would ask about getting more playing time for the then-rookies, and every week Zorn stuck to his guns.

As Sunday’s game against the Falcons approaches, it appears that this year will be different; this next game is shaping up to be a flashpoint for this year’s rookie class AND the largely-underachieving crew from 2008.

In some cases, such as rookies CB Kevin Barnes, LB Robert Henson, and FB Eddie Williams, this is because of injury, not by design. With H.B. Blades and Byron Westbrook out this week following surgeries, Barnes and Henson are getting more work in practice, Zorn said yesterday.

“I know Henson and Barnes are both getting reps,” he told the media after practice. “There is going to be a lot of conversation before I make the final decision on inactives this week. It will be because of Eddie [Williams] coming up, Quinton [Ganther] still developing … Barnes, Henson, with two tight ends, less offensive linemen and more defensive linemen, I am not really sure where I am headed yet. I couldn’t put it together for you but they will be under consideration for sure.”

At this point, all of this year’s draft picks that remain with the team are currently signed to the active roster, and they all have a chance to be active on Sunday. (And, before anyone asks, I haven’t heard any news about more playing time for Marko Mitchell this week.)

But it’s not just this year’s rookies that find themselves at a potential crossroads; the big three from last year — Fred Davis, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly — also need to represent in Atlanta.

Read more »

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Afternoon Practice – Taped To The Goalposts

Posted by Matt Terl on August 17, 2009 – 6:05 pm

This afternoon’s practice seemed a little sluggish to me, although maybe it was just the weather — that kind of sticky, muggy heat that makes you feel like everything’s in slow motion. Rookies Robert Henson and Kevin Barnes certainly didn’t agree with my impression. “It feels good to get back to work,” Henson said.

Barnes concurred. “It was pretty good today,” he said. “With that extra morning off, felt like everybody was a little more fresh on defense. Personally, this is the best I’ve felt in two weeks.”

That sentiment from Barnes is even more telling considering it came while the two rookies were taped — not too tightly, it’s true — to the goalposts after practice.

The general thought at Redskins Park was that Head Coach Jim Zorn was opposed to rookie hazing, a policy that Zorn seemed ready to disregard at his post-practice press conference when told that there were, in fact, players taped to the goalposts. “Are there? Wow. They’ll figure it out. Dinner’s not for awhile yet,” and later clarifying, “I don’t do any organized hazing,” Zorn said, “but somebody was doing something. This would be a little more disorganized.”

Barnes shrugged when I asked him about Zorn’s supposed no-hazing policy. “He told [ESPN’s Chris Mortensen] that he could let us go if he wanted to, but we told Mort that if he let us loose, we might get this for the next month straight.”

Henson nodded. “If we get away, it’s gonna be worse.” Read more »

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Afternoon Practice – Getting Ready For The Ravens

Posted by Matt Terl on August 11, 2009 – 5:27 pm

Despite the heat — clear skies and bright sun, no rain after all — this was one of the most uptempo practices we’ve seen in awhile, lively enough to send even the notoriously ice-phobic Fred Smoot to the ice bath afterward.

With Santana Moss and Anthony Alridge again the only two sidelined, this shorts-and-shells practice was the first I’ve noticed covering such specific plays as the Hail Mary (one of which was caught by Malcolm Kelly, just like we all dreamed about when he was drafted), the kneel-down, and the QB scrambling and heaving the ball to run out the clock.

Jason Campbell had a good practice (although I think tired legs tend to favor the offense in practices like this), and — with this as the last full practice before Thursday’s game — everybody seems pretty enthused about facing the Ravens. Read more »

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Cornerbacks Do Push-Ups

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 1:20 pm

Last year, the defensive backs had a bit of a rough time holding on to interceptions and, well, it certainly seemed like everyone noticed. Carlos Rogers definitely got the worst of it (see here, here and here for examples), but when DeAngelo Hall signed midseason and immediately picked off Tony Romo, it was definitely a change from what we’d been seeing.

The old joke is that if they could catch, they’d be playing at wide receiver, but … the defense only had 13 picks last year, and that’s exactly the sort of big play they’re hoping to see more of in 2009. So every time a cornerback drops a ball in drills, he has to drop and give ten push-ups.

“You drop a ball, you do push-ups,” Fred Smoot said. “Point-blank, that’s where we going out there.” But this wasn’t just one of those things where Smoot was joking around about it after the fact — it’s also his idea. “I’m the oldest guy in the secondary,” he explained. “I just feel like we dropped too many chances last year — if we just pick off the ball we had chances to pick off, we’d’ve been top in the NFL. So now we gonna keep it going, and hopefully we’ll hold on to all these balls.” Read more »

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Thursday, July 23: Kevin Barnes Signs, Marking Five Down And One To Go (Sort Of)

Posted by Matt Terl on July 23, 2009 – 11:54 am

With just over six days to go until the start of training camp, the Redskins today signed third-round draft pick CB Kevin Barnes to a contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as is the way with these things, and DE Derek Walker was released to make room on the roster.

This leaves first-round LB/DE Brian Orakpo as the last remaining unsigned member of the Redskins 2009 draft class, along with supplemental pick DE Jeremy Jarmon. (I’m not exactly sure if he’s classified as part of the draft class or not, hence the awkward phrasing.)

Anyhow, it’s Orakpo’s signing status that has people a bit worried, based on the questions I’m getting here, at Redskins Nation, and even on Twitter. I have no specific information on Orakpo’s negotiations, but here are three reasons I’m not particularly concerned: Read more »

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On The Field For OTAs – 6/10

Posted by Matt Terl on June 10, 2009 – 3:20 pm

Maybe it was just me, but something about today’s OTA felt lugubrious, like everyone was moving through syrup or something. Not to say that it wasn’t energetic — it was as lively as anything we’ve seen — but it seemed somehow slow. Not onfield for the session were LaRon Landry (as you’d expect), James Thrash (ditto), Clinton Portis, and Mike Williams. Williams was presumably absent because of the knee he jammed into the ground on Monday; word is that Coach Zorn will have more details on it tomorrow.

Of the folks who were there, it was these two guys who I found myself paying the most attention to: rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes, and fomer practice squad wide receiver Marques Hagans.

The reasons to pay attention to Barnes were obvious. After excitedly telling me on Monday that he had gotten his first interception, the third-round draft pick tallied two more today, one each off of Todd Collins and Colt Brennan. There’s no point in attempting to make something that takes place during June OTAs into more than it actually is, but both of these interceptions were the kind the team could’ve used last year: made on the run, at speed, with open field in front. Nice to see. I guess those half-sleeves are really making a difference for him.

As for Hagans, the reasons that he was interesting were a little less specific. Read more »

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On the Field for Practice And A Two-Minute Drill

Posted by Matt Terl on June 8, 2009 – 3:02 pm

A few more absentees today than there were last week. Rookie Cody Glenn had a flight cancelled out from under him, Albert Haynesworth was appearing in court, Anthony Montgomery was excused, James Thrash is still nursing an injury, and LaRon Landry is still focusing on the “voluntary” part of “voluntary workouts”.

Big Mike Williams left practice early after jamming his knee into the ground, but no one seemed overly concerned about the injury, and I saw him walking around pretty nimbly afterward.

This is the first day that the humidity really seemed oppressive, but I know that it’s nothing compared to what we’re going to deal with in August. Still, as nasty as it is to stand in, I can’t imagine how much worse it was to practice in.

There wasn’t much doubt what the high point of today’s practice was, though: for the first time that I’ve seen this offseason, Coach Zorn wheeled out the big clock and the first team offense lined up against the first-team defense in a two-minute drill.

The result? As Rocky McIntosh put it on his Twitter: “you guess it the D shut down the offense.”

Specifically, DeAngelo Hall ended the drill with an interception, and the defensive line seemed to be running past the offensive line more or less at will. (Which, to be fair, is roughly what you’d expect from last year’s #4 defense after the offseason additions.) And, because the two-minute defense is conducted largely from the nickel formation, that defensive line included rookie Brian Orakpo.
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Kevin Barnes: "I Compete With Anybody"

Posted by Matt Terl on April 26, 2009 – 1:09 pm

As noted in the previous post, new Redskins cornerback Kevin Barnes has earned a reputation as a fearsome hitter. In fact, his hitting is so ferocious that it ended his college career, fracturing his shoulder when he was going in for a hit.

But Barnes, discussing the injury In a conference call with the local media, has exactly the sort of positive spin you like to hear from a football player:

“My last hit, even though I got hurt, I caused the guy to fumble,” he says. “I have to look at it that way, put a smile on my face.””

And, perhaps more importantly, the injury isn’t expected to affect his pro career. “It’s nothing that’s going to affect me at all,” he says. “I’ve been checked out by several doctors. Everything will be fine. I’ll be back to normal.”

More excerpts from Barnes’ phone call after the jump. Read more »

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Pick #80: Redskins Select Kevin Barnes, CB From Maryland (Updated)

Posted by Matt Terl on April 26, 2009 – 11:06 am

Usually, when you say the guy your team picked in the draft induces vomiting, it’s a bit of fan hyperbole meaning, “Hey, I don’t like this guy.” For example, the several dozen people who yesterday told me things like, “If the Redskins take Mark Sanchez, I might vomit.” It’s usually just a figure of speech.

Not this time.

With their third round pick, the Redskins selected Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes, who is best known for a hit that caused Cal’s Jahvid Best to actually lose his lunch.

(Skip this video if you have a sensitive stomach.)

According to

“That’s probably the hardest hit I’ve ever taken in my life,” Best said at the time. “It really knocked the wind out of me, and I had a little trouble breathing for the rest of the game.”

Barnes reportedly scored a remarkable 41 on his Wonderlic test at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he also ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds. Check out his Combine video after the jump. Read more »

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