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Monday, November 16: When Does The Offensive Line Stop Being Makeshift

Posted by Matt Terl on November 16, 2009 – 11:24 am

For weeks now, any discussion of the Redskins offensive line has been prefaced with the word “makeshift”. Between guys being lost to injury and guys being shuttled from position to position in relief, there’s been very little continuity on a unit that — according to conventional NFL wisdom — thrives on continuity.

Of course, no one has particularly WANTED to see continuity in an offensive line that seemed at times to be actively forcing Jason Campbell to run for his life, and that Clinton Portis had been unable to run behind. But that changed yesterday, when the combination of mid-season free-agent acquisition Levi Jones, season-long starters Derrick Dockery and Casey Rabach, 2008 third-round draft pick Chad Rinehart, and roving lineman Stephon Heyer finally seemed to click.

This group managed to go through the entire game together, surrendering just three sacks (all in the second half) and opening holes for the Redskins backup running backs to rush for 174 yards against what had been the eighth-ranked rushing defense coming into the game. So I found myself asking when people could stop using the word “makeshift” to describe these guys. Read more »

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Levi Jones Is Confident, Complimentary Of Stephon Heyer

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2009 – 11:19 am

Your new starting left tackle, as of this week’s latest offensive line reshuffle, is Levi Jones. Jones talked to reporters yesterday and said all the things you’d expect:

The “I’m Up To Speed” Thing:
“I mean, any time you get into any situation, and you get more repetitions at it, you get more of a look at it, and get more practice at it you’re going to feel more confident, know what I’m sayin’? It wasn’t necessarily an issue of me having confidence with myself. It was a new scheme – all the plays were different, and in this case the techniques were different. I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on all of that, so I’m going in fairly confident.”

The “My Health Problems Are Behind Me” Thing:
“I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m definitely anxious to get out there and play. Right now I’m feeling like I’m where I left off before I got injured. We’ve got a great medical staff here that’s done a wonderful job of pre-hab versus rehab, and just making sure that all of the guys are taken care of before they get out there and get injured. Most of the injuries in the league come from something being out of whack – a hip or pelvis or something like that – and they go out there and play on it and injure themselves because they weren’t in good shape to begin with before they get injured, or they’ve got some small nagging injury that’s hampering something else and hurting something else.”

The “This Week’s Opponent Is AWESOME” Thing:
“[Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil is] definitely difficult for a lot of tackles that can’t get down there and play with him, can’t bend their knees. The people you see that struggle with him the most are the taller people that he can run underneath, because the guy is 5’11”, and he’s good and he’s strong – he’s light but he’s still strong like any other defensive end. He’s a challenge for a lot of people.”

But he also added one thing that was a little unexpected. Read more »

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Saturday, October 22: Notes From Practice, With Levi Jones

Posted by Matt Terl on October 24, 2009 – 1:41 pm

Just a few notes from a short, windy Saturday practice.

  • Clinton Portis was back at practice, but Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall were not. Hall was resting a sore knee but is expected to play Monday night; Haynesworth is still nursing an ankle and may be a gametime decision. Cornelius Griffin, Chris Horton, Kareem Moore, and Hunter Smith were also all back at practice and are expected to play.
  • The Monday Night Football crew was on the sidelines doing their game prep — Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Suzy Kolber — and Gruden’s presence led to all the sarcastic comments you’d expect from the media in attendance. Jaworski was keeping a careful eye on Jason Campbell, whose play he praised early last year, but of whom he was indirectly critical on Friday.
  • Head coach Jim Zorn mentioned last night’s report on Chris Samuels, all but confirming the speculation that Samuels will be put on injured reserve at some point next week.
  • Possibly the most interesting tidbit from Zorn’s post-practice remarks is that he expects newly-signed tackle Levi Jones to be activated on Monday night. “He’s really been committed,” Zorn said, “and Joe Bugel’s worked overtime with him, along with Casey Rabach, the center and communicator on our offensive line, and he’s come right along.” I talked with Jones about that after practice; that conversation is after the jump.

Read more »

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Levi Jones Wants To Be Part Of The Solution

Posted by Matt Terl on October 21, 2009 – 4:20 pm

Newly signed tackle Levi Jones was onhand at practice today, working primarily with the scout team and getting himself back in football shape and up to speed. “I don’t know if he will be ready that fast with all the terminology,” head coach Jim Zorn said, “but he certainly has the talent and ability.”

Jones agreed with that assessment. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, you know what I’m sayin’? I need to learn Coach Bugel’s techniques, I need to learn the plays … I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. But if they call on me, I’ll be ready.” Read more »

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