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Where The Redskins Stand In Free Agency

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 16, 2012 – 12:11 pm

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What The Team Accomplished So Far:

In Day One, the team focused primarily on adding offensive weapons at the receiver position.  The Redskins locked up two quality weapons, as Kyle and Mike Shanahan continue to makeover the roster with the pieces they want.

Now the emphasis in the market seems to have shifted to the defensive side of the ball with the signing of Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather.

Whether it’s playing up close to the line as a run enforcer, or playing centerfield against the pass, Meriweather classified himself as a playmaker, and his numbers support it.  He was brought in with the opportunity to rebuild his young career after a disappointing 2011 that saw him cut and used incorrectly by the Chicago Bears.

In Jim Haslett’s defense, he should be given the freedom and opportunity to make the plays that made him a top safety in the NFL in 2009 and ’10. Read more »

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Free Agency: Who’s Here, Who’s There?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 15, 2012 – 11:47 am

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What The Team Accomplished So Far:

The Redskins came into the offseason with a wishlist of needs, part of which they can address in free agency, part of which will be addressed in the draft, and part of which will be addressed through rehab and players getting healthy.

For a passing game that ranked 14th in the NFL last year in yards per game, the Redskins found two receivers in Pierre Garçon and Joshua Morgan that can stretch the field and fight for the extra yard.  It looks like the Redskins will have a fierce training camp battle for receiver again this year, as there are currently 10 receivers on the roster.

I wouldn’t presume that this will be the list of receivers that the team enters camp with, as that’s still four and a-half months away, but the team has displayed an aggressive approach to upgrade the aerial attack.

Here’s what industry expert Peter King tweeted about the moves: Read more »

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London Fletcher Welcomes Veteran Additions

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 3, 2011 – 4:53 pm

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With a compressed offseason-rolling-into-free-agency-rolling-into-training-camp scenario unfolding in the last 10 days, the media has fawned over roster additions and subtractions on defense.

Meanwhile, the leader of the defense has patiently sat back and focused on football.

Going into his 14th season, London Fletcher is gearing up for another big year.  Even though he seems to performs at a high level no matter who is around him, Fletcher said he is excited to welcome free agent additions to the fold.

“I know those guys can play,” he said.  “We’ve played the Giants, I’ve seen Barry [Cofield] and what he can do.  Y’know Stephen [Bowen], we’ve played against the Cowboys, I know what he can do.  Obviously OJ [Atogwe] is somebody big for us.  It’s definitely gonna help elevate us to a place we wanna be defensively.”

The Redskins have added some quality players and quality human-beings to their defense so far this offseason.  With the subtraction of some ego from the lockerroom, I would expect to see Fletcher’s influence over this squad grow even more.

After last year’s poorly-ranked defense, I’d say that’s definitely a good thing.

Check out the full video of his post-practice comments below: Read more »

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OJ Atogwe Plays The Guessing Game

Posted by Brian Tinsman on July 28, 2011 – 9:15 am

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When OJ Atogwe played for the Rams he wore No. 21, of course the same number as the late Sean Taylor.  After joining the Redskins in the offseason, he made it clear via his Twitter that he would honor Taylor’s memory and switch to a different number: Read more »

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Today In Atogwe

Posted by Matt Terl on March 4, 2011 – 12:20 pm

O.J. Atogwe has been a member of the Redskins for something like 17 hours, and I’ve already written about his roomful of comic books and his decision not to even ask for the number 21 jersey. You might think that would be enough for a guy who is still months away from his first snap as a Redskin … but you would be wrong. I’m used to posting lots of stuff about free agent signings around this time of year and this is as close as I can get for the moment. Bear with me.

Anyhow, there’s been a lot of reaction to the signing, most of it positive. Here’s Rich Campbell at the Free Lance-Star, for example:

This appears to be the right kind of free-agent acquisition, if you catch my drift. As coach Mike Shanahan said a week ago: “When you do go into free agency, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right type of guy.” Well, Atogwe checks out in the football, character and chemistry departments.

And here’s Frank Tadych at NFL.com:

With holes to fill all over the roster, the bottom line is the Redskins got better with the signing of free agent free safety O.J. Atogwe on Thursday.

But the most interesting — again — is former Redskins safety Matt Bowen, writing for National Football Post. Read more »

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O.J. Atogwe Settles The First Question About His Jersey Number

Posted by Matt Terl on March 4, 2011 – 6:30 am

Newly signed Redskins safety O.J. Atogwe wore jersey number 21 in St. Louis, his only previous stop in the NFL. In college at Stanford? 21. Even his Twitter handle, OJRams21, contained his number. So his signing prompted people to ask the question: was it time to consider giving the late Sean Taylor’s jersey number to another player?

Based on the responses to Cindy Boren’s blog post in that link and on the emails I’ve received, response is mixed but generally trends toward No, 21 is Taylor’s now.

As it turns out, though, it’s not even time to raise the question; Atogwe settled the issue himself via Twitter — where he now posts as BlessedSkins, with no number included. Here’s his first three tweets after the signing was announced.

So that’s that.

Eventually, Atogwe will have to earn his accolades on the field. That’s obvious. But looking at the (largely) positive initial response to his signing and factoring in his deft, straightforward handling of this potentially dramatic issue, I’d say he’s off to a tremendous start in D.C. Read more »

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Redskins Sign O.J. Atogwe, Comic Book Fan

Posted by Matt Terl on March 3, 2011 – 5:18 pm

The Redskins announced today that they have signed safety O.J. Atogwe. It’s a move that has a lot of promise from a football standpoint; if nothing else, it adds an experienced competitor to the mix at the free safety spot. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Atogwe from a bloggy standpoint is that he’s a longtime comic book reader who has an entire room devoted to his collection.

The picture above is a screencap from a Fox Sports Midwest piece on Atogwe that plays like the geekiest version of MTV’s Cribs ever. “I’m gonna show y’all something a LITTLE special,” Atogwe says, in the familiar vernacular of those shows. Only instead of a room with a tungsten stripper pole, or a chess set with lifesize pieces carved from solid oak, or fishtanks made out of diamond and filled with eels, it’s his “famous, infamous reading room, where I have all of my collectibles. My wonderful action figures which I’ve had for a long time, and my tremendous collection of comic books.”

And he’s not just one of those people who buys the books to keep ’em in bags and boards. The room also features a “special reading chair” — a Human Touch Zero Gravity Massage Chair that Atogwe says he spends 30-40 minutes in every day, reading. Former Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington — another hugely popular free agent signing — used to walk around the facility in a Punisher T-shirt, but this appears to be of another order of magnitude entirely. (And there’s plenty more in the video.)

So: a signing that addresses a need, is met with overwhelming approval from the masses (at least based on my Twitter @ replies), AND seems like a quirky, bloggable guy? I can handle that.

(If you’re looking for the more nust-and-bolts-y take on the signing, Gary Fitzgerald has you covered at Redskins.com.)

Read more »

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O.J. Atogwe Visits Redskins Park: A Twitter Story

Posted by Matt Terl on February 23, 2011 – 9:31 am

Free agent safety O.J. Atogwe visited Redskins Park yesterday, and apparently left without signing a deal. That’s the entire story, really, and it’s not a very exciting one. It doesn’t explain motivations: did he leave because he didn’t WANT to sign? Because the team didn’t want to sign HIM? Because, regardless of what they both wanted, neither side wanted to do a deal yet? Unanswered. But the fact that the story itself even exists is, at least in part, another example of how Twitter has changed the news fans get about sports.

Once upon a time, Atogwe’s visit would’ve likely gone unmentioned until and unless he (or his agent) or someone on the team leaked it to the media. Everyone would’ve been speculating about it, of course — it took maybe ten minutes after news broke that the Rams were releasing Atogwe for me to get the first email suggesting that he might be a fit with Jim Haslett, his old defensive coordinator — but there might or might not have ever been confirmation.

In 2011, things proceed a little differently. First, on Monday afternoon, Atogwe posted this to his Twitter feed:

Technically it could’ve meant anything, but by Tuesday morning Atogwe made it pretty clear that those new horizons included at least a stopover in Loudoun County, Virginia.

And, some six or so hours later, he finished with this:

Like I started with: he visited and he left. That’s the story, as told by the guy himself That’s one thing you wouldn’t have gotten in those hazy pre-Twitter days. The other thing you wouldn’t have gotten is the honest reaction from the current Redskins safeties. Read more »

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