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Anthony Armstrong, Beat Reporter

Posted by Matt Terl on December 27, 2010 – 10:01 am

Now that every day’s press conferences and media availabilities are posted online, Guy Nodding In Background is such a familiar sight that you mostly don’t notice him. Oh, sure, every so often you get somebody with a particularly goofy expression, but for the most part they’re just mobile wallpaper for Guy In Front Talking.

But in the jovial postgame locker room after the Redskins beat the Jaguars, Guy Nodding In Background turned out to also be Guy Who Started At Wide Receiver — apparently Anthony Armstrong decided to get some reps in on his journalistic future as he joined Larry Michael at Vonnie Holliday‘s postgame interview.

Armstrong’s trademark since joining the team has been a willingness to do whatever was asked at him, and he didn’t change anything up in this new role. When Michael threw him the opportunity to ask a question — “Do you have a question for Vonnie?” — Armstrong didn’t blanch or even hesitate.

“How does it feel to get a victory Monday?” he asked.

“It’s been a long time since we got a victory,” Holliday said, “so Victory Monday is welcomed by the Holliday family. I’ll let you know that.”

Not exactly hard-hitting attack journalism, but it wasn’t exactly a hard-hitting kind of locker room. I’m sure Armstrong is just saving that for the offseason.

You can see the video below; Armstrong appears as Guy Nodding In Background starting at about 10:52, and gets his chance to ask a question at 11:25. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Final Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 4:28 pm

Here’s one where I talk about how wrong I was. That’s always fun, right?

The Redskins were facing fourth and goal from the 1 with just over twelve minutes left in the game and the score tied at 10; after the third down incompletion, I expected Graham Gano and the field goal unit to trot onto the field to give the Redskins the lead. Instead, the offense stayed on the field.

At this point, I was sure — SURE — that this was the wrong decision. And Ryan Torain taking the handoff, leaping, and stretching the ball over the goalline didn’t convince me otherwise. Here’s what I tweeted at the time.

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That was a bizarre decision, regardless of the fact that it worked.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Which is as direct as it gets, I think. The defense had been playing fairly well, the Jaguars had been tripping themselves up, and a fairly sure three point lead seemed like a better bet than the risk of going for the touchdown. The folks following me on Twitter didn’t agree. Here’s a quick sampling of that disagreement: Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 3:23 pm

Not a whole lot to like in that quarter, at least not up until the final drive. The Redskins have been leaning heavily on the pass all day, presumably trying to exploit the low-ranked Jaguars pass defense, but Ryan Torain seems to be finding yardage when he’s given the ball. The team didn’t convert a third down unitl the final drive of the quarter, although two Rex-Grossman-to-Santana-Moss passes changed that. And the Jaguars managed to tie the game on a drive where they recovered yet another of their own fumbles and converted third-and-15 right at DeAngelo Hall.

But here are a few things that have impressed me:

  • Torain’s 53 yards on 13 attempts. It’s just a 4.1 ypc average, but it’s looked more impressive than that.
  • Moss’s third down conversions, and his general performance — 4 for 77 yards.
  • Rob Jackson has looked very good for an unheralded player fresh from the practice squad: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and some good speed and pursuit. He’s one guy that I’d like to see more from — and, hey, it’s nice to have someone from the 2008 draft class contributing today.
  • Actually, the whole makeshift defensive line has impressed me a bit. I’m not saying they’re superstars, but for an honest-to-goodness ragtag bunch of misfits, they’ve played remarkably well.

And, really, that’s about it. Phillip Buchanon has had some nice plays in coverage, I guess. But up until that final drive, there’s been a very desultory feel to this game. Hopefully the Redskins can keep the momentum going into the fourth quarter; they’re threatening, with the score tied at 10. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 2:34 pm

I absolutely hate when people blame the officials for something that’s gone wrong in the game. Given the speed of the game and the number of decisions they have to make, I think the refs get things right a remarkably high percentage of the time. And I also tend to disbelieve referee-related conspiracy theories, or suggestions that they have a rooting interest or some other motivation for the calls they make.

But, man oh man, did it seem like the officials majorly botched one call for sure and possibly a second at the end of the half.

The first was egregious and — from where I was sitting — inexplicable. Derek Cox intercepted a pass from Rex Grossman to Santana Moss in the end zone, but there seemed to be at least two major reasons that the play shouldn’t stand: Cox didn’t complete the catch, as Moss ripped the ball loose; and Cox’s second foot seemed to come down pretty firmly on the line, meaning that it wouldn’t have been a catch anyhow.

And yet, after the Redskins challenged the call, the officials went under the hood, though things through, and decided the call on the field stood. Via SBNation DC, here’s how Jerome Boger explained the review:

“After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field is confirmed. The defensive back stuck the catch while the left foot was still in the ground. Got the second foot in. The third step was out of bounds.”

That didn’t sound quite right to me. The Jacksonville pressbox TVs are small, so I asked people at home if it had looked any different on bigger HD sets. Here’s a quick sampling of the responses via Twitter: Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – First Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 1:40 pm

This has been one seriously weird game — weird enough that I keep listening for that noise from the Inception soundtrack to explain it. It started when we got to the stadium and it was 38 degrees, the coldest ever kickoff temperature at Everbank Field. Then there was the whole realization that Donovan McNabb was the third quarterback and that Kevin Barnes and Macho Harris were playing safety. Then there’s the fact that Chris Cooley — inadvertantly relegated to fourth quarter work the last couple of games — was targeted on the first throw of the game. But wait, there’s more:

  • Graham Gano hit a 48 field goal in swirling wind.
  • Carlos Rogers not only caught an interception, but managed to get solid return on it.
  • Not long afterward, Cooley flat out dropped a pass in the end zone. (Fred Davis scored on the next play.)
  • Rex Grossman continues to look like a decent quarterback, finishing the quarter 5-of-9 for 19 yards, 1 touchdown, no picks or fumbles.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, Adam Carriker got his first sack as a member of the Redskins AND drew a holding penalty, all on the same drive.

Oh, and the Redskins lead 10-0 after the Jaguars’ Pro Bowl caliber kicker missed his own 44 yard field goal. So, yeah, weird quarter of football all the way around.
Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Inactives

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 11:49 am

The big surprise on the Redskins inactives list today is that Jammal Brown won’t be playing, and Stephon Heyer will be starting in his place.

And it’s somewhat surprising that Andre Carter will be starting in place of Brian Orakpo, not Rob Jackson as had been previously reported.

The fact that Kevin Barnes and Macho Harris will be starting at the two safety spots … that’s kind of bizarre, too.

But the weirdest thing — by far — is seeing Donovan McNabb listed as the emergency third quarterback. No matter what you think of the switch to Rex Grossman — and I’ve been in favor of it since it happened, to find out what he can do if for no other reason — seeing a player of McNabb’s caliber listed as QB3 is stunning. That means that John Beck is officially one tweaked ankle away from seeing his first action in a Redskins uniform.

All of that also means that safety Sha’reff Rashad and defensive linemen Joe Joseph, and Darrion Scott are all active and might see action today. This should be interesting.

For the Jaguars, meanwhile, Maurice Jones-Drew is inactive. In this freezing cold weather, expect to see a heavy dose of backup Rashad Jennings.

Here’s the full lists: Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Fourth Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on September 3, 2009 – 10:56 pm

I’m really not sure what to make of the end of this game, and — by extension — the preseason as a whole. The final score tonight was a 24-17 loss, although it never felt nearly that close and it never seemed to really matter much. The key to the evening was supposed to be a clarifying of the final roster, and that didn’t really materialize either. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Follow Us On Twitter During The Game

Posted by Matt Terl on September 3, 2009 – 9:44 pm

Follow me (@redskinsblog), Gary Fitzgerald (@redskinsdotcom), and now, Larry Weisman (@LarryWeisman) on Twitter during the final preseason game against the Jaguars. If you don’t want to follow on Twitter, you can see most of it on the Twackle module thingy after the jump. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – First Quarter Notes

Posted by Matt Terl on September 3, 2009 – 8:13 pm

Anthony Alridge
has been a popular choice for “surprise guy to make the squad.” The consensus has largely been that he could provide the change-of-pace Darren-Sproles-esque speed out of the backfield that the team has lacked so far. The concerns have been lack of experience in the preseason, and — in training camp before that — difficulty holding onto the ball.

And in this quarter, he showed both of those things, and in the process demonstrated why these decisions over the next few days are going to be tough. The negatives were obvious: a questionable-at-best decision to come out of the end zone from five yards deep followed by a failure to secure the ball after the hit, all of which culminated in a Jacksonville touchdown.

Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Alridge took the ball back 29 yards and looked like a threat to break away. Do you focus on the disastrous first play, or the promise of the second try?

Either way, the best thing about that quarter was how quickly it ended.

Meanwhile, in some of the other possible longshot or position battles: Read more »

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Monday, August 31: Monday Morning Quarterbacking Thursday Night's Quarterbacking

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 9:20 am

Thursday night’s game at Jacksonville is the last preseason game, traditionally a time to give your starters as little work as possible — just enough to keep the rust off, really — and to let the young guys try to earn a spot on the team. It worked last year for Alfred Fincher, who flashed in last year’s Jacksonville game and basically forced his way on to the roster, and there are plenty of guys who could find themselves in similar situations Thursday.

Here’s Coach Zorn, talking yesterday about who he plans to get in the game Thursday night: Read more »

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