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Going Against Packed Home Advantage

Posted by Stephen Czarda on September 11, 2013 – 10:54 am

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

Lambeau Field. It doesn’t need any sort of Google search to know where or what it is. It’s just one of those known football facts.

Since 1957, the Green Bay Packers have called the hallowed grounds, named after team founder Curley Lambeau, home to some memorable games. And how often have you heard of them being low scoring affairs?

Despite being in Wisconsin where snowmen greet children at the bus stop of the first day of school in September, the Packers continually rank among the top offenses in the NFL year after year; rebuilding through the draft when needed. They may not have the flashiest players in the league, but they get the job done when called upon.

Sure some teams used domed stadiums to their advantage such as the New Orleans Saints to bolster their aerial attacks, but at Lambeau—the Packers just win regardless of the weapons they have. And they win with points on the board.

Read more »

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Anthony Armstrong’s Introduction In Video Form

Posted by Matt Terl on October 18, 2010 – 3:23 pm

I wrote earlier about Anthony Armstrong‘s excitement at his first time being introduced at FedExField. The Redskins Broadcast Network was covering Armstrong as this week’s Redskins Gametime, which means that had talked to him about exactly that — among other things, obviously — and had footage of the introduction itself.

The entire Gametime segment will air on Inside The Redskins this Saturday at 10:00 a.m., so consider this segment on Armstrong’s introduction as something of a preview. Also, follow @RedskinsTV on Twitter for all your Redskins TV news.

The best quote, for my money: Read more »

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Introducing Ryan Torain And Anthony Armstrong

Posted by Matt Terl on October 18, 2010 – 10:52 am

For a team that’s repeatedly referred to as “veteran” or “old” or “creaky” or what have you, there sure are a lot of guys getting their first starts for these 2010 Redskins. The left tackle is a rookie. The left guard made his second start last night. The running backs are a third year guy and a rookie, and the number two wide receiver made his first “official” start last night. And speaking of that official start: last week, I wrote about Lorenzo Alexander finally having the chance to be introduced at FedExField; this week, Ryan Torain and Anthony Armstrong got their turns.

ESPN980’s Redskins beat reporter Chris Russell saw Torain run out of the tunnel. “Most players are kind of excited and tense,” Russell said to Torain after the game. “You seemed to have a big smile like you were really enjoying that moment being introduced. How did that feel?”

Torain answered, “Oh, it was awesome. First time ever. Long time waiting. LONG time waiting. So I just want to keep producing and helping the team.”

For those of you who haven’t heard Torain speak, that might not sound like much, but I assure you that “it was awesome” is the most effusive, enthusiastic thing I have ever heard him say.

The ever-loquacious Armstrong had a bit more to say. Read more »

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A Unique Tackle By Reed Doughty

Posted by Matt Terl on October 14, 2010 – 2:49 pm

It feels like the screen pass has tormented the Redskins defense forever. I’m sure that’s just the fan in me talking, but over the last decade or more, it seems like successful screen passes have prolonged more drives for Redskins opponents than any other play. So when the Packers started their second possession of Sunday’s overtime period with a screen pass to Brandon Jackson and the offensive lineman came out and blocked safety Reed Doughty, my optimism collapsed in on itself like a star going supernova. This looked like the kind of game-killing play that could just go on forever.

And then this happened:

In the locker room after the game, I wasn’t quite sure how to explain to Doughty which play I was asking about. “It was in overtime,” I said, “and you actually make the tackle while you’re facing AWAY from the ballcarrier….”

“Ah,” Doughty said, “The infamous butt tackle?”

I guess so.

“We were kinda in a man-to-man,” Doughty explained, “and I dropped to help with the crossers. I saw the screen, and the offensive lineman tried to cut me. I stayed on my feet, but he’s still blocking me, and I knew that there was nobody else — because everybody else was in man-to-man — and I knew that I had to make the play. So I, ah, threw the bum out there and made the butt tackle.”

The way he kept referring to the “butt tackle” made it sound like something they were instructed on, or — at the very least — something he had done before, but Doughty was quick to clear up that misconception “I don’t think it’s a coachable thing,” he said. “I think it’s just instinctual. I don’t know how it really went down — I don’t know if maybe he tripped over the lineman’s feet or something — I just knew that if I didn’t tackle him, it was trouble.” Read more »

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Introducing Lorenzo Alexander

Posted by Matt Terl on October 13, 2010 – 10:46 am

In the most basic sense, Lorenzo Alexander needs no introduction. He’s in his fourth season on the Redskins active roster (after spending much of 2006 on the Redskins practice squad). He’s played just about every position on defense, a couple on offense, and is a special teams standout. He’s active in the community and on Twitter, and has even achieved that singular honor of being immortalized in cartoon form for Hail!.

So you already know who Lorenzo Alexander is, and from that perspective he needs no introduction.

But he’s now a starting linebacker, and starters get introduced by name at the beginning of home football games, so — necessary or not — Sunday marked the first official introduction of Lorenzo Alexander at FedExField. (He did start one game in 2007, but was not introduced.)

And that was kind of a thrill for a guy who has really worked to get his name recognized. Read more »

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Two Explanations Of The Difference From Last Year

Posted by Matt Terl on October 11, 2010 – 12:22 pm

My initial reaction to the final score of Sunday’s overtime thriller against the Packers was that “this was not a game the 2009 squad would’ve won”. At about the same time as I was posting that, London Fletcher was giving a locker room speech that focused on much the same message. And it’s been a recurring theme in columns and game-stories today, with folks from Mike Wise to Rich Campbell to the Associated Press and more sounding that note.

Most of those stories have player quotes — Fletcher, Reed Doughty, etc. — expressing and trying to explain the change, and I was no different. I discussed it with Chris Wilson in the locker room, and he suggested the primary difference was that the team was growing up.

“You got young guys that are making plays — as well as getting wins — in clutch situations,” Wilson said. “When we need it like that and you show up, that’s big. That’s maturity. Same thing with [LaRon] Landry. Landry’s a heck of a player. Nobody’s ever gonna question his type of effort. But when you make plays like that when we NEED it? That’s the difference right there. So as we continue to mature and give the same type of effort, I think we’re gonna be a pretty hard team to deal with in the future.”

Someone asked whether a simple change in defensive mentality could account for the plays being made by the new defense, and Wilson stuck to his point: “I think it’s more maturity than mentality, because everybody WANTS to make plays.”

But Wilson — and Fletcher, and Doughty, and most of the other people I had seen quoted on the subject — have all been here as this change has taken place. It’s like watching someone you live with grow out their hair: you never notice that it’s getting longer, but one day they look like Logan Paulsen.

So I went to the one player in the locker room who saw last year — was at the center of some of the oddest of last year’s oddities, in fact — and was part of yesterday’s game, but was NOT around while the changes were taking place: punter Hunter Smith.

And he thought there might be even more to the change:
Read more »

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Mike Sellers Explains His Enormous Special Teams Tackles

Posted by Matt Terl on October 11, 2010 – 10:36 am

Mike Sellers came into this game with his eyeblack painted on in the shape of two crosses for some reason (see pic below), which was the kind of thing I naturally asked about in the postgame locker room. “Switching it up,” he explained, shrugging. “A little something different.”

Which didn’t make for a particularly exciting blog post, but does make a convenient metaphor for Sellers’ contributions to yesterday’s game. Because after making a notable impact as a receiver over the first four games, Sellers’ biggest impact yesterday was, in fact, making big impacts — two big hits on special teams coverage.

Lorenzo Alexander has become the go-to comparison for those kind of hits, and Sellers made at least two tackles that were OneManGang-esque. And, in fact, one of the factors that motivated Sellers to bring the lumber was concern that people might have forgotten just how much ability he has in that area. Read more »

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Brandon Banks Is Growing His Skillset

Posted by Matt Terl on October 10, 2010 – 6:21 pm

Brandon Banks may be the single most electrifying player the Redskins have had in years. Even in the relatively staid environment of the press box, there’s a noticeable buzz when he heads back to return a punt; today, when he added kickoff returns to his repertoire, those generated the same kind of excitement.

In fact, Banks is exciting enough that I was shocked by how unremarkable his final stats appeared: three punt returns for 47 yards, with a long of 30, and two kickoff returns for 33 yards. This completely fails to convey how much Banks appeared to tilt the field, and how valuable some of those yards were. (It also fails to convey the 62 yards he DIDN’T get on a kickoff return that was negated by a holding penalty, which may be part of what’s skewing my memories.)

And it wasn’t just the media and fans that noticed. Read more »

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Redskins v. Packers – Fourth Quarter (And Overtime) Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on October 10, 2010 – 4:38 pm

Well, how about that: the whole “only behind by 10” thing actually paid off, and the Redskins win 16-13 in overtime. My one reaction before I head down to the post-game locker room: this was not a game that the 2009 squad would’ve won. Read more »

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