Jason Campbell And Rock Cartwright Watch The Presser

Posted by Matt Terl on January 7, 2010 – 9:40 am


Some quality work from Comcast SportsNet here: Chick Hernandez watches the press conference introducing Mike Shanahan with Jason Campbell and Rock Cartwright, two of the six captains of the 2009 team. I find watching these guys watch this press conference interesting for two reasons, and they rarely overlap:

Reason 1: It affects them very directly. As fans, we watch because we want the team to improve. We want to hear that this new coach is going to clear out the guys we want gone and bring in guys we think are better. We want to hear that he’s going to institute some discipline and really make the players work. As players, they have to worry about being gone, about being subject to that discipline, and about undergoing a grueling new training camp.

Reason 2: And yet they sound just like us. There are plenty of times during this video where you could replace Rock Cartwright or Jason Campbell with Random Guy From The Barstool Next To You and not notice the difference.

The video starts with a bunch of Reason 2 stuff as the press conference begins on the TV in front of the guys.

Rock Cartwright: “What d’you think Jerry Jones think about that?”

Jason Campbell: “How many guys you think he’ll actually keep? How many coaches you think he’ll keep?”

RC: “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. That’s gonna be tough to figure out.”

[Onscreen, Mike Shanahan is asked about his immediate to-do list.]

RC: “I can’t even imagine coming in, man. You got so much stuff you gotta do.”

JC: “You got a TON of stuff. You probably already been looking at some stuff, though. You been looking at some stuff about a month and half, two months now. Ever since after the Detroit game.”

RC: “He’s probably been watching the games and everything, too. You know that.”

I’ve lumped the above exchange under Reason 2 because — you’ll notice — it doesn’t actually sound like the two guys actually have any particular reason to believe that Shanahan’s been making plans since the Detroit game. It’s just that they, like so many fans, assume that it’s true.

Then we get some examples of Reason 1 as onscreen Shanahan is asked about Jason Campbell and mentions in his response that he’s going to go over every play of Campbell’s career.

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Rock Cartwright Clarifies A Little Bit

Posted by Matt Terl on December 18, 2009 – 2:48 pm


The video above is from yesterday, two of the near-infinite number of interviews consisting of Redskins players trying gamely to answer questions about the front office change. After Quinton Ganther gets finished explaining to people that, really, he pretty much just got here, Rock Cartwright talks.

And at about the the 4:27 mark, Cartwright says of the departing Vinny Cerrato, “I wish him the best, and hopefully I don’t see him down the road.” If you can, I advise you to watch that portion, to create context for what happened today. Because, really, it’s said in a completely non-aggressive, non-confrontational way. It doesn’t make a ton of sense on the surface, but given how many interviews these guys do every day, there’s always some slightly confused rhetoric, whether through mis-speaking or just being misunderstood.

This, apparently, was one of the latter times. Cartwright’s soundbite was played endlessly in local news broadcasts about Cerrato’s resignation, endlessly enough that Cartwright felt compelled to assemble another gaggle of reporters today to issue the following (completely unnecessary) clarification. Read more »

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Your New Starting Running Back: Quinton Ganther

Posted by Matt Terl on December 9, 2009 – 3:12 pm

Less than a month ago, I was wildly (and inaccurately, as it turned out) speculating that Quinton Ganther could be the backup running back for the Redskins in that weekend’s game against the Broncos. At that time Ganther had been on the roster for a total of about three weeks, most of them as a potential backup fullback. He was still feverishly studying his playbook and looking to Rock Cartwright and Mike Sellers for advice.

“Rock and Mike, man, those are the guys right there,” he told me at the time. “Those guys try to make my job as easy as possible, and I’m glad to be playing with guys like that. Because, you know, sometimes you got guys that — when you come in, when you play the same position — they don’t wanna help you. But those guys, they want you to succeed, because they know that if I succeed we all succeed, and that’s an ultimate teammate: one that’s willing to do anything it takes to win football games.”

Since then, he’s carried the ball 19 times for 88 yards — a 4.6 average — but has shown both elusiveness and power in those carries. Which is, presumably, a big part of why Ganther was today named NOT the backup running back, but the STARTING running back for Sunday’s game in Oakland.

And it was none other than Rock Cartwright, Ganther’s mentor of a month ago, who made the announcement. (Or, more accurately, announced that he had been told that he himself wouldn’t be starting.) Read more »

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Guess Who Got This Week's Special Teams Hit Stick

Posted by Matt Terl on November 19, 2009 – 4:44 pm

Every game the Redskins win, special teams coach Danny Smith awards a “Hit Stick” to the player who delivered the most crushing shot on special teams coverage. The stick — which is an actual carved piece of wood that Smith acquired in Jamaica — then lives with that player until the next time it’s given out, sort of like a smaller-scale, woodier Stanley Cup.

Can you guess who got the Hit Stick this week? Hint — it’s the person who said the following: “We have a Hit Stick every week that everyone’s trying to get. So guys like H.B. [Blades], me, Mike [Sellers], Chris Wilson, are always trying to make that hit. And this week happened to be my number.”

So obviously it’s not Blades, Sellers, or Wilson (although you can read an entertaining account of Wilson’s time last year with the Hit Stick over at the DC Sports Bog). Here’s another hint:


Okay, that was less a “hint” than a “video of the Hit Stick-winning play,” but whatever. Lorenzo Alexander is your Hit Stick winner this week for the hit that nearly sparked a riot at Tuesday’s charity event.

“Danny’s always preaching ‘Same foot, same shoulder, more power,'” Sellers said about the play. “Well, in Lamont Jordan’s case, that didn’t work out too well.” (Sellers claims that he “got tired of” winning the Hit Stick and leaves that stuff to guys like Alexander now.)

Rock Cartwright was also a fan of Alexander’s hit. “I watched it on film here AND I watched at home,” Cartwright said. “That was a MAMMOTH of a hit. It was crazy, because all I heard was a ‘BOOM,’ like somebody shot a gun or something. Next thing you know I see Devin [Thomas] jumping around, and I see Lamont Jordan on the ground. That was a big time hit.”
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Redskins Chat With Troops

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2009 – 9:47 am

One last Veterans Day link, because I didn’t see it on Veterans Day: Phillip Daniels, Chris Cooley, Fred Smoot, Rock Cartwright, and Renaldo Wynn do a webchat with U.S. Troops stationed in Iraq.

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Rock Cartwright Reads, Does Not Have a Jet Plane

Posted by Matt Terl on October 6, 2009 – 11:41 am


The video above should teach several very useful lessons.

  • Rock Cartwright read to kids yesterday at Redskins Park, as part of the Redskins Read campaign.
  • The microphone on my camera is not excellent.
  • Cartwright’s real name is Roderick, his favorite number is (unsurprisingly) 31, and his favorite ice cream is cookies and cream.
  • When given the chance to ask NFL players questions, kids will inevitably ask about private jets, cars, and autographs.
  • If you put a large enough number of kids on a large, empty field, it doesn’t matter what’s in front of them; at least one kid will start rolling around aimlessly.
  • Cartwright does not have a private jet.

Cartwright is the kind of guy who honestly enjoys the charitable events. “Bein’ able to come out, put a smile on kids’ faces, and being able to help out,” he said, “any time I can do that, I do. I have two kids of my own, so I try to get used to what’s goin’ on and what they’re doin’ at school, and I used to read the older one Dr. Seuss, The Cat In The Hat, stuff like that.” Read more »

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Yes, The Redskins Players Are Aware Of The Team's Problems

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2009 – 2:19 pm

If you believe that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, then today’s open locker room was absolutely full of recovering football players. For just about every problem that has been brought up about the loss to the Lions and the team’s play in general, there was a player somewhere explaining to a microphone just how aware they were of that problem. Read more »

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What Happened On Byron Westbrook's Punt Coverage

Posted by Matt Terl on September 17, 2009 – 4:45 pm

It’s been mentioned more than once that the Redskins had only four offensive plays in the first quarter of Sunday’s game in New Jersey. What hasn’t been discussed as much is what happened at the end of those four plays. It shows up pretty simply in the play-by-play: (5:04) 3-H.Smith punts 38 yards to end zone, Center-67-E.Albright, Touchback.

The person who is most clearly eliminated in that description is CB Byron Westbrook, who seemed to be in position to down the ball when it bounced at the 2-yard line, mistimed his jump, was still resettling from his jump when the ball landed again at about the 2-foot line, and was unable to stop the ball from rolling into the endzone.

It was a bummer of a play for Westbrook, playing in his first game on the active roster after spending last season on the practice squad. The move to the active roster was a big deal for Westbrook. “It was a goal that I set out for myself before the season,” he told me, “and I definitely accomplished it, but it was just one of the many goals that I set for myself, so now I’ve gotta continue making plays on special teams.”

And he did contribute a couple tackles on kick and punt coverage; unfortunately, the more memorable special teams play was the one he didn’t make on that first punt.

“I just mistimed my jump,” Westbrook said simply. “As a punt goes down — and the football is already oddly shaped — you’ve just gotta judge the jump. I didn’t expect the ball to go up that high, and so when I did jump, I just mistimed it. Those plays are gonna be there all year, so next time I’ll make the play, make it happen.”

What interested me was how some of the other special teams aces on the team would respond to this. Would they sympathize with Westbrook? Criticize him? Mock him outright?
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Special Teams Practice – Welcome Home Luncheon Update

Posted by Matt Terl on August 15, 2009 – 4:43 pm

This afternoon’s special teams practice was unremarkable (to say the least). The high point was Keith Eloi nearly managing to catch six balls off the JUGS machine at once, and who knows — if he had succeeded, it might’ve been worth writing about. As it stands, though, I’ll just note that special teams practice happened and everyone made it off the field healthy.

In other news, we’re coming up on the Welcome Home Luncheon, which I wrote about at length last year. It’s a good event, and tickets are still available.

Last year’s Welcome Home Luncheon was Malcolm Kelly‘s first, and he remembers being impressed by the crowd. “I remember how many people were there,” he said yesterday, “just die hard fans. People that get excited over the smallest stuff just to be in the same vicinity with the Washington Redskins. It’s really the fan base, more than anything. Those guys take a lot of pride in this team.”
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Saturday, August 1: Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright Are Not Planning To Go Anywhere

Posted by Matt Terl on August 1, 2009 – 6:42 am

When training camp and preseason roll around, it’s easy to get seduced by the thrill of The New. To start wondering if a Keith Eloi can convert truck-jumping skills to the practice field. To extrapolate Colt Brennan‘s 36-of-53, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions in preseason into a career as an NFL starter. To clamor for Marcus Mason, Anthony Alridge, and Dominique Dorsey to lock down roster spots and shake up the established depth chart.

But it’s easy to forget, while all that’s going on, that the guys who currently hold positions on the depth chart are working hard also, and they’re really not planning on going anywhere.

“I can’t control what the other guys do,” Rock Cartwright told me. “All I can do is go out and control what I do, be the best I can be and have a great preseason, you know? I don’t make decisions, I just play.”

Ladell Betts reacted similarly. “Every year I take my job seriously ,so I don’t need anybody to ‘push me’ anyway. You know, you’ve got young guys in here who are smaller, but we have completely different styles, our games are completely different. So it’s hard to compare us. They do push us though.” Read more »

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