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About That Trick Play…

Posted by Matt Terl on December 22, 2009 – 4:12 pm

Personally, I think they should’ve kicked the field goal. Let me get that out of the way first.

Limping in to halftime after a severe beat-down, knowing you’ll be receiving the second-half kickoff, I say you take the three points, call it a moral victory that ends the shutout and cuts the deficit to a scant three touchdowns, and try to to build on it after the break.

But I will say this: it was a designed play. I’ve seen it work in practice. And it was not nearly as stupid as the TV announcers would have you believe.

If you watch the video above, you’ll hear the announcing team go from giddy anticipation of a go-for-broke, nothing-to-lose attempt from a team that’s been successful at them before to disdainfully scorning. “What is the wide world is that?” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico says, adding, “This is embarrassing” before getting back to the play-by-play.

“I’ve never seen that play,” Jon Gruden froths to Ron Jaworski, in his overcaffeinated way. “I hope I never see it again, Jaws!”

“I’m speechless,” Jaworksi responds. “I … I don’t know what to say.”

And, a few seconds later, Gruden says, “They don’t even protect their kickers here!” Which is an amusing line, but it also fundamentally ignores the concept of the play — a concept that the players involved were defending in the postgame locker room, and STILL defending at the facility today.

“When you run it in practice,” Hunter Smith started, and then paused. “Theoretically, you catch them off guard and they go safe mode and leave me alone, and just make sure I have nowhere to go and nowhere to run beyond the line of scrimmage. And, in some cases, it might work that way. But in their case…”

He didn’t finish the sentence, so I’ll finish it for him: in their case, it didn’t. Read more »

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Todd Yoder Attributes His Success To Chris Cooley. Sort Of.

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2009 – 8:09 pm

It’s been awhile since Todd Yoder had two touchdowns in a season. “In a season?” he said. “Tampa, my fourth year, actually, two in the same game — in this stadium. Washington.”

The date was October 12, 2003. Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” was climbing the charts. The Red Sox and Yankees were in the middle of a heated ALCS, which the Yankees would eventually win, thus prolonging the story of the Red Sox “curse” and launching seven years of non-stop Yankees/Red Sox coverage on ESPN.

And young Todd Yoder came to FedExField with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and caught the first two touchdown passes of his career from Brad Johnson, ending with 28 yards and two touchdowns. From the ESPN game recap: Read more »

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Thursday, October 1: Todd Yoder Loves Small Furry Mammals

Posted by Matt Terl on October 1, 2009 – 10:00 am

One of Larry Weisman’s many responsibilities since joining the Redskins (in addition to his articles for Redskins.com and his blog at Redskins Rule) is co-hosting The Jim Zorn Show alongside Dan Hellie. The show, which airs in the DC area at 7:30 Saturday nights on NBC-4, is taped earlier in the week, which is how Weisman came to mention to me yesterday that Todd Yoder names some of the Redskins plays.

Here’s the snippet, from this upcoming Saturday’s show.


And, for those of you who are terrified of moving pictures, here’s what Zorn has to say when Hellie asks if he has any interesting tidbits about Yoder: “About Todd? Well, he would be our resident linguist. I would have to add [Chris] Cooley to this, because they’re kind of partners in crime. But Todd is very good about creating words for formations, blocking schemes. Like, weasel, squirrel, things like that. So we have some of that on our football team just based on what Todd Yoder has to say about it.”

So I talked to Yoder yesterday about his role as developer of team nomenclature, and about facing his former team. Read more »

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Saturday, August 29: Marko Mitchell Contemplates The Other Parts Of His Game

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 11:10 am

You might think, after two straight games with touchdown catches, that rookie WR Marko Mitchell would be happy. That he’d want to discuss his success, talk about putting himself in a great position to not only make the roster but to contribute this season, explain how his teammates have nicknamed him and accepted him and so on.

Not so much.
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Monday, August 24: On Colt Brennan's Interception

Posted by Matt Terl on August 24, 2009 – 10:54 am

Over at The Cooley Zone, Tanner Cooley sat down with Colt Brennan after Saturday night’s game to talk (mainly) about Brennan’s inteception. It’s an interesting interview, to say the least, and a much less guarded view of that kind of thing than we usually get.

Here, for those of you who don’t watch video on the internet, is how Brennan described the play that ended in the interception:

“We were driving down — I think it was third down, so we were trying to get the first — and I had Todd Yoder go and do a little pivot route; he had a route on top. Todd kinda popped open early; I threw it, but I may have been … everyone thought I was just a tad bit late. So by the time I threw it, the linebacker was able to close, make the pick.”

I had talked to Yoder about this after the game, and here’s his take on the play. “I had my little zone. I was sittin’ there, and I think Colt maybe just threw it a hair inside where the guy was. If he throws it a foot or two to the outside shoulder, I think maybe it’s a touchdown.”

We’ve seen it before this preseason with Marques Hagans, and now we’re seeing it with Brennan: this is what it can come down to for the guys who are working to make the bottom of the roster. A catchable ball off the hands, “a tad bit late,” “a hair inside,” can all be the kinds of things that can cost you playing time or more.

Dan Steinberg has more of the excellent Brennan interview transcribed; you can find a few more quotes from Yoder after the jump. Read more »

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Chase Daniel Accessorizes, Gets Ready To Play

Posted by Matt Terl on August 22, 2009 – 6:50 pm

One guy expected to see more playing time tonight — assuming the weather holds and the second half of this game actually happens — is rookie backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Some reports, in fact, predict him getting snaps for the entire second half (assuming, again, that such a thing happens).

How he’ll perform remains to be seen, obviously. He saw no action last week, but Daniel — like fellow backup Colt Brennan — comes out of college sporting garish statistics but with questions about his transition to the pro game. This has been well documented.

Less well-documented is his choice of power-enhancing bling. Unlike Coach Zorn, who has a fondness for the “stabilizing effect” of Phi-Ten necklaces, when (if) Daniel takes the field tonight, he’ll likely be sporting PowerBalance silicone wristbands.

Which, he assured me, are based around a completely different philosophy than the Phi-Ten stuff. Read more »

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Friday, December 26: Chris Cooley Gives, Receives Gifts

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2008 – 8:50 am

Hey, happy Boxing Day, everybody!

(Yesterday, when I asked famously Canadian Redskin Shaun Suisham if he had big Boxing Day plans, he was very excited. “You know about Boxing Day?” he asked, and I allowed that I did. “You should blog about that tomorrow and tell everybody about Boxing Day.”

(I said that all I knew was that one of the possible origins of Boxing Day was that it was when the rich people boxed up their Christmas leftovers to give to the servants, and not much else, and he shrugged. “That’s supposedly where it comes from. Now it’s kind of like the day after Thanksgiving here.” A big shopping day? “Pretty much, yeah. A lot of sales and stuff.” So now you know!)

Anyhow, I didn’t notice a whole lot of intra-locker-room Christmas cheer yesterday. Most of the guys were in an understandable rush to get home and spend at least a few hours of Christmas with their actual loved ones, instead of with their co-workers.

Which is not to say that there weren’t a few gifts exchanged.

The shirt Chris Cooley is wearing in that picture is a gift from Todd Yoder — a gift that matches coincidentally well with the pants Cooley received from his in-laws. Read more »

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Cooley, Colt, Yoder, and the Crossbar

Posted by Matt Terl on December 10, 2008 – 10:43 am

Based on this morning’s SportsCenter and the dramatic layout of the Post’s Sports section, I’m still one of about five people on the planet Earth who didn’t think Clinton Portis‘s comments yesterday were the single worst thing ever to occur. We’re at that point in the season where tensions run high anyhow, and this seems to have pushed Redskins fans even closer to the edge.

So it feels like an optimal time to look back at something completely lighthearted and unrelated to the current drama.

Before every game, before the official pregame warmups, Chris Cooley, Todd Yoder, and Colt Brennan get together and try to hit the crossbar of the goalpost with the ball. (This video doesn’t cover the whole contest, but it does give a large chunk of the matchup before the Sunday Night Dallas game.)

“We’ve done it on and off in the past,” Yoder said, “but this year when Colt came we set up a specific little game to play and started doing it every week.”

“It’s a popular game,” Cooley said. “Quarterbacks, kickers and punters have been doing it forever. We started the competition series this preseason with the three of us.”

Competition series rules are as follows, according to Brennan: “Five attempts from the five yard line, four from the ten, three from the 15, two from the 20, one from the 25. All three of us play the first round, then the two winners go to the second round, so it’s like a playoff for the championship.”

Opinions differ as to what the championship actually is. “There is no prize,” Cooley said.

Yoder disagreed slightly. “The prize is just pride. The pride of knowing that you won that week. It’s for manhood. Who is the biggest man that day.”

“It’s to see who’s the coolest,” Brennan offered. “For that day, I mean. Until the next Sunday.”

And that week’s winner?
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