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Holliday Tips His Cap To Redskins Fans

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 20, 2011 – 6:24 pm

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While the Cardinals game was a redemption match for Tim Hightower, it was also a homecoming of sorts for departed defensive end Vonnie Holliday.

After the one-point loss, Holliday credited the Redskins fans for establishing a hostile environment.

“It is just a great environment, you know that coming in,” he said.  “I stressed the importance of taking the crowd out of this game. We were unable to do that. We felt that some times in the game were able to do it, but for the most part the crowd stood up.”

Obviously after playing here for eight games last year and several other times in his career, Holliday is familiar with the volume of the D.C. faithful.  Even being on the other side of it, it sounded like it still gave Holliday a rush.

“It’s FedExField, it’s the Redskins,” he said.  “You have a lot of rich tradition here. It is a storied franchise. It’s always great to come in here and play them. We knew that. You have to get up early and you have to take the crowd out of it.” Read more »

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Redskins-Cardinals Reflection

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 6:19 pm

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After throttling the Giants last week, it would be easy for the Redskins to laugh at the Cardinals and look ahead to Dallas.  According to some of the veterans in the locker room, that’s what this team would’ve done in recent years.

And it would’ve cost them the game.  But this is not your Redskins of recent years.

This is team with some resolve, and it showed as time ticked down in the fourth quarter. With 1:39 left and a rack of timeouts, the Cardinals only needed to get into field goal range for the win.  On the first play of the drive, Kevin Kolb found his man over the middle in Cardinals receiver Chansi Stuckey.  Turning upfield, Stuckey picked up the first down.

But Redskins reserve corner Byron Westbrook was in the area, and keyed in on making the big play.  Securing the tackle, he ripped the ball out of Stuckey’s hands.  When safety Reed Doughty recovered the ball, it sealed the second victory for Washington in as many weeks.

The 76,330 fans roared in appreciation,before joining in a chorus of “We Want Dallas!”

The same sentiments of “this is a different team in 2011” were echoed in the locker room after the game, and there’s an unwavering conviction in the company line.  This isn’t a team that’s surprised by their success, and it’s not just the rookies or the veterans that are feeling the vibe.

The Cardinals gave this team a battle, and for the second week in a row, the Redskins had to find a way to win from behind.  But it never felt like the game was out of reach, and when they needed a big play, the team responded.

“It felt like we were still up, if that makes any sense,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said in the locker room.  “Because we shot ourselves in the foot.”

It was only a flesh wound.

This was a great game for running back Tim Hightower, because it was a grudge game for him, and he got his feet under him this week.  He gashed his former team for 106 all-purpose yards and showed that he can be a game-changer in Washington.

Meanwhile, Vonnie Holliday, the man he was traded for, managed only one tackle and one pass defensed in his return to Washington.  Nothing against Holliday, but the numbers don’t lie.

Hightower’s partner in crime, Roy Helu, also showed that he was capable of dominating off the bench.  He finished with 13 touches for 112 yards, and was voted your MVR(edskin) with 45 percent of the vote.  Keeping both backs healthy and having a battering ram in Ryan Torain for November and December should ensure the effectiveness of this unit for the season.

Next week, the Redskins take their show on the road to Dallas on “Monday Night Football.”  The Redskins have managed to fly under the radar so far, but when the lights come on in Big D, there will be no hiding from the national spotlight.  Rookies like Ryan Kerrigan and Roy Helu proved their worth today, but will need to step up again in hostile territory.  There’s no question that this team has a bright, bright future, but the team seems focused on the next team up.

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Vonnie Holliday Inspired By Theismann

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 15, 2011 – 12:34 pm

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At this point in his career, former Redskins defensive end Vonnie Holliday could be considered a ‘grizzled veteran.’

But there was a time when he would have described himself as “a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed kid.”  And that’s that day that he met former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann.

According to Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic, Theismann is responsible (or to blame) for Holliday staying in the league into his 14th season.

I still feel like I have those multi-sack games in me. That’s why I’m still playing the game. I remember coming in as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kid and talking to Joe Theismann and he said, ‘Look, Vonnie, keep that look in your eye. Play the game for as long as you feel like you feel now.’ And that’s why I’m still at it, because I still have that same feeling. I still feel like I can be productive, play at a high level, and I’m enjoying it. I still have that love and passion for the game.

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Jarvis Jenkins Done But Not Finished

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 27, 2011 – 4:08 pm

Jarvis Jenkins tweeted the worst-case scenario after yesterday morning’s MRI:

There was outpouring of support from current Redskins teammates, as well as from former teammates Vonnie Holliday, Robert Henson, and others.  He will likely lose the 2011 season, but knows what it takes to get back on the gridiron:

For most people, this means surgery and rest for an extended period of time.  Not so for this Redskin, who tweeted this morning during practice time:

This is great news for Redskins fans looking forward to seeing No. 99 back out on the field.  Jenkins was a very hard worker during the preseason, and remains a rising star on this defense, when he gets healthy.

Jenkins has kept his word from draft day, when he told the media, “[The Redskins] got a good value in their pick.”  It may take a little longer to see it in regular season action, but given his development so far, he’ll be a big addition in 2012.

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Vonnie Holliday Is Slightly More Philanthropic Than Denzel Washington

Posted by Matt Terl on December 31, 2010 – 3:05 pm

It seems that Lorenzo Alexander and Carlos Rogers aren’t the only people receiving off-the-field awards as the 2010 season winds down. Defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday was also honored yesterday as one of the Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2010 according to Blackgivesback.com.

Holliday lost his sister-in-law to brain cancer in 2008, and since then has made a priority of raising awareness of this disease; in 2010, this included a fund-raiser with Saks Fifth Avenue that raised over $10,000 to benefit a a fund Holliday established in his sister-in-law’s name.

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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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Vonnie Holliday Has Both Friendly Fire And Friendy Words For Haynesworth

Posted by Matt Terl on November 18, 2010 – 10:02 am

In a night full of unpleasant visuals, one of the least pleasant was the sight of Albert Haynesworth lying prone on the field for five seconds while Michael Vick composed an entire villanelle before finding Jason Avant in the back of the end zone for yet another touchdown. Haynesworth offered an explanation for this during open locker room yesterday.

“Well, I got taken out by friendly fire,” Haynesworth said. “It was Vonnie Holliday — he, like, ran into my leg. Then I had, like, a horse, a charley horse in my thigh or whatever.”

Whether you believe Haynesworth’s explanation or not — and I’d say 97% of the people I’ve heard from in my email don’t — I can say this for sure: if it was Holliday who took Haynesworth out of the play, the fire was definitely friendly. Holliday is a thirteen year NFL veteran and generally classy guy, and he’s got nothing but good things to say about the controversial defensive tackle. Read more »

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Vonnie Holliday Explains How He Became Considered A Leader

Posted by Matt Terl on October 8, 2010 – 4:44 pm

Vonnie Holliday didn’t like being made inactive last week. “It was very frustrating,” he told Rich Campbell of the Free Lance-Star. “I tried to take it all in stride and still try to be helpful to my teammates. It was a different role-one I’m not used to and one I don’t want to get used to.”

And defensive coordinator Jim Haslett — who said the move was a team decision based on a lot of factors — understood where Holliday was coming from. “It’s a shame that — you know, Vonnie’s one of the leaders on the team — that he had to do that,” Haslett said today, adding, “But Vonnie’s playing this week and he’ll be ready to go.”

Which raised a question for me: how does someone who’s been in town for less than five months become a leader on a team? I’m not asking the question as a knock on Holliday, who seems — in my limited interactions with him — smart, charismatic, and generally like an all-around good guy. But he’s a thirteen year veteran on his fifth team, a situation that seems more likely to be awkward than like one where you walk in and become a leader.

So I figured maybe I should ask him.
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The Meeting That Began The Last Practice Of Training Camp

Posted by Matt Terl on August 19, 2010 – 1:06 pm

This was the scene at the start of today’s practice, the last one of training camp, which featured shorts and shells instead of full pads. It’s not, despite what it may look like, the opening huddle. The team huddled up, broke to a shout of “Team!”, started to disperse … and head coach Mike Shanahan motioned everyone back into this grouping, where he spoke a for a couple of minutes before sending the guys back on their way.

“You know, coach Mike Shanahan is good at gettin’ your mind set,” Chris Wilson explained after the day’s work was done.
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Vonnie Holliday Reunites With Part Of His Green Bay Past

Posted by Matt Terl on August 17, 2010 – 8:21 am

Vonnie Holliday was selected 19th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, two picks before Randy Moss and seventeen picks after Ryan Leaf. He spent five seasons in Green Bay before moving on to tenures with the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Broncos, but that was long enough for him to learn some of the storied traditions of Packertown. It’s trite to say that those kind of traditions can stay with a guy for his whole NFL career, but sometimes that’s literally true — as Holliday found out on Sunday.

According to PackersTrainingCamp.com, it’s been a Packers tradition “since the days of Vince Lombardi” for players to ride to the practice field on bicycles belonging to young Packers fans.

“We had to go all the way across the parking lot to our facility,” Holliday explained — a distance of about a third of a mile — “so all the kids would come out and we would jump on their bikes and ride across the parking lot.” The kids then hang on the back of the bike or trot alongside, taking the chance to chat with the player. Some of the Packers players choose a different bike kid each time, but others will make one kid their ride for the entire training camp, which — obviously — can build a relationship.

Most of those relationships don’t stretch on for more than a decade, though, which is why it was so fascinating to see Holliday reunite with Brennan Feldhausen.
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