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Thursday, November 12: Redskins And Make-A-Wish

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2009 – 8:22 am

It’s been a week full of charitable events for the Redskins; this one is from Monday, a fundraiser through the Redskins Charitable Foundation for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at Morton’s The Steakhouse. Redskins players — including Albert Haynesworth, Jeremy Jarmon, and Jason Campbell — acted as servers, hosts, bartenders and so on, with all the tips and other proceeds going to charity.

And, apparently, Make-A-Wish made one young man’s dream of being a TV presenter come true, as Rock Cartwright seems very enthusiastic about interviewing his teammates for this Redskins.com TV piece.

http://p.castfire.com/ZoOZ0/video/190267/redskins_2009-11-11-094530.flv Read more »

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Redskins Play Guitar Hero For (And With) The Troops

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2009 – 5:20 pm

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, so it was appropriate that a number of Redskins players used their Tuesday off to do something for our troops. Admittedly, it’s a little unexpected that that “doing something” was more accurately described as “playing video games,” but it seemed to make all sides happy, so who am I to complain.

The Pro Vs. G.I. Joe program is a non-profit organization partnered with the USO that uses online gaming and internet videoconferencing to allow deployed soldiers a chance to chat and play video games with professional athletes and — wherever possible — their families back home.

So the players came into the meeting room, where the Pro Vs. G.I. Joe staff had set up the video equipment, and they were joined by local troops from Ft. Myer and the Marine barracks in D.C. and families of some of the deployed troops on the other end of the videoconference.

Greg Zinone founded the program with his wife Addie, a staff sergeant in active Army Reserve Public Affairs. “You know,” he said, “me not being a military person, I had no idea what goes on overseas. She told me that they play video games on their downtime; I know from my days playing football at West Virginia that that’s all we did after practice. We put the two together about two and a half years ago and we’ve going pretty strong ever since.” Read more »

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Sam Paulescu Becomes Part Of The European Corner

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2009 – 10:22 am

Hunter Smith will have his injury re-evaluated later this week, but for the moment, Sam Paulescu is still the Redskins punter. His locker is next to Smith’s, which is next to Shaun Suisham‘s … which means that Paulescu is in what Fred Smoot once dubbed the “European corner” of the locker room.

So it’s fortunate that: 1) Paulescu is of Romanian descent, and 2) Smoot was willing to suspend his media boycott a little longer to discuss that fact after he finished reminiscing about Champ Bailey. Read more »

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Tuesday, November 10: Talking About Champ Bailey Makes Fred Smoot Nostalgic

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2009 – 7:25 am

This 2003 picture was the only one I could find of Fred Smoot and Champ Bailey. Standing between them is Matt Bowen, who does not get mentioned again in this post; he’s doing great work over at National Football Post, though, and you should go check it out.

Anyhow, the reason for digging up a picture of Smoot and Bailey should be pretty obvious: Bailey now plays for the Denver Broncos, who come to town Sunday. But he and Smoot were young cornerbacks together on the Redskins, and they became good enough friends that Smoot agreed to break his recent media boycott just to talk about his relationship with Bailey. Read more »

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Santana Moss Does Not Recall His Nap On The Georgia Dome Turf; Marko Mitchell Does

Posted by Matt Terl on November 9, 2009 – 4:27 pm

With just under eight minutes remaining in the game and the Falcons leading by two touchdowns, the Redskins lined up Devin Thomas to one side, and Fred Davis, Santana Moss, and Malcolm Kelly to the other. Todd Collins, in at quarterback for Jason Campbell during Campbell’s second injury of the game, dropped back and — despite a blitzing linebacker coming unblocked in his face — put the ball exactly where it needed to be for Moss, streaking down the seam.

Moss reached for the ball, visibly turned his head to check on the safety closing in, was unable to haul the ball in, got hit by the safety and the cornerback, and wound up like this for the next thirty-odd seconds.

And make no mistake: he wasn’t moving. It didn’t just look like he was down, it looked like he was out. Cold. Speculation in the pressbox, after Moss got back up and resumed playing, was that he was frustrated at not making the catch, or had had the wind knocked out of him.

Turns out, he didn’t think he laid on the field at all. Read more »

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Punt Returner Situation Remains Unsettled

Posted by Matt Terl on November 4, 2009 – 4:51 pm

Around noon on Monday, reports surfaced via Rick Maese’s Twitter that DeAngelo Hall would be the primary punt returner for the Redskins, replacing Antwaan Randle El. By a little more than an hour later, Ryan O’Halloran was tweeting a conflicting report — one that squared with what I had been told here at Redskins Park — that both Hall and Randle El would be involved in the return game, along with Santana Moss.

Randle El talked about this during open locker room today, and he wasn’t particularly happy about the change, and he was doubly unhappy that he had learned about it via questions from reporters.

“I gotta find out the logistics of it myself in terms of the punt return,” Randle El said. “My whole thing is I’m still gonna … you know, given the opportunity, when I get the chance, I gotta go out and be little more productive, but, you know, it’s not always just one guy there. So it’s just a matter of … you take it as it is: go out and play when you get your opportunity and be thankful for it and make the best of it.”

A reporter mentioned that he didn’t look thrilled about this change. “Not at all,” Randle El responded. “But that’s part of it sometimes.”

In case that wasn’t clear enough, another reporter asked if this was a tough pill for Randle El to swallow. “Little bit,” he said.

Later in the day, speaking after practice — and, apparently, after a meeting with Randle El — head coach Jim Zorn clarified the situation. Mostly.
Read more »

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The Owner Apologizes: The (Lower-Quality) Video [UPDATED]

Posted by Matt Terl on November 3, 2009 – 4:05 pm

Here’s the shaky Flip video I was able to get of the truncated media session Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder conducted today at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Md. As I noted in the previous post, the session was cut short after just a few questions by the Surrattsville Hornets marching band — it’s homecoming week, after all! — and the Flip camera audio is just abused by the wind.

UPDATE: I’m leaving this post up because I don’t want to delete people’s comments, but there is now a higher-quality video (courtesy of the Redskins Broadcast Network) with the transcript here.

http://p.castfire.com/MfaMI/video/186009/186009_2009-11-03-160018.flv Read more »

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A Monday Night Football Cake And Duff's Fond Memory Of The Redskins

Posted by Matt Terl on November 3, 2009 – 11:49 am

It’s an old Monday Night Football tradition to hold a Chalk Talk Luncheon in whatever city the game is being held in. It’s an opportunity for the announcers and Monday Night Football crew to talk to invited local guests about the game, about Monday Night Football, and so on.

The one before last week’s Redskins/Eagles game featured Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Mike Tirico, and Michele Tafoya chatting with folks at Sequoia on the water in Georgetown. There was lots of speculation about how the playcalling would work out, about if the Redskins or Eagles were reeling more, and — among the media in attendence — about if they’d get a chance to talk to Gruden or not.

(The answers, in order: not terribly, the Redskins, and no.)

There was also a cake, which — given the way the game turned out — was pretty pretty much the highlight of the day.

The cake — celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Monday Night Football — was made the by Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes bakery, made famous on the Food Network show Ace Of Cakes. The bakery’s founder, Duff Goldman, was on-hand to set up the creation, and was just as enthusastic as he comes across on the show, more than happy to talk about what made this cake different from the countless other football cakes they’ve done … and to share his one Redskins memory.

“This cake,” Goldman told me, “is a representation of the fortieth anniversary of Monday Night Football. And Monday Night Football is VERY dear to my heart. Because Mondays I get off of work, I’m usually tired, I’m kinda sad because Sunday football’s over … and then Monday I get to go home and there’s another game. It’s almost like, you know how after the Super Bowl you get kinda sad about having to wait until next season? Monday Night Football’s kinda like a little slice of the Super Bowl, like, ‘Oh, wait! There’s ONE MORE GAME.’ They’re just something special about it.”

Read more »

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Tuesday, November 3: Time For Young Guys To Step Up

Posted by Matt Terl on November 3, 2009 – 8:55 am

Last year, as the 2008 season wound down and the Redskins seemed unable to get themselves back in the win column on a consistent basis, head coach Jim Zorn was emphatic about playing his starters to the very end. Every week, reporters (and emailers, and blog commenters) would ask about getting more playing time for the then-rookies, and every week Zorn stuck to his guns.

As Sunday’s game against the Falcons approaches, it appears that this year will be different; this next game is shaping up to be a flashpoint for this year’s rookie class AND the largely-underachieving crew from 2008.

In some cases, such as rookies CB Kevin Barnes, LB Robert Henson, and FB Eddie Williams, this is because of injury, not by design. With H.B. Blades and Byron Westbrook out this week following surgeries, Barnes and Henson are getting more work in practice, Zorn said yesterday.

“I know Henson and Barnes are both getting reps,” he told the media after practice. “There is going to be a lot of conversation before I make the final decision on inactives this week. It will be because of Eddie [Williams] coming up, Quinton [Ganther] still developing … Barnes, Henson, with two tight ends, less offensive linemen and more defensive linemen, I am not really sure where I am headed yet. I couldn’t put it together for you but they will be under consideration for sure.”

At this point, all of this year’s draft picks that remain with the team are currently signed to the active roster, and they all have a chance to be active on Sunday. (And, before anyone asks, I haven’t heard any news about more playing time for Marko Mitchell this week.)

But it’s not just this year’s rookies that find themselves at a potential crossroads; the big three from last year — Fred Davis, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly — also need to represent in Atlanta.

Read more »

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Happy Halloween From 1993 And Joe "Frankenstein" Jacoby

Posted by Matt Terl on October 30, 2009 – 2:35 pm

This was just a bit of serendipitous timing.

Yesterday, with Halloween coming up, I was going through a drawer here in Redskins Park on a completely unrelated — and, frankly, boring — errand when I came across a press packet for something called Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron.

Monsters of the Gridiron was an ad campaign from 1993 that involved 29 players being elaborately made over into mildly entertaining pseudo-horror characters. There were prizes, TV ads and radio spots, giant cardboard displays (like the one pictured to the right), and a call-in game.

I remember none of it.

(There’s a reason for the odd number of players: it’s one from each of the 28 teams at the time, plus then-Cowboys defensive lineman Tony Casillas — as “Conde [Count] Casillas” — doing the Spanish-language version of the ad; he’s listed on the Coca-Cola News Release Fact Sheet as “Hispanic player/monster,” as compared to “National player/monster” Randall “Rocket Man” Cunningham. 1993 suddenly seems like a VERY long time ago.)

The Redskins representative for this promotion — which, according to the press release, “combines America’s number one sport with the country’s most popular soft drink in an effort that is sure leave football fans ‘trance-fixed’ to their favorite games,” a phrase that is almost completely meaningless — was none other than offensive tackle and original Hog Joe Jacoby.

Jacoby was in his last year in the league at the time, the final act to what would in any just world have been a Hall of Fame career, so “undergoing several hours of extensive make-up and costuming” — again, per the press release — to look like a football-playing Frankenstein, complete with enormous square football helmet, probably seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea.

The press release breathlessly assures us that the monstrous alter-ego “accentuates each player’s most notorious personality traits.”

For example, Cunningham was “Rocket Man” because was an incredibly gifted scrambler. Ronnie Lott was “Rattler,” presumably because his legendary hits left opponents “rattled”. I guess Tom Rathman’s dominant personality trait was sheer lunacy, because his alter-ego was “Psycho”. Craig “Iron Head” Heyward was “Iron Head” because his nickname was “Iron Head”. And so on.

So I guess Jacoby was notorious for being a stiff, shambling monster of a man with an outsized square head. Nice.

Somehow, that’s not quite as awesome as “Rocket Man,” but it’s still vastly better than Steelers QB Neil O’Donnell, whose “Night Raider” moniker sounds just a little questionable in hindsight.

More pictures, and a full list of players and their nicknames, below. Read more »

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