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Location: Bristol, CT

This blog is focussed on the psychology of sports: The games, the participants and the fans who watch.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1-- Collins is the QB, Gibbs adjustments lead to chemistry

QB Jason Campbell is said to be a "long way away" from returning to full practice meaning Todd Collins is the starter for this weekend's playoff game in Seattle with Campbell likely remaining inactive.. Mark Brunell would remain the #2, Sam Hollenbach, the #3.. What "long way away" means in terms of his recovery from a dislocated kneecap is unknown, however popular belief is that with Collins posting the numbers he is, this is his show regardless of Campbell's availability.. The team is hopeful that Jason will return to be available at some point as the #2 at worse..

When asked how health has affected the season of Santana Moss, Clinton Portis joked, "now that he has gotten over his circumcision, he's doing a lot better.. You can tell by the way he is running." Portis and Moss are both ironically, feeling their best since the beginning of the season now, a big part of the reason the Skins offense has awakened in recent weeks.. Moss was saddled through the summer with hamstring and groin issues, he also suffered a heel injury mid season.. Portis missed the summer sessions with knee tendonitis after struggling through '06 with a dislocated shoulder and subsequently a hand injury..

WR James Thrash re-injured his ankle and was expected to be wearing a walking boot through the week, his availability will be re-assessed late in the week.. T Stephon Heyer injured his knee in the Dallas game but is said to be "OK." LB Randall Godfrey suffered an abdominal strain in the Cowoys game and the team is hoping he'll be OK for the game Saturday at Seattle..

Joe Gibbs was asked to compare this team to the one that had it's season end in a second round playoff game at Seattle two years ago.. The similarities are strking with the end of season run of must wins, but Gibbs called this team "much more talented." And of course the biggest difference is the offense is humming right now, after the Tampa playoff game, the Redskins had run out of gas posting an NFL all time low for yards gained in a playoff victory..
Asked if he has achieved his goal upon his return of getting the Skins back into an annual competitive form, Gibbs said he isn't ready to take a look at the season as a whole yet and assess whether his goals have been met.. This line of questioning of course has many ramifications.. Is Gibbs considering signing an extension beyond the final year of his deal which is next season? Could Gibbs be more apt to walk away after this season, admittdley the toughest of his career dealing with the Sean Taylor tragedy, close losses, ridicule of the Bills mistake etc? It should be an interesting first couple of weeks of his off-season whenever that actually begins..

Gibbs said he has not spoken to Sean Taylor's father or family in recent days, but Portis said he spoke with Pedro Taylor (Sean's father) and Jackie (his fiance) on Monday and said the family continues to send thanks and congratulatory thoughts to the team after reaching the playoffs in Sean's honor.. Portis and the team have dedicated this season to Taylor..

The Redskins have scored on their opening drive of the second half four straight weeks.. Earlier this season, the Skins had issues holding onto second half leads.. "Finishing" has been another motto of the team during the stretch run.. Gibbs called the ability to hold onto leads as "learning from our mistakes earlier this year."

Dallas WR Terrell Owens has been described as "iffy" for the Cowboys first playoff game, a potential rematch in Dallas between the Skins and Cowboys if Washington defeats Seattle this weekend.. Wade Phillips described his team's performance Sunday as the "difference between one team being fired up to play and another one not."
WR Terry Glenn believes that Skins safety Laron Landry was trying to hurt him when he went for his knees during Sundays game.. The play was deemed clean and Landry was on with us on Redskins Radio Monday and said he was not trying to do anything dirty and that football is a rough game..

Issac Bruce made his 942nd catch this past weekend, he passed Art Monk on the all time receptions list.. Monk remains one of the top ten receivers in terms of receptions in league history yet he remains on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in.. This should be an interesting vote in terms of Skins with a groundswell for Monk, at least one Hig (Russ Grimm likely) and now Darrell Green eligible for enshrinement..

Gibbs said he has backed off hard practices on Wednesdays during this stretch run due to the players need for more rest time.. This tactic has paid off dividends with the team playing it's best in recent weeks.. Gibbs said this is one way he has changed from his typical regimen of the past but he did so because he believes his players will "get the work they need to get done. It's actually been relaxing knowing these guys will go out and do it." Gibbs described the chemistry this team is exhibiting as among the best he's ever coached and said it is something that is "rare. Only four or five teams I've coached in my career had been able to get what we have now."
The players have cited Gibbs ability to scale back practices as a major key to their recent success..

Happy New Year..

OK men..

4 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

Bram,

#1 - I thought you had the question of the press conference when you asked the coach if he thought the team was back to where it needed to be. I loved the subtlety of the question. Personally, I want Gibbs to be back for a few more years. We really seem to be on the brink of something special.

#2 - You obviously don't have to answer this question. I'm sure that you're much more accustomed to answering questions about the team instead of yourself. But I'm curious because you are someone that has much more access to the team than most. You have seen and heard things that don't make the tv or radio through the Sean Taylor murder. I'm curious about what you have taken away through this season and if it has impacted you in any way.

Again, thanks for the blog. It's a great read.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Covering The Redskins said...

It has impacted me greatly.. I've always tried to give the players and coaches space.. In that regard, I have always contended that I only know them in a very one dimensional universe. Basically, I never wanted to portend to listeners that I have this close relationship with the team beyond a professional one. I do have a terrific level of access to the team and certainly I know some members of the organization better then others, but I know my place. As a member of the media, they aren't apt to share too much with me and I certainly understand why.. So, I'll never be the guy who shows up their door or follows them around to ask questions. I try to stay as professional as possible..
The murder really showed how little some of us can truly know about some of the players..
Taylor was much more aloof with the media then most. While I was able to form an opinion of many of the players, it was hard to do so with Taylor because he rarely spoke to me, and extremely rarely beyond anything superficial. When he passed, it was a very hard job to try to describe him or put his life in any kind of context. The more time passed, the more I learned about him and the more I realized how little any of us knew him..
I couldn't believe some of the things I read about him, assumptions made because if I didn't know him, and I was there every day, how could any of the other reporters have known him better..
So, it changed not only how I deal with getting to know players, wanting to know them a little better if I am going to report on them, and also understanding that it's OK for me to stand back and say, I'm not the right person to comment on what this person may or may not be thinking..
It's been a life experience for me as a reporter/host, and of course it's been a difficult tragedy to deal with personally.. I found myself very upset over someone I know extremely casually.. It was a strange sensation..
That is probably way more then you're interested in knowing, but I appreciate you asking..

6:34 PM  
Blogger Alex Chilton said...

Hi Bram,

They say second opinions are actually stronger than first opionions.. my first opionion of you, especially last year when you would freak out all the time was pretty low.
You're better this year. A lot better and I must say I'm becoming a Bram Fan. You're a lot more level headed and fair this year - mayber because of the circumstances.. I don't know - but to me you are becoming one of the voices of the skins that I will always remember.
So, my question to you is.. today on the redskins lunch you said that everybody should lay off coach gibbs in 2008.. I was wondering why you said that?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Covering The Redskins said...

I was kidding a little.. He should be held accountable as most coaches, but not any coach..
I've seen him handle an inordinately difficult season with grace and leadership.. I'll remember that more then if he brings back another Super Bowl trophy..
Thanks for giving me a chance to give you a second opinion

7:24 PM  

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