Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

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Monday, October 30, 2006

October 30-- Team returns, 5 starters still aching

Those who missed the Monday practice following the bye week: QB Mark Brunell (ribs), RB Clinton Portis (ankle), WR Santana Moss (hamstring), LB Lemar Marshall (ankle), WR Antwaan Randle-El ( missed portions of practice with a heel injury)

DT Joe Salave’a and Cornelious Griffin both returned to practice and Joe Gibbs believes that both will be available when the Skins play Dallas on Sunday.
Brunell said that he was taking just one more day of rest and that he will return to the practice field on Wednesday..
There are no changes to the quarterback system or rotation.. Todd Collins remains the number 2 on game days, if Brunell were to miss a week, Jason Campbell would get his first NFL start, Campbell has done the majority of the snaps in the last 3 practices.. Campbell and Collins rotated most of the Monday work..
Portis said his ankle is feeling “OK.” Portis played coy the entire week prior to the first Dallas meeting thus it is uncertain what his status will be until Wednesday when the team returns to the field and how he is listed on the injury report.. Gibbs was asked about the possibility of being without Portis for a second time against the Cowboys and he tempered all his statements that he wanted him back with a warning to see how he comes along during the week.. Reading between the lines, Portis is very questionable right now..

Asked if there was a new re-energized attitude at the park following the team’s first practice of the week, Mark Brunell said “We’ve only been here together for half a day.” Gibbs was a little more steely eyed then he has been on past Mondays and brushed off the attitude question by saying we’ll see what happens over the next nine weeks..

Gibbs said changes have been made schematically to the offense but refused to elaborate on what those changes might be.. He even went so far as to say he doesn’t know what those changes would look like to the fans or media.. Antwaan Randle-El admitted that there are some differences from the things the team was working on to what they did over the last 8 days..

Friday, October 27, 2006

October 27-- Ray Brown Joining Skins as Consultant/coach

Former Redskins G/T Ray Brown is leaving his Tv/Radio work to rejoin the organization as a coach/consultant.. He does not currently have an official title and his role is not completely defined.. Brown told me it's a perfect fit for him and he is excited about the new opportunity to stay in the organization..

Those who did not take part in practice on the last session before the bye: RB Clinton Portis (high ankle sprain), WR Santana Moss (hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (thigh), WR Antwaan Randle-El (heel), QB Mark Brunell (rib cage), T Chris Samuels (soreness), LB Marcus Washington (hip), LB Lemar Marshall (high ankle sprain)..
DT Cornelious Griffin did take part in some of the practice (hip) he will be re-evaluated next week..
Moss says his hamstring doesn't feel very serious (he's had these issues before when he was playing in NY) but that he is in pain and of course it's not a good injury to have for a wide receiver.. he would not guess whether he thought he'd be able to play against Dallas..

Joe Gibbs said that he didn't think the missing players would affect his preparation in terms of working on revamping the offensive scheme.. Gibbs again emphasized that the team used the two work days this week to try and adjust the schematics to find some more consistent success..
He said the team has not begun to focus on Dallas but will do so through the weekend.. The coaches are remaining at Redskin park, the players were free for a 4 day weekend..

With the addition of the new tackle signed, Jim Molinaro has now been moved to back-up guard with Joe Bugel saying this right now is a better fit for him.. Bugel said this is his third year and it is time for make a big leap in terms of ability and production.. Todd Wade serves currently as the other back-up tackle..

Most players talked about the need to get awya for the long weekend to try and take their mind off their 2-5 season.. There remains a lot of optimism among the players that they can turn it around.. If you were looking for an explosion from anyone you didn't find it.. Essentially this team is keeping it together..

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

October 24-- One practice to go before bye

The team spent a short practice working mainly on the run game.. The team will take a look at their pass attack for tomorrow’s practice before the long weekend before the bye..

Neither RB Clinton Portis (ankle) or WR Santana Moss (hamstring) did not practice today..
CB Carlos Rogers returned to practice but was limited from contact.. he says he will be ready for the Dallas game.. he’ll wear a protective splint but his fingers should be free.. he broke his thumb in the Titans game..

Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23-- Gibbs has a lot of splainin to do

Mark Brunell is not being replaced as starting quarterback of the Redskins, Joe Gibbs said he is going to analyze all players over this bye week and he is not against making some changes if he feels it will help the team play better but he said he is not focussed on the quarterback as a problem..

It is possible we will be seeing more of rookie LB Rocky McIntosh who Gibbs intimated might see some more playing time.. One source told me in regard to McIntosh, "When he stops mkaing mistakes in practice he'll play more.."

Gibbs made a point to address what he called a mistake on his part not to stop the bus on the way out of Redskin Park to thanka handful of fans who had coem to see the team off to Indianpolis.. When we returned to the Park after landing around 11PM there was a couple dosen fans waiting and Gibbs stopped the bus to shake hands and give autographs.. More fans came to redskins park this afternoon and some autographed items were awaiting them..

The team has two practices this week and then they will be off from Thursday through Sunday.. Gibbs said these two days will be used to evaluate the run game and then the second day to do the same with the pass game.. Gibbs said the team will look at all schematics hinting that change is coming to the way the team runs their scheme...
Brandon Lloyd told me on the Monday Night Replay show that last week the defense spent a portion of the Thursday practice doing the Oklahoma Drill, he said he thought he was in an old school training camp..

On the personal foul penalties: Gibbs took the blame saying he needs to teach the team better about what they cannot do.. he stood up for Santana Moss who received a 15 yard penalty after he head butted a Colts corner in retaliation for what Gibbs called a "cheap shot."
Gibbs admitted the team should not have sent punter Derrick Frost out to punt following the numerous penalties that led to the Skins kicking off from their own five yard line.. It is not legal to punt off a penalty following a score.. Frost said he was just "doing what I was told to do." He also apologized for taking off his helmet and receiving a personal foul..
On Antwaan Randle-El's celebbratory TD, Gibbs continued to take an approach that seemed to be against all the rules that prohibit celebration saying, "he hit the goal post and went to the ground. You can't do anything on the ground. Case closed."

Asked if he was going to make any changes to the personnel department, Gibbs said "No." He credited Vinny Cerrato for the work he does and said he feels terrible for Dan Snyder who "feels helpless." Gibbs continues to stay the course in terms of how this team is built saying he would hate to think about what this team would be without the free agents they have..HMMMM..
Gibbs also gave staunch support for O coordinator Al Saunders..

Brandon Lloyd said there was no altercation between he and Antwaan Randle-El when he was obviously upset during the third quarter of the Colts game.. The two both said they were not fighting with each other and that Randle-El was actually trying to calm LLoyd down who said it wasn't about any one player one his involvement, just the situation the team was in.. Gibbs called the two of them, "Good buddies." RB coach Earnest Byner also came to diffuse the situation, Lloyd said there was no problem with Byner either..

Gibbs backed DE Andre Carter who he says is close to having a major impact for the team and the only reason he was off the field (which he was more then in past games particularly during run downs) was only to rest him.
Gibbs did admit however that S Adam Archuletta is having trouble adjusting to the new system.. Troy Vincent who has been here for less then a week played a large ammount of plays at safety in Archuletta's spot.. Archuletta Gibbs said was in a completely different defense where he just took a half of the field with the rams, now he is dealing with many more responsibilities and he is obviously uncomfortable..

The injury list is long: QB Mark Brunell suffered a strained rib cage muscle.. He may miss the Tuesday practice, RB Clinton Portis has a "mild" high ankle sprain.. He will have an MRI.. WR Santana Moss suffered a strained hamstring.. he had an MRI and the team said "there isn't much there." But neither he nor Portis are expected to practice either day this week.. LB Lemar Marshall has a mild high ankle sprain, he missed the Colts game.. CB Carlos Rogers had the soft cast protecting his broken thumb removed and is hopeful to return to practice next week.. LB Marcus Washington is having his sore hip treated, he likely will rest this week.. WR Antwaan Randle-El has a sore heel, DT Joe Salave'a got through the game well on a sore calf muscle, G Derrick Dockery was said to have done well after the game on a sore hip.. FB Mike Sellars elbow injury is said to have done better.. CB Shawn Springs cramped up in both calves at the end of the Colts game, this was attributed to a conditioning issue.. DT Cornelious Griffin will continue to have his hip injuury treated, likely not to practice this week..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22-- Colts 36 Skins 22, Gregg Williams tells me to shove it

WR Santana Moss suffered a hamstring strain, he will be re-evaluated later this week, he left the game in the 4th quarter but could not continue..

RB Clinton Portis suffered a bruised lower leg.. He also was hit in the groin during the game which caused him to miss a couple of plays.. He will be re-evaluated later this week as well..

CB Ade Jimoh suffered a shoulder injury but returned to the game.. DT Kedric Golston suffered a back strain but played through it.. CB Shawn Springs left the game in the 4th quarter with cramps in his calves.. he appeared to be OK afterward.. The team started the second half with Warrick Holdman playing MLB because LB Khary Campbell had to receive IV fluids at halftime.. he also returned later in the game..

The Colts scored 3 touchdowns on 15 offensive plays in the third quarter erasing a one point halftime deficit and building an insurmountable lead as Washington fell to 2-5.. This is the second time in 3 seasons that a Gibbs team is 2 and 5 after seven games since the coach’s return..
K Nick Novak missed two field goals, he also was forced to kick off from the five yard line during a bizarre series of events where the team was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration following an Antwaan Randle El punt return for a TD then a second personal foul when punter Derrick Frost took off his helmet disgusted with the refs when they whistled dead a punt on a free kick.. Joe Gibbs said he had never seen anything like it..

WR Brandon Lloyd was involved in some heated arguments on the sideline during the second half of the game that had to be handled by RB coach Earnest Byner.. FB Mike Sellars also became very animated during the second half collapse.. Randle El and Lloyd may have initially been involved in the majority of the conversation.. When asked about the “altercation” Joe Gibbs said he knew nothing about it..

Gibbs said he will not listen to public pressure in regard to any changes he may or may not make during the bye week.. Gibbs said “ I will look at everything, and you are never too old to learn something, but the changes have to come from within the organization not some people who are outside the walls.”

Gregg Williams took umbridge when I asked him if he was concerned about players splintering after starting 0-5 telling me that “It is a slap in the face to ask a question like that. Why don’t you go ask a surgeon if he will lay down before a big surgery.” He also said the team has too many leaders to quit now.. The team in general continued to keep a very public happy face saying that they will not be pointing fingers, Casey Rabach said it best, “Everyone is to blame.”
Williams said the team’s fundamentals are the issue with this team and it will be addressed during the bye week..

The Skins are 1-2 following the bye week the last 3 years..

Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20-- Griffin iffy, Springs to start?

DT Cornelious Griffin did not take part in the full practice for the third straight day.. He remains questionable for the Colts game and has been labeled a game time decision.. he said he always lobbies to play, but that the final decision is up to the coaches..
LB Lemar Marshall remains probable despite missing at least a portion of practice each of the three work days this week including today..

CB Shawn Springs will play more this weekend but as for starting, Corner coach Jerry Gray said that decision won’t be made until Sunday morning.. Springs said he didn’t know if he would start or not saying “it will be a surprise.”

FB Mike Sellars returned to practice after missing Thursday with an elbow injury.. Joe Gibbs said he is good to go..

Griffin walked off the practice field holding a garden snake that he found on the turf during the workout.. He walked over to the woods to put it back in it’s environment..

Joe Gibbs said this is the biggest underdog he’s been since his return (we think that’s true) and he said “For good reason, this is one of the most prolific offenses in the league in some time.”

October 20-- Griffin iffy, Springs to start?

DT Cornelious Griffin did not take part in the full practice for the third straight day.. He remains questionable for the Colts game and has been labeled a game time decision.. he said he always lobbies to play, but that the final decision is up to the coaches..
LB Lemar Marshall remains probable despite missing at least a portion of practice each of the three work days this week including today..

CB Shawn Springs will play more this weekend but as for starting, Corner coach Jerry Gray said that decision won’t be made until Sunday morning.. Springs said he didn’t know if he would start or not saying “it will be a surprise.”

FB Mike Sellars returned to practice after missing Thursday with an elbow injury.. Joe Gibbs said he is good to go..

Griffin walked off the practice field holding a garden snake that he found on the turf during the workout.. He walked over to the woods to put it back in it’s environment..

Joe Gibbs said this is the biggest underdog he’s been since his return (we think that’s true) and he said “For good reason, this is one of the most prolific offenses in the league in some time.”

October 20-- Griffin iffy, Springs to start?

DT Cornelious Griffin did not take part in the full practice for the third straight day.. He remains questionable for the Colts game and has been labeled a game time decision.. he said he always lobbies to play, but that the final decision is up to the coaches..
LB Lemar Marshall remains probable despite missing at least a portion of practice each of the three work days this week including today..

CB Shawn Springs will play more this weekend but as for starting, Corner coach Jerry Gray said that decision won’t be made until Sunday morning.. Springs said he didn’t know if he would start or not saying “it will be a surprise.”

FB Mike Sellars returned to practice after missing Thursday with an elbow injury.. Joe Gibbs said he is good to go..

Griffin walked off the practice field holding a garden snake that he found on the turf during the workout.. He walked over to the woods to put it back in it’s environment..

Joe Gibbs said this is the biggest underdog he’s been since his return (we think that’s true) and he said “For good reason, this is one of the most prolific offenses in the league in some time.”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

October 19-- Portis wants the Ball, Springs to play more

RB Clinton Portis says he’s been telling the Redskins coaches for 3 years to give him the ball, thus he doesn’t need to continually ask for it, but he says of course this week he expects a number of carries to keep the Colts off the field and find some offensive consistency.. As for the game planning in general, he says he doesn’t feel as if Al Saunders doesn’t have a feel for what he does well, it’s just that the offense is trying to spread it around and get everyone involved, that has ultimately limited the amount of carries he’s had.. When I spoke to Al Saunders a few weeks back and the team was struggling without Portis, he took the tact with me that you need to wait and see this with Portis.. expect more runs this week..

Gregg Williams said his high school days as a coach are what he goes back on when things aren’t going very well like right now.. For the first time since he’s been here, he used injuries as a semi-excuse telling me “Everyone knows who we are missing, and we are hanging on to a couple of guys for as long as we have to.” He did add that he “is not making any excuses” but…
Williams called Marcus Washington one of his top producers this year shedding some of the LB criticism that was placed on the unit by position coach Dale Lindsay off of the former pro bowler..
Williams said he spent yesterday’s film session with his team showing them what he thinks Peyton Manning is seeing when assessing the practice film.. A number of players openly talked about the cat and mouse game with Manning which is whether you shift as he changes plays or you wait to shift until the play clock is running out, Williams says you do a little of everything but never the same things twice..

CB Shawn Springs made it through another practice, expect him to play more this week.. DT Cornelious Griffin (hip) was limited in practice again, he remains questionable for Sunday.. DT Joe Salave’a (calf) made it through the entire practice and has been upgraded to probable for the Colts game.. WR David Patten (thigh) was also upgraded to probable..
FB Mike Sellars missed practice with an elbow injury and is now listed as probable for the game..
G Derrick Dockery (hip), LB Lemar Marshall (ankle) also missed portions of practice but both remain probable for the game..
There is no status change for LB Marcus Washington and CB Shawn Springs, both probable, both took part in the practice.. Washington returned after missing Wednesday’s practice..

I saw Joe Gibbs following the practice today and asked how he was holding up through the 2-4 start, he paused and said “sometimes in life you don’t know why you have the go through things like this, but it will become clearer later.” He appears to be holding up about as well as you might think considering the turmoil…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October 18-- Rogers Out For Sunday

CB Carlos Rogers (thumb) is out for the Colts game.. He said he hopes to be ready for the Cowboys game, that he had a similar injury while at Auburn and only missed one game.. The team does have the bye week following Sunday’s game..
CB Shawn Springs is officially listed as probable, but did take part in the Wednesday practice.. How much more time he’ll see on the field remains in question.. Newcomer Troy Vincent made it through his first practice saying “I didn’t bust any coverages” but said he worked mainly at safety.. he said he is open to playing corner if the team needs him to but they haven’t asked yet..
During an interview I conducted with him that will air on the pre-game show Sunday he said he “never thought I’d be wearing this uniform.”

Others who missed practice: DT Joe Salave’a (calf) questionable, DT Cornelious Griffin (hip) questionable, LB Lemar Marshall (ankle) probable, LB Marcus Washington (hip) probable, G Derrick Dockery (hip) probable..
WR David Patten did take part in practice but he is listed as questionable (thigh)

The Colts injury list is laughable, 21 players are all questionable.. LB Rocky Boiman (knee), DE Dwight Freeney (shoulder), LB Gilbert Gardner (thumb), DB Kelvin Hayden (ankle), DB Marlon Jackson (calf), DT Dan Klecko (back), DE Ryan LaCasse (quad), G Ryan Lilja (knee), WR Aaron Moorehead (back), DT Monte Reagor (knee), DT Darnell Reid (calf), RB Dominic Rhodes (ankle), DB TJ Rushing (back), S Bob Sanders (knee), C Jeff Saturday (back), P Hunter Smith (groin), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), DE Josh Thomas (ankle), TE Ben Utecht (back), K Adam Vinatieri (groin), WR Terrence Wilkins (concussion)

Stokley has already been deemed out for the game.. Those who actually missed the Colts practice were: Utecht, Sanders, Stokley and Reagor..
And they had a bye week… This by the way stems from one team complaining about their injury report not listing one guy last year who ended up not playing, so now they went the opposite end of the spectrum.. The Patriots do this too..

Asked about Mark Brunell needing a solid performance to keep his job Joe Gibbs said “It’s something I know gathers a lot of attention but not for me. I am not going to spend a lot of time answering questions about this.” When Brunell was asked the same question, he basically stated the obvious which is if this team doesn’t give a solid performance then everyone’s job is in danger.. Brunell went so far as to call it a must win..

I talked to Joe Gibbs about game planning in a situation where you are facing a team that has the propensity to light it up like Indy.. he said that coaches do indeed work on ways to have a methodical game plan and intimated that his hope would be for the Redskins to not only move the ball but move it in a way to keep Peyton Manning on the sideline as much as possible..
Gibbs also said the team is trying to prepare for the Colts scheme but admitted it is very difficult to game plan him because of his freedom to call some many audibles at the line..
When asked how you stop the Colts, LB Marcus Washington said “Hurt Peyton.” He was kidding.. I think..

Randy Thomas said he understood why few run calls came late in the Tennessee game, because the team wasn’t running the plays properly.. He like everyone expects a healthy dose of Portis come this Sunday..

Much of the talk in the locker room was about keeping the faith and not splintering.. Everyone did their job in keeping a happy family mantra going..

Monday, October 16, 2006

October 16-- The day after and Brunell's job is safe

Joe Gibbs defended Mark Brunell saying his play is emblematic of the entire offensive unit.. He also said he is not "afraid to change anything" but added he does not think changing quarterbacks right now for be for the betterment of the team.. So his job is safe for now..

Gibbs ended up getting into an interesting exchange with Dan Daly from the Washington Times who was insinuating that the Skins held out Cornelious Griffin and Joe Salave'a due to the strength of the opponent hoping to have them healthy for the Colts game.. Gibbs stopped the question immediately and said "I have never ever held a player out for any reason." He said he would only take a measure like that if it is late in the season and the postseason is wrapped up..
Griffin and Salave'a are in question for this week as well with a hip and calf injury..

CB Carlos Rogers had a procedure done on his broken thumb.. It is uncertain whether he will be able tp play against the Colts..

The team signed former Bills and Eagles DB Troy Vincent and released S Curry Burns.. Vincent was placed on IR by the Bills early in the year with a minor hamstring injury.. Vincent said he got his request granted to be allowed to leave Buffalo and is happy to have signed with Washington.. he says he is in game shape and as of right now he is working at safety..
Vincent said "My days in Philly are over and I never considered them as an option" He said by "no means am I the answer here, but I think I can help."

Gibbs said the run game needs to have better production.. he cited the stats from the Titans game saying the team rushed for 7 yards a carry in the first half but only 1.2 in the seocnd half on ten attempts.. he admitted 14 total carries for Clinton Portis is too few.. Portis said "I don't need to talk about how much I need the ball, everyone knows my role on this team." he said he continues to welcome being the guy to help carry the load..
When asked if the offense is trying too many things and not focussing on the few things they do well, Gibbs was vague saying "You can point to a number of different things as to what may be the problem."
Portis admitted to running the wrong way on a screen pass saying he like everyone else is having issues with the offense.. The team continues to take the approach that the inconsistency is their fault not what any defense is doing to them.. He said on many plays, it's one player doing the wrong thing and thus the issue of continuity..

WR Brandon Lloyd told me on Monday Night Replay that the Redskins do not have audibles in their offense, that each is built in with hot reads but that changing the play that comes from Al Saunders is not currently an option.. He also said he believes all the gesticulations that Peyton Manning does when changing plays for the Colts is all real, none is BS to throw the defense off.. he says only a few NFL QB's have the liberty that Manning has in changing plays at the line..

Lloyd also had some intersting comments on the U of Miami-FLA International brawl saying he spoke to some of the former U players on the Redskins who told him that there has been ongoing problems between students from FIU at the campus at Miami for years.. On campus fights and violenece involving students from both schools is a regular occurrence and that whoever scheduled this game is just as much at fault for the result.. He basically intimated that these issues weren't taken into account when the game was put on the scheudle....

Gibbs said he knows what happened on the blocked punt but refused to elaborate as to not embarass the player who had the screw up.. He thought Derrick frost punted well despite a late short punt..

Overall Portis said "this sucks." And you couldn't find a guy who didn't intimate the sentiment that with all these weapons to be 2-4 is unbelievable..

Sunday, October 15, 2006

October 15-- Skins fall to Titans 25-22

Shock would be the best way to describe a number of Skins players in the locker room following a devastating 25-22 home loss to the Titans.. The Skins are now 2-4, 1-2 at home, 0-3 in the NFC, 0-2 in the division and facing 5-0 Indianpaolis next week before their bye week..

Phillip Daniels and Mike Sellars were both outwardly questioning whether everyone "knows their job." No one seems to be questioning effort, but positioning seems to be a problem.. Players are over-pursuing runs leading to Travis Henry having a career day 178 yards rushing.. The Skins have allowed over 400 yards rushing the last two weeks including 194 yesterday..

The Skins allowed a blocked punt for a safety in the third quarter.. Following the play I overheard Sellars on the sideline telling his teammates to "Take this S*** seriously," and "Get your heads out of your A**"

QB Mark Brunnel had both legs tweaked yesterday, getting rolled up on late in the first half, then having his right foot stepped on on back to back plays, the second accidentally by G Randy Thomas.. he ended up losing a toenail but finished the game..
CB Carlos Rogers was the only other injury announced, he played with a broken thumb...
DT Cornelious griffin (hip) and DT Joe Salave'a (calf) were both inactive due to injury.. Rookies Anthony Montgomery and kedric Golston played the bulk of the interior snaps..
WR David Patten (thigh) was inactive for the second straight week.. RB TJ Duckett was active for a second straight week but like in NY never actually played in the game..
CB Mike Rumph was inactive, he was down because of a numbers crunch.. It was described to me as the necessity for extra D-lineman and the return of Shawn Springs made the number crunch favor sitting a defensive back.. Ade Jimoh is a special teamer..
Springs played mainly on 3rd down nickel situations, after the game he described the defense as "Having lost it's swagger."

Renaldo Wynn and Jon Jansen both emphasized the obvious that this team needs to find it's issues and fix them immediately.. Daniels was in utter shock having trouble formulating sentences afterward saying "11 years in this league. I thought I would get there (meaning the Super Bowl) and now we are 2-4." Asked if he ever thought he'd have this record, he laughed and said succintly "No Never."

The fans at Fed Ex Field booed the Redskins on numerous occassions as the team blew a 14-3 lead and ultimately failed to stop the Titans after tying the game up at 22..

The Redskins had 215 yards of offense in the first half, under 100 in the second, 52 of which came on one play, Brandon Lloyd's reception which led to a Clinton Portis touchdown.. Lloyd's catch gave him only 7 for the season for 127 yards.. he was defiant after the game when asked about losing to an 0-5 team saying only, "That they get paid to and anyone can win in the NFL on any Sunday."

Joe Gibbs was asked if he is considering any drastic changes, he responded by saying he will not be calling the plays but when asked if he would change the quarterback, he responded by saying, "You have to look at everything. I am not thinking about one player right now though."
There should be firm belief that should the Redskins lose to the Colts and head into the bye at 2-5, it is distinctly possible that Jason Campbell will be given two weeks to get ready for his first career start..
In my opinion, this is certainly not about one player, but, when you are 2-5, things change..

Friday, October 13, 2006

October 13-- D line has big issues

CB Shawn Springs (groin/abdomen) did practice again this week and it remains possible he will make his first appearance of the season against Tennessee this Sunday.. He is a game time decision and remains questionable.. Joe Gibbs said if he does play, it would only be for a limited amount of plays.. Asked if he was healthy enough to go, Springs said “If they put me in, then I have to play.”

DT Cornelious Griffin (hip) missed his third straight day of practice, he has been downgraded to questionable.. DT Joe Salave’a (calf) also missed practice and remains questionable for Sunday..

WR David Patten was held out of practice (thigh) has been downgraded to questionable, he was inactive a week ago when healthy, likely heading that way again this week..

P Derrick Frost (calf) practiced, there are no other punters on the roster so though he is probable, obviously he is going to play.. DE Phillip Daniels returned to practice after missing the first couple of days this week with a shoulder injury, he is probable.. LB Marcus Washington (hip) returned to practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday, he is probable and told me he is ready to go against the Titans.. G Derrick Dockery (hip) left Thursday’s practice after suffering a mild hip flexor strain but returned today and remains probable..

Joe Gibbs seemed prepared to see a lot of Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston this weekend saying, “you hate it when you get a lot of injuries to one spot but this is a time when others can prove themselves.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 12-- Springs close to playing, Washington suffered hip injury during a pregame stretch

CB Shawn Springs did more in practice on Thursday then he did the day prior even recording an interception during some team drills.. He "felt good" after the Wednesday practice and remains questionable to play against Tennessee..

DT Joe Salave'a was held out of practice (calf), he is questionable.. DT Corenlious Griffin (hip) did not practice he was described as probable with a little P, thus they expect him to go.. DE Phillip Daniels (shoulder) was also out of practice, he is probable.. WR david Patten (thigh) did not practice, probable...
G Derrick Dockery left the latter portions of practice after straining a hip felxor.. It has been described as mild and he is listed as probable..
P Derrick Frost returned after spending the day with his family to grieve the loss of his grandmother.,. He did do some of the punting and remains probable with a calf injury..

LB Marcus Washington missed a second straight day of practice.. He has a hip injury.. Trainers say he is feeling better and should return to practice, he is probable.. Washington told me the trouble began during the pre-game stretch against Houston.. He suffered what he deemed an accidental injury during the stretch.. So the issue has been lingering for a few weeks now.. He admitted he needs the bye week but doesn't think the injury will keep him off the field in either of the two games before the break...

Titans injury list: WR david Givens (thumb) out, TE Erron Kinney (knee) out, G Zach Pillar (ankle) out.. LB Ken Amato (quad), WR Drew Bennett (ankle) DE Travis Laboy (back/elbow), G benji Olson (ankle), LB Robert Reynolds (thigh), and RB Lendale White (stomach) are all questionable for the game..

Clinton Portis had his weekly presser with the media as Clinton Portis.. He said he did a costume last week because he "felt like it," not promising to dress up regularly any longer.. Portis said he knows that he has to give big performances for the Redskins offense to be successful.. He talked about this in terms of answering questions about how his performance affects the overall team play, not saying it to brag..

Gregg Williams said the biggest issue he had after the Giants game was his team's ability to get off blocks.. He was very angry with the tackling during the Jaguars game but said the tackling was better against NY, but the ability to free themselves off blocks was the biggest issue.. He said Andre Carter and Adam Archuletta are in a year long transition process learning the way this defense plays it's scheme trying to deflect some of the negative attention the two are receiving.. He said both are getting better and better but time will ultimately allow them to feel comfortable in the scheme..
Williams speaks with Jeff Fisher weekly, except this week, as the two families are close since their days in Tennessee.. He described their kids as treating each other like brothers and sisters.. He did take a jab back at Fisher who during the conference call said "I forgot more defense then Gregg will ever know" by saying, "You do forget a lot when you get older." Williams refused to take a big shot at Fisher saying the coach will use anything he can to spark his team.. He also described Fisher as the "King of trick plays." He said he will do anything at any time..

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 11-- Springs back at practice, sort of

CB Shawn Springs returned to practice today but only participated in limited portions of the session.. He says he will wait to see how feels tomorrow to see how close he may be to returning to the field.. Springs says the ultimate decision for him to play will be with the coaches but he is still waiting for his body to feel healthy before telling them he is ready to go..

P Derrick Frost suffered a calf injury after being kicked during kick off coverage in the Giants game.. Veteran punter Sean Landeta tried out for the Skins yesterday but the team is sticking with Frost for now as Joe Gibbs said he believes Frost will be ready for the Titans game.. Frost was also absent from the Wednesday practice to attend the funeral of his grandmother..

Injuries: LB Marcus Washington (hip) did not practice.., DT Cornelious Griffin (hip) did not practice, DE Phillip Daniels (shoulder) did not practice, DT Joe Salave’a (calf) did not practice..

Asked whether he thought TJ Duckett was worth the 3rd round pick the team spent to get him Joe Gibbs said definitively “yes” saying that had Clinton Portis missed a number of games and they didn’t have Duckett that the same question would have been asked.. The team continues to tout Duckett as not the problem with him not getting in the game…
On the same lines, Gibbs and Mark Brunell defended the limited production of #2 receiver Brandon Lloyd.. Both cited the few number of plays (45) of a week ago.. Brunell completed only 10 passes.. Antwaan Randle El is only averaging about 20 yards receiving per game as well, but he has at least 2 catches per game and is the primary punt returner.. Lloyd has 6 catches for 75 yards through 5 games..

There has been some speculation as to whether Joe Gibbs admitted he shared some of the play calling duties.. This arose from Monday’s press conference when he was asked to address how the decision worked between he and Al Saunders on the 4th and 1 decision to try a field goal against the Giants.. Gibbs said during this that when the team gets inside the opponent’s 35, there “is some discussion.” Those who were in the room at the time knew what he was talking about, which was a specific moment in the game and that he was not intimating that he does any of the play calling.. He cleared it up today when it was asked, saying he does not call plays, however the “discussion” between he and Al begins when they are in field goal range to discuss potential strategy.. Gibbs ultimately makes the final call on whether to go for it or kick..

Gibbs said that Nick Novak’s kick offs appear to have gotten better since last year when he was short on numerous kick offs replacing the injured John Hall.. Novak will be doing the kick off duties on Sunday.. Novak said he continued practice by having his brother be a holder for him and some local Indiana kids (his parents are teaching at Purdue) to shag some balls for him while he kicks..

Jeff Fisher is close with Skins D coordinator Gregg Williams and used the conference call to stick it to his friend by saying that “I’ve forgotten more defense then Gregg will ever know.” Williams was Fisher’s D coordinator during the Titans Super Bowl run..

The Skins difficulty beating the cover 2 was a source of discussion.. Everyone agrees the run game needs to get the teams to get themselves out of the umbrella like defense.. Santana Moss said that the Giants and Cowboys were the only teams that went true cover 2 on them for most of the game.. This was the two games where the Skins offense struggled the most.. He said the Jaguars didn’t use it very much..

Monday, October 09, 2006

October 9-- Hall injures groin, new kicker coming

Kicker John Hall suffered a strained groin and strained thigh that the team deems “serious.” Kickers will be brought in this week in the likelihood that someone will have to replace Hall for this weekend’s game with the Titans.. Hall was feeling “fatigue” on Saturday which led the team to let Derrick Frost handle the kick offs in the Giants game.. The injury then began to “spread” from his thigh to his groin according to Joe Gibbs..

Other injuries: DE Phillip Daniels had an MRI on his shoulder after suffering a stinger in the Giants game.. It came back negative so he is expected to be ready for the Titans game.. DT Cornleious Griffin suffered a hip flexor strain and quad strain but is expected to be ready for the Titans game.. DT Joe Salave’a suffered a second calf strain, this time in his left leg, the other leg that kept him out of the previous two games.. The injury is considered as serious as the last one leaving him questionable for the Titans game.. LB Marcus Washington is being treated for a sore hip but is expected to be OK.. G Randy Thomas made it through the Giants game “well” according to trainers, he will continue to get treatment on his sore hamstring but is expected to be ready for the Titans game.. CB Shawn Springs is expected to return to practice on Wednesday but will only do limited drills.. The team is hopeful he will be back on the field “sooner rather then later,” whatever that means..

Asked if Springs absence has had an adverse effect on the big plays against the Redskins defense, Joe Gibbs said no saying “you have to play with injuries in the league. We miss Shawn, and it will be a lift when we get him back, but don’t put the blame on that.” Asked last week if he was limited at all minus Springs in terms of blitz packages due to the revamped secondary, Gregg Williams succinctly said “NO.”

Gibbs says the focus of his team for the near future is to find a way to win two games before the break.. He did his usual pumping up of the Titans citing their close call at Indy on Sunday and even went so far as to say that they “will onside kick the ball four times in a row.” I’m not sure that is true, but I am certainly going to ask Jeff Fisher about it on the conference call on Wednesday.. Because that might be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard in my entire life..

Asked about the 4th and 1 call against the Giants, Joe Gibbs said that was his call to make.. he says that the way the play calling works is Al Saunders calls the game, but in situations where a decision to go or kick comes, he speaks with Al directly and ultimately he makes the final decision..

Asked about Brandon Lloyd’s limited production, 6 catches for 75 yards in 5 games, Gibbs said he expects when the offense starts working properly again as a whole that Lloyd’s touches will increase as well..

On TJ Duckett: Gibbs said that he is expecting Duckett to get some playing time when the opportunity arises.. He said Duckett has done everything the team has asked, “it’s nothing he’s not doing. It’s us.” In fairness, Rock Cartwright has become the team’s #1 KO returner, Ladell Betts is the primary back-up to Clinton Portis and Portis is the clear #1 back.. He is becoming slowly and slowly the most expensive rent a player in recent memory..
Portis got a bruise on his shoulder which forced him out early of the Giants game, but he is said to be fine..

Sunday, October 08, 2006

October 8-- Skins manhandled by Giants 19-3

The Redskins only ran 45 plays, the fewest ever for a Joe Gibbs team in their 19-3 loss to the Giants.. Washington only had two drives that went double digit plays.. The Skins were outgained 411-164, Tiki Barber who averaged 140 yards a game last year versus Washington rushed for 123, over 5 yards per carry.. This was mainly accomplished against the right side of the Skins D line, where Andre Carter sets up..
Eli Manning was stellar as well going 23 for 33, 256 yards and a touchdown.. The Skins did not cause a turnover and did not get a sack..

Joe Gibbs said he thought about going for a 4th and 1 late in the 3rd quarter with his team down 16-3 and near the Giants red zone but decided he was better off trying a field goal, which eventually was missed by John Hall.. Hall was not used on the second half kick off, the team said he was feeling sore yesterday and they felt it was better to let Derrick Frost handle the kick off duties and allow Hall to rest for field goals only..
Mark Brunell called that decision “the right call” saying he would not question a coach “who has been in this situation dozens of times.” Jon Jansen said “looking back on it now, we’d like to have it over, but I didn’t think it was the wrong call then.”

The Giants converted 9 of 16 3rd downs, at one point in the second half converted 6 straight and began the second half with an 8 plus minute drive that built the lead to 16-3 when Eli hit Plaxico Burress for a touchdown..
The Giants also had a score taken off the board when Jeremy Shockey was called for offensive pass interference setting what was deemed a pick in the end zone.. On that play where Amani Toomer would have scored from 5 yards out, Mike Rumph and Kenny Wright had a communication issue as to who had which receiver on the right side of the formation discussing it all the way up until the snap..

Brunell ended up with 109 passing yards and was sacked three times after not being sacked for two straight games..

The Giants appeared to be kicking away from returner Rock Cartwright.. Rock came into the game with the second best KO return average in the NFL..

Injuries: DE Phillip Daniels left the game in the first half with what was being called a stinger.. It was called a shoulder injury afterward.. Daniels returned to the game but he said he was dealing with numbness on the initial plays when he came back every time he got contact..
DT Cornelious Griffin suffered a hip injury, LB Marcus Washington also had a hip injury, both played with this and both will be re-evaluated later in the week..

The Redskins are now 2-3, 0 and 3 in the NFC and 0-2 vs. the NFC East.. They don’t play another conference or division game until after their bye week.. They face Tennessee this Sunday in a game Renaldo Wynn called a must have..

Friday, October 06, 2006

October 6-- LaVar stole the playbook

Joe Gibbs took the high road in response to the LaVar Arrington comments in regard to Gibbs having been able to do more to keep him in DC.. Asked about Arrington’s assertion that he took a Skins playbook and gave it to the Giants, Gibbs played it down saying so much changes from year to year that even if the Skins had another team’s playbook, they wouldn’t be able to decifer much information..

Renaldo Wynn disagreed saying that if he had another team’s playbook, that would be like “having the answers before taking the test.” Wynn also tried to play down Arrington’s comments..

Phillip Daniels said that the team was “kidding” with Arrington about not knowing the defense (even though Dale Lindsay was definitely not kidding) but did admit he thought it was pretty bush league to take a playbook and give it to another team.. Daniels says he plays the game “honestly” and wouldn’t give a playbook to anyone else..
He also reiterated how much the players liked LaVar and openly discussed the business side of the league.. Players come and go..

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October 5-- Portis Dresses Up

RB Clinton Portis wore a costume for the first time this season dressed as Napoleon Dynamite.. He told us when he first started talking that his name was “Dynamite” but then later in the locker room told another reporter that he was going by “Dolemite Jenkins” Portis was wearing a “Vote For Santana” short saying that Santana “offers you his protection.” A line stolen from the movie.. He was drumming up support for teams to vote for the receiver as player of the anything..
Asked about what message he has for NY, he said “They can support Santana too.” He said he was looking for SE Jerome, the first character he donned last year before the team went to NY who he says died in NY and the crime remains unsolved.. Asked about the Giants, he said they can take me to the dance, asked if Lavar would take him to the dance, Portis responded, “Lavar is not a woman.”

The injury report remains the same from yesterday except TE Todd Yoder was added with an ankle injury, he is probable.. Randy Thomas and Shawn Springs both sat out portions of the team practice, Thomas is probable, Springs is doubtful..

Gregg Williams blamed his team’s tackling for the breakdowns on the two 3rd down plays that were TD’s during the JAX game.. he said the team played very physical but the coverage breakdowns were the culprit in the long TD plays..

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October 4th-- Skins Fire Shots at LaVar

Let the LaVar bashing begin, LB coach Dale Lindsay spoke to a throng of reporters, a rarity indeed and when asked about LaVar and whether he could help the Giants tip off what the Skins D might do, Lindsay said, "Lavar didn't know the defense when he was here." He then backed off saying "I shouldn;'t have said that, but..." and proceeded to go on about how he is going to tell it like it is and has no problem telling the truth about the former Skins LB..
CB Shawn Springs said the exact same thing calling out LaVar's preparation.. All the other players talked openly that this game will mean something for him, with some going so far as to say his intensity would lead one to believe he might try to "knock someone out."
Arrington did not take part in the weekly media conference call declining to take part.. Former Skins LB Antonio Pierce fielded questions admitting he "was too hyped up to play the Skins" a year ago and that the game still means something for him but that a year removed it's becoming more and more just another game.. As for Arrington though, he said he is not trying to be the superstar he was in Washington, taking a more "fit in" philosophy.. He said Arrington looks healthier now after dealing with knee issues throughout camp and predicted this will be a break-out game for him as a Giant..
he also said that Arrington is reinvigorated by the change of scenary but added a backhanded commnent without realizing it by saying that this was "the first offseason I saw LaVar work out with his teammates."

Springs did not practice on Wednesday and is listed as doubtful for the Giants game.. During his media session he asked, "How many players do you know that have come back during the year from a sports hernia?" That was the first time I had heard those terms used and it opens the door for questioning whether the corner will be healthy at all this season..

G Randy Thomas (hamstring), DT Joe Salave'a (calf) and DT Cornelious Griffin (hip) were all at practice but all were limited in practice and are listed as probable.. LB Marcus Washington was given a rest day at practice but is not listed on the injury report.. G Derrick Dockery suffered a family loss and was excused from practice to attend a funeral..

Arrington is on the NYG injury list as probable with his lingering knee issues.. He missed a portion of the Giants Wednesday practice.. S James Butler is also probable (knee).. LB Carlos Emmons (pectoral), WR Sinorice Moss (quad) and RB Derrick Ward (foot) are all out for Sunday's game.. Moss is Santana's little brother..

Santana Moss was named the NFC offensive player of the week after his 3 TD performance against JAX.. Moss said that he is able to remain humbel no matter what he does on the field because he always had to fight to show his coaches growing up what he was able to do and that he always remained patient in waiting his turn to prove his talents.. Mark Brunell called Moss a real professional for his ability to play down big games.. He also in turn talked about his own ability to try to stay humble in the glow of big games.. Of course Brunell knows the ciritcism of his play is always waiting to return when things don't go so well..

Practice squad guard Ike Ndwkue was signed by the Baltimore Ravens to their active roster.. His spot on the practice squad was taken by former Maryland O-lineman CJ Brooks.. Practice squad DT Vaka Manpuna was placed on the the practice squad injured list with a calf injury.. His spot was given to rookie DT Lorenzo Alexander..

G Randy Thomas said he never would have though coming off his leg injury that hamstring problems could ensue.. But he is dealing with it now.. The initial injury appeared to have happened in the 4th quarter of the Houston game and it flared in the Jafuars game.. But he said playing hurt is part of the game..

Thomas was among those who were open about having to prove something in NY after last year's 36-0 loss.. Thomas said "You never forget a beating like that." Joe Gibbs had never before been shut out in a regular season game and it was only the second time in his coaching career his team had suffered a shutout.. The other time was also in the Meadowlands, a 17-0 NFC championship game defeat to the Giants..
Gibbs said the game still sticks with him saying "often times you forget some of your wins, but you never forget games like that." he said he doesn't blame his team's play on the emotions of the day, it was the week after Giants owner Wellington Mara died, saying "That had nothing to do with the way WE played."

The company that supplies some of the team's shows stopped making a black version of the cleat Jon Jansen wears, so one of the equipment personnel members was seen spray painting some white shoes Black so that Jansen can conform and wear what his teammates have so that he won't be fined..

On End zone celebrations, one of which was penalized against Washington last Sunday, Joe Gibbs said he told one of the refs to "give me a break" on the reasoning behind the call.. When the seocnd player came and posed, he said the refs deemed that a choreographed celebration, illegal in the rule books.. Gibbs said he'd rather know what a player "can do because there is so much you can't do." Gibbs is not against celebrations, he believes that it can be part of the game but he agrees too much is too much.. In this case he doesn't believe the penalty was warranted..

The Redskins were interested in Kurt Warner back in 2004 when the team was looking for a veteran quarterback to compete with Patrick Ramsey but he said a lot of teams were interested in him and that he didn't think the Skins would be able to get him because of the competition for his services..

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October 1-- Skins 36 Jaguars 30 OT

The Redskins had 481 yards of offense, their second straight week of 480 plus yardage.. Last week was the best output since 1999, it will take Elias to figure out when the last time it was that the Skins posted this many yards in back to back weeks.. The Skins evened their record to 2-2 after beating Jacksonville 36-30 in overtime..

Santana Moss averaged 34 yards per catch snagging 4 balls, 3 for touchdowns including the 68 yard score for a touchdown in overtime.. Moss admitted that he thought his head might have gotten taken off on that play because he saw the Jags safety roll to him on the play, but he "attacked the ball and the other guy attacked me and he missed."
Moss said he wants his family members to remember this moment because like the Dallas miracle of a year ago, he wants to have "amnesia" and move forward because if you think about the past, that's when you stop doing other things.. Mark Brunell simply called him amazing admitting he's the best WR he has played with who can do things after the catch..

Brunell meantime threw for over 300 yards for the fourth time as a Redskin and the first time since the KC game last October.. He said he had an interesting" day facing his former team but had no particular emotion playing against them for the first time since being traded to Washington..

Clinton Portis rushed for 112 yards, his first 100 plus yard game since last season.. The Jaguars had allowed an average of 59 yards per game coming in..

There were no injuries reported by the Redskins after the game.. two players to watch however are TE Chris Cooley who was evaluated for an undisclosed ailment during the half but played through it and Randy Thomas who suffered a mild hamstring injury and was unable to be used on pull plays during the latter portions of the game but refused to come out.. DT Joe Salave'a was inactive for the seocnd straight week with a calf injury but said he believes he will be ready for next week's game at NY..

DE Phillip Daniels recorded his first career interception in 11 seasons.. He said he thought about running with it but then thought about it and was worried what would happen if he lost the ball.. The Skins D held the Jags to 33 yards rushing, but they did allow 30 points.. Washington recorded 4 sacks, they had three through three games.. They also blew a ten point fourth quarter lead and a field goal lead with under two minutes to play..