Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

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Monday, September 24, 2007

September 24-- Explaining away the NYG game

WR Santana Moss is being called day to day by the Skins after suffering a strained groin late in the loss to the Giants.. Moss said if there was a game this week he would not be able to play.. As for what has become chronic injuries to his upper leg, Moss said " some guys don't have to deal with things like this, I am a guy who does." Moss has had upper leg injuries throughout his career but has been particularly afflicted this year with groin, hiop flexor, hamstring and now groin again..

LB Rocky McIntosh had an MRI on his shoulder after he suffered a "burner" yesterday and was held out of the final defensive series against the Giants.. The team had no results at the time I am writing this..
DT Cornelious Griffin suffered a "tick" on his meniscus in his knee.. He is day to day..
Joe Gibbs said he would be without ten players tomorrow if the team were to hold a practice thus he decided that the team wouldn't get enough done to make it worthwhile and so the Skins were given the entire week off heading into the bye.. They must return to work next Monday.. Gibbs said he felt the team needed a rest and that because there is a 13 game stretch following the off week, he felt the time was right to let them get away from Ashburn for an extended break..

RB Clinton Portis said he has bought into the "team concept." and because he is a "team player," he is second guessing the decision to have Ladell Betts run the final two plays on the 1 yard line with the Skins down seven with under one minute to go against New York.. Portis said there was no certainty that he would have scored on the plays and said he was hoping Betts would help the team get into the end zone and tie the game.. Joe Gibbs said the two backs are "interchangable," thus he is not second guessing the decision to go with Betts there.. One source told me Portis pulled himself out of the game and as for him being injured, Portis (who was noticeably limping today) said he "was fine."

On the decision to spike the ball at the one, Gibbs explained that he "could have run a QB sneak," but because the team had what they call their "nickel" offensive package with 3 WR's, they wanted to spike the ball to get the right "package into the game." So the Skins went with a jumbo package there but threw coming out of it and then had the two failed run plays.. Gibbs blamed the blocking on the left side of the line for the issues with not getting the ball in.. Gibbs said upon scouting the Giants, they felt these plays and matchups were the best for the Skins to succeed.. He also said that although the Philly issues before the end of the first half, Gibbs insinutaed that the team did everything they wanted to do except execute essentially taking exception to the notion that the Skins blew their two minute offense or had trouble with time management..

Gibbs praised Derrick Frost for his punting and said overall the special teams performance was one of the best since his return.. Shaun Suisham id not have any leg issues even though he missed his first field goal of the season and had some short kickoffs.. Gibbs said Suisham was doing some prescribed directional work..

QB Jason Campbell said the town needs not "to panic" right now and keep in mind the team is still 2-1.. This was the first moment of adversity that Campbell has been faced wiht since becoming the starting quarterback..

CB Fred Smoot said he was not lying to the media when he told us mid week that he would definitely play against new York saying he's never had a hamstring injury and didn't know how long it would last.. He said it was a coache's decision to not let him go against the Giants.. Smoot is expected to be ready for the Lions game in 13 days..

OK men..

September 24-- Recapping the 24-17 loss to the NYG

Injuries from Giants game: WR Santana Moss, strained groin, LB Rocky McIntosh, shoulder burner, DE Phillip Daniels and DT Cornelious Griffin both left the game but returned after suffering bruises..
RB Clinton Portis said he was “hurt” which was part of the reason he was not in the game on the final two run attempts from the 1.. Portis did leave the game late in the first half but did return for the second half..

As for the decision to go with Betts instead of Portis on the final two runs, both Joe Gibbs and Jason Campbell said that they believe those two backs are “interchangeable.” FB Mike Sellars said he continues to hope to get a chance to make plays in those situations but obviously was not a consideration for a handoff though the team did try a short pass to him on the 2nd a goal play that ended up being incomplete..
I did not speak with Al Saunders so this is heresay, but I was told he “had no idea” where Portis was on the final two plays.. To be continued on that one..

Joe Gibbs said the team spiked the ball on the first and goal play because he wanted to get his “jumbo package” onto the field, but curiously, the team then decided to throw out of the jumbo package on the 2nd down play.. The team then called two plays, essentially the same play because without time outs they had to be prepared to run a second play if they were stopped on 3rd and goal.. Gibbs those runs plays, “our best run plays,” and in turn credited the Giants for making a strong goal line stand..

The team once again however exhibited a lack of cohesion during the 2 minute offense.. last week in Philly, the team took 3 penalties before being bailed out by the Eagles late in the first half.. This week, the team fumbled a snap because of a botched snap count between Casey Rabach and Jason Campbell, spiked the ball twice (many believe unnecessarily) and had trouble getting everyone on the same page as the clock was ticking.. Gibbs said he thought last year the 2 minute drill was one of the attributes of the team (I might dispute that) but this year he was more inclined to believe that it just didn’t happen yesterday as opposed to admitting issues with his team getting itself prepared for those moments..

CB Fred Smoot was inactive for a second straight week (hamstring).. WR Brandon Lloyd was active but played only a handful of snaps.. WR Reche Caldwell was inactive for a 2nd straight week..

At one point in the fourth quarter, the Redskins had 15 yards off second half offense and no first downs.. Shaun Suisham missed his first field goal attempt of the season going wide left on a 39 yarder on the Skins first drive of the season..

The Skins got three turnovers and lost the game.. The team was 2 and 0 having lost the turnover battle in the first two games.. That’s rare..

OK men..

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 20-- New Guard, Thomas still on roster

The signed back-up guard Rick DeMulling, he's a six year vet who played four seasons with Detroit and 2 years with Indianapolis..
The team released WR Shaun Bodiford to make room on the roster..
So Randy Thomas is for now being given a chance to heal with the hopes of returning for the final 3-4 games of the season.. The team is going to hold onto that roster spot as long as possible, but if another rash of injuries occur, they said they will rethink it..

Gregg Williams said he "is glad Tiki Barber is gone," saying the Giants are perfroming very well on offense but "it's not the same." Williams lauded the Giants offense which has only punted five times in two games and have put up big passing yard numbers to whcih the Williams explained "was because they have been playing catch up each week."
Williams praised the play of Rocky McIntosh and Laron landry but cautioned, "they make plays in every game that make me happy and make me cry all at the same time.."

Clinton Portis reacted to Mike Sellars public declarations of wanting the ball more by saying that "all the running backs come out of Mike's helmet to start the game." Portis was kidding abouty the metaphorical and physical size of Sellars head but did say he'd like to see those six carries Sellars got be distributed between himself and Ladell Betts..

Injuries: S Vernon Fox (groin) took part in limited parts of practice.. CB Fred Smoot (hamstring), limited in practice, DE Phillip Daniels (foot) was back taking all the work in practice..

NYG injuries: WR Plaxico Burress missed his second straight day of practice (ankle), RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and Wr Steve Smith (scapula) have both been ruled out of the game Sunday.. QB Jared Lorenzen (ankle) took only limited work.. QB Eli Manning is not listed on the NYG injury report..

LB Marcus Washington told me he would like the rest of the country to continue to ignore the Redskins saying he hopes people weren't paying attention to their Monday Night win over Philly.. "I want us to be like crocodiles, we sit back, wait and bask and then we eat when we eat."
Washington said Rocky McIntosh had nothing to prove to him after what he saw in a late season game a year ago.. Washington said McIntosh was unaware he was supposed to go into the Rams game in a late 3rd and short situation, went in without his helmet strapped, didn't know the defensive call yet shot through a hole and made a key stop.. "That's all I needed to see."

CB Carlos Rogers says the Philly game may have been one of the best of his 2 plus season Redskin career.. He marked Kevin Curtis who ended up with 4 catches for 28 yards.. Rogers said he doesn't know week to week if teams will attack him or go after Shawn Springs or Fred Smoot.. Rogers said he expects to see a lot of Burress as he typically "is on my side of the field."

OK men..

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19-- Campbell discusses McNabb comments

Guard Randy Thomas had successful surgery to repair a torn triceps muscle.. He was at Redskins Park a couple of hours after the procedure and said he was hoping to be given the chance to try and come back and play this season.. he will be in an arm cast for six weeks and then will need at least 2-4 weeks of rehab just to have a shot to play.. The team had no placed him on injured reserve at the time of me writing this and may not make a full decision until after the NYG game.. According to one source at the Park, the team is in no rush to make a decision this week..
The team worked out a couple of guards but had not signed anyone as of tonight.. One player was apparently speaking with the Rams as well..

Joe Bugel said the Eagles were doing some flinching on the line that forced the Jason Fabini into the late first half false starts.. Bugel said they sent the plays to the league concerned about the legality of it.. There is the so called "Neil Smith rule" that prevents D-linemen from flinching to force a false start...

QB Jason Campbell said when he first started playing QB in college he felt that he was held to a higher standard because he was Black.. Donovan McNabb made statements on Real Sports earlier this week claiming the criticism he receives is partially based on the color of his skin.. Campbell said he doesn't feel that way now and a few of his teammates that I spoke with all seemed to agree that Campbell is being viewed any differently because of his skin color and that ultimately the press at least locally seems to base their judgments on overall play..

Injuries: S Vernon Fox (groin) did not practice.. CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) took some of the work.. DE Phillip Daniels (foot) also took part in limited practice, he said he expects to be able to play this weekend against the Giants..

FB Mike Sellars says he has been lobbying coach Gibbs for years trying to get the team to give him the ball more often.. Sellars said that Al Saunders has alway wanted to give him more opportunities, but Gibbs was the one who he had to convince.. Gibbs laughed off the assessment that he needed to be convinced saying all players want the ball in their hands..

Giants LB Antonio Pierce said he spoke with former Skin LaVar Arrington recently and that Arrington lost upwards of 20 pounds, "You wouldn't recognize him." He said Arrington is in good spirits and is working hard to get himself back into shape for a possible reurn next season..

OK men..

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18-- Thomas headed for surgery

G Randy Thomas will have surgery to repair a torn triceps muscle in his left arm.. The team has yet to make a decision on whether they will place him on injured reserve ending his season or holding out hope he could make a late season comeback.. Vinny Cerrato estimated if everything went really well, he could potentially come back by week 12..
The team will work out some Offensive linemen tomorrow and make a decision after the doctors give an update on the procedure..
Jason Fabini will remain the starter at RG..

Joe Gibbs said he is not aware of any injury to DT Cornelious Griffin who came in and out of the line-up during last night’s second half dealing with some leg/hip issues..

Asked about Brandon Lloyd, Gibbs ignored the implication that his production is a disappointment saying “He hasn’t been given many chances.” Lloyd was used sparingly until late in the second half when Antwaan Randle-El left the game with cramps.. Randle-El appears to be OK.. Lloyd did not play in the first quarter and saw limited first half action..

Eagles games awards were given on defense to: Sean Taylor, Carlos Rogers (maybe his best if not one of his best games as a Skin), London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh and Marcus Washington..
On Offense: Chris Samuels, Mike Sellars, Casey Rabach and Jason Campbell
On Special Teams: Rock Cartwright, Derrick Frost, Shuan Suisham, Laron Landry and Reed Doughty..

Gibbs called the Jason Campbell to Chris Cooley touchdown late in the first half a “statement play” for Campbell saying most young players would not have been able or had the fortitude to make that throw with limited time on the clock..
The Skins are converting over 50 percent of their third downs through two weeks, they converted 37 percent a year ago..
The team is also averaging over 150 yards on the ground despite the line injuries, the team averaged 165 per in the final six games a season ago, but did so with 3 different faces on that line..
Gibbs credited Al Saunders for his play calling, “Al is doing a real good job there.”

DE Phillip Daniels said he “can push off” on his sprained foot, he is hoping to be able to return to practice this week and play against the NYG..
DE Renaldo Wynn was a surprise visitor at Redskin Park today, he says he is getting more accustomed to New Orleans..

OK men..

September 18- Randy Thomas update, Skins bus gets egged

Vinny Cerrato came on Redskins radio today and said there is a possibility if Randy Thomas’s MRI shows not a full tear of the triceps muscle, the team will not place him on IR but hope to get him back in 8 to 10 weeks leaving him on the active roster but deactivating him.. Should surgery be necessary for Thomas and his season end, the team will move forward to place him on injured reserve and then possibly sign another O-lineman.. The Skins are going to work out a few different unnamed players tomorrow, the likelihood of Kili Lefotu being called up from the practice squad appears dim..

Other injuries from last night, WR Antwaan Randle-El suffered from cramps and did not return.. I saw him today and he says he is going to be fine this week.. CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) was inactive last night, he says he expects to return to practice this week. CB Shawn Springs was suffering from cramps in his calves but did return to the game.. DT Cornelious Griffin needed to be stretched by trainers on three separate occasions during the second half last night, he was not named on the preliminary injury list..
We’ll get updates on DE Phillip Daniels (foot) and S Vernon Fox (groin) who were both inactive against the Eagles..

Notes from last night: The Redskins bus with some of the staff and media was egged by the Eagles fans as it entered the stadium last night.. Demetric Evans told us that his players bus had rocks thrown at it but luckily the tandem (which to him appeared to be a father and son) had bad aim..

The Skins remain over 50 percent converting third downs through two weeks.. Jason Campbell now has a touchdown pass in 8 of his nine career starts..
As for the end of the first half last night, Chris Cooley told me the team had the wrong personnel on the field, had no idea what play they were going to run, couldn’t hear and at one point just got into the huddle with mismatched personnel and decided just to run a play.. Luckily for them the Eagles called a timeout..
The headset communications between the coaches and Jason Campbell had issues late in the first half with the Skins inside the Eagles five, make what you want of that considering all the discussions of stealing signs and tapping into radio frequencies..

The Eagles fans booed Donovan McNabb while he was on the jumbotron promoting a community service program at halftime..

More from Joe Gibbs later..

OK men..

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 15-- Bugel talks about sign stealing

Injury update:DE Phillip Daniels (foot) doubtful, S Vernon Fox (groin) doubtful, CB Fred Smoot was downgraded to questionable still dealing with a hamstring injury.. S Pierson Prioleau is probable (hamstring)
Eagles CB Lito Sheppard is out for the game Monday night..

Joe Bugel told me today that former Redskins defensive coordinator Richie Petibon once tried to steal signs while they were coching together but he was "always 3 plays behind." Bugel, who coached with Bill Belichick supported Belichick saying he's a "terrific coach" and is sorry if this is "a trueism" reagring the stealing of signals with a video camera..

Shawn Springs told me today "it's just business" dealing with trade rumors and contract negotiations this off-season.. He also said (maybe was kidding) that he doesn't feel safe on the roster until the trade deadline passes.. Springs figures to start Monday night with Fred Smoot dealing with a hamstring injury suffered during practice this week..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 13-- Springs is Happy, Lloyd is not worried

Joe Gibbs says "I am not into sending messages," when discussing the decision to sign WR Reche Caldwell to a one year deal.. Popular belief is this is a referendum on the production of Brandon Lloyd and his no catch perfromance Sunday coming off his lackluster '06 season.. Lloyd did speak to reporters today and said the right things saying there needs to be no clarification of roles and that "anyone the team brings in to help us win games is good."
Obviosuly though, this move would affect Lloyd's playing status more then any other current WR, Moss is the #1, Randle-El (while not the prototypical) the #2 and James Thrash is a special teamer that won't see fewer reps..
Lloyd did point out that the Skins had been signing receivers all summer, (Todd Pinkston and Corey Bradford, looked at Keenan McCardell as well) but this one has a more potential impact on his playing status week to week.. This might get real interesting..
Meantime Jason Campbell balked at a question regarding the two interceptions he threw pointing out the 2nd one (to Lloyd) was a one on one play that "you would hope the receiver would either catch or break up." True that..

Meantime Shawn Springs said he and coach Joe Gibbs spoke and that they are on the same page regarding his playing time last week.. Springs said the only reason his hamstring was warrped last week was because sometimes veterans do that after they lift weights.. He contends he is healthy.. The team has yet to place him on an injury report and Secondary coach Jerry Gray spoke of the decision to use Springs as the #3 CB based on precaution..
Springs joked that all the attention he's receiving has ruined "my good gig here." Transaltion Big salary, few plays isn't such a bad thing.. Lets hope he really is kidding..
I saw Les Carpenter on Washington Post Live on Comcast yesterday and he said that Springs has a hole in his hamstring, something that happened while he was playing in Seattle.. Interesting..

CB Byron Westbrook has been asked by the coaching staff to emulate brother Bryon in practice this week.. Westbrook said he was with Bryon the last couple of days and didn't reveal any team secrets even though Bryon asked about a couple of injured players..

LB Marcus Washington said he felt a "few tweaks" in his elbow during the first game of the season but didn't feel as if it limited him at all..

Held out of practice on Thursday was DE Phillip Daniels (foot), S Vernon Fox (groin) and S Pierson Prioleau (hamstring)..

OK men..

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12-- Skins bring back Stoutmire

The Skins have signed safety Omar Stoutmire after Vernon Fox and Pierson Prioleau suffered leg injuries in the Miami game..

Also, LB Anthony Trucks was released from the practice squad, minor surprise there considering the coaches seemed to have liked his play.. They do have another young LB Matt Sinclair on the Practice squad and I guess they had to make room for Marcus Mason who I'm assuming will be back on the practice squad if he clears waivers today..

September 12-- Pondering if I was an A-hole

So I'm bored out of my mind sitting in the juror's lounge at 500 Indiana Ave. Yes, the District of Columbia feels I am uniquely qualified to determine the guilt or innocence of one criminal.. Yes I'm prejudiced, I'd rather be in Ashburn, but hey, who am I to complain about civic duty..

It got me thinking about about an incident that happened over the weekend that has been bothering me for 4 days now.. Please tell me, was I an asshole?

So I go to Laurel Park with my friend Saul and my Father Milton.. Dad has always been into horse racing, it's one thing we indeed have in common, so every so often when I get a free afternoon we tell my Mom we are going to lunch and head to the track. She's onto us, but it's fun to lie..
At Laurel, there is a closed off section called Tycoons that has two walls of televisions, table service and three private betting windows.. For 3 bucks, you can be a VIP. For 3 bucks I pull Brad Pitt. So we grab a table, order some food start placing some wagers on every track in the country and lose ourselves in the inexact science of handicapping.

My father meantime is as gregarious as they come. If you are a human, he talks to you. And he doesn't care what you think. He has an inate talent of saying something remarkably innappropriate to a stranger without alarming that person. Example: He'll ask a 14 year old girl he's never met if he can sit on her lap. He's not really going to do it even if for some outlandish reason she agrees and she seems to inately know this. He'll ask a Chinese waitress if she has change for a nickel so he can leave her a tip. And so on..

Most of the time, he just tells strangers his life story, in turn, he's that guy who knows the bank teller, the gas station mechanic, the cashier behind the bullet proof glass at the greasy spoon that he suggests is the home to the best steak and cheese in the area.
And in turn, they know me, Bram Weinstein, Redskins beat reporter. I'm proud that he's proud of me so I don't mind being asked by the cashier I've never met how Jason Campbell will do this season. The conversation typically starts with Milton saying, "This is my son, the one I told you about." It's nice.. Weird, but nice..

So as you might imagine, my Dad has made friends with the guys tellers at the track. The conversation goes something like this, "Belmont, race 5, I'll take a $1 Trifecta wheel, 6 with the 2, 8, 9, 10 with the 1,2,3,7,8,9,10, hey did I tell you about my son Bram who covers the Washington Redskins. Give me two more tickets like that one except have all those other numbers over the 6. Bram thinks the Redskins have a shot to make the playoffs because their defense is faster. Ooh, and Laurel Park race 2, 2 exacta box, 1,3,5,6,7,9.. OK Dave thanks.."

So when "Dave" is introduced to me, he knows who I am and what I do.. Thus what happened over the weekend left me in a hairy predicament..

While seated at the table with my Father and Saul, a large man who introduced himself as "Dominic" came over to the table and asked which one of us "works with the Redskins." I raised my hand, he reached to shake it. I obliged. He cotninues without pause, "I am a huge Redskins fan."
Me: "Great."
Him: "You know who else is a huge Redskins Fan?"
Me: "No."
Him: "That woman (pointing to a woman at a table across the room) in the polka dot dress. She's a huge Redskins fan."
Me: "Sounds like you two have somehting in common."
Him: "Would you come over to the table and say Hello to her?"
Me: "OK.."

Whoops.. Big mistake. By no means do I intend to come off as a blowhard here, but I do have a public job and I don't mind talking to strangers, if for nothing else, the material. Plus, I like talking about the Redskins. If someone listens to my reports or radio shows or the games, I'm happy to spend a few minutes with them. But you never promise a meeting if you aren't intending to do so because I don't want to be perceived as some jackass who thinks his stuff don't stink. But upon review of the conversation, I didn't think I owed Dominic what I promised.

Here's the issue, Dominic didn't know who I was. If he did, he certainly didn't lead on otherwsie. All he knew was Dave told him someone at a particular table had some form of proximity to the Redskins. Dominic never said "Are you the guy on the radio?" He just asked if I worked with the Redskins. For all he knew, I mopped the floors at Redskins park. Or I could be the punter. Or I could be Dan Snyder. I was in Tycoons after all.. Bottom line, he had no clue who I was. So now I am supposed to go talk to his lady friend about, um, what?
How does this conversation go, "Hi, Dominic asked me to come over to talk to you because you are a Redskins fan and I work with the Redskins." An reasonable response would be, "uh, ok."

Because I agreed to greet her though, I felt obligated and for the next 15 minutes or so, I noticed Dominic staring at me from across the room waiting in anticipation for my arrival. Meantime, Pops and I have bets all over the place, we're glued to the screens..

The more time that went by, the more I felt Dominic's stare turn steely. But the discussion of whether I had to meet this person became the in between race topic of discussion at the table. Did I owe Dominic something? Did I owe Dave the common courtesy of talking to a stranger because he was the one who clued him into the fact that I have a cool job (even if the guy didn't know what it was)? And if I owed Dave that courtesy then I certainly owed my father this gesture consideirng he was the one who proudly told Dave about me in the first place.. The last thing I want to do is have people think "Hey that Milton is great, but his son is an asshole."

So, I ask this, should I have talked to the polka dot dress woman?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11-- Skins sign Reche Caldwell, clear up Springs issue

The Redskins have signed wide receiver Reche Caldwell, he becomes the 6th receiver on the roster.. he had a career high 61 receptions a season ago for New England..
The team has officially placed Jon Jansen on injured reserve ending his season..

RB Marcus Mason was released from the active roster, if he clears waivers, he will likely be resigned to the practice squad.. WR Burl Toler was released from the practice squad, his spot was taken by Justin Geisinger who has had brief stints with the Titans and Bills..
There is one roster spot currently open.. The spot to watch may be safety with injuries to Pierson Prioleau and Vernon Fox.. The team releases Omar Stoutmire at the end of the camp, he would be a possibility..

The Redskins will start Todd Wade at right tackle this week, Stephon Heyer will cotniue to practice at both tackle postions and now becomes the primary backup to Wade and Chris Samuels..
Wade started one game last year for Washington replacing Jon jansen in New Orleans..

On the Shawn Springs situation: Gibbs said he is going to speak with Springs after he was quoted as saying "I don't know what Joe Gibbs is talking about," in regard to Gibbs's explanation that Springs was mianly used as a nickel corner because of health concerns..
Gibbs clarified today that Springs was in the trainers room early in the week prior to the Miami game and came out with his hamstring qrapped.. The trainers then alerted secondary coach Jerry Gray that Springs was not 100%.. Gray then determined that while Springs was practicing that he wasn't showing the "same explosion" on his reps.. So the team determined as the week progressed that due to Springs's injury history (missing numerous games last year with a sports hernia) that they were making a precautionary decision with Springs.. Gibbs essentially is emphasizing that Springs has done nothing wrong and hasn't necessarily been passed on the depth chart by Carlos Rogers or Fred Smoot, but the team was being overly careful about him in order to attempt to avoid a repeat of last year with Springs in terms of health.. Gibbs also would not say Springs is the best corner on the team repeating the mantra, "we have 3 starters at CB here."

S Pierson Prioleau has a high hamstring strain, he is questionable right now for the Eagles game.. S Vernon Fox is dealing with a groin injury..

A funny moment occured on Redskins Radio today when a caller asked Joe Gibbs if there are audibles in the offnese.. He claimed "This drove Bram crazy last year when the team didn't have any." Gibbs explained that audibles are in the offense this year and basically said the caller should pin that reporting on me that it wasn't true.. Mark Brunell told me a season ago that the team was not using audibles.. This year apparently is different.. And I offically resign my position as assistant to the offensive coaching staff!

On the second interception where Jason Campbell was trying to find Brandon Lloyd in the end zone, Gibbs said he didn't want to talk specifically about it or assess any blame on anyone.. Take that for what it is..

OK men..

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 10-- Springs benching remains a mystery

There was a strange back and forth during the Joe Gibbs press conference between the coach and the assembled media as we tried to decifer why Shawn Springs was the nickel corner yesterday.. Gibbs alluded to Springs not being at 100% but the CB was not listed on the injury report.. So when asked directly what was worng with Springs, Gibbs said "we weren't sure he was 100%," then seemed to attempt to avoid giving any specifics at all..
Gibbs said he thinks Springs would start at some point in the season and echoed Gregg Williams mantra that the team has 3 starting CB's and they rotate..
Springs did a media session and kept repeating, "The team will play the best players they think will help them win." Asked if he was upset about being moved to the #3 CB, Springs said nonchalantly, "I know what my salary is so I'm not trippin'."
Something is stirring the kool aid on this one..

Jon Jansen described his fractured fibula and dislcoated ankle in graphic detail as he joined us for a conference call.. Jansen will undergo surgery later this week and will likely be out 3-4 months.. The team has not officially placed him on injured resreve although that is a likely scenario for the tackle.. Joe Gibbs said he believes the injury will be something that is not career threatening..
Jansen said he heard bones and tendons pop when one of the Dolphins ended up underneath him.. Jansen said blowing out his achilles tendon 4 years ago was nothing compared to pain of this one saying he looked down and saw his ankle pointing the wrong direction.. Gross..

As for who takes over at RT this week, Todd Wade said he expects to be named the starter because the coaches told him, "to be ready." Gibbs said that Wade should understand "he has a big role with the team," and made no definitve choice on who the starter will be meaning Stephon Heyer has a legit shot to be the starter in Philadelphia..
Wade disclosed he has a torn labrum, will have to wear a shoulder harness for the season but said the injury can't get worse and that he just has to deal with pain maintenance.. Wade said "you won't be able to tell I'm injured."

Gibbs is turning the play where the Redskins were called for a penalty for "an abrupt movement simulating the starty of a snap" to the league.. The team said they went over the play with the refs in pre-game and ran the same play during the pre-season so he was surprised by the decision to penalize the Skins.. He said he wants the league to offer clarification.. TE Todd Yoder joined us on Redskins Radio and said what he did was not illegal.. Yoder abruptly moved from the line of scrimmage, but indeed he is an eligible player and is allowed to move.. Gamesmanship certainly was in question here..

Injury update: DE Phillp Daniels (sprained foot) was in a walking boot today but he says he will be able to play Monday night against Philadelphia.. S Pierson Prioleau (hamstirng) is "feeling better." There was no update on S Vernon Fox (groin)..

I spoke with DT Anthony Montgomery who got the start against Miami ahead of Kedric Golston.. Montgomery said he expected to start after spending much of practice with the first teamers the week leading up to it.. Asked if he took the criticism of the defensive line personally, he said "Yes, but last year I didn't prove myself in practice and didn't earn an opportunity."

Antwaan randle El and Santana Moss both expressed support for Brandon Lloyd who had no receptions against the Dolphins.. Both said Lloyd would have his day and that eventually the chances will come his way.. ARE didn't say he answered any critics with his first 100 yard game as a Skin but was just happy to be able to contribute..

OK men..

Sunday, September 09, 2007

September 9-- Skins 16 Dolphins 13

The Redskins have a winning record for the first time since 2005 after defeating the Dolphins in the season opener 16-13 in overtime at Fed Ex Field.. Shaun Suisham hits a 40 yard field goal on the Skins first drive of overtime to win it.. The Skins had pounded the Dolphins on this drive rushing the ball on 7 of 9 plays on the drive.. Joe Gibbs laughed when he was asked if it was a prudent decision to kick the game winning field goal on first down from the Miami 20 when it had become obvious that they were on their heels.. Gibbs said he knew when he made that decision that he would be second guessed (which is hard to do when it ends up being the right decison, still..) saying he had made his mind up because he had made mistakes in the past letting opportunities go for the sake of trying to get a little closer only to take himself out of field goal range.. Gibbs admitted the press and their second gues nature motivates him!

T Jon Jansen suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle in the first quarter and was carted off the field.. He remained at the stadium through the end of the game and had the ankle put back into place.. Jansen will need surgery that will not take place until the swelling goes down and according to one team official, I was told he would need 3-4 months of recovery meaning his season is likely over..
Undrafted rookie Stephon Heyer took over at right tackle even though he had not practiced at the position and never played it.. Todd Wade was among the pre-game inactives, Gibbs said the team decided to keep Heyer active because they thought that Chris Samuels (who had missed the entire summer recovering from a sprained knee) might need to be spelled during the game.. Jansen gets hurt and Heyer as to go in..
Joe Bugel said the team would evaluate the position over the next couple of days before determining who would start next Monday against Philadelphia..
Amazing stat of the day, the Redskins with an undrafted rookie at right tackle, a left tackle who hadn't played since December and a guard who two weeks ago played for the Jets rushed for 165 second half yards against a team that was ranked 4th in the NFL a year ago..

RB Clinton Portis made his 2007 debut with 17 carries, 98 yards and a touchdown.. he told the media after the game that he would carry the ball with a chip on his shoulder for the rest of the season and even if there are some media members who are rooting for him, he would make sure he attributed a chip to them too.. He said he wasn't trying to send a message to his doubters although he asked everyone to continue to believe the Redskins won't do anything.. Portis left the game early when he needed to get his ribs padded after a hit that left him bruised..

Jason Campbell did not throw a touchdown pass for the first time in his 8 starts.. he was picked off twice, the first of whcih he says "he's kicking himself." The second one was may have been an ill-advised throw to the end zone toward Brandon Lloyd, however Lloyd may have stopped on his route only to attempt to recover late when he realized the ball was being thrown deep..

Other injuries: DE Phillip Daniels suffered a sprained foot, S Vernon Fox left the game in the first half with a strained groin.. S Pierson Prioleau suffered a hamstring injury..

CB Fred Smoot was picked on incessantly by the Dolphins but blew a chance to redeem himself when he jumped a route late in the game when it was tied at 13 dropping a sure interception that likely would have been returned for a touchdown.. Gregg Williams described the play as missing "a walk off home run."

Most curious personnel decision was regarding CB Shawn Springs who did not start and was used mainly as a nickel corner.. Williams said he was just going to rotate Springs, Smoot and Carlos Rogers due to the heat but Springs plays were far fewer then the other two.. This will be an interesting topic this week..
CB David Macklin was also inactive in favor of young CB Leigh Torrence..

WR Antwaan Randle El had a big game, 5 catches for 162 yards, the longest grab was a wild play on the final snap of regulation when a hail mary was tipped back into the field of play right into Randle-El's hands.. He was stopped a couple yards short of the end zone as time expired..

The Dolphins had a bizarre time management moment at the end of the first half when they decided to not use one of their two timeouts until there was :04 left on the clock and they were facing a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line.. Miami went for it and scored a touchdown..
Washington ended up with 400 total yards and all believed they had not come cloe to playing as well as they can..

OK men..

Saturday, September 08, 2007

September 8-- Here's my long winded prediction for the season

Final injury report : TE Cody Boyd (out) shoulder. All the rest of are probable, RB Clinton Portis (knee), LB Marcus Washington (elbow), T Chris Samuels (knee), G Todd Wade (shoulder), LB Kharty Campbell (hamstring)

Joe Gibbs praised the town for being so football crazy when asked about the season opener and 90+ thousand fans that will be at Fed Ex Field ..

OK, It's time to give a prediction.. So afer their off-season bringing in a middle linebacker, getting Smoot back and landing Laron Landry in the draft, I got the feeling they flat out didn't do enough to be back in the playoff race.. This didn't addres the age and injury issues of the defensive line.. The loss of Derrick Dockry and the failed experiment of Todd Wade now made me feel as if the offensive line was going to take a big step back form their performance from a season ago.. They didn't add another wide receiver meaning Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El would be depended upon to improve their production from a season ago.. Clinton Portis doesn't practice all summer resting a knee, which seemed od considering it was his shoulder and hand that he injured last season.. As of two months ago, I was essentially expcting the worst..
That was until I saw London Fletcher play, that was until I saw Landry who's a missile light Kerry Collins up. I have yet to see a deep pass get completed on their regulars (probably a number of reasons for that). I am positive they weren't trying to sell me a used car in terms of their affections for the all new Rocky McIntosh, he looks like a different player.. They still have question marks on the D-line, Can Golston be a true regular? Can Montgomery be a real contriubter? Can Griffin and Daniels body hold up through the season? Can they generate a pass rush with their front four if they had to?
But the back seven appears as sound as it's been in a few years.. They are fast and they have a couple of big time hitters back there.. So at this point, there is no way I could see a defensive performance like the one a year ago.. Can they stop the run? Not sure. But there is no way it will be as abad as it was? Can they stop the deep passes? Don't know but there is no way they'll give up as a many as a year ago..
Offensively, I like Jason Campbell, I just haven't seen him play in a situation where there is something to lose yet so until the seasons starts to play out, I just don't know.. Portis has to prove he can the 1500+ yard back of two years ago, but I am not among the group who thinks he can't.. Moss is a true #1, we'll see if ARE or Brandon are a true #2.. This remains to me to be a potential void.. I like ARE at tghe ##, Lloyd must step up for them to resurrect a downfield passing game, otherwise they'll continue to play an umbrella on the speedy Moss..
Cooley figures to have a big season, combine the team high 71 catchs he had two years ago with his near 13 yard per catch average of 2006 and he'd be threatening a 1000 yard season for a TE, that's huge numbers..
THe line frightens me, if there were a spot where the drop off might come, it's the offensive line.. Jon Jansen had a poor pre-season, pushed back into the backfield way too many times.. Randy Thomas is great, but he's a year older on banged up knees.. Rabach is fine.. Pete Kendall is a veteran who's been here a week, the short term expectations need to be tempered and the long term ones don't exist, he's 34.. Chris Samuels is a trooper but he's dealing with some form of leg injury every year and he just turned 30.. This is going to be a hotspot for this team over the next two off-seasons where it is reasonable to believe they will need to find 3 if not 4 new starters by 2009! And only Stephon Heyer is currently on the roster and perceived a possibility for that.. If there were to be a spot where a rop off might occur, I'd point to the O-line, but maybe they have just enough duct tape and (in the case of Kendall) learning curve to get through this one and be close to as effective as they were (only 19 sacks allowed last year and a dominant run average the last 6 games of the season)..

The special teams specialists have gotten better.. Shaun Suisham should be the best and most reliable kicker they have had since before John Hall got hurt.. Derrick Frost is becoming more consistent and when he gets a good one, he crushes it.. ARE should have an impact in punts, Rock turned into a nice kickoff returner and the coverage units were great last year.. Now Ade Jimoh is off of them, but they kept enough teamers around that I think they'll compensate.. Don't laugh at the Jimoh statement, he was way above average on punt coverage..

Then there is the schedule, 4 of the first 6 at home, those games all against teams who did not make the playoffs a year ago except the Giants who backed in at 8-8. One of the two road games, Green Bay, non playoff team, youngest team in the NFL.. I got them beating Miami in the opener in a tight one, not unlike last year's opener with Minnesota, but they get out with a win this time after spending the summer more focussed on readying themselves and the fact that they will take the Dolphins seriously.. Lets say 17-13..
At Philly, (I am curious to see how they play in their opener) but I'll say Loss.. They beat the Giants who I think will ultimately be the only non-threat in the NFC East at home.. Bye week, and return to face Detroit who hasn't and won't win here since the 50's. I'll chalk up a loss at GB only because the Packers rarely lose at home outside of divisional opponents. Arizona is here and in what may be a fun high scoring one, I'll take the Skins.. That's 4-2 and that's the dream scenario.. The schedule is too conducive for a good start, be 4-2 or even be a game better (and there is no reason they couldn't steal either the Eagles or Packers game) and it's game on..
I figure losses at NE and NYJ.. It makes the second Eagles Meeting critical, with back to back road games to follow.. Beat the Eagles everything will be all right, lose and then a big time tumble could be forthcoming.. Ill be positive and call for a split with Philly, Skins win.. They go to Dallas and lose.. Then comes a visit to TB.. I have no clue whether Tampa will be competiitive or if they'll suck.. The Skins have notoriously had problems with them, I'll call a dissapointing loss in a close game..
The Skins take out their frustrations and beat the Bills handily the following week.. They lose to Chicago although the short week and home field advantage probably make this a closer game then it might have been..
They complete a sweep of the NYG< at this point, they are dead and talking about their next head coach.. I don't like Minnesota's QB situation so I'll give the Skins a much needed win over the Vikings at Minn., all I know is this Travaris jackson won't be starting by the time the Skins play that one..
In the finale, I'll take the Skins over Dallas in a game that will determine whether at least one of these two gets to the post-season..

So, I got them at 9-7 with the hopes that they steal either the Packers or Buccaneers game to go 10-6 and that would probably mean playoffs!!

Here we go! 2007..

Thursday, September 06, 2007

September 6-- Portis wants everyone to know he's ready

Clinton Portis was a little chippy with the media today saying that he is fine and won't have an issue with conditioning after missing the majority of the summer dealing with knee tendonitis.. Portis said he believes a lot of changes will come to this team (possibly including himself) should the Skins not do better then their 5-11 record of a seaosn ago.. Asked about what kind of condition he's in, Portis responded, "It's the first game of the season, no one is in football shape yet. Remeber my first carry against Tampa, I scored a long touchdown, it took me two quarters to recover from that."
Portis said he won't be shamed into staying into the game if he is winded because the cameras are on him, "If I'm tired I will go out of the game and you will watch me drink some waterand when I'm ready to go back in, you'll say he's recovered."

Gregg Williams said LB Marcus Washington will play Sunday claiming the entire team is at full strength for the opener.. The only player truly in question now is LB Khary Campbell who has a hamstring injury..

Antwaan Randle El was asked about who indeed is the #2 WR for the Skins this year.. Randle El said he thinks too much is made of last season's production saying the entire offense got "bogged down." The rotation of Randle El and Brandon Lloyd should be an interesting early season study..

One more practice until game #1!

OK men..

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September 5-- Collins is the #2

Todd Collins was named the #2 QB for the Redskins today..

LB Marcus Washington says he is expecting to play Sunday against Miami.. Washington will be fitted for a special brace, he says he is not sure how much of the rush end responsbilities he'll be asked to perform having missed a lot of practice with a dislocated elbow..

The injury report is different league wide this year.. Teams do not have to designate out/doubtful/questionable/probable until Friday.. So today the Redskins said everyone took part in practice, the only player "limited" was LB Khary Campbell (hamstring). Clinton Portis (knee), Chris Samuels (knee), Marcus Washington (elbow), Jason Campbell (knee) all fully participated..

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said he went to Carlisle as a young coach at Michigan to watch Joe Gibbs work in Gibbs's first go around as head coach of the Redskins. Gibbs said he doesn't remeber meeting Cameron but is impressed with him and the coaching staff he has assembled..

Jason Campbell says he spoke to Ronnie Brown who he ripped the other day saying he "ate too many cheesburgers," when he was at Auburn. Campbell says he spoke to Brown last night, (The two are good friends) and talked about the game.. Campbell says Brown then asked for some tickets to which Campbell responded, "those are going to be some expensive cheeseburgers."

OK men..

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 4-- No Leftwich for DC

Joe Gibbs says while the Redskins like Byron Leftwich, he feels the quarterback situation in Washington is settled and from a cap perspective, it would cost too much to bring Leftwich in, thus the Redskins don't feel he would be a "good fit" for them and thus the Skins will not actively attempt to sign him..

Gibbs also said the Ladell Betts can expect a lot of the carries come Sunday against Miami.. Clinton Portis will start for Washington but Gibbs is concerned (and for good reason) that Portis won't be able to get the typical ammount of carries for a starting back after missing most of the summer..
There is no rift between Portis and the organization over the decision to allow him to rest his knee this summer instead of practicing, Gibbs said Portis is one who calls him often during the off-season to give his two cents on player acquisition and even was among those campaigning or the drafting of Laron Landry.. Maybe he indeed is the Assistant Vice President as Jason Campbell joked on Monday..

OK men..

Monday, September 03, 2007

September 3-- Campbell skewers Portis and Ronnie Brown

QB Jason Campbell did something I haven’t seen in a Redskins quarterback in some time, he was funny!!! Campbell jokingly ripped Clinton Portis calling him “The Assistant Vice-President of the Redskins,” suggesting his summer off the practice field is because of his good standing with the organization. He also joked that “If Portis has a good game on Sunday, he may never have to play again.” This of course was all done in jest, but it was refreshing and nice to see someone point out the obvious, Portis has been on scholarship this summer..
As for playing this weekend, Joe Gibbs said Portis took part in full practice, looked good and will be the starter against Miami.. He did caution that Portis and Betts will carry the load.. (Interesting only to fantasy football owners looking to fill out the opening day roster)

Campbell wasn’t done using the media to send some rips.. He also called out former top 5 pick Ronnie Brown who used to be his collegiate roommate at Auburn.. Campbell said Ronnie “looks like he’s lost about 20 pounds since college. I guess he stopped eating all those cheeseburgers.” Asked if Brown had something he could tell the Dolphins about him, Campbell riffed, “He can tell them I am a good cook. I have to call Ronnie to see what’s on the menu.”
This is a total aside and complete opinion, but I can’t tell you how much more I am liking this guy by the day. His personality is starting to blossom, he is not afraid to say what is on his mind and is able to do it in a fun and non-threatening manner.. Combine that with his toughness this summer and guess what, we might have a real starting quarterback here for the first time in a long time..

LB Marcus Washington wore an elbow brace and took part in full practice today.. Washington said he “is shooting for the Miami game,” but is no certainty.. The team is brining in a custom made brace that he would wear on game day that Washington joked, “might be a little prettier then the one he is wearing.” Marcus said he is also unsure whether the dislocated elbow is something that figures to bother him through the season.. We’ll get a more definitive injury update on Wednesday..
LB Khary Campbell was the only player held out of practice (hamstring). T Chris Samuels was said to have taken part in all of practice and appears like he will be ready to start against Miami..

TE Chris Cooley (who will be a guest on the pre-game show) called signing his new 6 year contract extension a “relief.” He said it got to the point where he just wanted to know what was going to happen and that the talks were starting to affect him.. He said that the two sides had essentially agreed to put off talks during the season if no deal could get done, but the Skins figure to have made the right move here.. If Cooley came near his franchise high (for a TE) in receptions, which he got in 2005 (71) and had the added yards per catch to that total as he did a season ago (10 to 12.9) he would be nearing a 1000 yard season and that would have placed in rare status among TE’s making him practically un-signable next off-season..
Cooley admitted last summer when the team essentially hid their offense during the pre-season, that he and others did not know what they were supposed to do in the opener.. He says this summer was much more productive not only because it is year 2 in this offense, but because they treated the games differently..

DE Renaldo Wynn was expected to sign with the Saints after being released by the Skins over the weekend..

The team has the day off tomorrow and will resume practice on Wednesday..

OK men..

Sunday, September 02, 2007

September 2-- Two new players, practice squad named, Jordan Palmer not on it

The Redskins filled out their roster by signing former Lions and Packers WR Shaun Bodiford.. He was originally an undrafted free agent in detroit and spent this off-season with GB.. The Skins left a roster spot open for a wide receiver after cutting 23 players on Saturday..
The team also inked Tight end Cody Boyd who was released by Pittsburgh.. he was also a undrafted rookie free agent, to make room on the roster, the team released TE Eric Edwards..

The Skins came to injury settlements with FB Pete Schmidt and RB Derrick Blaylock allowing them their unconditional release..

The practice squad was selected, most notable were two names not on it, 6th round draft pick Jordan Palmer and 5th round LB Dallas Sartz both Saturday releases...

The eight guys on the practice squad are CB John Eubanks, FB Brian Bell (who essentially is Mike Sellars back-up), DE Alex Buzbee, G Kili Lefotu, LB Matt Sinclair, WR Burl Toler, LB Anthony Trucks, and CB Byron Westbrook

Saturday, September 01, 2007

September 1-- Wynn, Jimoh, Stoutmire among final cuts

Below is the list of players released by the Redskins to get to the mandatory 53 man roster.. LB Dallas Sartz was also released, injured (hamstring)..
So Sartz was the second draft pick to be released by the team.. QB Jordan Palmer became the 3d, he likely will be resigned to the practice squad on Sunday..

Veterans released: DE Renaldo Wynn, 10 years in the league the last five with Washington.. Room was made for younger speed rush end Chris Wilson and DT Lorenzo Alexander, also it means DT Ryan Coschetti is on the team once again..
CB Ade Jimoh was released, so Leigh Torrence wins the #5 CB job, John Eubanks was also released, a foregone conclusion after he injured his hamstring in the final pre-seson game..
S Omar Stoutmire is a mild surprise, Reed Doughty wins the final safety spot..
FB Fred Beasley ws also let go, a week after the team resigned him.. TE Eric Edwards made the team as the 3rd TE.. My sources tell me Washington is looking at WR and TE as all final cuts occurred this weekend..

G Jason Fabini made the team as a back-up, Taylor Whitley and Calvin Armstrong go.. Todd Wade is in as a versatile T/G..

The team has 52 players on it's roster, I would expect the spot to be filled by a WR, possibly Keenan McCardell after he was released by Houston.. There are only 4 WR's on the roster after Carl Berman, Burl Toler, Corey Bradford and Ryan Hoag were all released..

Practice squad guesses from me: Jordan Palmer, Byron Westbrook, Alex Buzbee, Matt Sinclair, Anthony Trucks, Kili Lefotu, maybe two spots from players released by other teams..

OK here's the list of releases,,

OL Calvin Armstrong
DT Matthias Askew
FB Fred Beasley
RB Brian Bell
WR Carl Berman
WR Corey Bradford
RB Dee Brown
DE Alex Buzbee
DB John Eubanks
DE Justin Hickman
WR Ryan Hoag
DB Ade Jimoh
OL Kili Lefotu
TE Jake Nordin
QB Jordan Palmer
LB Matt Sinclair
DB Omar Stoutmire
WR Burl Toler
LB Anthony Trucks
DB Byron Westbrook
OL Taylor Whitley
DE Renaldo Wynn

September 1-- Cooley gets extension, Brunell going nowhere

The Skins have extended the contract of TE Chris Cooley for six more seasons.. At this point I don't have any financials, my best guess would be that is would be close to the deal Ben Watson got from New England with a signing bonus nearing 15 million.. Cooley was heading into the final year of his contract, the team had made it clear that they would work on extending him before free agency began..

There have been no cuts as of yet as the team works it's way toward the 53 man roster.. The Skins have to cut 22 guys by 4PM..

When asked if the rumors of a Mark Brunell to Seattle deal were ture, Joe Gibbs simply said 'No." When pressed if Brunell would be on the roster come next week, Gibbs simply said "Yeah."
I have a highly placed source who essentially told me after the Jacksonville game that the Redskins are not dealing Brunell, not unless the offer from Seattle or whoever becomes overwhelming. So I'm sticking to my guns here, I know a number of outlets are continuing to report that Brunell could still be dealt, I'm saying at this point I'm 90% certain it won't happen because I believe my sources and Gibbs who told me directly after the JAX game that they are not dealing him.. But we'll see I guess..

There is no rotation set for the quarterbacks, Joe Gibbs will wait to make the decision on who will be the back-up to Jason Campbell until next week..

LG Pete Kendall is "getting settled in" according to Gibbs so it appears Kendall will remain the starter for the opner, not that this is a surprise to anyone.. Todd Wade "can play tackle in his sleep" according to Gibbs who used the former starting left guard to back-up RT on Thursday night.. Gibbs contends that Wade could play both psoitions come the season if need be..

Asked about whether he thinks this team is ready for the season, Gibbs said "We've worked very hard the last 4 years geting this team together. We feel we have a group of hard working individuals. But like I always have said, you never know. The past doesn't buy you anything." '05 bought the Skins nothing in '06, so maybe he'll be right about '07..

OK, cuts coming later, I'm off to the MD-Nova game.. QB Josh Portis apparently is going to be deemed academically ineligible and miss the season!!!! Horrific..