Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

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Friday, November 30, 2007

November 30-- 4 men arrested in Florida

It appears as if Sean taylor was the victim of random burglury.. Four men were arrested by Miami police today with charges pending following the homocide of Safety Sean Taylor..

Police say the men who's ages range from 17-26 knew that this was Taylor's home but did not expect him to be there and intimated that the group didn't go there to kill anyone but only to rob the house..
They encountered Taylor who was protecting his fiance and young child who were unharmed in the incident..

More to follow as the days progress I'm sure..

November 30--Final prep for emotional game with Bills

Injury list: Out for Sunday, WR James Thrash (ankle), FB Mike Sellers (back).
Questionable: G Randy Thomas (triceps) who has made it sound like it is more likely he will return for the Bears or Giants games, but is a possibility.. WR Antwaan Randle-El (hamstring) who was limited in Friday's practice..
Probable: Wr Santana Moss (heel), G Pete Kendall (ankle), RB Clinton Portis (soreness), DT Cornelious Griffin (foot) all took part in full practice..

Out for the Bills this weekend: RB Marshawn Lynch and Anthony Thomas.. Also DE Chad Kelsay..
QB Trent Edwards starts in place of JP Losman..

Joe Gibbs said he the team would be happy to hear the news of 3 men detained for questioning in Florida related to the Sean Taylor homicide.. Two teens and one 26 year old were in police custody as invesitigators continue to search for the assailiants who broke into Taylor's home late Sunday and fatally shot the Redskins safety.. There have been charges filed as of the time that I am writing this..

The team has opened a trust fund in the name of Taylor to benefit his one and a half year old daughter who survived the attack.. You can get all the details of where you can send donations to that on

For Sunday, a four minute tribute will be shown on the jumbotron during pre-game of the Skins-Bills game.. All those in attendence will receive #21 towels.. The team will not be selling Sean taylor merchandise at their stores on the Fed Ex premises on gameday.. Taylor's name also will be prominently displayed in one of the end zones during the game.. A Moment of silence will take place at every NFL stadium as it did prior to the Cowboys-Packers game Thursday night.. Dallas by the way was one of the first teams to call the Redskins and ask for the 21 stickers to adorn on their helmets to honor Taylor.. Deion Sanders wore a sticker last night on the NFL network postgame show following the game on his left lapel.. By the way, his interview with Terrell Owens following the game was phenominal including asking him why he made a postgame speech while not wearing a shirt and got T.O. to give him a "I love me some me," quote..
Rich Eisen asked an asinine question of "Are you the best team in the NFL?" T.O. responded politically but consiering there is an undefeated team still at large and that team happened to beat Dallas by 21 in Texas Stadium, I think it's safe to say that as of right now, we know who the best team in the league is.. Dallas is good though..

Gibbs was uncertain how his team will play this weekend only to praise the professionalism his players exhibited during what can be easily described as the worst week possible at Redskin Park..
This should be one unique atmosphere for Sunday..

Lastly, I would like to personally thank the many thoughts and opinions expressed to me via e-mail or through this blog during what was easily the most difficult week of my sports broadcasting career.. I got out of covering news because I wasn't interested in dealing with tragedy on a daily basis.. In the unique position I am as a reporter with a higher level of acces to the team, this was remarkably hard to deliver informative and cohesive broadcasts throughout the week..
Many of you sent very kind thoughts of the job myself, Larry, Kevin and the rest of the Redskins Radio crew did.. Some felt we were too insensitive at times.. The majority said we were able to help with the grieiving process and I can't thank you enough for those types of words of encouragement.. It truly meant a lot to hear from so many different fans and listeners durign a trying time..
Also, there Redskins PR staff often gets overlooked in terms of how instrumental they are in hel;ing us provide the coverage of the team on a daily basis.. This week, they did an extraordinary job of handling the crush of demands with grace and patience amid the most grim of days.. They deserve credit for helping us gain access to those who affected closely so they could share their thoughts with you through me and the other media members this week..

We have a very special pre-game show ready for Sunday's game with Buffalo, we hope you can tune in to Redskins Radio at 10AM through kickoff.. 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM, 730 AM..

As usual, you can always e-mail me directly at

OK men..

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November 29-- Moss, Portis and Williams all speak on Taylor

Those who were closest to Sean Taylor spoke today at the Park as emotions continued to run very high.. Clinton Portis said Taylor has shied away mainly from being in the media spotlight because he'd "been burned too many times," by coverage saying Taylor had explained himself so many times when indescretions were highlighted by media coverage.. When I asked Santana Moss why Taylor didn't want to reveal himself to us he succintly said, "Look what's being said about him on TV." Gregg Williams echoed the sentiments saying Taylor was "all about trust and if you broke that trust you would have to chip away for a long time before you could regain it."
The message from the Park remained that Taylor was a person who was changing his life and that the mistakes he made were ones that anyone could have made.. Williams said, "How about you tell me what you did when you were 16 years old and I tell everyone else." Moss echoed that sentiment saying "everyone, including you have things in your past you wouldn't want people to know about."

Portis said he is not going to change his number to 21 as was intimated earlier in the week.. He said he is "not Sean Taylor and don't want the fans to think of me as playing on that level." Portis remains very outwardly upset by the events of the last few days but remained very strong during the media session which lasted about 10 minutes..

Gregg Williams said he has heard about the rumors that the Redskins would start the game with ten players as an homage to Taylor but said the team has had no discussions about doing that..
The league has told the Redskins their Thursday night home game next week against Chicago will go on as scheduled.. As far as I know the Skins have not petitioned the league to change the date due to the events of the this week and the plans to send the entire team down to Florida for Monday's funeral..
The public will have a chance to view Sean taylor's body prior to the funeral in the morning at Florida International University.. The funeral itself is open to the public despite limited seating at 11AM..

Reed Doughty is expected to start in the place of Taylor on Sunday as he has in the past two games while Taylor was nursing a knee injury.. He said despite the emotions, nothing changes in terms o his role on the field..

Jason Campbell and Chris Sauels both described practice and the overall atmosphere at Redskins park as much more of a releif today then yesterday when the practice was frighteningly quiet and solemn..

Portis was asked about comments made by Cardianls CB Antrell Rolle who has known Taylor since he was six.. Rolle intimated that he did not believe Taylor's murder was random saying a number of ex-friends were jealous of him and that Taylor was scared to return to Miami.. Portis said Rolle knew Taylor longer and had no information that Taylor was a target nor even knew Taylor's house was burglurized the week prior or that Taylor had returned to Miami that weekend.. Moss said he knew nothing of Taylor's fear (through the words of Rolle) either..

Moss shared a story that Taylor once told him he wanted to cover him in practice and he said he was shocked at how close he was able to stay with him saying he was the closest any safety ever came to sticking with him.. Taylor was decsribed in the words of Moss as this team's "Ronnie Lott."

The injury report only had two changes, RB Clinton Portis did return to limited practice and G Pete Kendall returned to full practice.. G Randy Thomas practiced for a second straight day and said not to rule him out for Sunday.. Current belief was that they are targeting Thursday's game for Thomas's return from a torn triceps muscle in week 2, but we'll see how the tomorrow goes..
Bills RB's Marshawn Lynch (ankle) and Anthony Thomas (calf) are both out for Sunday's game..

Ok men..

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

November 28-- More on the day after

The team has signed WR Jimmy Farris to take the roster spot of Sean Taylor.. Also the team elevated LB Matt Sinclair from the practice squad.. T Kevin Sampson was released.. WR Burl Toler was signed back to the practice squad to replace Sincalir..

Injury list from Wednesday.. Out of practice: RB Clinton Portis (general soreness), DT Cornelious Griffin (foot), G Pete Kendall (ankle), FB Mike Sellers (back), WR James Thrash (ankle)..
Limited in practice: WR Santana Moss (heel), WR Antwaan Randle-El (hamstring)..
G Randy Thomas (triceps) took part in full practice, there was no word whether he would be able to play this weekend..

The Bills injury list is lengthy, among the most notable: DE Chris Kelsay (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle), WR Roscoe Parrish (illness), TE Robert Royal (ankle), S Donte Whitner (player decision).. All were held out of practice...

Following practice today, a strangely quiet practice (under the circumstances it was understandable) we heard our first contact with players who were willing to speak with the media.. DE Phillip Daniels fought back tears as he sturggled with the idea of "not having Sean taylor in the huddle anymore."
London Fletcher was particularly poignant and strong (he has dealt with an adverse ammount of tragedy in his life) and said that he had "wished people got to know the Sean Taylor we got to know in the locker room." Lb Marcus Washington shared his memories sying Sean was a very patient and gentle man.. He said that when he would introduce Taylor to his family and friends that Sean was often very kind to his kids and that often people would ask him afterward, "Is that really Sean Taylor?"

Fletcher said "nothing was normal about today," that it was very difficult to focus during practice and meetings.. Joe Gibbs said the day never began to have a semblence of normalcy but he did feel as if "once the team got back to work, things began to feel better."

The players said Taylor's fiance Jackie spoke about how much you must embrace life because it can be too short.. Pedro Taylor also shared with the players how much he enjoyed being part of their team and how much his teammates meant to him..

There was a story floating about how Taylor (with a sprained knee) rode his bike for 30 miles while in Florida as he continued to recover form his injury while not with the team.. Marcus spoke of Taylor being a person who even if his workouts and preparation were done, was someone who would join him if he was about the continue his prep work.. Taylor's work ethic was a point of emphasis today as well..

RB Clinton Portis, WR Santana Moss and the bulk of his secondary teammates declined to speak today many of them too broken up to sare their thoughts.. We will see how tomorrow goes in that regard..

Every player I spoke to said they wanted to play this weekend for Sean because thats what he would have wanted..
I saw owner Dan Snyder today and expressed our concern and shared sorrow for the loss.. Joe Gibbs remained very strong in the face of the adversity, he called the day unique and continued to express that the team is "living hour by hour."

Until tomorrow..

November 28-- Team is back at practice but remains silent

The team is on the practice field as we speak, RB Clinton Portis is in street clothes but on the field, there is no reason yet given for his absence from practice..
It is eerily quiet on the field and to be honest it’s like following a room of zombies today.. In fact while watching the early moments of practice, you could hear the lifts that hold the camermen who film the session.. The only thing audible to the sideline was coaches orders, a rarity..
No players spoke during the open locker room session which was changed from it’s normal format of opening the actual locker room.. Players were asked to come up to the media room but none elected to do so at this point.. Joe Gibbs will address us after practice..

Chaplain Brett Fuller was part of the team meeting that took place this morning, Pedro Taylor, father of Sean, the fiancée and other family members attended.. Taylor spoke to the team for approximately 8-10 minutes and told them he wants the team to play and win the rest of their games to make the playoffs because that’s what Sean would have wanted..
Gibbs and owner Dan Snyder both spoke to the team as well although their sentiments and the more private moments have yet to be revealed..

Former Kicker John Hall was here to see teammates for support.. He said he has been unable to cope with the aftermath of the tragedy himself and wanted to check in on his former teammates..

Two conference calls with the Bills went on as scheduled, Coach Dick Jauron said his team has addressed the Taylor issue and that his heart goes out to the Redskins organization as well..
Former Skins guard Derrick Dockery said he has spoken to former teammates including Chris Samuels over the last 48 hours and said he has been affected by the tragedy as well.. He intimated that he believes the Redskins will want to play in light of the death of Taylor saying he knows that’s what Sean would want.. He also echoed a number of sentiments issued by those who knew Sean Taylor crediting him for becoming a better person over the last couple of years and said Taylor was not “making the same mistakes he used to on the field and off of it.”

I’ll have more as the day progresses.. The media horde is larger then the one that was here yesterday..


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November 27-- The Day at Redskins Park after the Taylor tragedy

I guess I'm not even sure where to begin to describe the scene at Redskins Park on what ended up being a extraordinarily tragic day.

The team began the process of unfurling a black cloth over the "Washington Redskins" sign at the front of the building, they never actually covered the sign but the message was obvious..
Jason Campbell was one of the two players who addressed the media. Due to the large number of reporters at Redskins Park, his statement was given outside the building and he did not take questions. Still, within his :90 he nearly broke down in tears and when he was about to lose his compsoure, the Redskins staff member who escorted him ended the statement.. Reed Doughty also spoke of the impact of losing a teammate at the age of 24..

Dan Snyder and Joe Gibbs held a press conference together to discuss their experiences of the past two days and where the team goes from here.. Snyder was outwardly distraught speaking of how porud he was of "the man" Sean Taylor was becoming. He was guarded in terms of discussing the intimate discussions he had with the family and other league officials..

As of now, the two home games scheduled for the next ten games will go forward as planned, but I did ask Gibbs if he wanted to play this weekend, he took a long pause and said "sometimes you are obligated to do things you might not want to do." The team is scheduled to return toi the practice field tomorrow and the locker room is scheduled to be open as usual so we shall see how the bulk of the team responds as they attempt to prepare for the game with Buffalo..

Gibbs and Snyder both emphasized Taylor's growth as a person more so then what his talents were on the field.. Gibbs said Taylot had become more religious in recent months attending "every chapel service" and said he believes that through his relationship with "the Lord he is now in a better place." Gibbs again cited the birth of his now 18 month old daughter as the integral moment that may have changed Taylor for the better..

Clinton Portis reportedly wants to change his number to 21 for the rest of the season. I'm uncertain if he will be allowed to do so.. The team will wear a patch on their jersey and stickers on their helmets to memorialize Taylor.. Over 60 stickers were expected to be shipped to Dallas after the Cowboys called wanting to honor Taylor by wearing the stickers on their helmets for their Thursday night game against Green Bay. Snyder said that every team in the league may end up doing the same..

There was pure grief prevalent throughout the building, team officials hugging each other after staff meetings.. I lost it myself a few times, even on the air.. As I was leaving the Park, at least 300 people had gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of Taylor and two memorials were being set up for fans to express their sorrow, one near the Hall of Fame store at Fed Ex Field and another painted number 21 in a grassy section on the property at Redskin park outside the main gate.. Funeral arrangements were no clear at the time that I am writing this but the team is hopeful to go as a group to Florida to attend.. It will obviously be dependent on schedule..

Gibbs said he had no further knowledge as to why Taylor had returned to Miami for a second straight week but said Taylor was not breaking a team policy by leaving on Sunday despite his injured status.. He did not go with the team to Tampa due to a sprained knee suffered in the Philadelphia game..

I think it is worth emphasizing the INCREDIBLE job Kevin Sheehan did this afternoon on the radio.. Gary Braun, Riggo, Larry Michael, Chris Johnson, Brian Corson, Tod Castleberry, everyone involved today with dealing with this subject was beyond professional and extremely compelling. IT was an honor to work alongside everyone at Redskins Radio today and couldn't be more proud of my colleagues.. Having hosted extended coverage of tragedy (maybe not this severe before) I can't explain to you from the broadcasters point of view how mentally taxing it can be to disseminate the information in a deliberate and forthcoming manner, in that regard, Kevin was extraordinary..

Here's to better days..


November 27-- Sean Taylor Dies

After a night where his family and friends discussed "positive signs" and a "Ray of hope" after Sean Taylor responded to some simple directions from a doctor in Miami, the Redskins safety passed away early this morning from complications resulting from a single gun shot wound that severed a main artery in his leg..

We'll have more as the morning progresses...

Monday, November 26, 2007

November 26-- Taylor Update

VP of football operations Vinny Cerrato said Sean Taylor was able to respond to some simple commands including sqeezing a nurse's hand and some eye movement as his recovery from a gunshot wound continues..

He remains in intensive care in critical condition at a Miami hospital after a run-in with an armed assailaint or assailaints last night.. It was the second time his home was broken into in less then 8 days..
Joe Gibbs said Taylor alerted him to an incident where his house was burglurized 8 days ago and went to Miami to work with the police and clean the place up.. A knife was reportedly found on his bed..

Taylor's lawyer and family friend Richard Sharpstein told us that he is not sure whether the incidents were coincidental, he also told us he turned over files from a case two years ago when Taylor's car was shot at after he attempted to retrieve stolen ATV vehicles.. Taylor was called a "victim" of the events that night by Sharpstein, but charges of felony aggravated assault were dropped to misdemeanors when a attention seeking D.A. was exposed.. Abd he admitted there could be a connection to the people who were involved in that incident calling them "very dangerous people."

Gibbs said he did not know that Taylor was returning to Miami this weekend and typically players who are injured and receiving treatment stay in Washington when they don't make the team trip to an away game.. Taylor was with his girlfriend and 1 and half year old child during the incident last night but they were unharmed.. ..
Taylor may have had a mchete in his hands for self defense when the intruders barged in.. The shooting took place in or near his bedroom when the assailiants according to Sgarpstein kicked in the door when he tried to lock them out..

So there is what is being described as a "ray of hope," as his recovery continues..

A vigil was held by some fans last night at Redskins park and the contingent of Dan Snyder, Bubba Tyer, Clinton Portis and Cerrato as of when I was writing this were still in Miami..

November 26-- Taylor Update

VP of football operations Vinny Cerrato said Sean Taylor was able to respond to some simple commands including sqeezing a nurse's hand and some eye movement as his recovery from a gunshot wound continues..

He remains in intensive care in critical condition at a Miami hospital after a run-in with an armed assailaint or assailaints last night.. It was the second time his home was broken into in less then 8 days..
Joe Gibbs said Taylor alerted him to an incident where his house was burglurized 8 days ago and went to Miami to work with the police and clean the place up.. A knife was reportedly found on his bed..

Taylor's lawyer and family friend Richard Sharpstein told us that he is not sure whether the incidents were coincidental, he also told us he turned over files from a case two years ago when Taylor's car was shot at after he attempted to retrieve stolen ATV vehicles.. Taylor was called a "victim" of the events that night by Sharpstein, but charges of felony aggravated assault were dropped to misdemeanors when a attention seeking D.A. was exposed.. Abd he admitted there could be a connection to the people who were involved in that incident calling them "very dangerous people."

Gibbs said he did not know that Taylor was returning to Miami this weekend and typically players who are injured and receiving treatment stay in Washington when they don't make the team trip to an away game.. Taylor was with his girlfriend and 1 and half year old child during the incident last night but they were unharmed.. ..
Taylor may have had a mchete in his hands for self defense when the intruders barged in.. The shooting took place in or near his bedroom when the assailiants according to Sgarpstein kicked in the door when he tried to lock them out..

So there is what is being described as a "ray of hope," as his recovery continues..

A vigil was held by some fans last night at Redskins park and the contingent of Dan Snyder, Bubba Tyer, Clinton Portis and Cerrato as of when I was writing this were still in Miami..

November 26-- Sean Taylor in Critical Condition

Here's what I know: Sean Taylor was shot at least once in his leg at or around 1:45AM last night at a home he owns in Palmetto Bay an incorporated community in Mimai.. A bullett severed the femoral artery in his leg, a main artery and Taylor lost copious ammounts of blood..
He was airlifted to a Miami area hospital where he underwent 6 hours of surgery.. And as of the time of writing this, he is in critical condition..

Owner Dan Snyder along with other members of the organization, from players to front office are heading to Miami now to be with the friends and family of Taylor..

Critical is the operative word here, a couple of players said they had heard that Taylor was in a coma following the surgery.. Others say they had heard his condition was "stabilizing."

Joe Gibbs has yet to address the media, Snyder did giving only a statement saying he had no new information only that "our hearts and prayers go out to Sean and his family."

Clinton Portis was virtually in tears speaking about Taylor, " everyone knows the changes Sean endured. He was a new Sean when he had his daughter. He changed his life, he changed his attitude, he wa sone of the best teammates you could have."

Gregg Williams had been touting Taylor as not only the best athlete he has coached, but a player who had matured to become of the leaders of this defense.. Chris Samuels said that he "had talked to coach Gibbs a few weeks back about how much Sean had matured."

Taylor was aloof with the media, he didn't trust us, including myself, I rarely if ever spoke to him. He declined practically every interview request from just about anyone who covered the team. But his teammates had spoken up for him in recent weeks saying what kind of teammate he'd become, how much repsonsibility he'd taken on about his profession as a football player and how the birth of his daughter really changed his attitude and outlook on life..

The team was apprised as a whole this morning when Joe Gibbs and the team's chaplain addressed the group and held a team prayer.
It is believed that Santana Moss's mother is with the family at the Miami hosopital and she has been giving updates to the team throughout the morning and into the afternoon, but nothing I have heard has been substanatiated to the point where I feel comfortable reporting it..
What's clear is the next 24 hours is critical in every sense of the word..

Sunday, November 25, 2007

November 25-- Skins drop to 5-6 after falling in Tampa 19-13

There goes the best 5 and 6 team ever.. Kidding, sort of..

6 turnovers turns out to be one too many as Washington falls to Tampa Bay 19-13.. They allowed 16 first half points on four fumbles, three recovered inside the Redskins 20 yard line.. Jason Campbell threw 2 late game interceptions, (numbers 2 and 3 if counting from last week) that prevented the team from possibly scoring the game winning touchdown.. The first was grabbed by Ronde Barber who was covering Keenan McCardell in the slot, the throw was to Santana Moss on an out.. Barber went inside McCardell and jumped the route, bottom line, he made a nice play.. The second throw was a bad one in the back of the end zone with under a minute to play down six picked by Brian Kelly..

Campbell wasn't as publicly dismayed by the loss as he was a week ago in Dallas but by all accounts continues to take the late game failures pretty hard.. All of his teammates who were asked about the inability to finish games for Campbell as something they believe he should not take on himself..
Joe Gibbs said it is not something he is worried about the "long term effects of."

WR Antwaan Randle El injured his hamstring in the first half and did not return in the seocnd half.. He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow.. McCardell replaced him on punt returns, interesting choice considering Moss's history of punt return success but Moss has been injured himself, a likely reason..
McCardell had his best game as a Skinw ith 5 catches, he said he was very tight ealy because of returning to Florida and all the success he had playing in the state, but that he calmed down..

Clinton Portis fumbled twice in the first half and took the blame for the miscues.. Portis was asked about the team's constant close calls against better teams in the league and he said that what is promising to him is that there has been a lot of frustration since joining the team four years ago and that the team believes "they have some of the best talent, the only thing missing is wins." But because the team doesn't stop fighting nor takes an attitude that they believe they can't win, he knows the team will bounce back and play hard regardless of the outcome..

There is a strange similarity to the '05 season when the Skins lost three in a row including a close one in Tampa that dropped them to 5-6 before they ran off 5 straight to make the playoffs.. The outcomes (prior to the NE-Philly game) were all mainly good for Washington as Arizona, Detroit and the Giants lost, so Washington remains one back of the Lions for the final playoff spot, and two back of the Giants for the 5 spot and the own a tiebreaker over the Lions..

Other injuries: DT Cornelious Griffin (ankle) he injured it last week and it flared up again on him.. QB Jason Campbell suffered a forearm injury that he played through and the team doesn't believe it is serious..

The Redskins defense held Tampa to 13 offensive plays in the second half and 15 yards, no first downs.. This was as close to a perfect defensive half as anyone could have.. When asked about it, Gregg Williams said the team needed to turn the Bucs over, the one part missing.. Washington lost the turnover battle 6-0.. Williams said the game plan defensively did not change when Jeff Garcia left the game on the first Buc series and was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski.. He praised Jon Gruden for "the best coaching job he has done in his career playing to his team's strengths an today playing to let his defense win the game." Williams downplayed any team phsyche repair after giving up 47 second half points in the two previous losses to the Eagles and Cowboys..

Joe Gibbs defended a 4th and 1 call inside the Bucs five down 19-10 by saying "it was only six inches and we had momentum." the Call was made by Campbell who could choose between a QB snak and a run play, Campbell said the defense dictated the Redskins go with the run play that was stopped behind the line of scrimmage..

T Stephon Heyer made his first start in place of Todd Wade (knee) who was inactive.. WR James Thrash (ankle), S Sean Taylor (knee) both missed their second straight games.. FB Mike Sellers was inactive as well due to a back injury..

OK men..

Friday, November 23, 2007

November 23-- I'm back, Sellers isn't

I picked an odd time to catch a cold.. I'm starting to think I caught it from someone at the Park because I felt fine on Tuesday then woke up Wednesday morning and felt like someone hit me over the head with a 2x4.. But I'm slowly creeping back into shape ready for the warm weather of Tampa and hopefully a win..
By the way, never get sick on Thanksgiving, the docs don't really want to leave their turkey to get you some antibiotics so I'm sucking this one up hoping the over the counter meds work..

Injury report: G Randy Thomas (trcieps), S Sean Taylor (knee) and WR James Thrash (ankle) are all out..
FB Mike Sellers had x-rays done on his back which he injured in practice on Wednesday.. He is listed as doubtful and though he won't rule himself out, Joe Gibbs conceded he probably won't even make the trip.. This is a big loss!!
Questionable: T Todd Wade who will wamr up Sunday morning an if he can't go Stephon Heyer would start..
Probable: RB Ladell Betts (illness) T Stephon Heyer (illness), thus my theory that something was going around out there that I caught, good news is within 24 hours I felt a world better and better news, the Redskins docs do leave their turkeys to get the players better quickly..
DT Cornelious Griffin was limited in practice (foot) but is expected to play, also probable.. G Pete Kendall (ankle), WR Santana Moss (heel), WR Antwaan Randle-El (chest), LB London Fletcher (ribs) all practiced and are all probable..

TB injury report: DE Greg Spires (calf) is out.. RB Michael Pittman (ankle) is doubtful.. FB BJ Askew (ankle) is questionable.. WR Michael Clayton (ankle) and RB Earnest Graham (ankle) are both probable..

The team brought back TE/H Back Brian Kozlowski, a favorite in the locker room and released WR Jimmy Farris to take the spot of Mike Sellers who appears like he'll be inactive for the game.. Kozlowski was someone Gibbs described as a player who "just won't die." He wasn't suggesting Koz should actually die, just that his playing career won't come to a complete end..

Now for the playoff talk fun: Did the numbers on the contenders at this point, Detroit who looks like a complete fraud now after home losses five days apart, has five games against teams with a combined record of 33-21.. Arizona looks like the one to be most concerned about, the Cardinals opponents combined record is 23-53.. Yikes.. But the Skins do hold a tiebreaker and Seattle could lose their division to AZ meaning a Seattle collapse could put them squarely in the Skins crosshairs.. Best case scenario of course is Seattle beats AZ when they meet in a few weeks.. Washington owns the tiebreaker over the Cardinals thanks to their win at Fed Ex Field..
Philly is 5-5 heading to 5-6 with a trip to NE and are facing teams with a combined record of 42-18 with AJ Feeley likely at QB, see ya phatties..
NO faces teams that are 27-33 but with losses to Houston and Carolina those guys don't look primed for a playoff run.. Carolina has a 69 year old QB and a schedule against teams that are 36-26, hello Bill Cowher..
Chicago faces teams that are 35-26 and have to play here and Minnesota goes against teams that are 29-33 but also face the Skins.. Both of them are 4-6.. Basically Washington wins over those two go a long way to probably get the Skins in the playoffs.. Beat the NYG too and we might be talking about a five seed but a likely playoff game out west as opposed to going back to TB, so pick your poison.. If I'm the Skins D which has been torched in rceent weeks, I think I'd rather take my chances ith the Bucs again then fly across country to face a team that throws and throws and throws..

The NFC East race for Washington is effectively over, they would need Dallas to go 0-5 down the stretch and the Skins to go 6-0 with the Giants losing at least 3 of their final 6 for Washington to steal the division, so the five spot is the highest realistic possibility and that may take some work..

for those who care, I didn't fry a turkey yesterday because of wind factors.. The reason why it is so dangerous is because the turkey fryer is actually just a propane blow torch with a pot sitting on top of it.. If the wind didn't blow the flame out (which it did five times) it turned the turkey pot into a mini-conflagration, so because of weather delays, we are holding off until next year.. It sucks, but at least I still have my house and arms..

OK men..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 20-- Jason needs to "shut his trap."

The Redskins signed former Giants/Auburn WR Anthony Mix, a 6’4” 240 pound receiver.. He was taken off the NYG practice squad and according to Joe Gibbs was someone who got a big endorsement from his former QB Jason Campbell..
T Calvin Armstrong was released and re-signed to the Redskins practice squad, a sign that the Todd Wade injury is not deemed overly serious even though it is possible Stephon Heyer will be starting in his place Sunday against TB..

G Rick DeMulling was released, so the injury issues of the O-line have been subsiding and the return of Randy Thomas could be just a few weeks away.. Thomas is already deemed out for this weekend’s game..
Also, WR Burl Toler was released from the practice squad to make room for Armstrong..

Joe Gibbs was quite effusive on Redskins Radio today when he was asked about a audible Jason Campbell made during the Dallas game that ended up in Santana Moss’s one handed catch against Dallas.. Gibbs said Jason needs to learn to “shut his trap” about telling the media things like that.. He also hinted that Larry Michael, who asked Gibbs about it should tell Jason “since he can get through to him” to keep some of those state secrets more to himself..
Gibbs wasn’t overly angry at Campbell who revealed that tidbit during the post game locker room interview session..
On Campbell’s emotions following the game Gibbs said it shows “how much the game means to him and hopefully next time he won’t make some of the same mistakes.” Gibbs told a funny story about dealing with different personalities at the position saying Joe Theismann would never take losses like that to heart believing “it was always someone else’s fault.” He also said his son was like that saying “Coy would fall off his water skis when I was driving the boat and then blame me!”

Gibbs praised the pre-game energy that was brought into the game against Dallas but after another loss, there of course is concern that team will be able to “Bring it again. We were rockin’ and rollin”. Now, can we do that again?”

Believe it or not, the Redskins say their game plan was attempting to take T.O. away from the Cowboys, but as the defensive coaches learned, “some of these young guys got an interesting induction into the NFL.”
Missing Sean Taylor of course hurt this team, described best by Gibbs who said, “He’s the best at his position in the league. Nobody has even tried to go downfield on him even New England.” So we’ll see how the Skins respond with Taylor likely out again this weekend..

The Redskins are one of the few if not only teams that does not have players wearing the designated “C” on their uniforms this year.. Gibbs said the Redskins captains are chosen on a weekly basis dependent on performance in games and in practice.. That is not expected to change..

OK men..

Monday, November 19, 2007

November 19-- Backs against the wall

On Jason Campbell's emotions after the game Sunday: Joe Gibbs says it is something that is not premeditated and it is something that shows how much the game means to him.. The mood in general following another close loss was pretty upbeat, but at 5-5 and with the division title all but out of the question the team and Gibbs knows, "our backs are up against the wall." Gibbs remains positive about the playof prospects knowing he has tie breakers against Detroit and Arizona, "we knew those were going to be big games."
TE Chris Cooley called the game with TB a must win..

Gibbs joked about playing in Tampa, a regular occurrence (and not one that I mind) that he "needs to talk to the athletic director about this one. We should be getting a home and home at some point here."

On the opening of the offense, Gibbs conceded he doesn't want to get into a situation where the team is throwing 54 passes, but he knows the game with the Cwoboys turned into a shootout and the Skins had no choice with time constraints not to open it up and give it to Campbell to make some plays.. The players are very intereste din putting more on Jason's shoulders but Gibbs remains adament that a physical run team as part of a balanced attack will remain the mantra of the team.. Gibbs also conceded the team remains in attempt to try and find some consistency on offense..

The defense should be a point of contention this week, The Skins have given up 47 second half points the last two games in divisional losses.. Add the Giants falter and they have given up 68 second half points in those three losses.. Washington has given up 152 points combined in the last 5, and average of 30 a game.. The Skins contend the breakdowns n the secondary in the second half wree mental and a byproduct of "young players getting some chances in the secondary." Laron Landry was switching between free and string safety during the Cowboys game..

Injury Report: T Todd Wade had an MRI, it showed a grade 1 sprain of the MCL in his knee, he is day to day and could play this weekend.. If he doesn't, rookie Stephon Heyer would start at RT.. LB London Fletcher has bruised ribs, he'll be OK.. DT Cornelious Griffin sprained his ankle and has a bruised foot as well, X-rays negative, he's day to day.. G Pete Kendall is treating sore knees and ankles, he should be fine but might miss some practice time as he has in recent weeks..
WR Santana Moss made it through the game well with his bruised heel..
S Sean Taylor has been described as doubtful for the game with the Buccaneers, it's better then out which was expected.. But with a sprained knee, it remains unlikely..
G Randy Thomas remains out rehabbing his torn triceps muscle..
WR James Thrash, high ankle sprain will get out of walking boot later this week and is questionable to play against TB..
S Reed Doughty has a bruised knee, hs is expected to be fine..
CB Fred Smoot and LB Marcus Washington both got through the game well and are expected to be feeling better heading into this week's game with the Buccaneers..
WR Antwaan Randle-El suffered a sprain in the joint securing the clavicle and the sternum.. he took a shot from Ken Hamlin after a catch in the Cowboys game.. Randle-El is looking forward to the rematch where he may have some things to say to Hamlin..
QB Jason Campbell has what is being described as a minor throwing hand injury..

On the Rocky McIntosh Intercpetion, Joe Gibbs believes the video evidence was extremely close and maintains the only way anything like that should be overturned is with concrete evidence.. He cited the Green Bay call against James Thrash as another momentum killing moment in games that could be the difference in two games against 9-1 teams on the road..

The team will get a "good break" following the Thursday game with the Bears in 2 and a half weeks, but Gibbs proclaimed this stretch as a defining one, saying it will "set up the final 3 games." I know I know..

OK men..

November 19-- Belated Musing from the Dallas loss

OK, I’m awake now..

Injuries: T Todd Wade, sprained knee, DT Cornelious Griffin, sprained ankle, LB London Fletcher, bruised ribs.. We should get updates later this afternoon on all of them..

WR Santana Moss, who was supposed to be limited to a set amount of plays recovering from a heel injury certainly played more snaps then expected but have a season high 121 yards and scored his first TD of the season in the loss..
QB Jason Campbell set career highs in attempts and yards with 33 and 348, 2 TD’s 1 INT.. His passer rating however ended up at 84.5, lower then Tony Romo after Romo connected on 22 of 32 and threw 4 TD passes to One INT..

This will be making the rounds on the local news tonight, but apparently Campbell was teary eyed after he threw an INT late that ended a potential game winning drive.. Chris Samuels said he consoled Campbell who admitted to some tears and said he isn’t embarrassed by it..

LB Marcus Washington returned to play against the Cowboys after missing 4 of his last 5 with a hamstring injury..
The Skins were as hyped for a game as I have seen, they were staring down the Cowboys when Dallas took the field during the pre-game and one player told me Fred Smoot was “going berserk” in the locker room that got everyone ready..
One longtime vet told me this team wanted this “so badly,” based mainly on the lack of success through recent years playing in Dallas..

On the huge day by Terrell Owens (8 for 173) a number of members of the secondary said it was “mental errors” in the defensive backfield that led to the numerous long scores (3 of over 31 yards in the second half) not coverage scheme.. This was as mad as I’ve seen the typically even keeled Jerry Gray during the game.. The coach got into it with Pierson Prioleau and Shawn Springs after the second T.O. TD of the second half with a garbage can feeling his wrath..

Clinton Portis went split left on a play late in the 4th and no Cowboy bothered to cover him.. Portis was obviously miffed at the lack of run calls on short yardage plays and of course was disappointed after Jason Campbell failed to see him on the play where Dallas left him alone, he would have scored easily..
The Skins ran it 17 times, they threw it 54, 26 times in the 4th quarter of a game where they fell behind by as many as 12 in the final quarter..

Most of the players remained optimistic after the loss feeling as if they had “let another slip away.” Asked if this team remains a playoff contender, Santana Moss returned that query to a reporter asking directly, “Do you think we have a chance?” When the reporter said, “It’s getting tough,” Moss responded that “It doesn’t matter what outsiders think. We know what we can do now we just have to do it.”

Joe Gibbs was wondering if the overturned Rocky McIntosh interception in the second half was made with “clear evidence.” The replay appeared to have shown the ball hitting the ground.. The team chose not to review a 3rd and 15 pass in the first half to T.O. to the Skins 9 that led to Dallas’s first score.. The replay possibly would have shown him not getting both feet in before securing possession of the ball.. This happened at the 2 minute warning so there was ample time to throw the flag, but Skins officials believed it would not have been overturned..

Washington has given up 47 points in the second half of the last two games.. In their last 3 division games, Washington has given up 68 points in the second half of the three losses combined..
To win the NFC east, The Skins would need to go 6-0 down the stretch and have Dallas lose 5 of their final 6.. The good news is the wild card remains firmly in their grasp.. Detroit is 6-4 but the Skins own that tiebreaker.. Arizona and Philly are both 5-5 but the Skins hold a tiebreaker on the Cardinals and split with Philly.. The Eagles have to play New England in Foxborough this weekend..

The Redskins rush D did hold a team under four yards per carry for the first time in five games, the Cowboys rushed it 25 times for 72 yards, 2.9 per carry..

Fred Smoot called Tony Romo the “best backyard quarterback he’s ever seen.” Smoot contends most quarterbacks are coached to throw passes away when certain coverages dictate certain issues, but Romo rarely will throw it away and it’s his playmaking ability that makes the Dallas O go..

OK men..

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November 15-- Farris tells T.O. tales

WR Brandon Lloyd was placed on injured reserve today ending his season, and possibly career with the Skins.. VP of football operations Vinny Cerrato would not speculate as to whether Lloyd has played his last game with the team and called the news "sad, because he was going to play a big role this weekend." Cerrato said Lloyd was going to be on special teams as well as figuring into the offensive game plan with the injuries at WR..

The team signed Jimmy Farris who has worked out for the team twice during training camp.. Farris has been out of football since the summer when he failed to make the Jaguars..
Jimmy is a good friend of Terrell Owens who he said he called and told he was coming to Dallas this weekend.. Owens apparently took Farris in when he was a undrafted rookie in San Francisco.. Farris lived with T.O. and said the two ate dinner 4 nights a week, went to movies together, played pool where the loser would have to do ten push-ups for every ball left on the table, etc. Farris sayd he believes outside of T.O.'s family, he might be one of his closest friends..
Farris also still owns a number of clothes that T.O. gave to him, apparently when Owens would receive gear and would stick it in the dryer, it would end up not fitting him anymore so he told Farris to go into his laundry room and "load up."
Farris promised me during an interview that will air during the pre-game show this weekend that should he actually score a touchdown in Dallas, he would do something to show off to Owens, but asked if he would run to the star, he responded, "I think Joe Gibbs would hang me by my face mask!"

WR Santana Moss is hopeful to return to practice tomorrow, his bruised heel kept him out of practice again today.. He decsribed the injury as something that sounds as if it is "soft," but because he is having nerve issues with the bruise, he said it is affecting the "things that I can do."
WR James Thrash (high ankle sprain) was out of practice for a second straight day..
S Sean Taylor (sprained knee) missed practice as well, he won't play this weekend anyway..
CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) took part in limited portions of practice..
LB Marcus Washington (hamstring) was part of full practice for a second straight day..
G Pete Kendall (ankle/knees) returned to full practice after being limited on Wednesday..

RB Clinton Portis did not dress up this week claiming that "when I find Choo-Choo, I'm going to choke him out! He kept me out of the end zone." Portis dressed as Choo-Choo the dance instructor before the Eagles game..
Portis is now the 3rd leading rusher in the league this season, asked about this suddenly new standing, he said "I don't care about being the third leading rusher. I'd rather have the wins then the stats."

CB Shawn Springs is heading back to Dallas this weekend to play where his father was a star, in the meantime, Ron Springs remains in a Dallas hospital in critical condition resting in a coma.. Springs has remained quiet this week deferring requests to speak to the media about the situation, but his teammates and coaches have priased his ability to put the sad news aside and work extra time to remain up to date with the game week preparation. Springs has been travelling in the early parts of each week the last month or so to visit with family in Dallas then returns to Redskins park and is said to be staying late and coming in early to stay up to date. Gregg Williams credited his leadership through adversity..

OK men..

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 14-- Lloyd breaks shoulder in practice

WR Brandon Lloyd suffered a broken clavicle on the last play of practice today, he will not require surgery but will be out a minimum of six weeks meaning he will likely be placed on injured reserve ending his season.. The team currently has three healthy receivers on the active roster, possibly four if Santana Moss can return to play against the Cowboys, more on him in a minute..

The injury to Lloyd may eefectively end his playing career as a Washington Redskins.. Lloyd has two catches this season after being releagted to the 4th and sometimes 5th receiver on the depth chart following a lacksadasical play in the opener against Miami where he didn't make a play on a ball that was intercepted in the end zone and subsequently didn't chase after the defender who was returning it..
The cap impact of cutting Lloyd will be in the neighboorhood of 7.1 million dollars should the Skins decide to take the entire hit on next year's cap, or they could release him and make an exception for next season, take a hit of approximately 1.8 million for 2008, and the rest on th following cap..
The team currently has no receivers on the practice squad..

WR Santana Moss missed practice with a bruised heel.. The MRI he underwent showed no new damage but the tissue injury is affecting a nerve in his foot, as why he can't currently run.. The team remains hopeful that the swelling will reduce in the foot and he will return by the end fo the week..
WR James Thrash is using a walking boot and crutches to support his high ankle sprain.. He did not practice and is not expected to play this week in practice..

S Sean Taylor was held out of practice (knee), G Pete Kendall was also held out of practice (knee/ankle).. The training staff said he will be fien for this weekend, he just has soreness in his knees and ankles because in football, he's considered a "senior citizen."
LB Marcus Washington took part in full practice (hamstring) he has missed four of the last five games..
CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) was limited in practice today..

Cowboys injury list: WR Terry Glenn (knee) will not play this weekend..
CB Anthony Henry (ankle) was limited in practice.. WR Isiah Stanback (shoulder) took part in full practice, not that that matters..

During Jason Campbell's media session, he was harrassed by one player, either Smoot or Antwaan Randle-El who kept yelling at him while he had a crowd of reporters around him.. Among the jibes, "Look at those lips. I haven't seen lips that big since I owned a catcher's mitt.. Steee-rike." And my personal favorite, "I hope you don't kiss any girls Jason, you might suffocate them."
This is standard practice for the weekly media meeting, Campbell is very good natured and even shoots back when it happens saying at one point, "Was that Randle-El? Tell him I got some miracle grow for his forehead."

Fred Smoot joined Larry and myself for Redskins Radio today, he said the team gave out the "Tyrone Hill Award" for the ugliest player on the team.. And the winner is, Stephon Heyer, T, University of Maryland. The runner up gets the "Sam Cassell Award" but I can't remember who he said that went to..

Smoot was among the players I spoke with who stood behind Joe Gibbs as Gibbs has been getting criticized through the week for the in game management problems during the Eagles loss.. Smoot said, he loves Gibbs and then defended him by saying "show me a coach who doesn't make mistakes. I'd like to meet him."
Antwaan Randle-El told me he "hates all the citicism Gibbs is getting." He did admit that Gibbs should not be held to a higher standard or be given a reprieve based on his Hall of Fame credentials, but he said he believes Gibbs takes too much of the blame in general when the team loses...
Jason campbell said the criticism is "not fair, we all need to do better, players and coaches.."

Campbell also had an interesting slip during his session when asked about a comparison to Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, "We play in different offneses, his offense is more wide open and we are more of a run based offense, so we are different players in different offenses, as a quarterback you have to do what they ALLOW you to do." How about them apples.

Chris Cooley defended the offense's call on 3rd and goal from the 7 in the 4th quarter against Philly (it was his false start penalty that moved them back) by saying "we work on the plays during the week we think will work against an opponent, it's easy to say the coaches made the wrong calls if they don't work." Cooley said he is hopeful for a big day after he saw Jeremy Shockey get 12 catches against Dallas last week.. Since his 9 for 105 and a TD game in Green Bay, Cooley has had a combined 12 catches for 125 yards and one TD in four games.. With the lack of depth at WR, it will be interesting to see how incorporated he'll be this week..

The Dallas Morning News reports a Plano man was arrested for distributing illegal performance enhancing substances.. The report suggests that the man told FBI agents that he has sold the products to former and current Cowboys.. I asked Wade Phillips directly about the story and he said he "knew nothing about it and had no comment."

OK men..

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November 13-- Gibbs on Redskins Radio

Joe Gibbs continued to stand behind his decision making saying it definitely wouldn’t have been smart to take a 5 yard penalty in lieu of a timeout on the 4th and 1 second half opening drive at the Eagles 5.. He also said the decision to not challenge was a no brainer for him because it is very unlikely the officials would move the spot of the ball.. Still, having used a timeout, there was little to lose by challenging, but I digress..
I wasn’t going to go into full blown attack mode about all the decisions that occurred during the game but when we started talking about the specific one on the Eagles 5, Gibbs said, “I like those questions,” essentially telling me to bring it on.. He also suggested that he “was nice yesterday,” (referring to the media press conference) so I thought he’d go after me, but it turned out to be quite cordial.
Gibbs said his staff “always bears a burden when the team loses,” when asked about the coaching decisions adding up ending up in the Eagles defeat..

Gibbs said he believes defensively the team will continue to utilize a similar scheme despite the loss of Safety Sean Taylor.. Reed Doughty and Pierson Prioleau are the likely successors..

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 12-- A lot of questions following comfounding loss, Taylor out at least 2 weeks

S Sean Taylor has a grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his knee, he will miss at least 2 weeks.. Pierson Prioleau likely starts in his place at Safety..

WR James Thrash has what is being described as a "mild" high ankle sprain, but he will not likely play this weekend in Dallas.. He had an MRI on his leg, his knee has a bruise but is expected to be OK...

WR Santana Moss had an MRI on his bruised heel, it came back negative.. He has what is being described about a soft tissue injury but he is expected to be back by the end of the week with the hope of returning for the Cowboys game..

LB Marcus Washington will "hopefully" return to practice this week as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.. The team expects him to take limited reps when practice resumes Wednesday with the hope of full go by Friday..

CB Fred Smoot did not aggravate his hamstring injury by playing in the Eagles game and is said to be doing better..

Joe Gibbs spoke with the media for 35 minutes, by far his longest media briefing following any game this season peppered with questions about the in game decision making against the Eagles.. He defended the coaching staff saying in assessing his performance as head coach that in 30 years that "I am always learning," suggesting that ego is left at the door when the staff meets to discuss all potential in game issues..
On the 4th and 1 where the team called a timeout, Gibbs (somewhat) rhetorically fired back at the media "What would you do in that situation?" The Redskins burned a timeout when Mike Sellers was deemed short of a first down by a yard.. Gibbs thought and still thinks that the spot was not a good one and "can't believe that a 280 pound guy didn't get an inch." So Gibbs wanted a measurement but was not afforded one by the refs who deemed the length needed to gain a first down wasn't close enough to warrant it.. Measurements are not implied even in 4th and 1, refs have the discretion to choose whether to give a team one when asked for it.. Gibbs said he considered challenging the spot but thought that the chances of it being awarded to the Skins was slim and it wasn't worth the risk.. Of course, if yu are going to burn a timeout, what do you have to lose? Still, he said he still believes the team handled the situation the right way..

On the 3rd and Goal call from the 7, Gibbs explained that Jason Campbell had two options on the play, that if the Eagles played "soft" which Campbell and Gibbs believed they did, there was a shot to "pop" a draw play in for a touchdown.. Clinton Portis got the ball and was tackled at the 3 leading to a short Shaun Suisham field goal.. So Gibbs believes Campebll made the right decision, it just didn't work out.. Funny that while I'm writing this, the Seahawks had four recievers on the field on a 2nd a goal inside the Niners five and ran a run play to maurice Morris and scored a touchdown..
On the other timeouts, Gibbs doesn't believe the team made the wrong decision challenging the Ladell Betts fumble syaing it was worth the risk because of the momentum change..
Also, Campbell placed the Redskins in the wrong formation forcing him to use the third timeout of the half..

CB Carlos Rogers remains in Alabama rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, he will stay there for a few more days.. The surgery as deemed a success and the hope is he'll be ready for training camp next summer..
I spoke with T Jon Jansen who was on the sideline for the Eagles-Skins game, he was in a walking boot and needn't use a cart to carry his broken leg any longer.. He said he'll be out of the boot in 6-7 more weeks and he will be back working to get into football shape by January with the hope of being back on the field for mini-camps..

Asked about the second half collapses this season, Joe Gibbs answered by the question by first stating how many times the team has held on or won games in the second half citing the Jets, Cardinals (he did put a caveat on this one) and the Dolphins games which all went down to the wire..
Numerous players cotninued to express concern about the lack of a "killer instinct" or being able to "finish" games..

OK men..

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 11-- Skins Blow another one in 33-25 home loss to Philly

S Sean Taylor sprained his knee in the third quarter and did not return to the game, his status is undetermined but Joe Gibbs hinted the injury might be "mild." He did also whisper the words grade 2, which would likely mean missing some time, but we'll know more Monday..
I don't think it's a coincidence that the Eagles their one and only deep pass down the middle of the field when Taylor was out..

WR James Thrash who scored his first two (and the WR core's first two) touchdowns of the season left after injuring his ankle during a kickoff return in the second half.. He has a high ankle sprain, his status will be determined later in the week..

The cumulative effect of all the Redskins mistakes added up to a yet another blown second half lead in a 33-25 loss to the Eagles dropping the Skins to 5-4.. Washington missed an extra point, used all of their second half timeouts with 8 minutes to play, had a season high in penalties, and failed to score a touchdown inside the Eagles five twice in the second half.. Washington even used a timeout with 2:08 remaining in the first half when the Eagles were about to punt.. That left them with one.. It saved them a whole :07 and essentially removed the use of the two minute warning as a clock stoppage..
Washington also called a timeout when they had a fourth and 1 on the Eagles 5 even though they had decided to kick a field goal.. They could have challenged the spot on a Mike Sellars third down run if they were going to use a timeout, but I digress..

Joe Gibbs said the team called a draw play on 3rd and goal from the Eagles 7 in the 4th quarter because they thought the Eagles were playing "soft" at that point and they thought they could "pop one in."
Clinton Portis did end up with his second consecutive 100+ yard day in the loss and carried it 30+ times for the second straight week..

WR Santana Moss was inactive due to a heel injury.. LB Marcus Washington missed his fourth game in five weeks with a hamstring injury...
WR Brandon Lloyd so his most extensive playing time in the Eagles game then in weeks and was thrown to deep twice but had no ctaches..

Most of the players I spoke to were under the belief the team "blew another one." This is the third game where they lead in the second half, second by more then one score and ended up losing..

The Redskins did allow Jason Campbell to call his own plays for extensive periods of time by running a no huddle offense.. The team's passing and rushing yards were both effective for the first time in weeks... Campbell said it helped the team become a "more open offense." He also said it was a big step forward for the group but was dissapointed that on two late game attempts to recover from a 1 and then 8 point deficit, the team was unable to gain a yard..
Washington did allow Westbrook to score a late touchdown because they had no timeouts.. The Eagles chose at this point not to sit on the ball with under three minutes to play and run the clock despite being in chip shot field goal range.. It was a smart decision by the staff that was rewarded when the offense was unable to get a drive going.. There was a one deep out to Keenan McCardell that may have possibly been reviewed after it was called incomplete but the Redskins didn't have a timeout and thus didn't have the ability to ask for a review.. Washington did lose a review on a Ladell Betts fumble..

OK men..

Thursday, November 08, 2007

November 8-- Meet Choo Choo

RB Clinton Portis showed up for his weekly media session wearing a flamenco dance shirt, large bumble bee sunglasses and a sumo wig claiming to be Choo Choo, a dance instructor.. He proceeded to tell us that he taught Antwaan Randle-El, Mike Sellars and Santana Moss their moves and now is working on teaching Clinton Portis how to be a better dancer...
This was the first dress up day for Portis this season and it follows his break out game of the year against the Jets.. Portis did say (of course he's wearing this get up when the interview got semi-serious) that the break out day was very good for his confidence as the team continues into the second half of the season..
When Al Saunders walked by Portis screamed out' Hey Coach Saunders, Holla at your boy!"
Joe Gibbs did a double take and looked as if his eyes were going to pop out of his head when he saw Portis talking to the media, but Gibbs won't be mad and in the past didn't mind the Portis shenanigans..

Gregg Williams said what he is most pleased about with the defense is the team is not giving up big chunks of yardage making teams "earn every bit of it." He also praised Laron Landry who in my opinion is making a big case for defensive rookie of the year in the league for rarely if ever "making the same mistake twice." Landry (according to Redskin stats) has 33 tackles, 1 sack, a fumble recovery and an interception on a 2 point conversion attempt in the last 3 games combined, truly staggering numbers for a safety over that stretch of games..
Williams also credited London Fletcher, Chris Wilson and Anthony Montogmery as among players who are improving and leading this unit..

Injuries: WR Santana Moss (heel), LB Marcus Washington (hamstring), CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) all missed practice again.. WR Antwaan Randle-El (hamstring missed Thursday's practice as well, he was the only one of that group that did practice on Wednesday..
DT Cornelious Griffin (back) returned to do limited work..
The Eagles injury report went unchanged from yesterday except for the addition of T Broderick Bunkley (back) He was limited in practice...

OK men

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

November 7-- Lloyd Back, Campbell on board with game plan

WR Brandon Lloyd returned to practice after missing a meeting last week and subsequently was deactivated for the Jets game.. Joe Gibbs said he and lloyd met today and agreed to “put things in the past,” with the hope of “going back to work to find a way to make him productive again.” Asked specifically why he is optimistic things will progress with Lloyd, Gibbs paused and said, “all I’m saying is we are going to go back to work.” For me, this means nothing changes in terms of the depth chart.
Lloyd declined comment coming off of the field today..
He did stay after practice and was spotted taking extra reps with Jason Campbell..

Injuries: WR Santana Moss (heel), DT Cornelious Griffin (back), CB Fred Smoot (hamstring) and LB Marcus Washington (hamstring) all were held out of practice, most if not all are expected to return at some point this week and be available to play against the Eagles..
G Pete Kendall (coaches decision) was limited in practice..

Smoot said he is likely to have to sit out practice this and subsequent weeks due to the hamstring injury but in terms of playing on Sundays said, “I have to.” With Carlos Rogers out, the team is going to play it safe with Smoot during the week but is likely to attempt to let him go on Sundays.. Smoot admits he is going to need “a little luck,” to get through the season and said the most important thing is if the hamstring gets re-injured, that it happens to a different part of the muscle.. Another flare up in the same spot would be big trouble..
Smoot has done this before, a few years back when he was with the Skins, he played through a bruised sternum while not practicing the weeks leading into games..
Marcus Washington says he hopes he has turned a corner with his hamstring injury.. He called the injury a “smart” injury, meaning it can surprise you how injured it remains even when you think it is feeling better, (see last week when he had a setback late in the week and missed the Jets game)..

Philly injury report: All of these players took part in full practice but are listed anyway: WR Jason Avant (groin), WR Reggie Brown (neck), WR Kevin Curtis (knee), CB William James (foot), WR Greg Lewis (chest), T Jon Runyan (glute), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), TE LJ Smith (back), RB Brian Westbrook (shoulder)

I asked Donovan McNabb when he joined us for a conference call whether this would be the final time he faced the Redskins as the Eagles QB (of course assuming that these two teams don’t somehow face each other in the playoffs).. His answer was an interesting “I don’t know. That is not up to me.” He did say the right thing by claiming he would like to remain in Philadelphia for the duration of his career despite the negative media attention he constantly receives..
Smoot told me he thinks the criticism of McNabb is undeserved and that if he played for any other city, even Washington, “he’d be beloved if he did the same things by keeping them in contention. Ya’ll just find something else wrong with the Redskins if he played here.”

Jason Campbell pulled the “players play, coaches coach,” mantra today hoping to alleviate any suggestion he is not happy with the play calling.. He said he likes the idea of being a risk taker, he wants to liken himself to Brett Favre saying, “he threw a lot of touchdowns and a lot of interceptions but he wouldn’t have made all the plays he made if he didn’t take chances.” Campbell said he has no issue with anything the coaches have done with the game plans or in game play calls..
Asked if he thinks this team is good (in my opinion, the true question of the week), he responded: “We are a very good team. Winning on the road after the Patriots game showed our character.”

Quick note, check out my man Steinberg's blog from the Washington Post today where he details the media scuffle in the locker room during the last home game..

Two quick notes (and while I don't think it painted Larry and myself in a bad light) worth mentioning from my viewpoint (and understand I didn't actually witness the incident)
The reporter in question never did nor has apologized for breaking into a live broadcast.. It would be like me walking up to Joe Gibbs while he's on Channel 4's set Mondays in their 6PM newscast and interrupting George Michael and asking a question.. It's patently absurd, and if he didn't know he was in the wrong then because he mistook what was happening, I get it, but in the end when it was explained what he did, the least he could have done was apologize to the broadcasters for breaking into a live exclusive interview session.
Kelli Johnson is live outside the Skins locker room on Comcast interviewing players and coaches on a live post game show, I wouldn't walk up to Gregg Williams while he's on with her and ask a question..
If this reporter has as much experience as is suggested by Steinberg, then he knows that too..

Plus, and this is the most important part, it's not like Chris Samuels or anyone isn't available to the media following this exclusive interview. Jason Campbell might go on radio, but he also does a group session. The reporter could have gone up to Samuels locker after he finished with Larry, Sonny and Sam and asked the same questions, just as I did!
I wouldn't even ask a question during that part of our broadcast because that's not my job and I work for the network!!!

Defending his colleague is honorable by Steinberg, and indeed I like Dan a lot.. His work is irreverent and interesting. But in the end, the guy was wrong, and even if it was an honest mistake, he never made ammends for it. That should have been pointed out.. But I understand Larry and I started it all anyway by making it public in the first place.

OK men..

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

November 6-- Gibbs on Redskins Radio

Joe Gibbs says he did not have any meeting with WR Brandon Lloyd following his punishment for missing a team meeting on Friday. He does expect Lloyd to be back at practice tomorrow. Lloyd has yet to comment as well. Asked directly if he believes Brandon would like to remain a member of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs quickly answered “Yes.” He did admit to the disappointment of the lack of production and now availability of Lloyd who has had a “rough go” the first couple of years with the Skins, but continues to hope for Lloyd to be a “part of things” as they move forward..

On WR Santana Moss, Gibbs said the team was dealing with him more gingerly this past week and are now more apt to give him more spells during the games. Moss had some of his more quick moments in this past Jets game, but the team has determined that Santana needs to be part of less plays during games to have a potential better impact. So Moss is only slated to be part of say 25 plays this week with the hope it will be increased the subsequent games. 25 plays would likely be less then half the offensive snaps for any single game.. Moss has been dealing with hamstring and groin issues since the off-season..

Gibbs says he does get concerned about how team looks when it wins if the balance the team is hoping to attain is not achieved. One fan called in and said Jason Campbell was on a different radio station and claimed to have “his hands tied” by the play calling and the lack of deep passing calls.. Gibbs refuted that Campbell is being held back in an effort to protect the football and even questioned whether Campbell would have used the term “hands tied.” I didn’t hear the interview so I couldn’t tell you whether the caller was paraphrasing or not.

Monday, November 05, 2007

November 5-- Lloyd will be back at practice

WR Brandon Lloyd is welcomed back to practice on Wednesday according to coach Joe Gibbs who called the latest issue with Lloyd missing a team meeting and subsequent deactivation for the Jets game a "dissapointment." Gibbs said there have been an accumulation of issues with Lloyd that were taken into account as to why the suspension (if you will) occured. Gibbs publicly still hopes Lloyd will play some form of role for the team this year..
The reality of the situation is Lloyd has become irrelebant to the success or failure of this year's team, but the distraction is of note and we'll see if Lloyd will address the issue with the media on Wednesday..

Due to all the hamstring and upper leg injuries, Joe Gibbs and the Skins have decided to use a six pronged approach as to how to try to alleviate the issues.. The specialists told Gibbs that the team is "over-worked," something he addressed with us on Redskins radio.. So Gibbs said the team has changed it's practice habits, he doesn't want to back off from the hitting and drills they run, but players who aren't "100%" will be asked to stay off the field in an attempt to not accentuate the problem..

Injuries: DT Cornelious Griffin suffered back spasms in pre-game warmups and played sparingly against the Jets.. The trainers believe he will be fine for this week's game with the Eagles.. WR Santana Moss (heel) shouldn't miss practice and is expected to be fine for Sunday..
CB Fred Smoot reaggravated his hamstring injury and is said to be "week to week." As for practice this week, the staff will dtermine his availability dependent on how he feels..
LB Marcus Washington is day to day.. They increased his running today and the hope is he will progress through the week..
C Mike Pucillo is having a check-up for his strained back and the team is hopeful he will be cleared to return to practice..
G Randy Thomas continues his recovery from a torn triceps muscle.. "So far so good on his recovery." He has had no setbacks and, he continues lifting and running and the recovery continues to be "all about strengthening." The team remains hopeful for him to return by mid-December..
RB Rock Cartwright had no setbacks to his strained qud.. he played against the Jets despite missing the Patriots game.. Cartwright's speed was altered, at least in my view during the Jets game, but that is to be expected..
LB Rocky McIntosh made it through the Jets game without incident to the shoulder where he has been dealing with "burners" and possibly a pinched nerve.. Joe Gibbs said he is hoping "things won't re-occur."

Cartwright by the way is emerging as one of the team's more vocal leaders.. Last week he made T-shirts reading "When you are winning, play like you are losing." He also was the player at the center of the team's pre-game huddle exhulting the team to perform prior to kickoff before the Jets game.. No offense to Rock, but it is interesting that this role is not visibly occupied by a player who has more of active role on offense or defense, but Cartwright certanly deserves credit for taking a leadership role where a void seems to exist..

Awards for the Skins following the Jets win: Offense-- Clinton Portis, Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach, Todd Wade, and Mike Sellars..
Defense: Shawn Springs (who is dedicating his season to his ailing father), Fred Smoot, Laron Landry, Sean Taylor and Rocky McIntosh
Special teams: Sean Taylor, Khary Campbell, Rock Cartwright, Mike Sellars, Todd Yoder and Laron Landry

Gibbs was very insightful about the issues coaches deal with balancing a personal and professional life with all the attention on Eagles coach Andy Reid and his trouble with his two jailed sons.. He didn't speak directly to the Reid issue but said one of his greatest regrets in being a head coach is missing out on a lot of his son's lives when they were young.. He also said there is one thing for certain he'll never look back on his career and think is "I could have worked more."

The offense remains a work in progress and the passing game was missing from a dominant run performance in NY.. Comcast's Kelli Johnson had Al saunders on her show yesterday and he openly talked about how the game plan is devised by Gibbs and though he calls the plays, the plays are mainly called from said game plan.. This oesn't seem to be an unusual circumstance however the plan of attack varies greatly between Gibbs and Saunders.. Power run versus a more spread attack.. It continues to remain a work in progress to find the right mesh of the two schemes..

OK men..

Sunday, November 04, 2007

November 4-- Skins save season, skip by Jets 23-20 in OT

The Skins are 2-2 in overtime this year beating the Jets 23-20 on a 46 yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.. It was his 5th field goal of the game, a team record..

A number of players admitted the game with New York was treated as a "must win," after the embarassing loss in New England the week prior.. Fred Smoot said the team "had to win this game." Casey Rabach laughed when I asked him about having to win it saying, "uh, yeah."
Most everyone said the team ws not concerned about how they would bounce back from the Patriots defeat, but being down 17-3 to the now 1-8 Jets suggests a hangover persisted at least into the first half..

Clinton Portis tied a career high in rush attempts with 36.. He posted his first 100+ yard game of the season, the first for any Skins running back this year gaining 196 yards in the win.. Portis had essentially made a proclamation earlier in the week saying he was ready to have a break out performance citing his game legs being under him.. Portis also claimed the Redskins offensive line was getting better gelling after the injuries the Randy Thomas and Jon Jansen.. The team rushed for nearly 300 yards, by far a season high.. The team record for a single game rush effort was Gerald Riggs in 1989, 221..

The team did not have a deep passing game, a number of players told me that the Jets had decided to take away the deep game by leaving their safeties back.. So they decided to adjust and stick with the run game because the Jets used less players in the box then previous opponents.. Santana Moss and Jason Campbell missed on one long attempt where Moss got behind the secondary but Campbell overthrew him.. Moss joked he told Campbell, "He's going to jump off the building if we don't start connecting on those."

Injuries: DT Corenlious Griffin suffered a strained muscle in his back during pre-game warm-ups and played, but less then was planned.. WR Santana Moss suffered a bruised heel but played with it.. CB Fred Smoot was the point of near exhaustion on the sideline at the end of the game dealing with his strained hamstring..

WR Brandon Lloyd was not with the team in New York, he missed a team meeting on Friday so he was told not to join the team on the trip and was inactive for the game..

LB Marcus Washington was inactive (hamstring).. CB David Macklin was inactive, a little surprising with Carlos Rogers going on IR and practice squad player John Eubanks called p this week.. Eubanks played in the Jets game..
The Skins gave up an 86 yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff to Leon Washington..
Washington did make an uncharateristic move by recovering an onside kick in the second quarter after they had kicked a field goal to pull within 17-6.. Joe Gibbs said the team had practiced the particular kick throughout the week saying special teams coach Danny Smith pointed out on film to him the opportunity to catch the Jets sleeping..

OK men..

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November 1-- Portis says he WILL produce, team still suffering Pat hangover

RB Clinton Portis says he is "not worried about my production," when asked about the lackluster run game.. He says he "knows" he will have big days even going so far as saying, "You could hurt the other 3 guys on our offensive line, I'm still going to get it done." Portis is on a 62 yard per game average and right now wouldn't hit 1000 yards for the season..
He said the offensive meetings between the players was more about them then the scheme saying when he watches the team on film, he sees execution issues.. Basically, no one is throwing any of the offensive coaches under the bus..
Jason Campbell called the meeting a "re-committment," this week.. That was their take on trying to get over the NE hangover, which honestly is lingering this week..
Campbell said the team needs to start performing like "an NFL offense." Joe Gibbs said it isn't the time for one of his famed "Time to play Physical Redskins Football" speeches saying that a perception of soft play is "not an issue." When asked directly about the run game however, Joe Bugel blamed the blocking, saying the players up front need to do a better job. He also likened the Skins to everyone else's homecoming opponent..
There is no RB controversy here with Joe Gibbs confirming that Clinton Portis remains the starter.. He conceded he would like to have Ladell Betts get more carries, but cited the lack of overall production (just over 100 plays the last two weeks combined) as an issue.. (Teams generally run between 60-75 plays per game)..

As for the defense, no one is saying much this week after being throttled by the Patriots.. Gregg Williams refused to even field questions about the game stopping one Comcast reporter mid question and saying he would only address questions about the Jets.. When the reporter attempted to rephrase and used the words "bounce back," Williams looked straight ahead and said, "Next."

Injuries: C Mike Pucillo was held out of Thursday's practice (back).. G Randy Thomas is out (triceps).. The other three players on the injury list all took part in full practice on Thursday, Cb Fred Smoot (hamstring), TE Todd Yoder (ankle), and RB Rock Cartwright (quad)

Jets INJ: WR Laveranues Coles has missed two straight days of practice (concussion).. OL Adiran Jones was held out of practice today for personal reasons.. TE Chris Baker (back), DL Mike Devito (shoulder) and DL Dewayne Robertson (knee) were all limited in practice..
DB Abram Elam (Neck), DL CJ Mosley (shoulder), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DB hank Poteat (chest) and DB Eric Smith (thigh) all took part in full practice..

WR Santana Moss has no issues with the Jets facing his ex-team for the first time since being traded to DC three seasons ago.. He told me some players have problems because of the way things ended with an ex-team, for him though, he enjoyed his four years in NY and said at the time, "it was just time to go." He also expressed happiness with the Redskins.. Coles might have different feelings.. Coach Eric Mangini told us during a conference call that Coles is a team captain and is the "type of guy who'd pick you up at the airprort if you needed a ride." Somehow I doubt he'd be doing that for Redskin officials..

Mangini also talked about using classical music during practices during the summer.. He had read about the "Mozart Effect" which some scientists believe can help people learn better.. So he blared Mozart during some camp practices.. Some might suggest that this experiment failed..

On the NE hangover, marcus Washington admitted for him it is still lingering, "we have some prideful guys in this locker room and it hurts, but it should hurt." Al saunders had the quote of the day saying "It's like you got stood up by a date. You have to get over it though."

OK men..