Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

This is about the never ending search for the best beer in the world. And that beer is apparently everywhere. Want me to try the beer you like or make? Great, tell me how to get it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30-- Skins Beat Dallas by 21, Taylor's presence felt

The Redskins beat Dallas by 21 points, a fact few if anyone in the locker room believe is a coincidence.. The Redskins firmly believe that Sean Taylor is their angel, with them in spirit and the true reason the Skins have won four straight and are in the postseason for the second time in 3 years..
Joe Gibbs came to the post game media room wearing a "21" hat commemorating and said he doesn't believe "it was an accident" that the team won by 21 points.. Gibbs spoke about the Bills gaffe where he called a second timeout that allowed Buffalo to attempt at 36 yard field goal instead of 51 to beat washington in the waning seconds.. Gibbs said he believes that "sometimes good things happen after you've been crushed." He called it the worst mistake he's made in his professional career.. The Skins haven't lost since and have yet to trail in any of the four games they have won the last month..

Phillip Daniels said his wife found a picture of Sean Taylor on the internet that Taylor had signed for a fan that read, "just beat Dallas" over his his jersey, number 21.. He distributed the picture to his teammates and this he believes was just another sign that something bigger is happeneing here.. The ammount of existential discussions I had with players regarding the belief that Taylor's spirit remains with them was remarkable.. Santana Moss said he still speaks to taylor saying things to him he wish he could have said before he was murdered and sighed, "I will ride with him until I can't ride anymore. Forever." Moss often flashes a "21" sign with his fingers when he makes a big play.. He had 8 catches for 121 yards and the decisive score that gave the Skins the 21 point advantage..
Clinton Portis said that the murder had changed he and his teammates for the better.. He stated that the Skins now often tell each other that they love each other, a departure from the typical mantra of leaving your feelings at the door..

The Redskins indeed didn't have to win as New Orleans and Minnesota both lost but the Skins were not made aware of the scores, at least of the Vikings game which was being played at the same time as the Skins game.. The Redskins did not allow the Vikings or Saints scores to be displayed in the stadium.. Joe Gibbs said he told the PR staff only to tell him if they were in and chose not to know saying he wanted his players not to think they could rely on someone else to help them get into the playoffs..

T Stephon Heyer left the game in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Todd Wade when he tweaked his knee, but I was not able to get an official report from the PR staff
before leaving Fed Ex Field..

Todd Collins had his third 100+ QB rating going 22-31 for 244 yards, 1 TD.. he did have his first turnover since taking over at QB with a first half fumble.. he still has yet to throw an interception.. Asked about whether he or Jason Campbell would start, Gibbs said, "right now it's the furthest thing from our minds. We need to get Jason back healthy first."

The Redskins allowed a season low 1 rush yard to the Cowboys who did play their offensive starters into the 3rd quarter and many of their defensive starters well into the fourth.. Tony Romo went 7-16 for 86 yards.. Marion Barber was held to an amazing 6 carries for -6 yards.. Julius Jones had 8 carries for 7 yards.. Jason Witten cugh two passes, he ended up four short of 100 for the season.. The Cowboys were also going for a franchise best 14-2, that obviously did not happen and the Boys lost their first road game of the season..

The Skins play the 4PM game in Seattle on Saturday, site of their last playoff game, a defeat in 2005.. This is the only NFC playoff team the Redskins did not face in the regular season.. IN all, the Skins ultimately played 7 games against playoff bound teams, going 2-5.. (Split with Dallas and the Giants, lost on the road to Green Bay, Tampa Bay and New England)..
From Skins Encyclopedia author Mike Richmond, The Skins have been the foe in the championship game two of the three times in the NFL history that the opposition was undefeated.. They are 1-1 losing in Super Bowl VII to Miami and beating the '42 Bears behind Slignin Sammy Baugh.. The Patriots could be only the fourth Super Bowl bound unbeaten this year.. The Redskins would have to win 3 road plyoff games to have a shot to face them..

OK men..

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 27-- Is this 2005 all over again?

C Mike Pucillo was placed on injured reserve with a back injury ending his season and potentially his career with the Skins.. OL Kevin Sampon was signed off the practie squad to take his roster spot.. OL Calvin Armstrong was signed to the practice squad..
Lorenzo Alexander had become the jumbo package tight end in recent weeks and had emerged as a possibility at back-up guard as well.. Pete Kendall is now the back-up center if something is to happen to Casey Rabach..

RB Clinton Portis was named the NFC's offensive player of the week.. he described himself as a wiser player and once again talked about the change "everyone" has had to go through since the death of his friend a teammate Sean Taylor.. Portis respectfully hinted he is tired of being asked about Taylor and that while his teammates are playing for Sean, it is time to move forward to focus on what's ahead..
Portis called this game the "second best ticket" in the league behind the Giants-Pats game and said he is excited by the prospect of playing Dallas with so much on the line..
Portis said he doesn't beleive that the Cowboys are going to be any kind of easy out just because they have nothing to play for..
Gregg Williams put it this way: "They had 11 players on the pro bowl roster. They can't sit all of them. This is a very good football team that we are playing."

The run of 2005 hasn't been a theme in this late season surge by the Redskins but Williams said that it has been broguht up in the context of "We've done this before. We can do this again."

When last these two played, the Skins were in the midst of what would eventually be a permanent change to their secondary.. Sean Taylor had injured his knee the week before and miscommunication ruled as Terrell Owens scored 4 touchdowns, 3 on deep pass plays in the second half of a 28-23 win.. When asked how far the secondary has come since that game, Williams said "a lot." He credited Reed Doughty for his performance in the Vikings game and suggested the mistakes made in the Dallas game (which he described as film they have watched intensely) are in the past..

The photo taken that gave the appearance that Mike Sellers helmet cracked when he was concussed during the Vikings game apparently was a photographic mirage.. I asked Sellers about the play and he showed me his helmet, the same one he wore that game and there was a minor scratch, but no breakage.. Sellers claims he certianly could have played the second half of the Vikings game and that his helmet needed to be hidden from him because in the past he found his helmet after being dinged and ran out onto the field despite the protestations of the trainers..

QB Jason Campbell is out (knee).. He is the only active player listed..

I spoke with Santana Moss about his penchent for big games against Dallas.. Two years ago he was part of the miracle win in week two and averaged over 30 yards per catch in the two wins that year.. This season, Moss had 9-121 in the loss at Dallas.. He said there is something about playing "on the big stage against Dallas." He wouldn't go so far as to call it a coincidence that his performances against the Cowboys have been some of the best he's had in the uniform, but certainly there is something to it..

OK men..

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26-- Biggest Game of Gibbs Second Stint?

The Redskins held a walk through today shunning a full practice for the second straight Wednesday.. FB Mike Sellers is said to be "fine" and is expected to be ready for shi weekend's game against Dallas..

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips told us via conference call that WR Terrell Owens and C Andre Gurode will not be playing this Sunday against the Skins, but he would not go into more detail about how much playing time the rest of the starters would see.
On T.O., who scored 4 touchdowns against the Skins in the previous meeting earlier this year, Shawn Springs said, "It doesn't matter whether he plays or not. We have to win. They could bring Belitnikoff or Jerry Rice out from retirement, we still have to win."

Joe Gibbs called this one of the biggest if not the biggest games of his career, certainly the biggest regular season moment since his return.. He once again described this year as the toughest of his career.. He knows the importance of this meeting with Dallas, a win gets them in, a loss opens the pandoras box of questions regarding his second tenure..
Gibbs was asked a lot about dealing with the loss of Sean taylor and how the team galvanized for the rest of the season, he didn't want to take much credit for newfound energy in the building and refused to acknowledge this as one of the finest in his coaching career.. He only talked about the fragility of life and how his team has handled many forms of adversity to get to this point..

QB Todd Collins is in a contract year, asked about his future now after posting two QB ratings over 120 in the last 3 weeks, Collins repsponded, "I don't know. I'm just along for the ride, taking this thing week by week." As remarkably crazy as this may have souned a month ago, Collins might have earned himself an interesting run in free agency.. There is no word how hard the team will pursue resigning him after the season ends. I suppose we'll have to wait to see how his season ends..

DE Phillip Daniels said he believes this team likes to play with it's backs against the wall.. The Skins are 10-6 post December under Gibbs part 2, 3-1 this year and 5-1 in 2005 when the team last made the postseason..

Cowboys DE Greg Ellis wanted to give credit to Bill Parcells for this success of this team but added he believes the more laid back style of coaching administered by Wade Phillips is the other main reason the talent is reaching his potential..

Back-up C Mike Pucillo is said to not be "doing well" with an injured back.. he may be a candidate to go on IR for the rest of the season.. TE Todd Yoder is day to day with a knee injury..

QB Jason Campbell was out with the team doing some minor work on the turf as he continues to rehab a discloated kneecap.. he will not play this weekend..

OK men..

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25-- Campbell not assured of getting his job back

While there have been consistent rumors of a contract extension for Joe Gibbs as he heads into the final year of his origianl five year deal, Gibbs is denying an ESPN report that a two year extension has been offered and continues to say he wants to table all those discussions until after the season..

FB Mike Sellers appears to be doing OK thus far a day removed from suffering a concussion in the Minnesota game.. He'll be re-evaluated through the week as the Dallas game approaches..

If Jason Campbell is healthy enough to play in Seattle for the first round of the playoffs, there is no certainty he'll get his starting job back.. Joe Gibbs called Todd's "leadership the least couple of weeks a big deal." He said there is no decision to be made about who will start as Campbell has already been ruled out for the Dallas game and the Skins still figure to need to win that one to get into the postseason.. It sounds like if Collins continues to play well, he will not lose his job to a healthy Campbell..

The 12 men on the field challenge credit has been given to Todd Davis from the video department who printed a picture of the snap and counted the 12th Viking not being able to get off the field.. Also, Offensive quality control coach Bill Khayat was among the first to alert the staff that he believed the Vikings had 12 men on the field.. All Gibbs ended up hearing was what he described was a "bunch of screaming" to throw the challenge flag which he described as "the easy part."

Happy Holidays to everyone out there.. Merry Christmas and here is to a New Year in the playoffs!

Monday, December 24, 2007

December 23-- Skins are a win away from playoffs

The Skins built a 22-nothing halftime lead, 25-0 third quarter advantage cruising to their most impressive victory of the season 32-21 over Minnesota.. The Redskins now control their own playoff destiny, beat Dallas at Fed Ex Field on Sunday and they will face Seattle in the first round of the playoffs..
Tampa's loss to SF means they will be the 4 seed in the NFC.. The Giants victory over Buffalo means they are solidified as the five seed and will play at Tampa in the first round..
The Skins could still make the playoffs with a loss but would need losses by New Orleans and Minnesota next week as well..

RB Clinton Portis ran and threw for scores but was in and out of the game early with cramps.. He was receiving an IV in pre-game warm-ups and did not enter the playing field until there was only 30 seconds before kickoff and the Skins were receving.. He went back into the locker room in between series twice in the first half as well.. He also tweaked an ankle when he jumped into the arms of a teammate after celebarting the touchdown pass to Antwaan Ranle El and also suffered a minor shoulder injury..

The Skins defense crowded the box and held Minnesota's rush attack, ranked number one in the league to 87 yards, 44 of which came by QB Tavaris Jackson, many of which were unplanned scrambles.. Adrian Peterson was held to 27 yards on the gorund.. The Skins used a variety of packages and flip flopped some personnel including using Andre Carter as the left defensive end and moved Phillip Daniels on the right side to face Bryant McKinnie.. The team used 8 and 9 man fronts to force Minneosta to throw..

The pivotal moment in the second half occurred when Joe Gibbs challanged a lost fumble in Redskins territory claiming the Vikings had 12 men on the field.. Minnesota was frantically trying to call a timeout before the Skins snapped the ball because they wanted to challenge a completed pass to Santana Moss.. The Skins went hurry up to get the next play off before Minnesota could get a challenge in and got it off but fumbled the snap.. The Skins then challenged and got the ball back plus an extra five yards when the video showed the Vikes did indeed have too many men on the field.. Because the fumble play had been run and that play was the one reversed, Minnesota could not then attempt to take a look at the Moss play because technically a second play had been run.. Brad Childress lost it on the refs.. Gibbs would not credit anyone in the booth in particular for telling him to challenge that play..

Injuries: FB Mike Sellars got knocked unconcious during a second half kickoff and was layed motionless for a few moments, but was OK and attempted to return to the field.. The trainers hid his helmet to force him to the sideline.. He suffered a concussion and will montiored through the week..
S Vernon Fox injured his thumb.. S Reed Doughty suffered a burner in the neck area for the second straight week but returned to the game..
LB Khary Campbell has a dislocated finger.. LB Randall Godfrey left the game with cramps and also was listed with a sprained shoulder.. G/DT Lorenzo Alexander also suffered a sprained shoulder..
DE Phillip Daniels took a shot to the groin region but returned to finish the game..

For the second time in 3 weeks, QB Todd COllins finished with a QB rating over 120 after going 22-29 254 yards and two touchdowns.. His QB rating was 124.8..
Clinton Portis got a perfect QB rating of 158.3 going 1-1 a 15 yard TD pass.. The Skins ran the halfback option for a second time when they were inside the Vikes ten but Portis pulled it down and didn't attempt the throw when he didn't see it open.. 9 different receivers caught passes..

No one dances more fervently to Rob Bass's "It Takes Two" then LB Marcus Washington who got down like a drunk 21 year old circa 1990 when the Vikings blared the jam during a second quarter timeout..

OK men..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20-- Buzbee was a Chief and Skin in the same day

The Skins signed S Omar Stoutmire to take the roster spot of John Eubanks who was released with an injured toe.. Stoutmire was with the team in 2005, also was with them during training camp and played a couple of weeks early in the season when injuries plagued the defensive backfield..

DE Alex Buzbee was actually in Kansas City when the team told him they would sign him to their active roster to avoid him becoming a Chief.. Teams are allowed to sign other team's practice squad players as long as they sign them to their active roster.. The former team can match and hang onto the player, but they have to know about it.. Vinny Cerrato said earlier today on Redskins Radio that WR Shaun Bodiford told the Skins he had signed with Green Bay off the Skins practice squad earlier this year without informing them he was going back there in the first place..
Cerrato said he was eagerly trying to get a hold of Buzbee's agent when he found out Alex had left to sign a deal with Kansas City.. They got to Buzbee and his agent before Buzbee signed and the player told me today he was happy the Skins wanted to keep him because he wanted to stay in Washington..

Clinton Portis said he sees a little of himself in Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson who is averaging over 6 yards a carry for Minnesota.. Portis said he likes Peterson's "cockiness" and his running style which has been decsribed by some around here as "violent." Portis didn't get his first start in Denver until week 6, yet he ended up with over 1500 yards as a rookie.. Portis has found the running room not as prevalent this year then in the past, he said he has never questioned his abilities through two seasons of dealing with injuries and a lack of overall productivity in the rush game.. He said he doesn't read or listen to opinions of his play but that even if he isn't getting the yards n the ground, he "has a smile on his face as long as he is able to help the team with blocking."
Portis and Santana Moss were both back at practice after missing Wednesday sick..

Where will Lorenzo Alexander play next year? Gregg Williams said semi jokingly he isn't so sure D-line coach Greg Blatche will want to let the offensive coaches use Alexander as they did last off-season to check his skills on the line.. Cerrato said Alexander and T Stephon Heyer both have multi year deals as undrafted free agents so both appear like likely back-ups, and maybe in the case of Heyer, a starter at a cap friendly price..
Heyer is going to have to increase his lower body strength to better his run blocking, but overall, the team is very satisfied with his progression and he appears to be a big part of the future for this team..

Andre Carter said he wasn't sure he was finishing off his best season as a pro.. But he feels it may be his consistent.. Carter is a pro bowl alternate with 10.5 sacks, his career high is 12.. Carter said he did not feel snubbed by not being voted into the pro bowl, that "the only thing that matters to me is getting that ring."

OK men

Check this out, a site formed to ruin Tony Romo..

I'd love to see thousands of Jessica Simpson masks at Fed Ex Field for the regular season finale..

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 19-- Cooley, Samuels honored

Both RB Clinton Portis and WR Sanatan Moss were sent home before today's walk through sick, they are expected to return tomorrow..
TE Todd Yoder is working on his ailing knee and Joe Gibbs is hoping he'll be back and ready to play the end of the week..
The team did not hold a full practice as usual on Wednesday, Gibbs felt as if the team needed more of a break after a late night win on Sunday and held only an hour long walk through without pads... The team is expected to hold a full practice tomorrow..

The team signed DE Alex Buzbee from the practice squad replacing LB Rocky McIntosh who goes on injured reserve awaiting knee surgery..
The team also released CB John Eubanks who was dealing with an infected toe..
Two new practice suqad players were signed, DE Tommy Davis (North Carolina), and LB Danny Verdun-Wheeler (Georgia)

HB Blades is expected to get his first NFL start at weak side LB to replace McIntosh.. Blades has been practicing at all 3 LB positions through the summer and the season, but has foccussed mainly at WLB in practice.. Randall Godfrey remains an option to play some snaps there but is the prime back-up to Marcus Washington on strong side..
Washington said he believes Blades will be ready stating the obvious, "everyone wants to play in the games that matter this much."

Chris Cooley said he is having his most consistent season after being named to his first pro bowl.. He was openly hoping lst week when the voting closed that he would beat out Jeremy Shockey and be the 2nd TE selected.. Cooley is 12 catches away from breaking his franchise mark for receptions by a Skins tight end that he set two seasons ago..

Chris Samuels was reflective about his career after learning he was going to Hawaii for the 6th time.. Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm each went to 4 pro bowls.. Darrell Green I believe went to 7, few have been to more then Samuels in team history.. Samuels was thinking back to all the picks who were taken in the first round as he was back in 1999 and called himself blessed for being able to play this consistently this long..
Samuels credited Pete Kendall with helping him be able to have a pro bowl worthy season..

Joe Gibbs was asked about his record in Minneapolis, perfect including a Super Bowl victory stopping the question mid stream with a giggling response, "Don't start bringing that stuff up again. We have probably broken all those trends you guys talk about."
As far as a possible contract extension, Gibbs declined to comment saying that is best left to discuss in the off-season..

OK men..

Monday, December 17, 2007

December 17-- Giant musings, Rocky's season is over

LB Rocky McIntosh suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee yesterday against the Giants, he will undergo knee surgery in 2-3 weeks when swelling subsides.. There is a possibility McInotsh will not be ready when training camp begins next summer, he willbe re-evaluated when his rehab begins early next year..
There is no certainty who will take over at WLB for the season's final two games, it could be rookie HB Blades (who suffered a thumb injury but is expected to be OK), special teamer Kahry Campbell or Randall Godfrey who was Marcus Washington's replacement at SLB when Washington missed 4 of five games earlier this year with a hamstring injury..

TE Todd Yoder has a "cartilage defect" in his right knee, but is going to try to play through it with the intent of having a scope come the off-season.. He is officially day to day..

C Mike Pucillo has a degenerative disc in his back, but he is doing better and is expected to be OK for this weekend's game at Minnesota..
S Pierson Prioleau has a hamstring injury but is expected to be fine for this weekend..
S Laron Landry has a sore quad muscle, he should be available this weekend..
S Reed Doughty has a shoulder burner, he has been dealing with it for some time and should be OK for this weekend..
DT Cornelious Griffin suffered a disloacted ring finger, the team was unable to get it to stay in place during the Giants game so he played sparingly after the injury happened.. He is expected to be fine for the Vikings game..
S Vernon Fox, bruised knee, he'll be fine..
G Randy Thomas is going to have another MRI on his reinjured arm, the team will know in a couple of days what their course of action will be to get him halthy for next season..
QB Jason Campbell is said to be doing well ten days removed from dislocating his kneecap.. He does do a lot of physcial therapy, the team is hoping to help him get the soreness out, once that happens, the team will work toward building the strength in the muscles in his leg and there remaisn hope if the team makes the playoffs that he could return for the postseason..
Campbell is not expected to be placed on IR, but he has already been ruled out for the final two regular season games...

Joe Gibbs has never lost at the Metrodome, listen tomorrow to Redskins Radio from Redskins Park and hear him get mad at me for asking him about it! Of course he is building up the Vikings (who are on the ropes against Chicago as I am typing this) as the greatest team ever.. They are the league's statistical best rush team and best rush D team, so maybe he has a bit of a point..
Regardless of what happens tonight against Chicago, the Skins need to win in Minnesota. They have no shot of winning the 5 seed if they lose either one of their final two games or the Giants win one of the last two.. The easiest route is the Skins winning out and New Orleans losing once.. The team can make it as an 8-8 team, but that gets really complicated..

Gibbs said the upside for G/DT/Jumbo TE/Special Teamer Lorenzo Alexander is that at some point, "he is going to be a starter." At what position is the interesting debate.. Alexander played all of those positions against NY and likely will find a permanent back-up or starting guard role for the team come next year.. But he began his career in DC as an undersized DT.. It was the D coaches who told Joe Gibbs and Joe Bugel they should give him a look on offense during OTA's.. Now he has become one of the team's most versatile back-ups..

On the Taunting penalty by LaRon Landry, Joe Gibbs said he doesn't want to change any of Landry's aggressiveness but he said (not unlike similar issues with Sean Taylor in his first couple of years), Landry will learn form hurting his team not to make similar mistakes.. Landry took responsbility and said it was his fault for making the gesture to Plaxico Burress after laying him out in the first half on a sideline pattern.. Burress and the Skins secondary then got into a constatnt jawing session from that point forward, at one point one of the Skins coaches was alerting the refs to how much #@$! Burress was talking..

QB Todd Collins went 9-25 in his first start in ten years, he started the game 0-8 in extreme conditions but got his first win since 1997.. Complicating matters, Collins wife, who was due with their second child at the end of the month had some issues with the pregnancy and Collins left the team Friday afternoon to be with his wife.. She ended up giving birth to their second child, Jack.. Collins then returned to the team and went with them on their trip to NY.. Joe Gibbs was relating the story and said he told Dan Snyder about the issues with Todd to which Gibbs said Snyder asked him, "Which Todd?" The answer was that Todd.. Snyder gave Collins the use of his private jet to get to and from the hospital..

Clinton Portis went over 1000 yards for the fifth time in six seasons after his 3rd 100+ yard game of the season.. Portis went over 100 yards in both his games at the Meadowlands this yar saying afterward it was one of his goals to play better in NY because in recent years "I stunk up the joint." As for the milestone, Portis said it isn't something that he is concerned with as the team continues it's "Cinderella run to the playoffs."
Gibbs called Portis "one tough dude" today.. His pass blocking as usual was intense, but yesterday was devastating at times..

FB Rock Cratwright has a mohawk..

I got hit on the head by a practice punt by Derrick Frost during the seocnd half as Frost was being heckled by NY fans.. The wind and the fans ended up getting me conked!
DE Andre Carter was leading a rendition of Hail to the Redskins with the few remaining Redskin fans who stuck it out until the end and congragated behind the Skins bench as the conclusion was near.. Even coach Gregg Williams made his way over to the crowd to shake some hands before the final whistle blew..

One intoxicated fan found his way onto the Redskins bench and sat there for a good 2 minutes before anyone relaized he was there.. This was a story that was relayed to me by a player I will leave unnamed..
After the half, one team official told me as he exited the locker room, "I'm not making any promises, but we have different approach to this seocnd half, from attitude to everything. We aren't going to blow this lead." The venue, uniforms, quarterback and weather certainly were different from the week 3 game agianst the NYG, but the score was eerily similar..

T Stephon Heyer had by all accounts a good game matching up with Michael Strahan who he got into a pushing match with on a couple of occassions.. The Giants ended up with 2 sacks, they lead the league with 49..

OK men

Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14-- Here's the fake Todd Collins blog

Sorry, I forgot to add it yesterday..

Check it out..

December 14-- Clark speaks to players

Former WR Gary Clark came to practice today and spoke to the team following their practice.. Joe Gibbs said his message was about how much the former players and community care about the Redskins..

The team signed former Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach to the practice squad and released QB Jason Fife.. Hollenbach impressed the coaches during the OTA practices during this past off-season..

Injury report: CB John Eubanks is out (toe), QB Jason Campbell (knee) is also out.. The Skins appear as if they will enter the game with two quarterbacks on the roster with Antwaan Randle El working as the emergency third QB..
Everyone else on the injury report is probable, DT Cornelious Griffin (illness), WR James Thrash (ankle), DE Phillip Daniels (knee), C Mike Pucillo (back)..

The weather appears as if it will be horrific for the game Sunday night, wind appears to be the biggest issue with gusts possibly reaching upwards of 35-40 miles per hour.. There is more snow in the forecast for tomorrow.. Rain and sleet looks like the possible precipitation by kickoff..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13-- Thomas to IR

G Randy Thomas was placed on IR, the team re-signed guard Rick Demulling to fill his roster spot.. Thomas completely tore his triceps muscle in week two but stayed in condition and attempted to make a comeback in the last game against the Bears.. He lasted about two series when the pain returned to his arm and he realized he would not be able to block effectively.. He is expected to undergo more tests to see how much damage is in his arm, but his season is over.. Thomas should be back to complete health by the time OTA practices resume in March..

Vinny Cerrato was on Redskins radio at Noon today and was asked about Jon Jansen's future with Stephon Heyer showing some talent at the right tackle position.. Cerrato said, "sometimes it's not always the best player who is best for you. Jansen is a big part of the leadership on this team." He was intimating that he doesn't believe Jansen's future with the team is in doubt.

Injury report: Missing practice today: QB Jason Campbell (knee), DE Phillip Daniels (knee), CB John Eubanks (toe), DT Cornelious Griffin (sick), C Mike Pucillo (back), WR James Thrash (ankle/personal)

The Giants injury report was the same as yesterday except for these changes: TE Jeremy Shockety was out of practice (stomach).. S criag Dahl (ankle) and CB Aaron Ross (hamstring) both particpated in limited practice after missing Wednesday's session..

WR Santana Moss was asked about playing in Giants Stadium, certainly a tough place for the Skins in recent years, his anser was funny though saying, "How tough is it? I don't know, When I played for the Jets, a lot of people came in and beat us. I don't think it was tough for everybody." He made sure it was known he wasn't bashing the Jets..

Line of the day from the locker room came from one unnamed player who blurted out while the medai was in there, "Headline, the major leaguers are done, they are all on dope!"

Gregg Williams credited Joe Gibbs for keeping the team together through all the adversity and having the team in position to play a meaningful game this weekend.. Asked about his secondary and all the injuries there, Williams said Laron Landry can and is working well at the free safety position vacated by Sean Taylor.. He also praised the off-season additions of depth..

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12-- Collins smells things

Todd Collins first media session as Redskins starting quarterback began with someone asking him about whether he smells everything he touches.. He admitted to liking to take a whiff of footballs.. It ended with the lovely Diane Roberts of Fox 5 saying to him:
“That’s the most I heard you talk since you came here.”
TC: “That’s because you never asked.”
DR:” I didn’t know you had that much of an accent.” (He’s from Massachusetts)
TC: “I don’t have an accent. I think you have an accent.”

Jason Campbell has called him “weird.” Others want to know why he smells things so much.. Players were yelling “Rain man” while he was answering questions. It certainly was odd.. Joe Gibbs said practice wasn’t really any different with Collins under center other then to say, “We certainly miss Jason.” Collins did admit that a number of people have come out of the woodwork to congratulate him on his performance against the Bears, “some of them from when I played Pop Warner and others I don’t know.”

Injury report: WR James Thrash (ankle) took part in a full practice for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain almost a month ago.. He stayed after practice to work with the new QB, practice squader Jason Fife who has Hollywood worthy hair..
Those who did not participate in practice: Campbell (knee) obviously won’t play Sunday.. DE Phillip Daniels (knee) but Joe Gibbs thinks he will be OK.. CB John Eubanks (infected toe).. G Randy Thomas (elbow)
T Todd Wade did practice but is said not to be 100% yet dealing with a knee injury.. Stephon Heyer remains the starter at RT mainly based on a coaches decision..

WR Antwaan Randle-El worked some reps as the emergency third quarterback and will likely have that role for Sunday’s game against the Giants..

NYG injury report: All of these players did not practice on Wednesday: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), S James Butler (hamstring), S Criag Dahl (ankle), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), DE Michael Strahan (team decision), S Gibril Wilson (knee)

Joe Gibb said he doesn’t need to figure out the playoff scenarios because we the media would lay that out for him and that because of that, it will be impossible to ignore, but reminded everyone, none of it matters if they don’t beat the Giants.. Gibbs is 0-3 in NY against the Giants since his return falling by a combined scored of 75-17.. Two of the worst games his teams have played since his return came in the Meadowlands, 19-3 and 36-0 outcomes.. Gibbs did beat the Jets in NY earlier this year..

OK men..

December 12-- Here's what happened yesterday

Sorry to pass this along so late, numerous appearances yesterday kept me from typing!! So here is some stuff to utilize with the sound gathered from the unusual Tuesday open locker room..

The team returned from a long weekend appearing refreshed, they did not practice yesterday, only did some treatment and film work.. Practice for the Giants rematch begins this afternoon..

I ran into Jason Campbell who called Todd Collins a “weird dude” (affectionately).. Collins, he joked (at least I think he was joking) he said takes copious notes during every meeting which one day may become a book.. Insert joke here for possible titles..
Campbell praised Collins for being someone who always makes the long meetings lighter and easier to get through.. He also echoed all the coaching sentiments saying Collins is as prepared as any back-up you would ever meet..
So Todd Collins makes his first start in 10 years this Sunday in New York..
The team inked Jason Fife, a former Saints practice squader to their practice squad as their 3rd QB.. Fife is not on the active roster which means he is currently ineligible to play on Sunday, but if the team decides to place Campbell on IR due to his knee injury, Fife could take his spot on the roster..
Campbell has a sprained MCL along with the dislocated kneecap and this week is just focusing on getting the swelling out of the region.. He likely will not play again this year unless the Skins are in the playoffs, and even that remains an if.. Right now, there is no pressure on the team make a season decision on Campbell, but if Collins or Mark Brunnel were to get hurt, that may have to change.. As of now, I’d guess, and this is a guess, the team would have only two active quarterbacks on their roster this weekend making Antwaan Randle-El the emergency 3rd quarterback..

Mike Sellers was asked about the Giants now receiving some game tape on Collins and joked that all the old video of Collins was produced before he was born.. As for the Giants and their potential game planning of Collins now that he is coming off a stellar performance against Chicago, “one half isn’t enough to get a good look at what he likes to do.”

A number of players said they are quite aware of the team’s playoff scenarios and are aware of what tiebreakers then have and what games they are in need of watching.. Pierson Prioleau said he couldn’t tear himself away form the television this past weekend watching the games.. Asked about whether the Skins should be rooting for the Cardinals or Saints this weekend when they meet, Prioleau paused, and said “I think the Cards. Right? Man there are so many different ways this could go.”

Casey Rabach said the first Giants loss was one that stayed with the team for a while and of course became the first in a trend of blown second half leads.. London Fletcher was asked about thinking back to the first meeting and he decided to have selective memory, “That was so long ago. We’ve played so many games since, it’s hard to remember.”

OK men..

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10-- Back at PARK, Gibbs on Skins Radio

The players had one final day off before returning to prepare for the 3 game finale with playoffs very much on the mind.. The Skins-Vikings game on december 23rd has been moved to the Sunday night game.. This one likely will determine the fate of these teams for the NFC's final playoff spot.. The Vikings are the only team ahead of Washington currently in the standings.. Winning out by New Orleans would all but end the Skins chances of stealing the final spot..

I saw Jason Campbell today, he was assisted by crutches, he remains in a lot of pain.. Joe Gibbs said he doesn't know whether Campbell will have a chance to play again this season.. That decision may be made by tomorrow to determine if the Skins want to add another QB or different player to the roster and place Campbell on IR..

Gibbs called this season, "the toughest of my career and that is a long time." There has been some immense adversity this team has had to fight through, from injury to tragedy etc..

I asked Gibbs about his perception of the media coverage of Sean taylor's murder which has been praised and bashed on a number of different levels.. There was an intersting piece in SI this week regaring the coverage which focussed mainly on a piece by Len Shapiro of the Washington Post which used a headline the day after the shooting that said there "should be no surprise" that this happened to Taylor..
Gibbs said he did not read what was said but had "heard through others in the building" about some of the immediate reaction and hopes "some people would apologize for making a mistake."

G Randy Thomas is day to day with an arm injury.. he did not reinjure his repaired triceps but the strength in the arm needed for him to be effective just was not there..

The team returns tomorrow for a film session and begins practice for the Giants on Wednesday..

OK men.,.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December 9-- Sunday storytime

QB Jason Campbell will be out likely through the rest of the season.. The good news is that he will not be undergoign surgery on his knee.. The diagnosis is a displaced kneecap, which is going to be painful and likely will result in him not playing again this season, but there is apparently little to no damage to the patella tendon and there is little to no ligament damage.. So, what could have been a devastating injury seems to be one that won't be long lasting, but it does mean Todd Collins will have to take this team to the playoffs..

By the sound of the callers to our shows since Thursday's game, there appears to be a growing contingent now to be referred to as the Insane Todd Collins Posse.

Those who know my work know I won't pull punches with the Skins and try to tell it like it is.. Thursday's game was inspiring though and I think worth praising this team for..
Check out these stories: RB Clinton Portis ate some fried shrimp "from PF Changs" in the parking lot before enterring the stadium.. He threw up four times obviously suffering from food poisoning.. He played anyway and had the big offensive play of the game, a 54 yard screen pass inside the Bears 5..

CB Fred Smoot suffered severe cramps and began throwing up blood.. The team carted him into the locker room where they hooked him up to IV's.. While watching the fourth quarter and seeing his team possibly blow another late lead, Smoot asked the trainers to go get him something, when they left the room, he ripped the IV's out of his arm and ran back out onto the field and told Gregg Williams he was playing..

CB Shawn Springs gathered his own equipment out of the back.. The equipment manager did not set up his pads or jersey pre-game because he wa snot expected to play with a back injury, but determined to test it in pre-game, Springs went out, said he felt good enough and got his own pads out and ended up with two interceptions..

QB Todd Collins had thrown 27 passes in ten years combined, he had 20 attempts the other night completing 15 and ending with a QB rating of 144, 9 points away from a perfect QB rating..

TE Chris Cooley suffered a bruised shin, went in for X-Rays, when they came back negative, he returned and finished the game..

T Chris Samuels told trainers he had a bruning pain in his foot and was uncertain whether he'd be able to go.. If he didn't play, the team would have had to move Stephon Heyer to right tackle, Jason Fabini to left and Lorenzo Alexander to guard becuase that's all they had left.. Samuels played anyway and pancaked two players on the Portis catch and run..

This team probably won't make the playoffs (in my opinion of course) but considering the immense adversity of the past couple of weeks, the injuries of the season and in particular Thursday night, and the public ridicule their head coach was receiving this past week, I'd like to take this Sunday off to say this team made me very proud of them.. That was a great great win under extreme pressure..

OK men

Friday, December 07, 2007

December 6-- Campbell Hurt, Collins shines in Skins win

QB Jason Campbell suffered a dislocated patella (kneecap) and will be re-evaluated today when he undergoes an MRI.. Initial reports suggested there was no ligament/tendon damage (at least significant enough) to believe this will be a long recovery.. But more will be known today..

QB Todd Collins threw 20 passes and completed 15 ending with a 144 QB rating (perfect is 158.3) as the Skins ended their four game skid topping Chicago 24-16.. Collins was credited by teammates and coaches for his preparation which all attributed to his ability to play seamlessly.. Collins had not thrown a pass in a regular season game in 3 years and had combined to make 27 attempts in the past ten years combined.. Joe Gibbs called it the best performance off the bench by a back-up QB he’s ever been a part of..
The team was much more aggressive throwing on first downs in the fourth quarter with a 4 point lead.. Al Saunders said the play calling had little to do with what happened in recent weeks losing close games and failing to hold leads.. He did credit Collins for knowing his system so well that he felt comfortable putting Collins in the position to win the game instead of just trying to hang on..

Other injuries: G Randy Thomas returned for the first time since week 2 wearing a bulky arm brace to protect his repaired triceps, but he left in the first half with what the team was calling an elbow injury to the same arm.. He’ll be re-evaluated today..
T Todd Wade was inactive, no injury reported, rookie Stephon Heyer started in his place..

DE Phillip Daniels suffered a sprained knee in the 4th quarter, he will get an MRI today..
RB Clinton Portis played through an illness and suffered a hand injury as well..
TE Chris Cooley suffered a bruised shin but returned to play..

CB Fred Smoot left the field with severe cramping where he was vomiting blood.. Smoot was carted off and given fluids via IV, but Smoot took the IV’s out when the game got close in the 4th quarter and returned to the field.. Smoot is expected to be examined by a doctor to make sure there is nothing more serious wrong with him..

CB Shawn Springs showed up last night and his locker did not have his gear in it, a surefire sign that the team was going to deactivate him due to a back injury he suffered in the Bills game.. But Springs said Cornelious Griffin told him pre-game that they needed him and so Springs told coaches Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray that he was going to take part in pre-game warmups, afterward, he took some “Advil” and apprised the team he was planning on playing.. So Springs went into the training room and retrieved his own equipment (the team places pads and uniforms in the players lockers prior to their arrival for those who will be active).. he ended up with two interceptions, the first leading to the first score of the game late in the second quarter.. The team had a combined one pick in their previous six games…

Most of the players and coaches I spoke with said the energy level and emotional level was back on par with a typical game day.. Many said the win was in honor of Sean Taylor.. There was a major change in attitude after the funeral and through the short and not exactly thorough preparation, the team seemed to have put a lot of the ill feelings about the Taylor tragedy to rest..

There is a rumor out there that the Redskins as a team are being fined for wearing a black “21” patch on their jersey, similar to the one worn by all teams on their helmets.. The league is strict about it’s uniform rules.. This one in my opinion, if true, is way to strict..

Two men ran onto the field of play last night and had to be apprehended by security.. The second was as the game ended in the end zone near the players tunnel, he put up little fight.. The first guy though was strong as an ox.. This dude ran onto the field and bumped into one of the Bears players.. It took 8 security officials to get him off the field and even though they were carrying him by all fours, the man was consistently able to free himself.. If I wasn’t overly worried about mental instability, I’d say this dude needs to get a workout by the team..

The team will be off until Tuesday..

More on Campbell later today..

OK men

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5-- Should the ref have helped Gibbs?

The team did not hold a walk through today due to the inclement weather.. The fields needed to be plowed to actually have a session and the team ultimately elected not to do so..
Thus, the Redskins will play a game against Chicago where they essentially did not hold one full practice since Sunday.. Joe Gibbs decided to scale back the one day where the team was to hold a full practice (Tuesday) based mainly on the team's need to recover from the game Sunday..

The mood has been definitively different this week as the days pass since the shooting death of Sean taylor.. The media was allowed into the locker room for the first time since Taylor was shot on Tuesday.. His locker (as it is at Fed Ex Field as well) has been enclosed in plexiglass with his pads and uniforms in tact.. Clinton Portis said it remaisn tought to have his locker next to Taylor's and said "nothing is completely back to normal yet." But the mood has been different ever since Monday's funeral.. many of the people I talked to that were on the team plane from Miami said the mood was much more upbeat then from the flight down.. The 3 hour service appears to have been cathartic for most..

Joe Gibbs was asked publicly for the first time whether he will be honoring his contract and staying for a fifth year after his team's fourth straight loss on Sunday.. Gibbs said he is not changing his stance from what he has said in the past, and that being he is going to fufill his contract which is for 5 years, this is year 4..
Gibbs continued to publicly admonish himself for making a mistake by calling a second time out at the end of the Bills game, and refused to allow any of the blame to be shifted to the referree who he had discussed his intentions to..
Gibbs said he doesn't feel as if he could ever take too much of the responsibility when it comes to the team's successes or failures...

I spoke with a number of different people about the ref and his obligation to explain the ramifications of Gibbs making that call.. It was mixed, Joe Bugel admitted "everyone wants Joe Gibbs to be perfect. He's not. But nobody works harder at the game of football then Joe." Jason Campbell said he believes the ref should have told Joe what would happen if he called the timeout but admitted that because of his inexperience, he doesn't get explanations from refs everytime he asks either.. "When you've been around like a guy like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, refs are more apt to listen." Asked whether Gibbs has earned enough respect to get that type of treatment, Campbell responded "definitely."
Clinton Portis was fair about it saying "look at it from the other team's view. If they tell him that, the other team is going to want to know why they told him that. Who knows?"
Bears coach Lovie Smith stuck up for Gibbs to, "I couldn't tell you how many mistakes I make every game."

The Redskins never did ask for a petition to change the Thursday game despite the tragedy a week ago.. Lovie Smith reiterated the Bears would have done anything to accomodate the Skins..

Injury Report: G Randy Thomas (triceps) wearing an arm brace and listed as probable appears as if he will be active for the first time since injuring his arm in week 2.. WR James Thrash (ankle) is out.. RB Clinton Portis (shoulder) probable.. WR Antwaan Randle-El (hamstring) probable.. FB Mike Sellers (back) probable.. CB Shawn Springs (back) questionable..

Joe Gibbs did say there was one time in his career when he chose not to kick to a return man because he deemed that player too dangerous, but it was only after he learned his lesson the hard way.. Gibbs said once back in the '80's special teams coach Wayne Sevier told him he wanted to kick to Chicago's Willie Gault (a track star/WR) to show Chicago they could stop him.. First kick, Gault goes 103 yards for a touchdown.. Gibbs fired at Sevier, "I said I've seen enough and we didn't kick it to him again." So will the Skins take their chances with Devin Hester? The way Gibbs talked about it, expect them to be extremely careful..
The Skins are ranked 22nd in KO return average by the opposition, but that number is skewed, 2 yards fewer per return and they would be top 10.. The team is the best in the league at punt return average allowed, under 6..

OK, must win time..

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Blog I've been working on

I'm having a little fun on my new blog

Hope you all can check it out and let me know what you think..


Monday, December 03, 2007

December 3-- Team en route back from Taylor funeral

I stayed in DC to host our local coverage of Sean Taylor's funeral proceedings in Miami.. It was approximately a 3 hour service that featured eulogies from current teammate Clinton Portis and former Skin LaVar Arrington..
His collegiate roomate Buck Ortega told some humorous stories..

Joe Gibbs spoke for the team as well, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke for the league.. And Taylor's girlfriend's sister was weeping as she thanked Sean for showing her how to love someone and leaving her with the gift of her niece..

Arrington was particularly interesting calling Taylor his "guardian angel," and offering him some perspective on his life affording the opportunity to say to his former teammates, "something I should have said years ago, which is that I love you all."

Gibbs invoked God numerous times saying Sean remaisn in a better place and that the path to eternity lies within a relationship with Jesus Christ which Gibbs believed he had..

Reverend Jesse Jackson sat next to Taylor's father Pedro and spoke eloquently about the need to curb gun violence in America.. "We are slow learners. we are ina hole looking for a shovel and we need a rope. We are all the safety now. NFL players, you must stand between communities and help stop the violence."

Ortega shared stories of immense athletic prowess by Taylor.. He recalled a story where Taylor dove to the floor of a lake when spear fishing with him and Taylor's inability to need to get his equilibrium back, "that was the first time I thought this guy might not be fully human." Ortega said Taylor used to leap over defenders while they stood straight up.. Ortega said when he tried to do that, helmets would strike him in the chest..

Clinton Portis revelaed that Taylor was a very happy person, always smiling and always talking about topics that were off the wall..
Agent Drew Rosenhaus wrote a series of "Thank you's.." to Taylor..

The Honorable Otis Wallace, mayor of Florida City Florida spoke to the media saying some should be ashamed of themselves for perceiving that Taylor was a victim by circumstances he made.. "I hope the media learns a lesson in grace and humility." he then called the Redskins a class organization to which the assembled crowd gave them a standing ovation..

The Skins returned on a plane together after the ceremony which ended around 2:30PM and will have their lone practice day in preparation for the Bears tomorrow..

OK men..

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2-- Skins fall 17-16 as they honor Sean Taylor

The Redskins were not on the field for a 4 minute tribute video aired on the big screen in each end zone of Fed Ex Field featuring highlights and interviews of former Skins safety Sean taylor.. Fans waved white towels with the #21 on them and a large placard in the end zone opposite featured Taylor's name..

The Redskins first defensive play only had ten defensive players on the field.. The end result was a Bills run that gained 22 yards.. Joe Gibbs was unaware that the Skins would do that, something that the defsnsive staff and players agreed to do Saturday night.. Gibbs refused comment on it until he had spoken with Williams about it, which at the time of the post game media conference had not occurred.. When I spoke with Gregg, he said he had spoken to Gibbs about it and he wasn't upset.. The Bills were not told that the Redskins would do this thus did not oblige the moment by either sacrificing a play or letting a delay of game penalty occur as was rumored..

CB Fred Smoot said he was crying during some early series in the game and was visibly shaken during pre-game and post game following a heartbreaking 17-16 loss.. Taylor's locker was enclosed in plexiglass with his uniform and pads in it.. It was a difficult reminder for some who said it was hard not to notice the memorial in the locker room..

Joe Gibbs made a huge mistake at the end of the game with Buffalo by attempting to use consecutive timeouts to ice kicker Ryan Lindell who was lining up for a game winning field goal with under ten seconds to play.. By rule, you cannot call consecuitve timeouts to ice a kicker.. Gibbs was consulting one of the referees before calling the timeouts.. The first one was used right as the Bills were preparing to snap the ball, Lindell made the 51 yard field goal but because of the timeout, he was forced to line up again.. Oddly, Gibbs had said earlier in the season he wasn't going to utilize this form of gamesmanship but obviously chnaged his mind as the season progressed..
Gibbs was talking to the ref, he said he believed the official told him it was OK to use the second timeout.. When it was called, the Bills went nuts demanding a penalty which they got, a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct call.. This made the Lindell attempt 36 yards, which he hit handily..
Gibbs took the blame for the game telling the team and the media it does not mater what he believes the ref told him, he didn't know the rule..

Injuries: T Todd Wade bruised his knee and missed a couple of plays but returned to finish the game.. CB Shawn Springs suffered a bruised lower back in the first half, returned to play most of that half but played sparingly in the second half.. He said he belives he will be fine to play Thursday against the Bears..

I talked to one player who said he was happy that those who broke into Taylor's house and ultimately shot him were in custody, "only if the right guys were arrested. I do feel bad for them too not to have enough sense not to do something like that."

The team will fly early tomorrow morning to Miami to attend Taylor's funeral then will return to Redskins Park later in the afternoon.. There is only scheduled day of practice before the Bears game, Tuesday..

The Redskins defense hasn't given up a touchdown in 7 quarters but is 0-2 in those games.. When asked about the timeout gaffe, Gregg Williams said he was more dissapointed by the 33 yard pass play from Trent Edwards to Josh Reed that enabled the Bills to be in field goal range for the final chance to win.. Reed getting the ball in the deep middle of the field was one final reminder who the team was missing back there..

OK men..