November 28, 2009

Albert Haynesworth Says: "It Ain't Too Late"

Albert Haynesworth showed some guts today or did he?

Haynesworth told reporters the Redskins still have something to play for, and that the season "ain't over."

Just talk or does he really mean it?

Now Fat Albert is doubtful for the game tomorrow, but if he plays I'll be happy to see that he wasn't just talking out his posterior.

The Redskins have played two of their best games the past two weeks, and they haven't given up vocally as of yet. We all know that barring the miraculous the year is over, but it's good to see some improvement the past few weeks.

Haynesworth has definitely made a difference. Offenses avoid running at him, and Washington's defensive ends have been much better this year. It would be great to see him get in there tomorrow to play Philly.

Speaking of Philly, the 'Skins have to stop DeSean Jackson. They do that and it forces the Eagles to play a yardage game, which isn't up their alley at all.

My Prediction: Jackson is contained for the most part, but the 'Skins have a bad turnover at the wrong time. 17-13 Eagles.

November 27, 2009

RIP #21

Two years ago today, the Washington Redskins organization lost one of their brightest young stars in free safety Sean Taylor.

Taylor was shot by several men who broke into his Florida home, and died the next day from complications of his wounds.

Taylor was one of the up-and-coming greats in the NFL. He possessed incredible athleticism, and was feared throughout the league for his big play ability.

My most vivid memory was of Eagles receiver Todd Pinkston ducking for cover when Taylor came up to hit on a deep pass. Some receivers were that scared of Taylor.

Taylor was more than just a hitting machine. He possessed an uncanny ability to read defenses. In 2007 he was playing at an unbelievable level before an injury and the subsequent tragedy that followed. He had an NFL high 5 INTs just four games into the year.

Fans can pay their respects to Sean by visiting FedEx Field today.


RIP #21. You are still sorely missed on the field and in the community.

Hall To Miss Sunday's Game, Haynesworth Doubtful

Deangelo Hall will miss this Sunday's game against the Eagles with a knee injury. Carlos Rogers will take his place in the starting lineup opposite Fred Smoot.

Albert Haynesworth is also doubtful and will be a gametime decision with an ankle sprain.

TE Todd Yoder is questionable and, I as far as I can tell, so is LB HB Blades.

Rogers is in a contract year, and hasn't played well enough for any team to give him a big deal. The 'Skins season is all but over, and it would make sense to work in rookie CB Kevin Barnes and second year CB Justin Tryon.

And yet the Redskins remain committed to playing the veterans even when those veterans don't appear to factor into the team's long term plans. I mean I love winning, but I'd rather see the team prepare to win games in the future by giving young guys experience now.

I dig deep into Jim Zorn's reluctance to play young players and how it hurts the organization's future on blogblitz.nfl.com.

Here's the link to my article.

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Tidbits

Just how bad are the injuries for the Redskins? Rich Tandler documents it on CSNWashington.

Nine different players have started on the offensive line for the 'Skins this year. If Edwin Williams starts at RG against Philly he'll be the tenth different starter.

Deangelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth are both questionable for the Eagles' game. HB Blades and Todd Yoder are as well. Jim Zorn made it sound like Hall's status is more in doubt than Haynesworth's.

Haynesworth could play regardless of whether he practices on Friday or not. Hall would be more likely to miss the game should he miss Friday's practice.

Mike Shanahan met with the Bills for seven, count 'em, SEVEN hours yesterday. I know that's a standard amount of time for a head coaching interview, but wow! That's a lot of time.

Anyway, Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer already declined the Bills advances. Shanahan has been linked to DC in some reports. He is friends with Vinny Cerrato, which have led some people to assume Cerrato would push for Shanahan in order to try and save his job by working alongside Shanahan in a front office capacity.

Either way, Shanahan is a name Dan Snyder would pursue, and so his interactions with the Bills bear watching.

Eagles' defensive coordinator Seth McDermott has had a rough time taking over for the late Jim Johnson. Eight of the opening day starters have missed time and the Eagles will be without their nickel and dime backs this week (Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs).

Also, Philly's top two CBs, Asante Samuel (neck stinger) and Sheldon Brown (hamstring strain), will return this week from injuries, and won't be 100%.

Linebacker Akeem Jordan is expected to miss this week as well. The 'Skins must take advantage of all these injuries, spread the field and control the clock. The Eagles like to rotate players as they usually have a lot of depth on defense.

So if the 'Skins can stay in the game early, establish the run, and experience some success with playaction, they could really exploit their injury ridden defense.

But of course our secondary has to continue what it started last week and shut down the explosive DeSean Jackson this week.

November 24, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon Links

Devin Thomas will be returning kick-offs because Rock Cartwright is replacing Ladell Betts at RB. Based on his effort on Sunday, I like the move. Thomas has really become a solid threat in the past several weeks. He looks like he's catching on (two returns, 28 yard average).

Roy Williams scared of LaRon Landry?
You bet.

Matter of fact, the whole secondary played really well. I had been saying the 'Skins weren't playing up to their ranking as the number one pass defense, but on Sunday, they stopped the big play Cowboys from making any big plays.

And they did it in zone with an inconsistent pass rush. The 'Skins have gotten to opposing QBs remarkably well this year, but last week Romo had time to throw. The secondary just made sure he had no one to throw to.

D Hall played well, Landry played well, Smoot played well. Even Justin Tryon looked comfortable out there. Maybe the secondary is good. This week, they face a big test in the McNabb-to-Jackson connection.

My friend Ed Sheahin from CBS Sportsline is a big Brian Orakpo fan. And so am I. What a play he made to force Romo to throw an INT on Sunday. The guy is only getting better. Double digit sacks?

Here's Sheahin's take on Orakpo.

Cooley Looks To Be Done For The Season

Chris Cooley was on DC101's Elliot in the Morning today, and he told the show he would most likely miss the rest of the season. "I'm probably done," he said. "If all went well, and it was an amazing 10-day recovery starting now, I can probably play the last three games. But I don't really see any benefit in me playing the last three games ... but I'd do it. If they wanted me to, and they kept a spot for me and I was fine, I'd do it."

Probably a safe move. Fred Davis has been looking good and his continued development would give the Redskins two quality tight ends for next year.

Marcus Mason Resigned

With Ladell Betts suffering a season ending knee injury,the Redskins resigned Marcus Mason to the roster to provide depth behind Rock Cartwright and Quinton Ganther.

Hopefully this move will finally give Mason an opportunity to make a regular season impact as he has never been given much of a chance in meaningful action.

Playoff aspirations all but ended on Sunday against Dallas so it would make sense for Jim Zorn to give his youngsters a shot. Marko Mitchell has been impressive in limited reps while Mason has shown good vision complemented with tough running during his several stints with Washington.

Also, to provide depth at offensive line after Chad Rinehart went on the IR, the 'Skins have brought in guard Paul Fanaika from the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad. Fanaika was a seventh-round pick by the Eagles in April out of Arizona State. He's 6-foot-5 and weights 327 pounds.

Here's his pre-draft bio.

November 23, 2009

Who's To Blame For Painful Loss In Dallas

First off, I apologize for not doing thorough job previewing last week's game. I was struggling through a rough school week, and was unable to get on here often.

Secondly, this game was the first game in 2009 since week one that I have been excited for. And for three and a half periods, it appeared that my excitement may have been validated.

Then Shaun Suisham happened. Suisham came into the game perfect on all 12 of his field goal attempts. He left the game having missed two; a big reason as to why the 'Skins found themselves on the losing end of a 7-6 score to the Cowboys.

Now don't get me wrong the offense wasn't exactly piling on the points, but they controlled the ball in the second half with the scrubs in the game.

Think about it: in a defensive battle, the Redskin offense had four scoring opportunities to the Cowboys' two. The 'Skins were solid punting the ball, and moved it enough to keep field position balanced.

They played a sound game with the likes of Rock Cartwright handling the ball. Jason Campbell was being protected by Edwin Williams, Levi Jones, and Stephon Heyer. That's not exactly starter material.

With those guys, the Redskins gave up just one sack. Sure they couldn't protect well enough for Campbell to open it up downfield, but they gave him time to make big third down throws as Campbell went 13-13 on his third down attempts.

Overall, Washington went 7-15 on third down conversions, but it was a big third-and-two with around five minutes left in the game that they wished they could have back.

Campbell lined up in the shotgun with Cartwright next to him on the Cowboy 32. He handed it to him on a draw, which was stuffed, forcing Suisham to come out for a 50-yard FG. Suisham missed and the Cowboys scored on their ensuing possession to take the lead.

The playcall was questionable, but a good kicker would have made that kick. It was indoors and it wasn't even with the game on the line. And Suisham missed it.

Zorn was criticized by fans for not taking a shot to the endzone with 15 seconds left in the first half. He went for the 39-yarder instead of taking a chance. I liked that call and so did Redskins Insider front man, Jason Reid.

Quarterback Jason Campbell probably had one of the best performances of his career while dealing with constant pressure. He made many impressive throws on the move, but the pressure was there. Zorn simply did not want to risk Campbell being sacked, which could have knocked the Redskins out of Suisham's range. And Suisham had made his first 13 attempts.

So considering the shaky pass protection and Suisham's accuracy until Sunday (he also missed a 50-yard attempt), I didn't have a problem with Zorn's decision.

Not a banner day for the offense, but considering the personnel on the field, I'd call it a great effort spoiled by a pair of botched kicks.

November 19, 2009

Personnel Update For Week 11 Vs. Dallas

Carlos Rogers was benched last week for giving up another long TD pass while biting on a double move. He wasn't upset about the benching, and it appears that he will, in the very least, get some reps at CB.

“I went through this last year, and I never got an (explanation),” Rogers said. “This year, I do know (why). I gave up a double move to Philadelphia (receiver DeSean Jackson on Oct. 26) and gave up this double move.”

“He’s not done,” Jim Zorn said. “He’s got to find that confidence. As we work through this week, he may very well be the guy out there. Then again, it may be just a rest. Take a breather here and then work back in. We did that with (strong safety) Chris Horton earlier in the year.”

Redskins.com gave this update earlier today:

On Wednesday, Rogers was on the practice field and split first-team reps with Fred Smoot and Justin Tryon. Rookie Lendy Holmes also saw action at cornerback.

Head coach Jim Zorn indicated that no decision had been made who would start opposite DeAngelo Hall at cornerback.

"He worked very hard in practice, he had his mind right on the practice and right in the game planning," Zorn said. "He didn’t skip a beat. He wasn’t pouting at all...He responded like a real professional. I know I appreciate that."

Secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray was asked if he expected Rogers to play on Sunday.

"Of course," Gray replied.

Meanwhile, Clinton Portis is "very doubtful" for the game according to Zorn. Portis suffered a concussion a week and a half ago against Atlanta and is still experiencing some blurred vision.

With Ladell Betts playing well, it shouldn't matter that Portis will miss more time. Portis just hasn't had it this year and Betts has really kicked the 'Skins running game into gear.

Albert Haynesworth's sprained ankle might keep him out this weekend. “I saw his ankle and it was swollen,” Zorn said. “We are just trying to get the swelling out. I will tell you this, Albert will work as hard as he possibly can to get to this game and play 100 percent in it.”

I would bet Haynesworth misses the game, which will actually really hurt the 'Skins already shaky run defense. I just don't think Haynesworth will risk it. There's a lot of money invested in him and his ankle.

And finally it's looking like the starting O-line won't deviate at all from last week's lineup. Let's hope it stays healthy because this combination has been the best of the year.

Mike Williams might return this week and would come in off the bench.

November 18, 2009

Wednesday's News And Notes: Vote Orakpo For Rookie Of The Week

It's Dallas week and that means fans in DC are pumped. Not since week one have this many Washingtonians been excited about a Redskins game.

But hey don't chuckle. The 'Skins are coming off a big win over Denver, and now they get to travel down to Texas to visit the new Cowboys stadium.

First, let's clean up some loose ends from last week's Broncos game (hey we have to hold on to such a fun win).

How about those two big hits in the first half that definitely made an impact on Washington's intensity? Major credit to Rocky McIntosh and Lorenzo Alexander.

Here's some video of Alexander's hit. Couldn't find any on Rocky's.

Also, make sure to vote Brian Orakpo for the Rookie of the Week after registering five tackles and 1.5 sacks against Denver.


Orakpo set the Redskins rookie sack record after last week. He has seven on the season, which surpassed the previous mark set by Andre Collins (six sacks). Considering there's seven games left, Orakpo could make this record tough to beat out. Great start for this youngster.

Naturally, Hunter Smith won special teams player of the week after the punter threw a 35-yard TD pass and had a 38-yard net punting average. Congrats to him (could he be the best pickup the 'Skins made last offseason?).

I was impressed with the gutsy play from Reed Doughty last week. With Chris Horton on the IR with a toe injury, Doughty moved into the starting SS role. He didn't disappoint. Doughty notched 10 tackles and had one pass defensed.

You have to love his attitude on the field. He hits well (something this secondary needs to see) and has improved drastically in pass defense. Fred Smoot played some SS as well on some passing downs, but Doughty appears as if he'll get the bulk of the reps there.

Shaun Suisham is perfect on FG attempts this season. I constantly hate on him so I owe him some praise. Granted,Suisham has yet to attempt a FG of over 48 yards, but he is 4-4 from 40-49 yards out. A big improvement from last year's 11-16 from that same distance.

Now it's time to move on to Dallas.

November 17, 2009

Second Half Domination Good To See

The 'Skins went toe-to-toe with the Denver Broncos in the first half. Despite numerous lapses in coverage, the Redskin offense managed a pair of TDs and trailed 17-14 at halftime.

Then, they took over.

You can say what you want about the Kyle Orton injury, but there was more to it than simply an ugly performance from Chris Simms. The offense controlled the ball for most of the second half and ran it down Denver's throats.

Sure Simms' was unable to lead the Broncos to any points, but a big reason for that was that Washington never let them get into a rhythm. That's a surefire way to beat a team.

As bad as the secondary was, the 'Skins offense will have to play ball control again this week against the Cowboys. They have made it a habit to give up big plays, and Dallas has been a big play team over the past month.

I really think a big reason the 'Skins struggled to keep Brandon Marshall in front of them was the fact, that Denver hasn't been much of a vertical passing team this year. They gameplanned well, and caught the 'Skins sitting on the playaction.

This week, Miles Austin is a known downfield threat. The 'Skins will obviously work extra hard to prepare for him and correct the errors from this past week.

But will they?

Greg Blache has hardly impressed me with his passive schemes this season. The D-line has been much better than usual against the pass, and yet the secondary has been average at best. A lot of soft zone coverage and poor tackling in several games.

However, the biggest concern is the run defense. Teams have been running away from Albert Haynesworth, and it's working.

The Redskins get decent penetration in the backfield, but they miss tackles or a linebacker fails to plug up the last gap. This has led to the NFL's 24th ranked rush defense, which allows 125.7 rushing yards per game.

Not good with the Cowboys 8th ranked rushing attack on the horizon.

That means the 'Skins will have to duplicate their time of possession dominance from last week. I'm just praying last week's success will carry over because after all what Redskins fan wouldn't want to christen Dallas' new stadium with a beatdown from the Burgundy and Gold?

November 13, 2009

Friday Roundup

You don't think Peyton Manning is any good? Well here's something from Pete Prisco to make you think otherwise.

Manning is, in my opinion, the greatest passer of this decade. I mean the guy is on pace to break the single season records for completion percentage and passing yards with an average offensive line and a depleted receiving corps while calling his own plays.

The man is a genius.

Meanwhile LaRon Landry isn't so masterful on the field. I have long thought he tackled with poor form. When you you leave your feet as much as Landry does, you're bound to miss some tackles. Landry criticized himself for a poor tackling performance last week.

The great Peter King gives us his midseason awards and All-Pro Team on SI.com. Can't argue with the selections. Ryan Clady is getting love everywhere and why not? The guys has given up one sack in 24 games.

Funny thing is that King threw rookie Michael Oher in the right tackles spot. The same Michael Oher that the 'Skins passed on in favor of Brian Orakpo. I know Orakpo is looking good, but the 'Skins needed a reliable young tackle and Oher looks like he is just that.

I'll be evaluating that move for the rest of their respective careers.

This week, Hunter Smith is going to return at punter against the Broncos. The position was in flux as Smith recovered from a groin injury, but hopefully the position will stabilize now that he's back.

Ladell Betts will start this week at RB despite a foot sprain.

Joe Bugel said guard Chad Rinehart, "deserves another shot." Rinehart is expected to start at right guard after failing to impress the coaches in two previous starts this year. I thought Rinehart's performance was decent, but the coaches don't ever seem to like the effort he gives. He bears watching this week.

Will Montgomery will most likely see time at RG too.

Prediction for this week: The Broncos needs this to get back on the winning track. The 'Skins have packed it in.

I'm hoping to see some of the young guys step up. Rinehart, Marko Mitchell, Orakpo, Jeremy Jarmon, etc.

I know the 'Skins will eventually one game of inspired football this year, but this won't be it.

Broncos win 27-13.

November 10, 2009

What's Good? Orakpo.

At least one bright spot for the 'Skins this year. Rookie first rounder, Brian Orakpo has been a pass rushing force.

Orakpo notched two first half sacks on Matt Ryan last week. That ups his total to 5.5 sacks on the year leaving him on pace for 11 total. Orakpo also has 26 tackles.

That would be an impressive count for a rookie. Orakpo has definitely made his mark a pass rusher and is working into the OLB role as well.

Personally, I think Orakpo should stay at DE, and if he ends up with the double digit sacks, the 'Skins might end up doing that.

Orakpo is playing at OLB mainly because the 'Skins no one else athletic enough to play there. Chris Wilson gets some time there, but overall, Orakpo was the most gifted at the spot. Still, if Washington can get a replacement at OLB this offseason, Orakpo should be moved permanently to DE.

Think about the sack total if he was a full time pass rusher. That's something to drool about for next year.

Hall's Play In 2009 Is A Microcosm Of The Team's Performance

Deangelo Hall was the only player interested in fireworks, and they weren't even the right kind. Hall got into it with his former team on their own sideline, prompting Falcons coach Mike Smith to exchange words with Hall. Smith also appeared to physically pull Hall out of the scrum.

Hall accused Smith of "putting his hands on me," and, "cussing me out" following the game.

It doesn't get much more pathetic than this, but then again the 'Skins find ways to sink to new lows every week.

Hall hasn't been one of the better acquisitions the 'Skins have made this decade. Considering their horrible track record, that's saying something. Hall is soft in coverage and lax in tackling, and this incident will undoubtedly make him a laughingstock.

A once promising young corner who has lost his ability and is now spiraling towards the end of a disappointing career. Hall may be under 25, but his shelf life is drying up with each passing game.

This scuffle doesn't help matters. Hall made this past week all about him and his emotions concerning his return to Atlanta. The scrum wasn't even his battle, but he got into it just the same. Then to whine to the NFL because there was some pushing, shoving, and...gasp...cursing?

Now I've been to my fair share of sports events, and heard my fair share of swearing. Colorful language and sports go hand in hand. Hall is just looking for something to gripe about, but it will backfire.

Washingtonians don't want to see sensitive football players. They just want winners. Hall certainly doesn't play like a winner and his latest comments make him appear pretty damn sensitive.

Hall isn't making any new fans these days and neither is his team. Hall's play reflects the effort put in by the whole team, which isn't positive.

Coming off a bye, the 'Skins put up three points in the first half against the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL. They tried to make it interesting in the second half, but the defense was unable to stop Michael Turner.

The Redskins have consistently been in the top five against the run, but this season they are ranked just 25th and on Sunday, they surrendered 6.7 YPC and 181 total rushing yards.

The tackling is woeful, and the basic defensive fundamentals are lacking. The 'Skins have seemingly lost their will to play.

Don't let the number one pass defense fool you. The 'Skins have faced a string of mediocre QBs, and success on the ground has made it pointless for opposing teams to throw.

And can one blame the defense for struggling? The offense has given up two defensive TDs early in the last two games, and put up just 13 first half points in the process of those two games. That doesn't inspire aspirations of greatness.

So needless to say, things aren't pretty in DC. The team doesn't seem to have much of a core group and the coaching situation is bleak. Dan Snyder is doing his best Darth Vader impersonation and the Redskins are well on their way to a 2-14 season. Good times in our nation's capital.

November 5, 2009

Riggins Rips Snyder On Inside The NFL

Former Redskins great John Riggins blasted current Redskins owner Dan Snyder on HBO's Inside the NFL.

"This is a bad guy," said Riggins to show host James Brown. "[The franchise] is driven by his ego. It's not a climate where people can succeed. It's just a circus and a joke."

Riggins unleashed a firestorm in a seven and a half minute interview with Brown. Great stuff that anyone who is frustrated with Snyder and the 'Skins needs to listen to.

You can tell Riggins desperately wants to see the Redskins return to the glory years. You can also tell he hates his former boss with a passion. Riggins undoubtedly had plenty of interaction with Snyder while working in the studios of ESPN 980, which the Danny owns. That interaction was likely what allowed Riggins to be so in tune with the "dark" side of Danny Boy.

I personally think it's the best piece that has come out against Danny and a must-see for any Redskin fan. I agree with the statement at the end where Riggins says his criticism of the organization will eventually enhance his legacy.

Here's the link.

Update: Greg Blache has defended Snyder since Riggins' outburst. Blache broke his media silence to announce to Snyder haters: "enough's enough." Wow. Thanks for the input, Greg. Now go teach your secondary how to cover.

Here's that link.

November 3, 2009

Snyder: Redskins "Have Let Everyone Down"

Dan Snyder apologized to Redskins fans at a charity event, saying "We've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic.

Thanks Dan. We appreciate the sentiment. Now prove you're sorry and just sign the checks. No more football decisions for you buddy.

Also, it's funny that he wouldn't address his ban on signs at Fedex Field. Fans are pissed over the state of the team and Snyder's underhanded treatment has further angered them. You would think Snyder could do a little more to quell the fury.

And I won't believe he really cares about this team, this city, and these fans until he starts to make some serious changes. The fans aren't treated to a good in-game experience from the poor quality of the game to the high prices of merchandise and food. And the team has been a disorganized mess for the past decade. I won't believe he's sorry until I see some stability and structure.

Here's CBS' report. Rich Tandler also gives his perspective.

Samuels Done For Season

As expected Chris Samuels was put on the Injured Reserve by the Washington Redskins. This could be the beginning of the end for the 'Skins Pro Bowl left tackle, drafted with the number three pick in 2000.

Samuels suffers from a condition called stenosis, a narrowing of the spine. He aggravated his neck in the Carolina game and there have been worries that the injury might be serious enough to force Samuels to hang up his spikes.

The dismantling of a solid Redskin offensive line is underway. Jon Jansen was just released during the offseason and it appears Randy Thomas' career is close to being over. That leaves Derrick Dockery and Casey Rabach as the only linemen that have anchored the line for much of the decade.

In other injury news, linebacker HB Blades and corner Byron Westbrook are both unlikely to play against Atlanta this week as they underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. Both players suffered meniscus tears against the Eagles.

That means we will be seeing rookies Kevin Barnes at CB and Robert Henson at LB. Neither have dressed thus far.

And the biggest change this week will be at punt returner. Antwaan Randle El's role will be diminished and Deangelo Hall is now the primary punt returner. Those two and Santana Moss will all go back for returns in the future.

I hate this move. It's just too pansy. This is the vibe I get:

"Well we have finally realized that Antwaan sucks at returning, but we don't want to give up on him so he'll still get some returns. And we don't want Santana to get hurt so he'll only get in there as a change of pace return guy. So we'll let Deangelo handle most of the punt return duties. But not all of them."

Make up your damn minds.

Here's the take on Redskins Insider.