Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why No Game Recaps? What's Up With IIWII? An Update

Hey everybody!

Just in case you thought the site had gone black and IIWII is no more, just wanted to update everybody about my goings on and what not.

I was putting a lot of stress on myself about writing the blog and I thought about it for a moment and came up with a grand epiphany .......

This isn't my job.

I don't make a living doing this, so why should I feel stressed out about trying to rush an article about something I enjoy, something I like to talk about and occasionally write?

So, I've taken a break so to speak.

I'm still writing and matter of fact plan on doing something new, looking at where the 'Skins would be drafting if the season ended today. Granted last year was a bit more important b/c we were in the "Suck for Luck" chase but the Redskins do have draft picks in rounds 2-7 and with the success rate from last year's draft it will be fun to watch days 2 and 3 of the 2013 draft.

Yes, I plan on watching the Senior Bowl and East/West Shrine Game, The Combine and the usual draft stuff that I do every year. Except obviously this upcoming year will be aimed at guys who probably won't be 1st round considerations. Good, I'm looking froward to the challenge.

I'm not going to be doing any more game recaps this year. Reason is simple and twofold.
1. Real busy right now.
2. With a little less interest in draft hype this year, I'm going to have extra time for re-watching games. So I plan on watching most of the games from Pittsburgh on and doing some fun game breakdown segments.

Anyway, I tweet frequently @IIWIISkinsBlog over on Twitter. So if you still enjoy smart Redskins commentary with a little smart assery and homerism then you need to follow me and enjoy.

Yes, I am extremely excited that the Redskins are 8-6 and have a chance of winning the NFCE. I have never been to a playoff game or a home playoff game for that matter and would love to do so in 2012.

I am really glad that the Redskins are finally turning it around.

Thanks for reading Merry Christmas and have a great holiday season

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The 2012 Redskins are Streak Busters (Redskins/Cowboys Preview)

(Happy Thanksgiving everybody, enjoy some fun with Tony Romo)

This is not typically a game that the Redskins would win. Matter of fact it's the perfect type of "let down" game you would expect from the Washington Redskins. A prime time equivalent game (the Redskins have generally fared poorly in prime time games over the years) where the Redskins have the floor to show the world what they can do. They just destroyed a bad Eagles team, but nonetheless an Eagles team that has given them many headaches over the last decade plus. They are facing a Cowboys team with some serious issues (3/5ths of their O-line could be out today, same with their starting RB, #3 WR and a few D starters) and have a chance to face the Giants in 10 days for the NFCE lead (of course this means the Redskins need to win today and the Giants lose to the Packers on Sunday). Plus, the Redskins have bad memories when it comes to playing on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. They have yet to beat Dallas -ever- on Thankgiving (0-6 vs. Cowboys) and Tony Romo is 5-0 when playing on Thanksgiving.

Not looking good is it?

But here's the thing: The Redskins have been notorious at breaking trends and streaks this year with much of it coming in the last two weeks. Let's start three weeks ago against the Panthers. We won't talk about that dreadful game but the streak that has been in DC almost as long as the Redskins. The Redskins Rule happened during an election year and the rule was simple enough- if the Redskins win the game prior to the election the incumbent president (or his party) would win. If they lose, the incumbent loses. With exception to 2004 where GW Bush won the electoral college and was re-elected (however, he did lose the popular vote) after a 'Skins loss to the Packers (BTW the loss to the Packers was controversial. A last second winning TD by the Redskins was called back by an illegal shift penalty THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!!! I don't forgive or forget lousy officiating......). So, after the loss to the Panthers, it looked like Romney was destined to win. Not so, President Obama was re-elected. Move forward two weeks against the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles are a bad team but so are the Panthers so that means little to nothing. There were a ton of streaks/trends in last week's game that were broken. First, was that the Redskins were 0-4 coming off of the BYE week. This includes 2011 and 2010 where they faced the Eagles coming off a BYE and lost. The Redskins had been 0-8 against rookie QBs going back to 2005 and destroyed the future of the Eagles franchise in Nick Foles. Andy Reid had never lost 6 games in a row.....well now he has.

Also worth noting is the RGIII factor. Coming back to Texas for his first time since his Baylor days, you know that he plans to put on a show. This is Griffin's first time against the Cowboys and he could become another Cowboy killer just like Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. This is the type of game that Griffin seems to enjoy.

I'm not going to do my typical X's and O's look at this game or even talk about matchups because when the 'Skins play the Cowboys, all of that seems to go out the window any way. This should be a fun game to watch and hopefully, the 'Skins will be able to pull one out in Big D with a healthy following of Redskin and RGIII fans in attendance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here's the Outlook for the Remainder of the Season (Three Scenarios)

(Will 2012 end up like recent years with fans shaking their heads and face palming?)
As the Redskins come off the bye and prepare for their final seven games starting with the Eagles, people are discussing where this team is heading and whether or not the Redskins will ever be able to turn it around under Mike Shanahan and co. The way I see it, there are only three ways this pans out. Only one will make Redskin fans happy and I find it the least likely to happen. The other two seem more likely but you never know......

What you do need to know is that the Redskins play the NFC East a whopping 5 times in these final seven games. Three of those games are at home, which would mean something if FedEx actually provided a home field advantage (it doesn't for multiple reasons). Four of the seven games are at home (again an advantage for most teams, not the Redskins who are 1-3 at home this year). The Redskins will face teams that are currently 22-24 (.478) with 5 of those games against teams with losing records (Cowboys x2, Eagles x2, Browns). The teams with the two winning records (Giants, Ravens) are currently leading their divisions but neither look as dominating as they have in prior years.

After the bye, it looks like the Redskins are as healthy as they are going to be from here out. Nick Sundberg is back, Pierre Garcon is as well (even though he will not be 100% again this season, if ever). Brandon Meriweather will finally make his Redskins debut. Meanwhile, the Eagles and Cowboys seem to be in disarray. The Ravens have injury issues and can't play well on the road and the Browns are the Browns.

So let's look at the scenarios and guess where this team is headed.

WIN (5-2 or better)

The Redskins find a way to take advantage of bad teams and turn around what looked to be a mediocre season at best. I know what you're thinking "if they go 5-2, they only wind up with a 8-8 record, so what?". Well when the last time the Redskins had a winning record was 2007, you cherish any record that is .500 or better. I highly doubt this scenario happens just because the Redskins haven't played well against the NFCE or the Ravens in a while and I'm not fully convinced that a bye week will fix all of the problems that we've seen so far from the Redskins this year.

Positives: Maybe the Redskins are on the right track and are just some adjustments and a few players away from actually becoming a team worth watching. Maybe it is just the injuries that is holding the team back.

Negatives: Some of the players and coaches that the fans would like to see gone will be less likely gone if the 'Skins can win with them.

LOSE (2-5 or worse)

This means that at best the Redskins goes 5-11 or worse. You mean to tell me that the addition of Robert Griffin III dosen't make the Redskins any better than when Rex Grossman/John Beck was at the helm? Really? Yeah, I know the D has reached new levels of suckitude but I just can't see this team as bad as the 2011 squad. While the fans will be calling for Shanahan's head if this happens, he'll be back next year but I'll be convinced that he'll not be able to turn the franchise around. Might give me enough motivation to give up the season tickets.

Positives: There will have to be a sacrificial lamb or lambs to justify the return of this administration so expect a few big cap players to be gone and probably Danny Smith or Jim Haslett in the process.

Negatives: It will be another long, miserable off-season. The draft won't make it better. My advice is to skip the entire first round unless you want to hear ad nauseum about the Redskins trade for RGIII.

Medium (4-3 or 3-4)
This is where I see the team is heading which goes along with my 7-9 prediction. The good news is that the 'Skins at least beat one of the NFCE teams, probably Dallas in the final home game of the season.

Positives: Hopefully, the future is getting brighter. My hope would be that the team will be improved in various areas but there will be glaring weaknesses that can and will be addressed in the off-season.

Negatives: The Redskins still have a lot of work to do and Mike Shanahan will be entering his fourth season on a serious hot seat if he can't get the team turned around quickly in 2013.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Initial Thoughts: Redskins @ Vikings 10/15/12

(Going, Going, Gone!!! Gif courtesy of Deadspin )
Yes I used a baseball metaphor for last night's Redskins game, but this 76 yard TD run pretty much sealed the deal when it came to the Vikings chances of winning the game last night as the Redskins held onto a 38-26 victory. The win snaps a 8 game home losing streak that started after the win against the Cardinals last season (The Redskins failed to win another home game after week 2 in 2011) and snaps 2 consecutive years of losing to Leslie Frazier's Vikings (2010, 2011). This is also the first win for Mike Shanahan against Leslie Frazier since he has been the Redskins head coach (Shanhan is now 1-3 with losses stemming from 2010, 2011 and the 2012 Senior Bowl). The Redskins are now 3-3 heading into week 7 against the Giants.

It was clear what the Vikings wanted to do in this game. They wanted to get the ball to WR Percy Harvin and run the ball with Adrian Peterson. Meanwhile on defense, the goal was to shut down Alfred Morris at all costs. The plan worked well early as the Vikings drove deep into Redskins territory three consecutive series but were only able to kick FGs to take an early 9-0 lead. The Redskins offense was shut down during this being forced to punt on one occasion and having RGIII force a pass that was intercepted. The Redskins adjusted, made some better tackles and put pressure of QB Christian Ponder. The result led to the Redskins scoring 24 straight and leading 24-9 in the middle of the 3rd quarter.

There are reason though why the Vikings are 4-1 prior to this game and the Redskins were 2-3. The Vikings are hard to shutdown and the Redskins have been unable to hold onto 4th quarter leads. The Vikings rallied to come back despite a Madieu Williams INT run for a TD. Then came RGIII.... to say that Griffin was having a good game is fair but then he takes off for a 76 yard run and closes the door on the Vikings comeback was just amazing. I have been a Redskin fan since 1986 and with exception to maybe something Darrell Green did during his 20 year tenure here in DC, I don't think I have ever seen anything like this before. Griffin made a great read on a blitz, had a nice block by Josh Morgan (which took out a few Viking defenders) and then his legs did the rest.

What I'll be curious to watch from the game this week will be: How did the Redskins attack/slow/stop Jared Allen, what scheme/look was the Redskins D giving the Vikings late in the game (would it be defined as prevent, base cover 2, some sort of soft zone?) and how the Vikings attacked the Redskins.

Oh and isn't it great that we have a kicker where the fans feel comfortable about a 49 yard attempt?

More to come.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quick Pick: TNF Bears @ Packers

Believe it or not I'm going with the Bears here. They are a much scarier team than you think.

Packers will start the year 0-2 with two straight home losses.

Update: Man I'm terrible with the WNF and THF picks 0-2 for the season. I will note that I did pick the Redskins last week in my pick'em league.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Final Prediction: 2012 Redskins

It's not fair to put hopes of an entire fanbase on one player on a team that consists of 53 players and multiple coaches....but we have. The good news is that Robert Griffin III has shied away from it. If anything he's embraced it by becoming the true "face of the franchise" through interactions with the media, commercials and his limited play on the field.

So this begs the question how much better is this team and do they stand a chance to do better in 2012 than in 2011? I've already looked at the positions after the final 53 man roster was announced. In that I gave an opinion if the team was better or worse at each position. Overall, I'd say better but when it comes down to it, it starts with the QB.

The RGIII factor
- Right now a rookie RGIII is better than 2011 starters Rex Grossman and John Beck. Period. There's no need to discuss it. I know some people will defend Rex and they are right in that Grossman does move the ball in this scheme well and has a good understanding of where to go with the ball. Grossman is also a fumble machine, doesn't move that well and makes an expected 2-3 bad decisions a game that leads to an INT. That said, Griffin will have his bad moments. It's going to happen. Deal with it. But this team is going to be much much better for having a QB who is ideal for this scheme.

The Schedule
This schedule is horrible. The Redskins have to face the Ravens, Steelers, Saints, Falcons and Bengals along with the NFCE. They also have to face the Panther and the Vikings, two teams they have struggled against last season. This schedule seems to be set up for the Redskins to fail.....more reason to believe that Roger Goodell and his cronies in the NFL seem to have it out for not just the Saints.

I think the 'Skins will be better this year. But maybe not as much as some people think. Health as usual will be the biggest issue (especially in the secondary and O lines). If the team can stay healthy then maybe the 'Skins find a way to win 9 games. But I expect injuries and I expect growing pains and rookie mistakes. Because of that I'm going to be much less optimistic than previous years.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quick Pick: WNF Cowboys @ Giants

Ah, Wednesday Night Football. Anyway we have a big NFCE showdown tonight.

I like the champs, primarily b/c the champs generally have everything going for them in this game.

Final Score: NYG 28, Dallas 22

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Quest for 53: Thoughts on the Current Roster, Practice Squad

The Redskins still have issues. That's my first thought when I look at the final roster. Not much would have changed that (barring some major trades) and they will have to cover up their problems with scheme and other positions stepping up to help the weaker parts. But the big question is whether this team has gotten better from 2011.

Or are they the same?

Or are they worse?

Let's look at the final 53, the new practice squad and look at the positions of strength, weakness, surprise and if the position is better than last year.

Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
- No real surprises here.
Is this position better? Yes, even if we're only looking long term. RGIII and Cousins will be leading the Redskins offense for years (hopefully). There will be growing pains for both of them but in particular for RGIII this year. My hope is that the fans can deal with his mistakes as he grows into his potential.

Alfred Morris, Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr.
- Tim Hightower was a surprise cut, but after what I had heard from the Colts game (Hightower was seen limping badly post game and it is believed he re-aggravated his injured knee) I can understand why the Redskins made the move.
- Alfred Morris made the roster from his performance in the third game. It's not that he ran well (he did) but it was the improvement in his pass blocking that made him a lock. With Hightower gone, somebody in the backfield will have to be a good blocker......maybe it's Morris.
- Roy Helu Jr. got back onto the roster after a good performance against Tampa. Again, it wasn't that he ran well (with exception to the first carry he did), it was that he was able to take hits without getting hurt or re-irritating his injuries. Helu looks like he's always is going to be an injury issue but he's the Redskins biggest threat in the backfield when he's healthy.
Is this position better? Tough call, but I would say no. Morris looks like he could be a better RB in this scheme than anybody Shanahan has had since he came to the Redskins. That said, he's a rookie. Royster and Helu are also practically rookies as well. Hightower was a true jack of all trades who excelled more as a third down back/draw RB/ pass catcher/ pass blocker. He had a good deal of experience.

Darrel Young
- After Cooley being cut, it was clear that the Redskins was only keeping 1 FB.They'll use a TE or maybe Morris at FB if needed, but they don't need a FB on every play so there was no need.
Is this position better? I'll just say it's the same as last year. Mike Sellers isn't here anymore but the Redskins lose more at special teams than at the FB position. If anything one less FB means one more player at a position of greater need.

Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Dezmon Briscoe, Aldrick Robinson, Brandon Banks
- The top 6 WRs make total sense to me. Austin and Armstrong never seemed to be able to do enough to win jobs. Although I think that both can play in the NFL and could be on another team.
- Banks will again be the KR/PR specialist who occasionally will play some O. With RGIII's arm and a good running game, Banks could be a good deep threat if used sparingly and could be a danger in some end arounds or reverses.
Is this position better? Yes. Moss is lighter and healthy. Garcon and Morgan are much more dangerous targets than Gaffney and Stallworth. I love Briscoe and Hankerson's size (something the Redskins have bee lacking for a long time).

Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
- My opinion on Chris Cooley in 2012: He wasn't fast enough or was a deep enough threat for what the Shanahan's want in a starting TE. At best Cooley would have been the #3 TE getting paid #1 TE money.
Is this position better? At worst it's a push. Paulsen and Davis were here last year. Paul is the wild card in all of this. If he can get better at blocking, route running and catching he could be a legitimate threat for the Redskins. Paul is another mismatch type of player with good size and WR speed he will be hard for LBs or S to cover.

Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Josh Leribeus, Jordan Black
- This roster didn't surprise me much at all when all was said and done. Still on the Willie Smith Bandwagon over Jordan Black, but according to reports Smith was dreadful early in camp. Black has been consistent from what I've heard. Although I'll be scared silly if Black has to start at LT.
Is this position better? Believe it or not the answer is yes. This all depends on health again though.This is the same five that started a portion of 2011. Maurice Hurt is better than he was last year. I feel better with Gettis and Leribeus than Cook.

Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston
- This lineup has been determined for awhile.
Is this position better? If Jarvis Jenkins comes close to playing at the level he did prior to his injury than yes. Either way, the Redskins should have more depth at this roster spot.

Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Chris Wilson, Rob Jackson
- Markus White was the odd man out of one of the team's stronger units. Chris Wilson had the better pre-season and is better than White at STs.
Is this position better? Yes. It is deeper and more experienced. The bigger question at this point is which players will be inactive on game day.

London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson
- I was surprised to see Brian Kehl not make the final 53 man roster.
Is this position better? I'm going to say yes as long as London Fletcher is healthy. Lorenzo Alexander looks like he has picked up the position well and should provide quality depth as the #3 ILB.

Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Crezdon Butler
- I was surprised that the 'Skins didn't go after veteran Drayton Florence when he hit the waiver wires.
Is this position better? No. Beyond Josh Wilson there are serious question marks. D. Hall is on the decline and struggles in man coverage.Griffin has been beaten repeatedly throughout pre-season. The final two players are fast but are mostly rookies. This is the Redskins weakest unit in a division with three good passing QBs.

Brandon Meriweather , Jordan Bernstein, Madieu Williams, Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes
- The Tanard Jackson suspension was the biggest surprise as I had him as the team's starting FS.
- I was also surprised to see Jordan Bernstein make the roster as well, but at this point I think the Redskins are desperately using the quantity over quality approach for this position.
Is this position better? Yes at SS. Meriweather can provide the skill set similar to LaRon Landry which is exactly what the Redskins want in a SS that attacks the box but can occasionally cover. No at FS. There are reasons why Madieu Williams has been mostly a reserve S and we saw that in a few games this pre-season. Gomes and Bernstein may also take a crack at FS but both are inexperienced.

Billy Cundiff
- major surprise as we saw Gano beat Rackers and then get cut for Cundiff who is mostly known for a major miss for the Ravens in the playoffs last year.
Is this position better? Yes on kickoffs. Cundiff has lead the league in touchbacks for the past two years. No on FGs. Gano seemd to have the better leg on kicks beyond 45 yards last year. Also if you take out the 5 blocked FGs, Gano missed less FGs (5) compared to Cundiff (9). Although to be fair, Gano has had the worst FG% in the league for the past 3 years.

- no comment needs to be made on LS or P. Same players, no real change there.

Practice Squad
18Arceneaux, EmmanuelWR6-2215241Alcorn State
34Bailey, AntwonRB5-719522RSyracuse
68Compton, TomT6-530823RSouth Dakota
53Gamble, DarrylLB6-2255242Georgia
40Hughes, RobertRB5-11235231Notre Dame
87Peterson, DeangeloTE6-324323RLSU
93Shirley, JasonDT6-5345263Fresno State
90Worthington, DougDE6-5311251Ohio State
This group seems to have some significant NFL playing experience for guys who can qualify for the practice squad. At least if there is an injury the Redskins should be able to bring in a reserve with little problem.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gallery: Redskins vs. Colts

When I go to games and take pictures for the blog, I generally take 50+ pictures because some of them frankly suck for one reason or another. I am notorious for having my finger block the lens etc. Anyway here are a few more shots from the game with the Colts.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Quest for 53: My Guess for the Redskins 2012 Roster

(Only 53 of the current 90 players will be wearing this come September)
This is always tough and I never get the roster right, but after three weeks of pre-season this is my guess for the final 53 man roster for the Redskins with a little explanation to each group. While there is no guarantee, I'm going with the 25-25-3 breakdown to get my final roster.

Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Thoughts: This is simple. Griffin is the starter, Grossman is the veteran back up/mentor for both rookie QBs and Cousins is the guy developing and holding a clipboard in 2012.

Tim Hightower, Alfred Morris, Evan Royster
Thoughts: Roy Helu Jr. is a serious threat when healthy, the problem is that he's not healthy and if he has tendinitis in both Achilles' tendons then there may be no current timetable to his return. If this is the case then expect Helu to be IRed. If not the I would expect the Redskins to cut an additional player at another position. Either way I see Alfred Morris making this team.

Darrel Young, Chris Cooley*
Thoughts: I think Cooley could still be cut but after seeing him get more reps with the starters as a FB and play STs with the starters, I can't believe that he's going anywhere.

Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Dezmon Briscoe, Aldrick Robinson
Thoughts: The first four are locks. Briscoe solidified his position on Saturday and if he can play teams he'll make the team. Robinson is tricky. He shined in the Bears game and plays teams but has struggled with returning punts (fumbles) and we just haven't seen that much of him. That said, the Redskins brought him on the 53 when it looked like another team was going to sign him off the PS. So, if the Redskins like him, they'll have to keep him or likely lose him in waivers. Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks are still in the mix but I don't think they make the roster.

Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Chris Cooley*
Thoughts: Davis and Paul are locks. Cooley is a bit more versatile than Logan Paulsen even though I like Paulsen's size and blocking ability. I would expect in a Jumbo type of package the Redskins could use another OL. Plus, we've seen a 3TE set in the Bears game with Cooley, Paul and Davis.

Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Josh Leribeus, Jordan Black
Thoughts: I don't like putting Black on the final 53 but my guess is that he'll make the team he seems like he could play both LT and RT and seems to be ahead of Willie Smith whom I liked last year. Compton goes to the PS. I like him and wouldn't be surprised to see him on the 53 at some point this season. Don't see Leribeus getting cut, I think the 'Skins really like him at C.

Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston
Thoughts: They may keep Doug Worthington as a 7th depending on whether or not he could join the practice squad for depth. It really depends on how comfortable they feel about this rotation but I think the 'Skins stick with this group.

Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Chris Wilson, Rob Jackson
Thoughts: A real strong unit, there's really no need to have a 5th OLB here. Markus White goes to the practice squad.

London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Bryan Kehl, Keenan Robinson
Thoughts: The first three are locks. Kehl has some ST experience and is willing to play OLB if needed so he's versatile. Robinson is developing and should be a back up to learn the position while still getting some ST experience.

Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Kevin Barnes
Thoughts: There's not much here and it would be easy in my opinion to replace Barnes,Griffin and even Crawford with Morgan, Jones and Thompson. Crawford has looked good for a rookie and has made the team's only INT in the pre-season. Griffin has been roasted repeatedly by starting WRs. The rest haven't been that noticeable, which I suppose is good since they haven't been beaten that badly. To be honest the Redskins will probably keep 5 in a quantity over quality issue. If anything I can see the 'Skins having one less CB to keep an offensive player they like. Let's face it, this is arguably the weakest position on the team which is not good.

Brandon Meriweather , Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams, Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes
Thoughts: Again quantity over elite quality. I think Jackson and Meriweather will be the starters eventually barring injury. Still a better group than what we have at corner.

Graham Gano
Thoughts: Close battle. Youth (and a slightly stronger leg) over age.

Sav Rocca
Thoughts: uncontested

Nick Sundberg
Thoughts: uncontested

I also expect some players to be signed off of waivers especially at the corner position.

* Chris Cooly would play both FB and TE positions. Not sure what to consider him at this part of his career.

Initial Thoughts: Colts at Redskins 8/26/2012

(Who's #1? At least for today it was RGIII. Photo: me on my cellphone)
Despite being a pre-season game, fans poured into FedEx much like the rain that was surrounding the area yesterday. FedEx itself had a nice rainstorm from 2pm to gametime which ruined a few tailgates but didn't hinder the game. For a game that featured 2011's 1st and 4th worst teams, the fan showed up to get a glimpse of new rookie QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin IIII.

They were in for a treat yesterday and possibly the next 10-15 years........

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Initial Thoughts- Redskins/Bears 8/18/12

(Even when a DL tackled the QB he gained 6 yards! Photo AP via)
Yikes, what an awful first half. RGIII looked pedestrian with happy feet and fumblitis. The defense made Jay Cutler look like Joe Montana and Brandon Marshall like Jerry Rice. Nobody could tackle or block and the Redskins looked like they were beaten at every level of play. Not only that but Brian Orakpo re-injured his pectoral muscle and Brandon Merriweather strained his knee.

Despite all of this, I don't think I screamed a single curse word (well, maybe very few) or had the least amount of panic about this team last night. It's the pre-season, it's a learning experience (even for the veterans) and it was needed. Last week, against the Bills, the Redskins played a safe, scripted game and with the exception of not putting enough points on the board you could call the game practically perfect in week 1 of the pre-season.

Yes, the Redskins need some adversity in order to grow and they got some from the Bears last night. The injuries (at least for today) seem to be minor so that's good news. The backups also played well with the Redskins coming back from a 27-10 deficit  to take the lead with less than 2 minutes left 31-30. They couldn't hold onto the lead and lost 33-31 but the fact that the backups fought and you could tell that the team wanted to win this game despite it not mattering in a few weeks. What I'm going to have to do is rewatch this game.....not looking forward to watching it. But I do want to looks at a few players on the bubble and see where they may be heading.

Until then here are some initial (albeit late) thoughts on the game:

- The O-line struggled. Polumbus, Gettis and Hurt in particular.

- Alfred Morris had some really nice runs and I loved his smash mouth style. The problem though is that he struggles with pass protection. He's a rookie so I think he'll be okay but let's quit talking about him making the roster and being a starter shall we? There is a clear cut reason why the Redskins like Tim Hightower. He's a complete package. He's a decent RB. Good in pass pro. and can catch passes. Helu, Royster, Morris etc. can't seems to be able to do all three. This is why if Hightower is healthy, he'll be the starter in week one (although I still think Royster will wind up with the most carries in 2012).

- The defense really struggled without London Fletcher on the field. Poor tackling, blown assignments and blowing containment really hurt the Redskins.

- Ryan Kerrigan struggled with the run.

- Lorenzo Alexander looked good filling in for Fletcher but has his bad moments as well.

- I'm expecting a breakout season for Leonard Hankerson. He looks so much better than he did in 2011. Looks more comfortable and confident in running routes.

- Brandon Banks made the play of the game with a punt return TD but did not take a single snap at WR. I don't think he makes the team unless he does something to prove he can play WR.

- Cedric Griffin has been a liability at corner for the past two games. Nothing I've seen makes him the #3 CB on this team. At this point, I would rather take my chances with Barnes, Thompson, Crawford or Jones.

- Why is it that every defensive player has Carlos Rogers disease when a ball hits them in the hands. I can count 4-5 times the ball should have been intercepted in two games and only Richard Crawford has been able to reel one in.

- Nice to see Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe make an impact.

- Niles Paul has struggled with the 1st team unit but recovered late to make some nice catches with the backups.

- Kirk Cousins had a great game. Clearly the Redskins made a wise investment for the future in drafting him. That said, he did this against backups and players who will be lucky if they wind up playing in the AFL, UFL or CFL so before we crown him as a starter and calling him the next Gus Ferotte, let's see what he can do against real NFL starters.

- RGIII learned a lot about what QBs can and can't do at the next level. That's great. What I like from Griffin so far is that he understands he'll need to adapt and improve at the next level. He seems willing to learn from his coaches and to improve upon his mistakes. This game will make him a much better QB in the regular season that what he did in the Bills game.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

8/18/12 Morning Links and What to Watch Tonight

(Nothing else to do I guess I'll watch that RGIII guy or something.)
Oh yeah, there's a pre-season game featuring the Redskins tonight. And we get to see our old friend Jason Campbell as he backs up "THE MOPE". There's a little bit of QB history here don't you think? Campbell is playing his former team, Rex Grossman returns to Chicago to play his former team (which went to the Superbowl- yes, Rex played in a Super Bowl). Mike Shanahan faces his former high draft pick, franchise QB in Jay Cutler and Cutler watches Shanny with his new high draft pick, franchise QB. The DRAMA!!!! Where's ESPN when you need them to run this story into the ground? Oh wait, they're talking about Tebow...... never mind.

Morning Links:

More or less here's what some of the beat writers/analysts are keeping an eye on for tonight's game.
Keim: RGIII and Cover-2, rookie OL, A. Morris, kickers, b/u WRs. Redskins Confidential
Tandler: RGIII, N. Paul, L. Hankerson, J. Jenkins, T. Jackson, C. Griffin. Real Redskins
Matt Bowen: Cutler/Marshall, RGIII/Bears D, Bears OL, 'Skins S, DE McClellin. NFP
Jones: RGIII, A. Morris, kickers, TEs, Richard Crawford. The Insider
Rich Campbell looks at Sav Rocca's new punting addition. Redskins Watch
Zac Boyer: Jammal Brown and his hips "no comment". Redskins Journal

Ok, so with that out of the way here's a few things that I'm also going to be watching.

1. RGIII. This for the same reasons as the above. At this point if you don't mention Mr. Griffin there's probably something wrong with you.

2. Who's the RB? Evan Royster will probably start tonight but with no Roy Helu Jr. (injured) or Tim Hightower (recovering from ACL injury) we will see a lot of Alfred Morris and the other back up RBs (Lennon Creer would be nice) trying to put together some game footage. Who knows a few of these guys could be on the final 53 man roster or the practice squad. Why? Helu and Hightower haven't shown that they can stay healthy. Right now, see both of them out is giving me flashbacks to last season.

3. Jordan Black. Why isn't anybody mentioning this guy? The good news is that Trent Williams will probably play tonight although not 100% after suffering a bone bruise last week against the Bills. The truth is that Black right now is our #2 LT ahead of Willie Smith, Tom Compton and James Lee. That scares me to no end for a few reasons. To me, Black didn't look great last week. I know he had to shake off some rust from being out of football last year. I also know that Rick "Doc" Walker thought he was great. Now the D-O-C knows more football than I ever will but again I thought Black struggled as a RT. I don't even want know what he'd look like on the left side. What I hope is that we see significant improvement from him. If not be afraid because I'm not fully convinced Trent Williams can make it through a full 16 game season.

4. Tight End. Will we see more of Fred Davis? He struggled on blocks early but seemed to do better later in the game but was mostly a non-factor. I think the development of Niles Paul has been one of the most interesting stories in camp, so obviously I'll be looking for progression from week 1 to week 2. Logan Paulsen at this point is battling with Chris Cooley for a roster spot. If Paulsen can continue to block well he has a good chance of being the #3 TE. There have been rumors swirling of a Cooley cut for months now and I'm starting to think that it may happen. I just don't see where Cooley fits on Shanahan's O at this point.

5. Backup WR. Spots #5-#6 are still open in my opinion and at this point it looks like a 5 player race between Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong, Aldrick Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe and Brandon Banks. I really don't see anybody else in the running. With game 3 being most about the starters, this game will be the one to make the biggest impact with the coaches. Presonally I think Briscoe and Armstrong have the best odds because you could put Robinson back on the PS if you don't think he's ready or if Crawford becomes the team KR/PR.

There's more to watch like the backup corners, the safeties, the kicker duel and the rookie Oline but I'll stick to those five.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Training Camp/Morning Links

(Andrew Luck wows Colt fans in his 1st appearance. Photo AP via

Think RGIII had a great debut? Andrew Luck had an even better one.
Lots of analysis from the Redskins 1st pre-season game against the Bills:
John Keim (Offense). Redskins Confidential
John Keim (Defense). Redskins Confidential
John Keim (RGIII Report). Redskins Confidential
Rich Campbell (Offense). Redskins Watch
Rich Tandler (Stock Up, Stock Down). CSNWashington
Winners and Losers (and Mediums). Mr. Irrelevant
Game 1 Review. DC Pro Sports Report

Enough with the 1st game, back to practice and getting ready for the Bears
Saturday practice report. Redskins Confidential
Saturday injury report. The Insider
Good News Chris Chester and Anthony Armstrong to return of the Bears game. Redskins Watch

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Anniversary Nostalgia

(Ahhh, Good Times in DC!!!!!!)

As you know this year  is the 80th anniversary of the Washington Redskins franchise. I was doing some filing of documents and papers today and came across some items back from the 50th and 70th anniversary celebrations and thought I would share.

From the 50th anniversary:

From the 70th Anniversary:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Initial Thoughts: Redskins/Bills Pre-Season Game 1

Instead of trying to do a write up (I'll save that for a game breakdown later tonight). Here are a few things that I noticed, liked and disliked from last night's game.

 1. Mandatory thoughts on RGIII. Not a bad start. He did everything the coaches wanted him to do. Got the ball out quickly, didn't scramble around, didn't hold onto the ball too long, made crisp accurate throws and arguably was 6/6 on the night had Niles Paul held onto his catch and if Garcon could have dragged his other foot. Most importantly, the only time he was hit was when he tried to make a tackle on a fumble recovery. Needs to work on handoff exchange more. Griffin did not look like a rookie out there to me.

2. Oline played well in pass pro. With exception to one big pressure on Cousins and maybe a mild hit or two, I didn't the see any QB touched by the Bills defense last night. I do know RG3 wasn't touched at all. From what I remember, the TEs and RBs did a decent job blocking when they stayed in.

3. Oline did a poor job blocking when 'Skins ran the ball. Gaps and lanes weren't forming and overall some players seemed to have trouble getting to the LBs at the second level. Something to keep an eye on. Just because we have RGIII does not mean that the 'Skins need to quit running the ball. Remember, everything in the offense stems from being able to run the ball-- especially zone stretch runs.

4. The 'Skins really want to find a way to use Brandon Banks. We all know that Brandon Banks will not get a roster spot because he's a fast KR/PR. He's going to have to show the team that he could be a playmaking threat as a WR. Unfortunately, he didn't have a great game. The 'Skins targeted him multiple times with little success. It's still early and Banks has some hurdles to climb as he develops into a WR but he'll really have to show something soon as a WR to make the roster.

5. Rookie O-Linemen had a good first outing.  Really liked some of the work by the young guys drafted this year. Adam Gettis started at RG and while he didn't blow guys off the line, he kept them from filling gaps and getting to the RB at times. Josh Leribeus and Tom Compton filled in well after the starters called it a day. Compton is going to put pressure on Willie Smith to make the roster, really athletic. Leribeus is a mauler. I love his demeanor on the field. Just old school nasty.

6. Richard Crawford made an early impression.  It's early, but coaches are taking note of what guys are doing and Crawford did two things that nobody on the roster did last night: catch an interception and have some good returns on special teams. More competition at CB is important because beyond Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall. Also is Brandon Banks gets cut, the Redskins will need to find his replacement.

7. The D line is scary. And is it deep. With Jarvis Jenkins back and Chris Baker joining the frey, this is a scary group. Orakpo and Kerrigan are going to have a great year with these monsters of mayhem on the inside.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Training Camp Days 10/11 Preseason Game 1 Notes

 Lots of things going on with the Redskins in the past two days. Here's your daily links for the past two days of camp that I've missed.

John Keim's Monday Report. Redskins Confidential
RGIII report 8/7/12. Redskins Confidential
Rich Campbell's practice report 8/7/12. Redskins Watch
Who's in, who's out, who starts in the Buffalo game. Redskins Watch
Rich Tandler also writes about players getting an opportunity in Buffalo b/c of injuries. Real Redskins
Notes from Tuesday's practice (closed to public and media). Redskins Blog
Usually one of the best episodes is when they break down training camp battles. Skinscast
Rich Tandler looks at RGIII, has a live chat planned and other notes. Real Redskins
Emmanual Benton shares his thoughts on training camp. Pro Player Insiders
NFL Network looks at what to expect from RGIII tonight.
More Keim on Brandon Banks and interviews with Kyle Shanahan, Jim Haslett and Danny Smith

Quick Notes:
- Devin Thomas retired this past weekend. The sad part of it all is that in 4 seasons he and fellow 2nd rounder Malcolm Kelly combined for almost the same amount of receptions and TDs as Fred Davis did last year. Let's not forget that Davis was suspended for a quarter of last season's games. Amazing, that the only player that Redskin fans were scratching their heads over in the 2008 draft is the only guy left on the current roster and has been the only guy to be somewhat productive by NFL standards. Thanks again Vinny.

- Speaking of Vinny Cerrato. I love how Baltimore fans have come to his defense after backing out of a Bowie Baysox promotion where he would participate in a dunk tank. The money would have gone to charity and maybe some Redskin fans could get some closure after bearing witness to a decade of buffoonary caused by Cerrato (at the behest of owner Dan Snyder). Instead Cerrato will do an extra hour of his radio show. Generally, I don't care that much about the Ravens. Have amazing respect for Ray Lewis (although I love to show his crazier antics here), Ed Reed etc. but part of me really dislikes them. Not the team but the fanbase. Their insecurity over DC sports, the loss of the Colts, blaming the Redskins for not getting another football team during the 1st expansion in the 90's (Jags, Panthers) [Ed. Note- same can be said about the Orioles and baseball by the way and the Nationals are stuck on MASN which is owned by the Orioles/Peter Angelos] and their attempts to try and be like the Eagle's fan base has been pretty annoying. Maybe this isn't the majority of Raven fans, maybe it's just a few vocal jerks. Every fan base has them including the Redskins (you know who you are). So maybe I'm overblowing this a bit but I was surprised the amount of hatred some people have for DC area sports.

- Great news. I thought the Eastern Shore area of Maryland was not going to get the Redskins/Bills game because WRC 4 was covering the olympics (and over here we don't get NBC Nonstop DC, we get WBAL+, NBC Nonstop is  playing the game in the DC area) and Comcast seems to want to blackout the game because this is considered Raven's territory. However, Ray from The Son of Washington called Comcast and they told him that indeed the game will be seen on WRC 4 here on the shore.

I will have a quick recap and then a game breakdown on tonight's game. The initial thoughts should be up sometime tonight with the game breakdown on Fri/Sat.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Training Camp Day 9 Report: Fan Appreciation Day

According to the Redskins and news reports 24, 650 people came to Ashburn for Fan Appreciation Day. Seriously, wow. Think about that for a second. That's almost 1/3 of the amount of people FedEx can hold. That's close to the amount of fans that attend an Orioles or Nationals game. That's a lot of people. If you've been to Redskins Park before, I can imagine that people eventually just gave up getting in and left their cars on the side of the road and walked up. I wonder if the Redskins expected that many people? I also wonder how they'll handle Fan App. Day in Richmond next year. I bet they'll do it in the Richmond Spider's stadium.

Your Morning Links/Training Camp Reports
A very large, in depth report by John Keim. So good, that I'll have to read it again to take it all in. Redskins Confidential
Keim's daily RGIII report. Redskins Confidential
And the beat writers get to talk with Dan Snyder. Redskins Confidential
Rich Tandler notices Dez Briscoe's play and talks about who's taking reps with the 1st team. Real Redskins
Vinny Cerrato disappoints Redskin fans again, welshes out of dunk tank. DC Sports Bog
Zac Boyer looks at the fights between Fletcher/Montgomery and Paul/White yesterday. Redskins Journal
'Skins sign OL Tony Moll to replace the absent Kentwan Balmer DC Pro Sports Report
Mike Jones looks at S Tanard Jackson and training camp. The Insider
Rich Campbell's daily report. Redskins Watch
Tragedy at Eagles camp. ESPN NFCE Blog

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Training Camp Day 8 Report/ Fan Appreciation Day Prologue

(This is just a sample of an average fan appreciation day)
Today is fan appreciation day, if you are going today quit reading this article and get on the road!!!! Traffic will be hell and the crowds will be heavy to see our new franchise QB. If you're already on your way to Ashburn (or there already) here's some more pictures from the 2010 fan appreciation day.

The band will be there for a performance:

The 1st ladies of football will also give their first performance as the 2012 team:

 And if you're lucky you may even see/hear the voice of the Redskins' Larry Michael:
(Expect to hear "No S, just Larry Michael" a million times)
The team will start practice around noon and then probably sign some autographs after the session. It's a fun experience especially if you just want to see the team live and feel the excitement/hoopla of this year's team. If you just want to watch football practice, I would avoid going.

Your Morning Links/Training Camp Reports
The Redskins aren't the only NFCE team that is having problems with an injured OL. Pro Football Talk
John Keim talks about Chris Cooley playing FB making me think he'll be on the final 53. Redskins Confidential
RGIII report. Redskins Confidential
Speaking of Keim, he also does a Friday email report which is free and I highly recommend. The link is usually at the end of his articles.
Rich Campbell's daily report. Redskins Watch
Rich Tandler writes up about a rough day for the O. Real Redskins
A transcript of Mike Shanahan's presser from 8/2/12 Real Redskins

Back with more news later today......

Friday, August 3, 2012

Training Camp Day 7

Your Morning Links/ Training Camp Reports
An update on Injuries and Pre-Season playing time. Real Redskins
Rich Tandler's thoughts on yesterday's practice. Real Redskins
Mike Jones looks at the 'Skins preparing for game situations. The Insider
Zac Boyer looks at Tanard Jackson's return from the PUP list. Redskins Journal
OLB Ryan Kerrigan writes about skit night and his time at camp. Redskins Blog
Your daily report from Rich Campbell. Redskins Watch
Your daily report from John Keim. Redskins Confidential
And the RGIII report. Redskins Confidential

I've got to run for work but expect this weekend something about the O-line and maybe something on what we've learned about this team so far.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Your 2012 Redskins Tickets

A lot of people are talking about the 80th anniversary tickets and probably for the wrong reasons. While there are some major gaffes on this year's tickets, I still kind of like them with the player coming out of the 80th anniversary logo. I also like the "Team, Effort, Tradition" logo being emphasized (much like on the collar of the 80th. ann. jerseys). What I don't get is why Sammy Baugh is on the ticket for the Panther's game.

I get that Baugh was the "1st Redskin", the first franchise QB and Superstar player that the Redskins ever had but I'm not understanding being on these tickets that have all current players except for him. Wouldn't Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon or even Chris Cooley make more sense?

Frankly, I want a Sav Rocca ticket!!!!

Anyway here are your tickets with paper and paper clips to block out my information.

Training Camp Day 6

Your Morning Links/ Training Camp Reports:
Oline update: still a shaky unit with exception to Trent Williams. Redskins Confidential
Daily RG3 report. Redskins Confidential
Sarah Kogod looks at the numerous typos on the 2012 season tickets. DC Sports Bog
Lots of notice of rookie LB Monte Lewis beating RT Tyler Polumbus repeatedly. Not good. Redskins Watch

- Most Redskin fans started to receive their season tickets yesterday. I did as well and like many others noticed Roy Helu was named Robert and London Fletcher is listed as #58.

- For at least the second year in a row I got an email from the Redskins that my tickets have shipped only 2-3 hours after they had been delivered. FedEx is really fast or the Redskins are a bit slow on the email trigger.

- Should have a post up tonight with pictures of the season tickets and more stuff. A little behind on my Redskins article reading/ tv watching thanks to the olympics.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Training Camp Day 5: Patterns Starting to Emerge

There's a reason why I like to post so many training camp reports on the site each day (or at least when I get around to writing about camp). One, is that as an obsessed Redskins fan I like to read as much as possible about what's going on at camp. I generally read about 4-5 articles a day (at least), listen to ESPN 980 on the way home and catch about 2 or more hours of coverage on television and who knows how many hours I waste running through Twitter feeds. Anyway, if I find an interesting read, then I will post the link here. Second, is that not even the best beat writers can watch every player all the time. There are 90 guys on the field and most are broken up into groups, so you pick and choose what to focus your attention. That means that you may catch some bad plays of a player having a good camp or a few good plays of a player having a bad camp. By looking at multiple reports, you start to see some patterns emerge on who's looking good and who isn't. Even then, it's hard to tell without watching the players. You really have to go by the beat writer's reports (which we are lucky b/c the DC area has some good beat writers or at least a few good ones). So, if you have time check out some multiple reports and see if you're starting to notice some things......I know that I am.

Your Morning Links/ Training Camp Reports:
Chick Hernandez reports that Jammal Brown will not need surgery on his ailing hip. CSNWashington
John Keim has a lengthy report on the OL, RB pass pro drills and Niles Paul. Redskins Confidential
And Keim's RGIII report. Redskins Confidential
Rich Campbell looks at Day 5's practice. Redskins Watch
Mike Jones looks at the kicking duel between Gano and Rackers. Football Insider
The Redskins aren't alone with injuries in camp. Real Redskins
Rich Tandler's practice notes from Day 5. Real Redskins

Thoughts and Observations:

- Two players really getting praise early in camp that have to play better this year for the 'Skins to have success are LT Trent Williams and OLB Brian Orakpo. Williams appears to be shutting down most of his competition (except for Orakpo on occasion) and Orakpo has been in the backfield most of camp.

- The weakest unit? Obviously it's the Oline. We have two starters that will likely miss most of training camp. The backups have struggled early on and with exception to Williams, the remaining starters have been okay based on reports.

- The toughest cuts may be at WR. Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks have had good camps so far making it difficult for any UDFA rookies or Aldrick Robinson to win one of their roster spots. Santana Moss has been said to look like the old Santana Moss. To me, I just want the guy from 2010. Leonard Hankerson is developing into a good WR. It'll be tough for the Redskins to cut the roster down to 6 spots.

- Chris Cooley has had two fumbles in the past two days. Something worth watching when the games start.

- The Jordan Black signing is good but until he does anything it really doesn't mean much.

Injury Update
IRed: Chase Minnifield, Johnathan Goff
PUP: Jammal Brown (hip)
Injured: Darrel Young (hammy 1-2 weeks), Josh Morgan (hammy, unknown), Kory Lichtenstiger (knee, will miss most of camp), Willie Smith (knee, unknown)