Monday, July 30, 2012

Redskins News and Notes: 7/30/12

- As I type this, the Redskins are on day 4 of training camp, doing their daily walk through before heading out to practice this afternoon. I'll have daily links and some commentary tomorrow morning.

- No word on LB Jonathan Goff's MRI. He missed all of 2011 with a knee injury and injured the same knee in camp. I doubt we'll see him today in practice.

- I have to think season tickets should start being shipped soon if they haven't already. Normally, in previous years we'd get them a few weeks before pre-season starts. With the Redskins not having a home game until week 4 of the pre-season (week 1 is the HOF game in Canton and is this Sunday) I'm thinking that's why we haven't seen tickets coming out just yet.

-If you like the Redskins 80th ann. throwback uniforms but want one for your favorite player, I've been told you need to call the Redskins store to try to get the ball rolling.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Training Camp Day 3: Hitting!

Finally the pads come on. Here's a camp report from CSNWashington's Chick Hernandez:
Your Morning Links/ Reports From Training Camp:
It's a little late but here's a new Skinscast episode prepping you for camp. Skinscast
John Keim is the man, doing two camp reports one on the team. Redskins Confidential
And another with focus mostly on RGIII. Redskins Confidential
Rich Tandler makes a point about why Pierre Garcon is a good WR. Real Redskins
The insiders at HTTR have been saying for awhile that Raheem Morris isn't one and done in DC. HTTR247
Mike Jones looks at some of the linebackers in his camp report. The Insider
Rich Campbell also throws an excellent review of yesterday's camp with interviews mixed in. Redskins Watch
Want to watch more Redskins videos from camp? Redskins Blog has them although be warned that most of it is of the team stretching or running drills. RedskinsBlog
Also Brian Tinsman throws some News and Notes about yesterday's practice.
What's going on with our rivals in Philly? Well Jimmy has a report from Eagles' training camp. BloggingtheBeast

Thoughts and Observations:
- One thing that I'll be looking at if/when I get down to camp and in the pre-season games is how RGIII looks when he runs to his left and throws. There have been some reports from camp about some inaccuracy there. Probably not a big deal but something to keep an eye on.

- Kory Lichtensteiger and Tim Hightower had the days off to not over work their knees. This is especially good for Hightower who is running more and has been seen limping at times at practice. Mike Shanahan has already indicated that he's not 100% but the goal is to have him there by the start of the season.

- Filling in for Lichtensteiger was rookie Josh Leribeus. Multiple reports sound like he had a good day, not perfect but good and that's a better sign for this 3rd rounder than the last 3rd round OL drafted by the Redskins (Chad Rinehart). Rinehart struggled mightily if memory serves correct in camp. Also some reports have stated that Adam Gettis is looking good but still has a way to go. My early guess is that Gettis and OT Compton will go to the practice squad this season.

- I haven't heard much about OT Willie Smith so far this camp. I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad sign. Same with Bucs FA James Lee. Two players to watch where they play in the pre-season games and how they are doing. Could both be on the bubble to not make the team?

- Brandon Banks is getting some praise in multiple reports but not as a KR/PR. Banks had a good day yesterday at WR making multiple plays and finding ways to get open. I still have concerns about what he can do for the 'Skins being such a small target. That said, with the addition of RGIII I doubt many things the Redskins do this year will be conventional by NFL standards. If the 'Skins use more college formations and schemes like the option and the pistol formation, could Banks be a better weapon for the team because he is so freaking fast in the open field when healthy? We'll have to keep an eye on his knees as well. Last year they kept becoming inflamed and made Banks pretty ineffective.

- Kirk Cousins struggled yesterday and fans need to not worry about it. Cousins is a rookie and I highly doubt he'll see the field when the regular season starts up. Matter of fact, I'd bet he'll be holding a clipboard all season long. He's a totally different QB than either Griffin or Grossman and he'll really need to master the offense before he can effectively run it. This is why I was laughing my ass off at Mel Kiper Jr. and many in the media who tried to start a controversy because the Redskins drafted two QBs in this year's draft.

- DL looking better than OL but again not worried or upset about it. Although I am hearing that Tyler Polumbus has been struggling.....

- Brian Orakpo has come into this season hoping to become one of the elite pass rushing DE/LBs in the league. So far it looks like he's on the right path. Yesterday he and Ryan Kerrigan flipped sides (something they did not do in 2011) and Orakpo dominated the back field. This is smart if the Redskins decide to move Orakpo around like Dallas does with OLB DeMarcus Ware. It makes offenses have to pay attention to him constantly by sliding blocking schemes towards him (ie. FB/HB will try and chip him or a TE will be put to dbl team him or the guard will slide to protect the inside while the OT will protect the edge). One mistake in coverage could lead to a sack.

- Sunday the Redskins are off, so I'll come up with something to write about. I have plenty of material to get to that I haven't covered yet in the off season including looking at the schedule and a photo essay about the HOF in Canton.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Training Camp Day 2: Positives and Pickups

-Ed. Note sorry for the morning delay, overslept felt horrible and had to run some errands. Most of these posts will be out early in the AM.

Your Morning Links/Reports for Training Camp:

John Keim has 16 things to report about yesterday's camp. Redskins Confidential
Then he had his mandatory RGIII report. Redskins Confidential
Rich Tandler says RGIII had a better day even though it was up and down. Real Redskins
Rich Campbell's practice report has some info. on the OL and rookie Tom Compton. Redskins Watch
Don Banks has never seen so much excitement for a rookie QB at camp. Sports Illustrated
And Sports Illustrated's breakdown of the team for 2012. Sport's Illustrated

Can't make it to camp? Well a You Tuber posted some footage from yesterday's camp (zskins007):

Rich Tandler also looks ahead for today's camp and bids farewell to Mike Sellers. Real Redskins

Thoughts and Observations:

- So why did the Redskins sign former Buccaneer Dezmon Briscoe? Let me tell you there are more than you think. Also, don't expect this guy to be camp fodder. Here's the reasons:

1. Briscoe is 6'2" and would be tied for the tallest Redskin WR on the roster (Hankerson). Height and size has been an issue with the 'Skins WR corp for years with many fans calling them Smurfs 2 in honor of the smaller corp. back in the 80's The Smurfs. Red Zone scoring has been tough for the Shanahan Redskins and more height will give the 'Skins more chances for fades and jump balls.

2. Briscoe had 6 TD catches last year. No WR/TE on the Redskins had that many and only Pierre Garcon had as many last year. Let's look at the numbers from last year:

Pierre Garcon 6 TD
Dezmon Briscoe 6 TD
Jabar Gaffney 5 TD*
Santana Moss 4 TD**
Fred Davis 3 TD ***
Anthony Armstrong 2 TD
Donte Stallworth 2 TD*
Josh Morgan 1 TD**
Chris Cooley 0 TD**
Leonard Hankerson 0 TD**
Aldrick Robinson 0 TD
Terrence Austin 0 TD
Brandon Banks 0 TD

* No longer on team
** Injured in 2011
*** Suspended in 2011

So it makes obvious sense to get a player who has some experience in the Red Zone when the Redskins have talent but so little TDs based off of last year.

3. Raheem Morris coached Briscoe last year, so he would know if the player would be an asset to the team. Briscoe was cut by Tampa Bay for not attending many OTAs and failing conditioning tests.

- I feel bad for Brian Hernandez who was cut for Briscoe. He wouldn't have made the final 53 man roster but would have been the annual underdog that fans like to root for like a Jimmy Farris etc.

- This will put some serious pressure on veteran Redskins like Austin, Banks and Armstrong. A few of the names already appear to be long shots to make the roster, but Armstrong now may be joining this group.

- Jammal Brown's injury actually occurred at a better time than you think. By happening before training camp, the Redskins can put him on the PUP list and ride this out with a worst case scenario of missing the first 6 weeks of the season without losing him to IR. Plus, this gives the team time to find a replacement who can gel with the rest of the line. Right now Tyler Polumbus appears to be the early favorite.

- It was sad to see CB Chase Minnifield placed on IR. I really think he can be a starter at the NFL level based on the small sample of film I have seen. Take my opinion with a grain of salt but he could be challenging for a spot on next year's roster.

- I love that Mike Shanahan is going to use Robert Griffin III's skills to it's fullest. Word from camp and OTA's is that the Redskins are using a few packages that include a pistol formation (think shotgun but closer to center) and a few option plays. Even if the Shanahan's are only toying with the idea and are letting this info. slip it's a good sign. Defense will have to prepare for RGIII at every level and that will be a challenge.

- Hitting starts today. Finally we can see what the OL/DL can do and see some tackling.

- On Mike Sellers, he was a core Redskin. Period. He's up for the 80th greatest Redskins and he'll probably have my vote over some more notable players. Speaking of this, why isn't James Thrash on the list? Another core Redskin who did grunt work for the team and probably won't be remembered for it by many.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Training Camp Day 1: PANIC!!!!

Here are your daily links to the camp reports/beat writer's thoughts:
Rich Tandler: CSNWashington/Real Redskins
John Keim: Redskins Confidential
Rich Campbell: Redskins Watch
Mike Jones:  The Insider
Jason LaCanfora: CBSSports

My thoughts and observations:
- Twitter and some in the media really need to hit the breaks for a second, take a deep breath and calm down. This was the first day of practice all season long. Real (as you can get without pads) practice where everybody had to be there unless they were injured. Griffin is going to be rusty (as are many QBs after a long break), guys will drop balls, starters will get beaten by 4th string unknowns. This is typical for training camps. Now is not the time to panic. If RGIII can't complete a pass after week three of the pre-season then we really need to worry until then to quote Alan Iverson "it's just practice". This is the time for the players to learn and make mistakes in order to not do those things in real games. So if you are heading to the park and giving details on Twitter or through your blog please try to remember that it's an early practice for a long season.

- It has been amazing to read the turnaround in attitude by some of the fans off of yesterday. The vibe going into camp was rather upbeat. Now it's doom and gloom. Yes, I know how a good 30% (or more) of the Redskins fan base is when it comes the team..... real bi-polar. Winning the Super Bowl to Debbie Downer (and bashing anybody who is willing to say something nice about the team). Look if you're getting that upset already- take a break and follow the Nationals or Orioles in their playoff hunts and come back when the pre-season games start. It's OK. It'll be OK.

- Jammal Brown may be the worst move the Redskins have made since Shanahan/Allen have taken over. Not McNabb or Atogwe but Brown. Not only did they trade a 3rd rounder to the Saints for him but then signed him to a long term deal. The problem is clear that the hip isn't and probably won't be getting better. Now the Redskins have to rely that either Polumbus, Smith, Lee or Compton can step in and become the Redskins starting RT. Maybe Brown can get healthy and start the season but I just don't see him playing 16 games at all. Another reason to really dislike Giants owner John Mara and Roger Goodell. If the 'Skins had their 18 million of salary cap space, maybe they target RT Eric Winston who knew the scheme as a former Texan.

(Commissioner Derp)
- Tim Hightower was seen with a slight limp after a big run yesterday. Makes me think that Evan Royster will wind up getting the bulk of the carries this year because he is more durable than either Helu or Hightower.

- Still hard to get a feel for the O-line/D-line battles because the full pads haven't come on yet. I believe Saturday is when that will happen.

- Stay hydrated if you're going to Ashburn'll be another scorcher.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

IT Begins.....

After months of waiting, training camp 2012 starts today. Slightly different format than in previous years with the team having a private walk through first (around 10:45 AM) and then an open practice staring around 2:55PM.

I hope to be posting a ton of links to stories and throw in some commentary when I can as camp continues.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bad News

Well, now that it's done I can write about some plans I had for the upcoming season that sadly won't be happening. Through another writer/blogger who writes an excellent site about the entire NFCE (and is on our blogroll) I got up with the Redskins to try an get myself and a contributor to the site press credentials to cover training camp and the season.

We didn't get them and yeah I'm a little bummed about it. The end result is that I just won't be as close to the field as I would like to be but really nothing has changed. I do want to thank the Redskins for giving me the opportunity to apply for the credentials and for letting me know that I didn't get them.  If anything, I'm hoping this has opened a door with the Redskins organization for future interactions with the team.

I just have a feeling that with RGIII on the team, there has been a lot of requests for press credentials this year. Maybe next year we can get them.

Anyway, I'm still hoping to attend one day of training camp possibly two. I also will be at every home game this year with exception to the PS Tampa Bay game and the MNF game vs. the Giants. So there will be plenty of pictures of the field from behind the helmet.

Hopefully, I'll have plenty of articles coming up (schedule permitting) and can continue the same Redskins coverage that IIWII has been doing for the past three years.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Site Updates and Redskins News and Notes 7/15/12

(Something to celebrate the Nats and 'Skins all at once)
Ok. The start of training camp is almost here time to get back to writing about the 'Skins but first some updates on the site and with somethings that will probably be coming up in the next couple of weeks, month or so.

- Dig the hat in the above picture? It was a birthday present from my wife. These hats have been around for awhile (although slightly different) in the DC area, but have been incredibly hard to find (trust me, I have tried). Anyway, if you're a Nats and 'Skins fan and have been looking for this type of hat you can actually make one. Go to NewEraByYou and you can custom make a New Era cap just like this one. It is a bit pricey (about $60) but good luck finding one in stores.

- I have something big that I am working on that involves this season and training camp. I'll know by the end of next week if it's happening or not. If it doesn't, nothing on IIWII will change. If it does, then there may be some real cool stuff coming to IIWII. Stay tuned.

- Great news! IIWII will be covering training camp live for the 2012 season. I will be heading out for at least one day of training camp in August and depending on what happens in the above mention, it could be at least two days down in Ashburn. Hopefully I'll have a lot of pictures to share, camp reports and maybe some live tweets....we'll see.

- Also I think I'll probably get around to an "About" section for the site. It's well over three years and I'm finally getting around to that...Oh well.

Redskins News and Notes

- Monday will start training camp.....for the rookies and some players with less than a year of service (probably Aldrick Robinson, Jarvis Jenkins etc.). This will get them some extra work in before the veterans come in on July 26th.

- As I type this, Robert Griffin III and Josh Leribeus have yet to be signed. Neither can attend training camp until officially under contract. Word is that the Redskins are very close to getting a deal done with RGIII's agent Ben Dogra but the main sticking point is whether the four year contract will be fully guaranteed or if there will be an offset (ie. the Redskins payment on the remainder of the deal) if the 'Skins would happen to trade or cut RGIII prior to his rookie contract ending. While I understand that both sides are trying to set precedent for future deals (and to make or save as much money as possible) I hope that both sides realize that there is no way that I can see RGIII being cut before his contract is up. No word on what is the issue with Leribeus' deal.

- Drew Brees signs with the Saints. How does this affect the Redskins? Well, Brees will have a entire training camp to get ready for the regular season. No holdout means that the Redskins will be facing a 100% Brees. Nothing is ever easy for the Redskins.

Dates to watch

July 16th: Rookie report for early training camp (1 day away)

July 26th: Training camp officially opens (Note: I believe players must report on the 25th) (11 days away)

August 9th: 1st pre-season game @ Buffalo Bills (25 days away)

August 25th: 1st pre-season game @ FedEx vs. Indianapolis Colts (41 days away)

September 9th: 1st regular season game @ New Orleans Saints (56 days away)

September 23rd: home opener vs. Cincinnati Bengals (70 days away)

Sunday Musings: Batman, A Farewell to Nolan

(Could we see this in the Dark Knight Rises?)
I have writer's block about the Redskins. I've had it for about two months now. It's not that I don't want to write about the Redskins (trust me, I do. I have about 10 articles unfinished in my Blogger queue.) it's just a combination of trying to write the "perfect" post, have time to get the words typed (my work schedule has, to say it nicely, lately sucked for the past two months) and try not to write the same stories that every other media outlet/blog/fan site/messageboard has already wrote. I'm probably more frustrated about it as a writer than you dozen or so folks who regularly read IIWII. The heat of the summer and the fact that NOTHING is going on in the world of football (this is the rare dead period for the NFL) hasn't helped with the motivation. So, in an attempt to get back on the horse so to speak I'm going back to my roots and writing about comics/movies. Redskin fans bear with me, comic fans I hope you enjoy this.