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  • How the option helps the Redskins

    I was rewatching some of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings and wanted to make a quick note of how the misdirection from the triple option can fool opposing defenses.

    This play began with 6:06 left to play in the first half against a very solid Minnesota defense.

    Clearly we all know Robert Griffin III is the straw that stirs the Redskins’ drink. Here is visual evidence that shows how his amazing athletic ability helps fool one of the better defenses in the league. This is what happens when you have the right pieces involved along with the ability to mislead based off of that talent. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Week 2 Thoughts and Observations

    After an amazing and outright shocking performance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Sunday, Redskins fans aren’t quite sure how to react heading into their Week 2 matchup against the St. Louis Rams. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Back to Camp

    As the Redskins return to practice in Ashburn after their 7-6 win over the Buffalo Bills, I will be doing the same for the final time this summer. I plan on providing quality updates for everybody during practice. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Redskins Rides To Be Held Sunday August 19th

    Just a reminder to Redskins fans and car enthusiasts that Redskins Rides will be held at Redskins Park next Sunday, August 19th. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Training Camp Battle: Kicker

    Not since the days of Chip Lohmiller have the Redskins been set at kicker. Since his departure after the 1994 season, Washington has seen 17 kickers take the field, including five in the 2000 season alone. You read that correctly; the Redskins have averaged one kicker a year for the last 17 seasons.

    This summer, there is a legitimate kicking challenge that will take place in Ashburn. The incumbent Graham Gano has been the burgundy and gold’s primary kicker since the final four games of the 2009 season. He will be challenged by veteran Neil Rackers, who was signed in April.

    The 25-year-old Gano has not had strong competition in camp like this, in part to help allow him to develop into a more polished kicker as he was beginning his career. Since 2010, Justin Medlock, Clint Stitser and Shayne Graham have come and gone out of Redskins Park without supplanting Gano.

    The Redskins have been very patient with Gano over the last couple of seasons, hoping not to diminish his confidence too early. Now they have decided it’s time for him to step up. Rackers will force him to do just that.

    For their careers, Rackers has made 80% of his field goal attempts in 12 years while Gano has converted 73.8% in just over two full seasons.

    Last season Gano made some strides but still struggled. He finished 29th in field goal percentage (75.6 %) amongst kickers with at least 16 field goals attempted. Rackers ranked 15th with 84.2% of his field goals converted.

    Gano’s lack of success in 2011 was not all his fault. The blocking in front of him was suspect. A career high five field goals were blocked along with one extra point.

    Against Seattle, the offensive line made Seahawks defensive lineman Red Bryant look like a Pro Bowler. The 323-pounder was able block both a field goal and an extra point attempt in their late November contest.

    One thing Gano has going for him is his youth. At 35, Rackers is the third oldest player on the team behind Sav Rocca (38) and London Fletcher (37).

    Coming out of camp, the Redskins are looking for consistency, an increase in leg strength and better accuracy. From there, they hope to end their pattern of recycling kickers at a rate of once a season.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell

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    Training Camp Battle: Running Back

    The running back position turned out to be a delightful surprise for an otherwise lackluster Redskins offense in 2011.

    Tim Hightower, acquired last August from the Arizona Cardinals for defensive end Vonnie Holliday and a 2012 sixth round selection, had a fantastic preseason, posting 6.8 yards per carry and two touchdowns on just 25 carries in three games. Before tearing his ACL in his left knee in late October against Carolina, he put up pedestrian numbers in the regular season when compared to his preseason performance.

    When Hightower wasn’t putting up the production desired by coach Mike Shanahan, that allowed him to display his diamonds in the rough. A holdover from their days in Denver, Ryan Torain got the first crack to make an impact. He did just that in Week 4 against the St. Louis Rams when he put up 135 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. After that performance, the rest of the season was a tremendous letdown for Torain, who was released just prior to the final game of the season.

    While Torain faltered, rookie running back Roy Helu stepped up and peaked down the stretch, galloping his way to three straight 100-yard games from Week 12 to Week 14. The fifth-rounder out of Nebraska ended up starting five games and finished the season second among rookie running backs with 640 yards.

    The Redskins also experimented with former Cowboys running back Tashard Choice and when that didn’t work, they decided to elevate rookie Evan Royster to the active roster in late November. Royster, Penn State’s all-time leading rusher, was a sixth round pick and put up 100-yard performances in the final two games. He finished the season averaging 5.9 yards per carry in six games.

    Washington experienced a glowing revelation in the performances of Helu and Royster during their rookie campaigns. Their results give the coaching staff more confidence in the offense heading into the 2012 season.

    Hightower entered this offseason as an unrestricted free agent but taking his injury into consideration, the team waited until mid-May to bring him back in the fold.

    The Redskins signed no other veteran backs and chose to provide depth through the draft and undrafted free agency.

    Alfred Morris was selected in the sixth round in this past April’s draft out of Florida Atlantic University. He left that school as their leader in carries, rushing yards, rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards. Morris has a short and stocky build and can play running back, fullback and H-back.

    Also competing for a spot on the roster are undrafted free agents Lennon Creer (Louisiana Tech) and Landover, Md. native Antwon Bailey (Syracuse). Young veteran Tristan Davis joined the practice squad in the middle of last season and was retained on a futures contract in January.

    At fullback, the torch was officially passed on to Darrel Young when beloved veteran Mike Sellers was released prior to the start of free agency. Young started eight of his 13 games played and scored his first career touchdown in 2011. Now the uncontested starter, Young can rest easy knowing Morris is capable of filling in for him if needed.

    With Shanahan’s running back by committee system in place, the Redskins are in good shape in the backfield. Adding the mobile Robert Griffin III at quarterback will only make the rotation of Hightower, Helu and Royster that much more versatile and hopefully productive.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell

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    2012 Training Camp Battle: Safety

    With free agency and the draft allowing the Redskins to address roster needs, a position that was not tended to as aggressively as others was safety.

    The defense was already in good shape and was made stronger by re-signing London Fletcher, Adam Carriker and Kedric Golston. That helped the Redskins focus primarily on improving a turnover-laden offense that needed more firepower.

    Even with LaRon Landry on the team, the Redskins were already thin at safety. Their decision to let him leave via free agency due to an injury dispute left the position depleted. A five-year, $26 million deal last year with Oshiomogho Atogwe turned into a one-year experiment that resulted in his release this March. He has since signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    The team decided to shore up the safety spot by signing veterans Madieu Williams, Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson. The latter two have had their run-ins with the law but can become real assets if they keep their heads on straight.

    Meriweather enjoyed a great stretch from 2008-2010 with the New England Patriots but was cut last September and latched on with the Chicago Bears. In 2011, he only started four games and his production was down from years past but he still can be an attacking playmaker when he sets his mind to it.

    However, he was fined multiple times last season for his vicious hits and has been frequently over his career for his play on the field. Off the field, he hasn’t been squeaky clean, either. He was arrested on suspicion of DWI within weeks of signing with the Redskins.

    Jackson has also had off-the-field trouble himself, which led to a four-game suspension to start the 2009 season and an indefinite suspension following the second game of the 2010 season that ended up lasting 56 weeks. He has also dealt with injuries throughout his career.

    As a Maryland native, he is hoping to start fresh with the team he grew up watching in more ways than one. His best season came in 2009 when he collected 60 tackles, eight passes defended, five interceptions, two touchdowns and two forced fumbles.

    Williams, also a Maryland native, is on his fourth team since 2007 after being a 2004 second round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals. His top seasons came in 2004 and 2006 when he posted at least 90 tackles, 10 passes defended and three interceptions in both years.

    The only returning veteran is Reed Doughty, who started 11 games last season and put up 88 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

    All four will compete for the starting safety roles and will be aided by 2011 fifth round pick DeJon Gomes and 2012 seventh-rounder Jordan Bernstine out of Iowa, who can also return kickoffs.

    In 2011 Gomes tied Nebraska teammate Roy Helu for second on the team in games played by a rookie (15) and games started by a rookie (5). He contributed 35 tackles and two passes defended in his rookie season.

    With safety still considered the weakest position on the roster in July, there will be an all-out battle at camp. If no one stands out, this could turn out to be a starter-by-committee situation.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell

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    Interview with Texans running back Ben Tate

    This summer, I’ve been given the opportunity to write a piece for What’s Up? Annapolis Magazine to profile local athletes from Anne Arundel County (my home county) and Maryland’s Eastern Shore who have made it to the professional level.

    I’ve been trying to kick it into second gear and actually talk to some of these players.

    Fortunately, some have been receptive, including Houston Texans running back Ben Tate, who grew up on the Eastern Shore.

    I had the chance to talk to him on Thursday. Most of the conversation centered around his time growing up in Salisbury and going to school in Berlin, Md. and how it helped him get to where he’s at now. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Redskins Unveil Throwback Uniforms For 2012

    This afternoon, the Washington Redskins unveiled a tribute to the past with a pinch of modernity in their new uniforms that are set to be worn twice at FedEx Field this season in conjunction with their 80th Anniversary. In what is supposed to replicate their 1937 uniforms, the Redskins put a twist on what was used during the 1994 season.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Photo Gallery: Kevin Mitchell (1971-2007)

    During his time as a Redskin, I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Mitchell on many occasions. Not once was he ever unpleasant to talk to or interact with. Win or lose, he always flashed his trademark smile for everyone to see.

    To help commemorate the fifth anniversary of his passing, I have put together this gallery of various photos that have never been seen by the media. If you never had the chance to meet him, hopefully these photos give you a clear view into his personality. Read the rest of this entry »

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