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  • Redskins Find Value in 2013 Draft


    With the 2013 draft now in the books, the Redskins were able to address a variety of needs.

    The team first selected cornerback David Amerson from North Carolina State, who led the NCAA with 13 interceptions as a sophomore in 2011. Struggling in coverage last season, Amerson’s draft stock dropped but he still managed five interceptions and 61 tackles.

    Patience paid off for Washington as two ball-hawking safeties fell to them in the fourth and sixth rounds. Fresno State free safety Phillip Thomas was chosen at 119th overall after leading the NCAA with eight interceptions last season. Thomas missed the 2011 season with a broken left leg and dislocated left ankle

    For Thomas, his selection is a dream come true considering he is a lifelong Redskins fan.

    Washington was able to address safety in the sixth round when Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo was still available. Projected to be a third-to-fourth round selection, Rambo was suspended the first four games of the 2012 season after failing a second drug test. He finished second behind Amerson for the 2011 NCAA interception lead with eight picks.

    Rambo started 36 of 47 games played. He logged 235 tackles, 16 interceptions and six forced fumbles during his time as a Bulldog.

    In what has become a staple of head coach Mike Shanahan-led drafts, two running backs were chosen in the mid-to-late rounds.

    Chris Thompson was chosen in the fifth round out of Florida State and Jawan Jamison was taken in the seventh out of Rutgers. Both running backs are 5’7″ and possess skill but were hampered by injuries in college.

    Thompson suffered a broken back against Wake Forest after only appearing in five games in 2011. Last year he suffered a torn ACL with six games remaining. He managed to gain 687 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. For his collegiate career, he played 38 games, ran for 1,735 yards, 14 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

    Jamison ran for 1,972 yards and 13 touchdowns during his two-year career at Rutgers. He has also caught two touchdowns and passed for one. An ankle injury hampered his production in his final season but still eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark. Jamison only fumbled twice in 523 touches, a stat coaches must love.

    He told reporters in a conference call that he opted for the NFL Draft with two years of college eligibility remaining because his mother is battling breast cancer and he wanted to help her out as best he can.

    The Redskins also selected a linebacker and tight end.

    Brandon Jenkins, who played defensive end at Florida State, will make the transition to linebacker in the pros after being selected in the fifth round.

    Jenkins missed 13 games last season with a lisfranc injury. He accumulated 22.5 sacks in his career. His top season came in 2010 when he had 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss with two forced fumbles and two passes. In 2011, Jenkins had eight sacks.

    In the third round, the team drafted Jordan Reed out of Florida. He is an elusive receiver who starred as a high school quarterback in Connecticut. Reed started 12 of 13 games in 2012, leading the Gators with 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns. His versatility should help his adjustment to the dynamic Redskins offense.

    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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    Redskins Address Cornerback, Tight End In Draft


    In rounds two and three, the Washington Redskins selected North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson (51st overall) and Florida tight end Jordan Reed (85th overall).

    With D.J. Swearinger and Phillip Thomas still available in the second and third rounds, respectively, the Redskins opted not to select a safety with either of their first two picks. Instead, the team picked up two players who could play bigger roles when 2014 rolls around. The team’s top three cornerbacks (DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers) and starting tight end Fred Davis all have contracts that are set to expire after the 2013 season.

    During an eye-opening sophomore season in 2011, Amerson intercepted an ACC record 13 passes for North Carolina State. However, this past season marked a regression for the 6-foot-1 cornerback. He was burned by receivers throughout the season but still managed five interceptions.

    The nation’s 19th best safety prospect coming out of Dudley High School, Amerson told local reporters in a conference call that he will strictly play cornerback.

    Reed, 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, was a highly-touted dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school in Connecticut but made the move to tight end with the Gators. His versatility should help his adjustment to the dynamic Redskins offense.

    During a conference call with local reporters, Reed shed light on head coach Mike Shanahan’s approach to the draft, admitting he had no idea the team was interested in him and that the team had not contacted him at any point before tonight.

    In his 2012 senior season, Reed started 12 of 13 games and caught a team-leading 45 passes for 559 yards and three touchdowns.

    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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    Redskins Quiet on Day One of Free Agency


    The Redskins showed a newfound level of maturity and restraint (albeit forced because of the cap penalty) and laid low as the Miami Dolphins took center stage on the first day of the new league year.

    Washington engaged in a less reactionary approach and focused more on taking care of their own, re-signing punter Sav Rocca to a two-year deal and defensive lineman Kedric Golston to a three-year deal.

    The big news of the day came from J.R. Rickert, the agent for special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander, saying he was one of three clients finding new homes.

    Alexander’s departure creates a void in special teams coverage and team leadership but the Redskins have more pressing needs in the secondary and have a limited number of resources. Had Washington not had a cap penalty, it’s a safe bet Alexander would be wearing burgundy and gold in 2013.

    Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that former Dolphins and Saints running back Reggie Bush leaves his visit in Detroit without a contract, then visits with the Cardinals, Redskins and Bengals would be next. Bush would be an interesting addition as a change-of-pace back to compliment Alfred Morris but he would either have to take a nice pay cut to join the Redskins or the team would have to restructure more contracts or release more players, neither of which don’t appear imminent at this time.

    The Redskins did lose out on a cornerback target in former Cardinal Greg Toler when he quickly signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

    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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    Pointing Fingers


    The Redskins were rumored to be planning a halt to the start of the 2013 Free Agency period, this started a lot of buzz about what the team would do, Was it a bluff? Does “the Danny” have something up his sleeve? With all the talk of the “Logo” and the Redskins name being under attack by those that say it’s offensive. Word leaked the Redskins had something cooking… In the end even the NFLPA wanted in on some of the action. The same NFLPA that could have prevented all of this (and had a stronger collusion case), had there not been a looming election.

    The Washington Redskins were hit with a $36 million cap penalty on the eve of the start of the 2012 free agency period, That team in Texas got hit with a $10 million hit and they appear to have moved on. The Redskins on the other hand, haven’t really said anything. A few years ago I wrote about the Redskins not working within the NFL’s Salary Cap, simply because they could move the number however they want.

    After all the changes since those articles, you still here about “Cash over Cap” and “ back loaded deals”. Fortunately for Redskins Nation, it not how Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan do business. That was the Vinny C. way of doing things. We knew Haynesworthlessness was gonna get paid, we knew giving Adam Arch, Brandon Lloyd, and ARE damn near identical contracts that totally overpaid the trio, we knew Zorn would be fired when he had know idea he should be looking for a landing spot.

    As fans of the greatest team on the planet, that has had nothing but bad luck since JKC was the owner, we’ve suffered for so long we’ve gotten to the point that we’ll justify anything that is pro B&G. The truth is the Redskins were warned not to dump money into the uncapped year, but that’s what they are said to have done. A few teams dump money into the uncapped year. NONE of them were punished, three teams moved “cap” money into the uncapped year, ALL of them were punished, the Saints punishment was not sharing in “Mara’s loot”, and that team to the west of them that plays in the NFC east lost five million in cap space for two years. No wonder the only people wanting to stand with the Redskins are the people that put them where they are.

    The biggest dumping not penalized was the Peppers’ contract with the Bears, it’s everyone that follows this tomfoolery bases for why the Washington Redskins shouldn’t have been punished. Before we move on let me state the Bears weren’t punished because… they did what they were told not to do, to the letter. They gave Peppers $6 million in signing bonus to be spread out over the length of the contract (just like all teams do), but the dropped twenty million into base salary that year. In a capped year that would have been a base of $6 mil;lion (or less) and signing bonus of $20 million (or a yearly cap hit of five million plus). The Washington Redskins, the Saints and that team in Texas, didn’t spend any money.

    All three teams took upcoming (or payments now due) and converted them into signing bonuses, these restructured deals paid the players cash but it wasn’t new money… and each deal include player buy out options. They knew what they were doing and got caught. If somebody needs to be the fall guy all fingers would point at the Vice President of Football Administration Eric Schaffer.

    Eric Schaffer the defacto contract man… the number cruncher… the capolgist. Now you should understand why no one s pointing the finger at him.

    Vinny told him to pay these guys stupid money while the Four Letter Network was reporting the Redskins cap was so bad they’ed be lucky to field 22 rookies… he did it. Vinny said “throw the fat boy a $100 million deal, but we need to keep Hall regardless what he wants” Eric did it and moved on. When the Mike and Bruce show came to town, Schaffer did what he has done for the six or seven years (name a coach that has lasted six year). They told him to clean up the mess Vinny made as we gut this roster and rebuild on the run. Eric Schaffer said ‘”I can do that”. Then he did it. And here we are.

    The Redskins didn’t break the stated rules however while staying within the stated rules they exploited the hell out of what the rules were meant to prevent. Eric Schaffer did what the team asked him to do and it pissed some of them off. So they attacked him where he lives (player contracts and the salary)

    This is not where they (whoever they are) want to fight. Schaffer has been through at least four regimes working for a owner that fires more people that Donald Trump, and has been getting a paycheck from “the Danny” for more than a decade. Case in point would be last free agency eve, for the first twenty-four hours it was a $36 million dollar hit, after the weekend past he got word it would be split over two years. In between he signed Pierre Garcon,, Josh Morgan, and were linked to other big name free agent targets. They did all this after retaining the players the wanted to keep. I’m not sure if Schaffer was told to do it or he if he was flipping off the Commish in his own way, but Adam Carriker’s was one of the first contracts negotiated after the start of the 2012 league year and was structured in the identical manner as the two re-structured contracts they were punished for during “Capgate”.

    Personally I think it was a “flip off” and Eric hasn’t looked back.

    Really he does what he’s told to do… that’s why he gets paid the big bucks. Granted he should have been paid more when he followed the orders of a idiot, actually he should have been paid even more for cleaning up the idiots mess.

    With just over 24 hours before the tree agency market opens the Washington Redskins are reportedly $3 to $4 million over the cap, won’t be major plsyers in the market and don’t have the cap space to retain their own free agents, are just about finish re-signing the RFAs talking to their URFAs and the agents of players that can fill needs on the roster.

    The Washington Redskins are “over the cap” yet they have re-signed Paulsen, Young, Kory L., Rob Jackson and Nick Sundberg, with more to come before free agency starts.

    As far as this cap penalty goes I say until someone explains to Eric Schaffer that he can’t take the rules literally, they can’t expect the Redskins to be truly hindered by cap penalties… and until that time no one can point the finger at Mr. Schaffer.

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

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    Redskins Actively Prepare For Free Agency


    While battling the second half of their $36 million cap penalty that was imposed on free agency eve last year, the Redskins were still able to retain six of their own free agents and sign a veteran offensive lineman. To make those moves happen, they had to let go of the best member of their secondary and restructure another veteran’s contract.

    The action began Saturday when Washington re-signed three restricted free agents: tight end Logan Paulsen (three-year deal); fullback Darrel Young (three-years, $6.2 million); and linebacker Rob Jackson (one-year deal). News broke at the end of the night that unrestricted free agent guard Kory Lichtensteiger would return on a five-year deal.

    On Sunday, the Redskins retained RFA long snapper Nick Sundberg to for four more seasons.

    The movement continued to pick up Monday when RFA nose tackle Chris Baker was re-signed to a one year, $1.3 million right-of-first refusal tender. Reports also stated that the team’s final RFA, wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Banks, would not be offered a contract and will likely not return.

    To lessen their financial woes, the team released cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who would have cost $8 million against the salary cap. Defensive lineman Adam Carriker, who was reportedly a candidate to be released, restructured his contract that he signed on the first day of free agency last year.

    Wide receiver Santana Moss is also reportedly another candidate for a restructured contract or an outright release. Head coach Mike Shanahan said during a press conference Monday that linebacker London Fletcher is not going to be asked to restructure his contract.

    Also on Monday, the Redskins officially announced the signing of veteran offensive tackle Tony Pashos after days of speculation. The team was interested in him three years ago but he chose to sign with the Cleveland Browns.

    Desperate for secondary help and looking at a deep crop of cornerbacks, various reports have indicated Washington has expressed interest in Jacksonville’s Derek Cox, San Diego’s Antoine Cason, Miami’s Sean Smith, Arizona’s Greg Toler, and New England’s Aqib Talib. Cason was drafted by former Chargers general manager, who was recently named a senior executive with the Redskins. Talib was drafted in 2008 by Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris while both were in Tampa Bay.

    The Redskins are also interested in Texans offensive tackle Ryan Harris, who Shanahan drafted while in Denver, according to WUSA9’s Kevin Jones.

    The Redskins are now an estimated $1 million under the salary cap heading into the start of free agency at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

    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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    Redskins Brace For Seattle Showdown


    For the first time in 13 years, the Redskins won the NFC East and are preparing to host a playoff game at FedEx Field.

    Following a memorable 28-18 victory over the archrival Dallas Cowboys last week that capped off their longest winning streak since 1996, the Redskins seek to avenge a postseason nemesis that has haunted them twice in the past seven seasons.

    In 2005, the Redskins reeled off five straight victories to close out a 10-6 regular season. With very little offensive production, they were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road in the Wild Card round. Washington then traveled to take on the Seattle Seahawks and their vaunted “12th Man.” The Redskins came up short, losing 20-10.

    Just two years later, riding a wave of emotion and a four game winning streak following the death of beloved safety Sean Taylor, the Redskins again headed into Seattle. This time, Washington fell 35-13.

    This time around, the Redskins dropped to 3-6 and were set to look ahead to the 2013 season. Seven games later, led by rookie superstar Robert Griffin III and rookie surprise Alfred Morris, the Redskins have captured a division title and get to host the dreaded Seahawks at FedEx Field.

    The Redskins won four of the last seven games at home and were 5-3 in Landover this season, their first winning home record since 2007.

    Seahawks fans are known for providing a home-field advantage for Seattle. This year was no different, as they posted an 8-0 record at CenturyLink Field. Washington’s fans have been a factor in recent home wins, helping garner a home-field advantage that hasn’t been around for years. The Redskins are 13-3 all-time in home playoff games and the Seahawks have not won a road playoff game in 29 years.

    Enthusiasm surrounding the Redskins has been fueled by the dynamic Griffin, who finally gets to showcase his talents on the same field as another talented rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson.

    Griffin, Morris and Wilson are all in the discussion for rookie of the year and for good reason. Griffin ran for more yards than any rookie quarterback in league history, surpassing Cam Newton’s phenomenal 2011 campaign. Griffin threw for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions and broke a rookie record with a 102.4 passer rating. Morris first made himself noticed in the preseason after being selected as a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic. But no one predicted he would rush for 1,613 and 13 touchdowns and break the Redskins single-season rushing record. Wilson, less-heralded than Griffin but more highly touted than Morris, was drafted in the third round and threw for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and finished the season with a 100.0 passer rating.

    All eyes will be on Wilson and Griffin Sunday. For Wilson, it will be to see if he can earn the respect of the D.C. audience and for Griffin, it will be to see if he can overcome the limitations his knee brace provides him.

    Seattle comes to Washington boasting the NFL’s top-ranked scoring defense, only allowing 15.3 points per game. They are also 10th in the league in run defense, only allowing 103.1 yards per game on the ground. It will make for an interesting matchup against the Redskins, who own the league’s top rushing offense, averaging 169.3 yards per game.

    On offense, the Seahawks have dominated in the last four weeks, outscoring their opponents 170-43. Running back Marshawn Lynch has run for 10 touchdowns and is third in the NFL with 1,590 rushing yards, behind only Morris and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. Seattle’s offense will provide a strong test for a Redskins defense that was on pace to surpass the NFL’s yards-allowed record but have stiffened up over the course of the second half of the season.

    The Redskins will also need to contain explosive returner Leon Washington on special teams. He could become an X-factor in the blink of an eye.

    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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    Redskins Continue Playoff Push, Win Sixth Straight


    It was a day of firsts for the Redskins as they forged ahead with a 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

    The Redskins now maintain sole possession of first place in the NFC East after Week 16 for the first time since 1999. They have won six straight regular season games for the first time since 1996 and have won six overall for the first time since 2005 when they won their final five regular season games and a wild card playoff matchup.

    Robert Griffin III made his first start since missing last week’s 38-21 win in Cleveland while resting a right knee sprain. He posted a passer rating of 100 or more in a division game for the fifth time this season and reached the 20 touchdown and 3,000 passing yards milestones against Philadelphia.

    The Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate was aided by rookie running back Alfred Morris and wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss.

    Morris ran for 91 yards against the Eagles, marking his eighth 90-yard game in what has become the best season of any rookie running back in team history. Garcon led the team with seven receptions for 89 yards while Moss caught his eighth touchdown of the season.

    Kicker Kai Forbath connected on two field goals, making him 17-for-17 on the season, an NFL record to start a career.

    Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was around the football all day, recording five tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. Fellow linebacker London Fletcher notched his team-leading fifth interception in the second quarter, resulting in a Josh Morgan touchdown on the ensuing drive that put the Redskins up for good.

    The Redskins enter Week 17 preparing for arguably the most anticipated game at FedEx Field since the 2000 Wild Card game against the Detroit Lions.

    At 9-6, the Redskins hold the NFC East division title in their own hands. A victory over the Dallas Cowboys next will secure the Redskins a home playoff game for the first time in 13 years.

    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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    Remembering Sean Taylor – A Father’s Retrospective


    Five years ago today, the Washington Redskins suffered a tragic loss when Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor died of a gunshot wound at the age of 24.

    The news came as a shock and took a lot of time to accept for many people in the D.C. and Miami areas.

    For Sean’s father, Pete Taylor, faith helped guide him through the acceptance process.

    “As a father,” Taylor says, “you still deal with it in a private setting and you respect and honor what God has done and know he makes no mistakes.”

    Taylor will honor his son today in Miami: “One of the things I’ll do is I’ll go out and revisit his grave site and be there for a little bit,” he said. “[I will] clean it up and make sure everything looks good and tight-knit.”

    Sean’s tombstone aptly features artwork of the 2004 first-round draft pick breaking up a pass and flipping a Dallas Cowboy player in midair. The design is indicative of how Sean played: fearless and unrelenting. One of the most feared players during his three and a half years in the National Football League, Taylor was known for delivering bone-crushing hits and highlight reel turnovers.

    In the five years since his death, the NFL has changed drastically. The level of data and knowledge about concussions and potential brain damage caused from playing football have dramatically altered how the game is now played.

    Helmet-to-helmet hits are being penalized at a more frequent rate. Players are now fined and suspended for plays that would have never been deemed “illegal” decades ago.

    Looking back on Sean’s hard-hitting style of play and the rate of concussions accrued during an NFL season, it begs the question: would he have been allowed to play youth football with the wide breadth of knowledge provided to the public now?

    “Yes,” Pete Taylor said. “I would have kept him playing football. I think it’s a great sport. It’s a great outlet for kids to have fun.”

    The reason, Taylor says, is because, along with the advancement of concussion data, there has also been an improvement in football equipment over the years.

    “I think the most important thing is they’re starting to change the game as far as the helmets are concerned and making sure you don’t lead with the helmet.”

    Initially known for his reckless style on the field, Taylor had evolved into a more polished player with well-timed hits and a better eye for the ball at the end of his career. As he matured on the field, teammates and coaches noticed a maturation process off the field as well.

    Having faced trouble early on, Taylor turned his attention to his family as his career progressed.
    When his daughter Jackie was born, it marked a turning point in Sean’s life.

    Now six years old, Pete says Jackie is playing soccer and just simply enjoys being a kid. Whether it’s her smile, long legs, or never-ending desire to be on the move and run, Jackie’s traits stand out to her grandfather because they resemble Sean so much.

    “She’s just funny,” Taylor said. “Jackie’s a sweet kid. We have great times together.”

    When Sean was Jackie’s age, Pete had hoped the advice he taught him would sink in and be carried on as he grew up. He learned after his son’s death, just how much Sean did, in fact, listen.

    “Growing up,” Taylor said, “sometimes you think that you impart wisdom to kids and tell them things such as ‘Never forget young kids’ dreams’ [and] ‘Always respect your elders.’ Those kinds of things you think that they forget but they don’t.”

    Taylor enjoyed people “telling a testimony of how Sean took off a jersey and threw it to [them]… or when [their] kid was standing in line for autographs, how Sean waited to make sure all those kids had an autograph.”

    Knowing that Sean never forgot where he came from provides a very rewarding feeling, Pete said.

    Sean’s roots as an athlete trace back to his time as a star football player in his local Pop Warner league. In his native Dade County, Sean’s legacy lives on through the Sean Taylor Football Classic, which pits the top local Pop Warner teams, which range from 90 pounds to 160 pounds, against each other. The winners are awarded a Sean Taylor trophy and the event helps keep his memory alive.

    Another honor bestowed upon Taylor was his induction as a member of the 80 Greatest Redskins earlier this year.

    Accepting the award on Sean’s behalf was Pete, who took in a whole weekend of festivities featuring an alumni gala and a ceremony during halftime of the Panthers game on Nov 4.

    “I had a great time,” Taylor said. “It was a great honor. Larry (Michael) did a good job in bringing out Sean on that last video. That really touched me.”

    Even though Sean is no longer playing for the Redskins, Pete says he continues to keep track of the team.

    “I always told Mr. Snyder I want to be a part of the organization,” he said. “I continue to watch what they’re doing. I’m very interested in that team because my son played there. It’s his first NFL team and will always be dear to me.”

    “I really love the Redskins,” he said. “I really love what’s happening with them. I’m just a Washington Redskins fanatic right now.”

    Pete enjoyed watching all of the Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys. He doesn’t have a favorite player but did mention that he likes what their prized free agent wide receiver has brought to the team when healthy.

    “I think [Pierre] Garcon coming back was great,” he said. “It was a spark they maybe needed to open up the offense.”

    He tries to attend one or two games a year at FedEx Field. Having already attended the Panthers game, he hopes to make it to one more game this year, possibly the season finale against the Cowboys.

    Pete Taylor obviously has not forgotten the Washington Redskins.

    It’s only fitting considering that his son will always be remembered in the annals of Washington Redskins lore.

    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: 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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