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  • 2012 Training Camp Battle: Safety


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    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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    Training Camp Moving To Richmond


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    It was announced today that the Washington Redskins Training Camp festivities are making the move from Ashburn, Virginia to Richmond, Virginia in 2013.

    Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen released the following written statement:

    “We are very pleased to continue our relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia that my father established 41 years ago.”

    “We are proud to call Loudoun County the home of Redskins Park. In conjunction with the governor’s office and the City of Richmond, we also look forward to finding a great summer training camp facility in the city for both our team and our fans to enjoy.”

    Governor Bob McDonnell said in a press release that, “Virginia considers the Redskins our team.”

    “The team is based here. The team trains here. The players live here. Virginians root for the Redskins on the field, and off the field the team contributes greatly to the economy and culture of the commonwealth.”

    The news is surprising in that there had been talks that the summer training might be done somewhere near Capitol Hill, on a site not far from the old RFK stadium; but the news is not surprising, in that coach Mike Shanahan has been talking about moving training camp out of Redskins Park ever since he arrived.

    It was also announced today that the Redskins would be making $30 million in upgrades to the now 20-year old Redskins Park.

    With how vanilla practices have become over the last decade at Redskins Park, maybe the move will crank things up a little. There is a potential benefit in that with the team staying together while ‘away’ at Richmond – it could be argued that there are more bonding opportunities and that perhaps it could serve to develop further cohesiveness.

    It’s still unknown exactly where the team will train in Richmond.

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

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    Remembering Kevin Mitchell: Five Years Later


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    While Redskins fans were still buzzing on Monday after the most anticipated draft in decades, Denise Mitchell spent the day at her husbands grave. She and their three children, Jonathan (9), Kayla (7) and Alyssa (4) laid flowers on his grave and reflected on what was, as well as what could have been. To commemorate the day, the family went out to dinner to celebrate his life and reflect some more.

    Monday April 30 marked the five-year anniversary of former Redskin linebacker Kevin Mitchell’s untimely death. Here in the D.C. area, the day came and went as any other day would. But for Denise, April 30th has as much significance now as it ever has.

    “We visit his grave faithfully on his birthday, Father’s Day, and the anniversary of his passing,” she said.

    “We typically stay home together as a family on the 30th (his brother and mother included) and do everything he always loved to do, which includes preparing a huge meal and watching comedy movies. The kids watch home videos and love it.”

    Denise recalls the night of his death proceeding as any other Sunday would for their family.

    “We had a normal Sunday,” she said. “Sunday was typically our family day. We went to church and took the kids to a birthday party. He cut his hair and worked out. We ordered Chinese food and watched a movie with the kids. He played with them a little more than usual.

    “He insisted on reading their bedtime stories and tucked them in. We sat on our porch and had a long talk about our plans for May. We both fell asleep in front of the television, and he woke me up to get into bed while he went to check on the kids.”

    She did not know that that would be the last time she would talk to Kevin.

    “I woke up to him in distress in the middle of the night and called paramedics. His body was in distress and I could tell he was unconscious. I couldn’t find a pulse and administered CPR with 911 on the phone until the paramedics arrived,” she said.

    At the age of 36, Kevin Mitchell was gone.

    He had continued to stay in shape even after his playing days were over, which made his death even more shocking. Less than three months later, the Virginia medical examiner’s office ruled that his death was a result of heart disease and natural causes.

    In the blink of an eye, Denise became a widow and returned home from the hospital early that morning with many questions and was having a hard time finding answers. Not long after she had been home, she experienced a strange sign. Soon she realized it was a symbol of comfort.

    “I came home from the hospital at 4:30 a.m. I was by myself (the kids were asleep) when the entire house lost power at 5:57 for a good five minutes. It was kind of scary,” she said.

    “I knew the exact time because I was staring at our bedroom clock when it happened as I just sat on our bed in complete shock. This was strange to me at the time as the weather was calm and there was no reason for the power to go out. [It] became even stranger when my next door neighbors said that none of them lost power. It became significant when I looked closer at the time. His number was 55 and 7 means completion in the Bible… 5:57. His journey was complete.”

    But that wasn’t it for Denise. Not only did she receive a sign the night of his passing, she was given one last gift from Kevin the day after his funeral in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa.

    “I knew there was a possibility that I was pregnant before Kevin died and I shared that with him,” she recalled.

    “Although this would have been somewhat of a surprise to the both of us, he said ‘better sooner than later because I ain’t getting any younger.’

    “The day after his funeral was probably the hardest day for me. I remember returning home to Virginia from Pennsylvania with two of my closest girlfriends and my children. I experienced a big breakdown when I got home and my friends didn’t know what to do. They both knew about the possibility of me being pregnant and so one of my friends took my kids to the playground and the other one went to CVS to get me a test. I took the test and it came back positive.

    “My first thought was ‘he’s still with me.’ I ran around the house screaming and jumped on all of the beds. I was so happy. A number of Kevin’s family members were still at his mother’s house after the funeral in Pennsylvania when I returned home. I called his mom up immediately after confirming the pregnancy and she shouted it to all his relatives and I could hear them screaming in the background. Everyone was so happy.”

    It’s hard to imagine the strange dichotomy of joy and grief that the entire Mitchell family experienced that day.

    Kevin spent four seasons with the Redskins from 2000 to 2003 and took part in training camp in 2004.

    He broke into the NFL as a second round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and played two seasons with the New Orleans Saints before joining the Redskins.

    “San Francisco was a bit challenging for him,” Mitchell said. “While he was grateful that they drafted him and that they won the Super Bowl at the end of his rookie year, it was the first time in his entire football career that he wasn’t a starter and played on the second team. This was a humbling experience for him and he struggled a bit accepting it.

    “He enjoyed New Orleans and playing under Mike Ditka, who named him the starter for both of the years he played there,” she added.

    After playing for two other organizations with two different situations, Mitchell said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Washington despite the turmoil of the franchise.

    “He always said he wanted to retire as a Redskin, and his dream came true,” Mitchell said.

    “He really enjoyed playing under Marty [Schottenheimer] and considered him to be one of the fairest coaches he every played for. He was also happy that he was able to survive the numerous head coaching changes year after year in Washington because it allowed him to provide stability for his family.”

    His fondest moment in Washington came in 2000 against the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens when he stepped in front of Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe to pick off a Tony Banks pass just before halftime. That throw was destined for the end zone but turned out to be Mitchell’s first career interception.

    He played in 61 games as a member of the burgundy and gold and made 96 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble during that time.

    Mitchell, who made his mark in the NFL mostly as a special teamer, was a very productive backup linebacker and started 13 games in 2001, ending the season third on the Redskins in tackles.

    He was released by Joe Gibbs before the 2004 season but stayed in the area locally for a while helping out former teammate Eddie Mason with his athletic training company. He then worked to get his contractor’s license and help give back to Harrisburg.

    Kevin’s successful path in life began there and, to him, it was only right that he put forth the time and effort to make the area better.

    “Kevin always credited his high school as the foundation to his successful football career. It was the direction he received while in high school that paved the way to getting a scholarship to Syracuse which set him up to be drafted into the NFL,” Denise said.

    “After he retired from the NFL, he became a partner in a home improvement company and was studying to get his contractor’s license at the time that he died. There was a revitalization effort going on in Harrisburg during this time where people were joining forces to reconstruct old/abandoned/damaged portions of the city (particularly in low-income housing areas) so that more people could live in improved conditions. Kevin wanted to use his resources to help ‘rebuild’ his city. We also have plans to set up an annual scholarship in his name to benefit an athlete from his high school,” she said.

    His selflessness was not a newfound trait, but rather a characteristic engrained in him his whole life. Being in the public eye as a professional football player, Kevin never turned down the opportunity to make a fan’s day. During training camp and on game days, he relished the chance to flash his signature smile and take a picture or sign autographs for anyone who wanted one.

    “Kevin always took time to talk with the fans whenever he could. He saved every letter that he received and did his best to respond to everyone who contacted him. He appreciated his fans because he was once a fan himself before he played football. He knew what it felt like to be in their shoes and so he made the effort to connect with them whenever he could,” Mitchell said.

    Little did Denise know how far her husband’s acts of kindness in life would extend after his death.

    “Kevin was a homebody and kept to himself when he was playing in the NFL. He kept in contact with people, but in general, he spent most of his down time at home with his children,” she said.

    “I knew that he had met a number of people during the course of his life, but I was absolutely astounded by the number of people who came to his funeral to pay their final respects. A large number of people from every chapter of his life came to tell me how much Kevin had touched their lives. I had no idea he impacted the number of people that he did. It truly amazed me.”

    At the time of Kevin’s death, Jonathan and Kayla were only four and two years old, respectively, and Alyssa was still months away from being born. They did not have the time to know their dad the way most kids should. To this day they still ask Denise about their daddy, regularly trying to uncover more and more of his personality.

    “They always ask me why did God choose him to come home so early,” she said. “They are very interested in his personality and how he would handle situations. They always ask me to tell them stories about when we were all together. All of this points to their struggle in keeping his memory alive since they were so young when he passed.

    “My kids pray for Kevin all of the time, which really touches my heart. It is awesome to hear how they ask God to keep him safe and to let him come see them if they do really well in school. They are very interested in hearing about the ways in which they are like him and I often catch them arguing about who is most like him, which is adorable to overhear.”

    Now living in Harrisburg, Mitchell and the kids are in close contact with both sides of the family and are doing very well. Having endured a tragedy such as this, it would be easy for anybody to buckle under the pressure of life’s circumstances. But for Denise, three simple words of wisdom have helped her get through the toughest time of her life.

    “I think he would be proud of me because I didn’t get stuck,” she said. “I can’t count the number of times I heard him tell me to ‘keep it moving’ when he was alive and even more so now that he is gone. I kept it moving because I know that was what he would have expected of me. He would tell me to do whatever is necessary to keep moving forward and to honor every promise I make to our children.”

    Kevin wouldn’t want it any other way.

    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 Complete Most Anticipated Draft in Years


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    The Redskins went into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday knowing who they would bank their immediate future on. After months of waiting, they got their franchise quarterback and selected Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick.

    “RG3” had been taking D.C. by storm even before the blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams was consummated on March 9th. Now that he is officially a Redskin, both he and the team are ready to get to work.

    While his selection was a surprise to no one, the rest of the draft was a crapshoot. Head Coach Mike Shanahan took the same approach as last year and traded back to gather more picks. They entered this year’s draft with seven picks and came out with nine.

    Without a second round pick on Friday, the Redskins made the first of two trades before their third round selection. They swapped third round picks with the Bills, which allowed the Redskins to move from 69th overall to 71st overall and also gained Buffalo’s 7th round pick at 217 overall.

    From there, the Redskins decided to take SMU guard Josh LeRibeus with the 71st pick. LeRibeus does not look like a physical dynamo but that can also be attributed to peaking at around 380 pounds and then dropping 70 from December 2010 to the spring of 2011. He was ruled academically ineligible in 2010 but worked his way back and started all 13 games at left guard for the Mustangs last season. Now 6’3” and 312 pounds, he plays with a mean disposition and is looking to make the team as an interior lineman and fit into the zone blocking scheme.

    The Redskins threw a bit of a curveball on Saturday with their first selection. Surprised that he was still available in the 4th round, Washington selected Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have seen what the Eagles have been able to do with valuable backups so they saw an opportunity to immediately improve who Griffin will have behind him on the depth chart.

    Cousins is known for his exceptional leadership skills and his strong intangibles. He is the winningest quarterback in Michigan State history, going 27-12 in 39 career starts. He left the Spartans as their all-time leader in touchdown passes, passing yards and passing efficiency.

    Washington struck its second and final trade by sending its second 4th round pick (109 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers for picks 119 (4th round) and 193 (6th round).

    At 119, the Redskins then selected Texas outside linebacker Keenan Robinson, who they plan to move inside and potentially team up with Perry Riley. The move helps build youth and depth at linebacker to brace for captain London Fletcher’s departure. In the meantime, Robinson will see special teams work. He is known for being a finesse player with excellent coverage skills. In 2011, he logged 105 tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles.

    The 4th round brought Washington another guard with a mean streak. With the 141st pick, the Redskins took Adam Gettis, who started only three games before starting in all 13 of Iowa’s games as a senior in 2011. Unlike LeRibeus, Gettis is undersized but is athletic enough to project well into the zone blocking scheme if he gains some weight.

    In the 6th round, the Redskins went back to offense and addressed running back, taking Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic at pick 173. At 5’10”, 215 pounds, Morris is a short back who is thickly built and can play running back, fullback and H-back. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons in college and finished his career as FAU’s leader in carries, rushing yards, rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

    20 spots later, Washington again shifted their focus to offensive line, this time taking a tackle. Tom Compton started 44 games at South Dakota. He is known for his strength and ideal NFL build at 6’5” and 314 pounds. He is another lineman that should fit the zone blocking scheme that Shanahan loves to employ.

    Washington finally addressed secondary depth with their final two picks. The Redskins selected cornerback Richard Crawford, another SMU Mustang and Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine. Crawford can double as a returnman and Bernstine can play both cornerback and safety but projects to be a strong safety in Washington.

    Notes:

    – After drafting two quarterbacks, the Redskins decided to cut quarterback John Beck, who made four lackluster appearances in 2011.
    – The Redskins also failed to find a trade partner for wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who may soon join Beck on the waiver wire.
    – The Redskins have reportedly signed Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield, who is the son of former Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield. The team also reportedly signed Michigan running back Michael Shaw, Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer, ECU wide receiver Lance Lewis, Alabama wide receiver Darius Hanks, Southern Mississippi wide receiver Kelvin Bolden, Oklahoma State center Grant Garner, Hawaii defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, New Hampshire defensive end Brian McNally, Jacksonville State defensive end Monte Lewis and West Virginia safety Eain Smith. All reports, however, are unofficial until announced by the Redskins.

    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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    Griffin Arrives


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    Last night at 8:15pm at the 2012 NFL Draft, the face of the Washington Redskins franchise changed for now and for the foreseeable future. After weeks of terrible secret keeping, and bad acting, the Redskins selected Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor University, with the second overall pick in the draft.

    And with the selection, an organization engrossed in twenty years of dismal performances and strife, took a long cathartic breath.

    Donning a pair of burgundy and gold socks with the words, “Go Catch Your Dream,” and singing ‘Hail to the redskins’ when asked how he felt to be drafted by Washington, Griffin would appear to be just what the doctor ordered for an ailing franchise. Charming, intelligent and charismatic, the young man seems more than ready and willing to walk into the powder keg that he is about to inevitably walk into.

    Over the following weeks, much will be made and analyzed, and over-analyzed, about the football fit that Griffin and the Redskins will have; but Griffin has already proved proficient in arguably one of the most important aspects of the role he will seek to fill – handling the stress and pressure of a big market with monstrous needs.

    He’s prepared. He’s polished. He’s ready to do this. He spent an hour and a half talking with reporters after his selection, and barely batted an eye. In fact, he looked as fresh when he finished as when he started. Some people are just born to do big things.

    It’s rare for a rookie to come into the NFL with such a broad understanding of what stands before him. Coach Mike Shanahan certainly was delighted to select Griffin, even alluding to the fact that while Andrew Luck would have been a great selection, the Redskins were hoping that it would be Griffin all along:

    “I just think he will bring a lot to this organization. You are always looking for that franchise guy. He has not proven himself yet and we understand that. We need to put a good supporting cast around him and play well as a football team. I think he will have the chance to do some special things.”

    Shanahan stated earlier in the offseason that he had been looking at game film of college quarterbacks even during the 2011 season. Obviously Griffin’s body of work at Baylor speaks for itself, and earned him a Heismann Trophy, but the Redskins became even more enamored with the young man after the Scouting Combine and spending time with Griffin and his family.

    Regardless of what happens in the future, it’s hard not to be impressed with what the young gunslinger is doing to start his professional career on the right foot. On top of the custom burgundy and gold socks and signing the fight song, Griffin said that he has already started studying film on the existing Redskins roster.

    Have John Beck and Rex Grossman even done the same with the new talent added to the roster this offseason?

    Rest assured that the moment that Robert Griffin III arrives in Washington D.C. today, he instantly becomes the biggest star in a sports mecca – the franchise quarterback, in a football town. There will be a lot of scrutiny the moment he steps off the plane.

    Fortunately for Redskins Nation, a man with the mantra “No Pressure, No Diamonds” is exactly the type of athlete that you want to have in that position.

    Greatness awaits young man. Go Catch Your Dream.

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

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    Grossman Returning


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    On Saturday, the Redskins filled a hole with a familiar face, by signing Rex Grossman to a one-year deal. Grossman re-joins John Beck and Jonathon Crompton in the Redskins quarterback stable, and all three await the arrival of the young incoming stud, either Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck.

    It isn’t exactly surprising that Washington chose to go this route, especially in light of the cap penalty. If $18 Million weren’t missing from the Redskins’ cap space, Grossman may not have been their first option, and an upgrade may have been sought out. The cap is missing though, and with other holes still to fill, a limited budget, and hopefully the future at the position on the way in April – it was actually a predictable, and smart move.

    Grossman may not be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he certainly can be an excellent back-up. He knows the offense well, and whether or not Rex turns out to be a good mentor to the Redskins’ number two pick, is inconsequential to the fact that he can come off the bench and run the offense. Some might even argue that Rex always seems to perform his best when he thinks the least – hurry up offense, two minute drill etc. That’s the job description for a back-up quarterback, not ‘teaches other quarterbacks well.’

    The Redskins will not likely rush Griffin (or Luck) on to the field, but they will be looking to start the young quarterback at the very soonest possible instance. Mike Shanahan may have waited 12 games to start Jay Cutler after drafting him 11th in 2006, but he didn’t give up his next two first round picks to move up and get Cutler either. That isn’t to say that a rookie is going to be handed the job, but don’t expect any quarterback currently on the roster, to be seen as anything more than ‘Plan B’ for if Griffin (or Luck) isn’t quite ready on day one. Beyond that, Grossman’s role will be what every other quarterback in the NFL is expected to do – step in, only in case of injury.

    Washington gets a cost-effective option and a known commodity. Rex may not be the sexiest of choices, but sometimes re-building an entire franchise, especially one that just lost fifteen percent of it’s 2012 cap money, requires cutting smart corners.

    Bringing Grossman back, does just that.

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

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    Redskins Rebuilding Secondary


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    After missing out on potential slot receiver and return man Eddie Royal, who reportedly signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, the Redskins turned their attention to shoring up a depleted secondary.

    On Monday, Washington released starting free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and allowed starting strong safety LaRon Landry to enter free agency on Tuesday.

    Their first step towards adding to their defensive backfield involved signing two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather to a two-year, $6 million contract on Thursday. The five-year veteran had impressive seasons from 2008 to 2010 but was a part of the New England Patriots final round of pre-season cuts last September. The Chicago Bears quickly snatched up the 24th overall pick in 2007 but he had a rather quiet 2011 season with only four starts in 11 games played.

    Today, the Redskins signed former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin to a one-year contract. One reason he was signed to such a short deal was that he suffered an ACL tear in both knees in the 2010 calendar year. However, Griffin does bring versatility and could move to safety at some point.

    Griffin attained career-highs in tackles in 2007 (92), passes defended and forced fumbles in 2008 (14 and four, respectively), and interceptions in 2009 (four).

    The Redskins are also supposed to host former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross today after he spent Thursday in Cincinnati visiting with the Bengals. Ross had a career year in 2011, logging 60 tackles, 12 passes defended and four interceptions while winning his second Super Bowl.

    Washington also officially retained another free agent today when tight end Fred Davis signed his franchise tender. This all but assures his place on the 2012 roster and raises his salary to the top five among NFL tight ends.

    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 Active Despite Cap Limitations


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    When the NFL came down with the ruling late Monday that the Redskins would be stripped of $36 million in salary cap space, everyone wondered how it would alter their plans heading into free agency. Shortly after the clock struck 4 p.m., Washington showed how.

    The Redskins were planning on approaching free agency with the most salary cap room they have had in years. Instead, the NFL reportedly forced them to use at least $18 million of the $36 million cap penalty for this year’s free agency period.

    That did not deter the team from addressing needs early on. First, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon announced on his Facebook page that he had chosen to sign with the Redskins. Following that move, it was reported that there was an agreement with former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver and local product Joshua Morgan.

    Then the Redskins made the first move in addressing their own free agents by retaining Adam Carriker to a four-year, $20 million deal. That contract can be voided after one year and can only be voided by Carriker himself. Retaining Carriker solidifies the defensive line, which many believe is the strongest unit on the team.

    As dusk was approaching, word broke that former Denver Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal had agreed to a deal with the Redskins but that news was put to rest when it was reported that some late suitors had approached Royal and halted a deal with Washington. He is still unsigned but the Redskins appear to be one of the favorites.

    Like Morgan, Royal played at Virginia Tech and is another local product. Selected by current Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan in the second round of the 2008 draft, Royal put up career numbers that season with 91 catches for 980 yards, five touchdowns and an average of 26.1 yards per kickoff return.

    While the Redskins haven’t signed any free agents as of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, there have been moves throughout the league that affected the Redskins plans. Players who the team had reported interest in, that opted to sign elsewhere; like Quarterback Kyle Orton (Dallas), cornerback Eric Wright (Tampa Bay), and John Carlson (Minnesota).

    According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Redskins are supposed to meet with former Patriots and Bears safety Brandon Meriweather today. The Redskins plan to address cornerback by meeting with former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross on Friday according to John Keim of the Washington Examiner. Rich Campbell of the Washington Times hears that the Redskins are ‘in play’ for former Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Grubbs but does not know how much effort the Redskins will put into acquiring him.

    On the homefront, there is no news developing regarding linebacker London Fletcher but cornerback Josh Wilson and Adam Carriker have reached out to him on Twitter to encourage him to come back. Despite his age, losing Fletcher would be a big blow to the defense and the team as a whole. Another key free agent, safety LaRon Landry, has reportedly received interest from the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots. His return appears unlikely.

    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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    HenDog Needs A Coop


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    When free agency opens tomorrow, players all over the league will be looking for new football homes – among those players, former Redskin Robert Henson. The Redskins released the third year linebacker at the end of training camp last year, where he had been on the PUP list for an injury he suffered when Albert Haynesworth fell on his leg during practice.

    It has been tough sledding for Henson, who also missed the entire 2010 season after suffering a knee injury in the final preseason game – a preseason that he had led the team in tackles before landing on the injured reserve list. Rather than get discouraged, he has made the most of the time off, “The area of my game the needed the most work was the mental part, just studying the game as a whole. Being a student of different schemes offensively as well as defensively,” Henson stated, and then added good-naturedly, “I have had a lot of down time and that means a lot of studying!”

    Drafted out of Texas Christian University, he continues to push forward in hopes of landing an NFL job. He isn’t looking for a particular scheme or situation, “Coming out of college the scouts had questions about my ability to play in a 3-4, but I showed I can be effective in it while in Washington.”

    He knows his real niche and key to finding his way back on to an NFL roster has nothing to do with scheme though, “Special teams is my thing. Even in college most of my tackles were on special teams.”

    The middle linebacker has continued to work hard, stay in shape, and make sure that his knee is ready for the next opportunity. He is represented by super-agent Drew Rosenhaus, who Henson says continues to push hard for him.

    Henson also said that he hasn’t spoken to the Redskins about returning since leaving last August, but that he has stayed in contact with special teams coach Danny Smith.

    “His message to me was to keep kicking at it because I have what it takes to be a key guy on Special Teams.”

    When he was drafted in 2009 in the sixth round, Gregg Williams had already moved on to Jacksonville (and then to New Orleans) but Henson played with many of the guys that Williams coached in Washington. So what did he think of the ‘Bountygate’ scandal having played with guys that were allegedly part of it, and that are now speaking out about it?

    “Truthfully, money is thrown around a locker room and meeting rooms. But never for going after and injuring opposing players. Very few guys make it to the NFL, and the average career does not last long; so knowing that, players rarely take joy in dishing out pain. Think about what you see a player get injured, most of the time the first person to call the trainers over is the opposing player. Bounties have no place in the game so many enjoy, and very few get a chance to play.”

    So what of players that are taking this opportunity to now speak out?

    “Players breaking Code is running rampant, it’s a sign of selfishness and the need to be an individual in a team environment. With the media regularly blowing things out of proportion, its a quick way to poison a locker room. Players coming out and saying things anonymously is even worse, because then you wonder if you can trust any of your teammates which can then cause a rift between all players.”

    Obviously for a young player like Henson, there are other options available to football players these days when they’re looking to get back to the NFL. He could go serve some time in the Canadian Football League. He could go play with Terrell Owens and the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the Indoor Football League. Would Henson ever consider such a path?

    “I definitely wanna stay in the NFL, but I am not opposed to going somewhere else for a short while. If it does not happen soon I will explore other options though, to provide for my family.”

    Those that follow Henson on Twitter will not be the least bit surprised by any urgency that he shows towards looking after his family – he’s a proud husband and father. Henson’s wife Sarah is the daughter of pastor and best selling author Bishop T.D. Jakes, and author, and media personality Mrs. Serita Jakes. Henson met Sarah while at Texas Christian University, and they got married in 2008 before Robert’s senior season. Sarah is a blossoming TV personality, an inspirational writer at sarahdhenson.com, and oversees the women’s ministry at The Potter’s House of Dallas.

    When asked to describe his wife in a sentence, Henson wanted a paragraph or even a page, but obliged: “The most amazing person I know with the biggest heart; she totally completes me, and I could not imagine facing life without her or her love.”

    The only thing as obvious as his love for Sarah on his Twitter account, is how much Henson enjoys being a dad. He occasionally posts cute pictures of his kids, or posts cute things that they have said or done. Henson even interacts with other Redskins fans about their kids, and their experiences; it’s very apparent that he is a proud daddy.

    “Being a dad is an amazing experience with so many emotions, but watching your children grow to be respectable, hard working, assets to society, using the moral compass you have supplied, will be a feeling you will never forget!”

    The moral compass that Henson will supply is one that he admits that until he met Sarah, and his Father-In-Law Bishop Jakes, was one prone to selfishness and had little respect for authority. He admitted that growing up without a father, “proved to be quite a challenge, while trying to navigate through life.” Henson said that all changed when he met and fell in love with Sarah. Soon after, Bishop Jakes realized that they were serious, and “He began to spoon feed me the recipe for success and more importantly he REALLY showed me the fatherly love that I needed. Even in my twenties, I started to feel like a kid who had the luxury of both parents. He’s always accessible and loving!”

    So with his own moral compass now pointed North, Henson the family man, and father has to decide what is next, and what is best, for Henson the provider. It’s not like he doesn’t have options if the NFL doesn’t work out for him, as he has already been offered a coaching position with his alma mater. Football may lose out altogether in the end though, “I have a great opportunity to get into Federal Law Enforcement, been a dream of mine since I was young.”

    For now though, Henson’s going to continue to follow his dream of continuing to play in the National Football League.

    There will be lots of underdogs trying to land NFL contracts over the upcoming days and weeks, put the HenDog on your list.

    Notes:

    You can follow me on Twitter at @TheHogsdotNet and you can follow Robert at @Mr_Henson51

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

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    Carriker Weighing Free Agency Options


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    As March 13th and the start of free agency approaches, it is likely that the attention of Redskins fans will be placed upon free agents such as London Fletcher, Fred Davis and LaRon Landry. However, flying under the radar is a man who had a career year in 2011.

    While Fletcher led the league in tackles, he wasn’t the only Redskins defender having a good season, Adam Carriker was putting up a proficient stat line as well. Having missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury, the 13th overall pick in the 2007 draft played in his fourth full season in 2011. He put up the second most tackles in his career (34) and set a career mark in sacks (5.5), which is more than he had in his first four seasons combined. What was helped propel Carriker to an improved 2011 season?

    “A combination of mental awareness of the game after being in the league for five years and being able to physically do anything I want to do,” he said.

    His two productive seasons in Washington followed a rocky three-year span in St. Louis that saw the Rams only win 13% of their games while Carriker had become labeled a bust. While the former first round pick has had his fair share of trials and tribulations during his time in the NFL, he feels his career is on the rise.

    “St. Louis was not good. We won six games and lost 42 games in three years. Washington has been much better. I feel like the future will only improve on that,” Carriker said.

    “The beginning of the 2010 season I played well. You always hear how I took off the second half of that year, which is true, but I was very effective the whole season,” he added. “2011 was a good year and I feel like I’m coming into my own. I’m just gonna keep getting better and better. Especially if I get more opportunities than in the past.”

    This offseason has been unique for Carriker, given that he is at the end of his rookie contract and could soon have the opportunity to choose his next destination. Carriker, who is represented by Select Sports Group, has embraced this offseason with a positive mindset. He hopes to receive more playing time and continue to prove his worth in 2012, whether it is with the Redskins or elsewhere in the NFL.

    He has made it clear this offseason that he wants to be fairly compensated. But he also cites the location of the team, their ability to contend and how he will be used in their base and nickel downs as key factors in where he will ultimately sign.

    “I’m taking care of my body and making sure I’m ready to go for next year and the years to come. I’m excited. It’s like being recruited out of high school all over again. I’m looking for a good deal. I don’t plan on taking one penny less than what I deserve. Nobody should — that wouldn’t be right or fair. I have to do what’s best for my wife, kids, and the whole family.”

    Having played four seasons under defensive coordinator Jim Haslett while in St. Louis and in Washington has helped Carriker’s comfort level with the 3-4 defense. While Carriker credits his connection with Haslett as a factor in his decision making, he says it will not be the deciding reason and that the idea of playing in other schemes is intriguing.

    “It does play a part. But it’s not a trump everything card,” Carriker said. “In fact I’d like to prove people wrong that say I can’t play other schemes. I proved them wrong about being a bust. I’d like to take my blue collar, in-your-face, smash-mouth approach and just keep proving people wrong.”

    That underdog mentality has been with Carriker most of his life and instantly translated into how he approached sports.

    “If you know about my background from childhood to now you know that I’ve had to overcome a lot of things and a lot of doubters. All the way back to little league, middle school, high school, early on in college and so on,” Carriker said.

    Carriker, who is not shy about being a huge wrestling buff, says that overcoming that doubt led to a nickname he would use should he ever make the jump to wrestling.

    “In fact,” Carriker continued, “when I first got to Nebraska nobody knew who I was. One day a strength coach walked up to me and said ‘You’re our Dark Horse.’ I didn’t know what that meant. He said ‘It’s someone nobody expects anything from that comes out of nowhere and surprises everybody.’ Ever since then I’ve carried that around with me for inspiration. So I always lean towards the ‘Dark Horse.'”

    Carriker said that if he were to compare his style of play to a wrestler, it would be with Goldberg, who also played defensive lineman in the NFL as a member of the Atlanta Falcons from 1992- 1994.

    “He hardly ever talked, then he would just destroy his opponent. I’ll talk a little bit, but I just loved his attitude of just destroying his opponents,” Carriker said.

    Who will Carriker be destroying opponents for in 2012?

    Notes:

    Be sure to follow me on Twitter @_JakeRussell, THN @TheHogsdotNet and Adam @BigPoppaPump94.

    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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