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  • Leftovers – Week 15

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    In this week’s round of Leftovers, Andre talks about how the team has changed over the season, if there’s any competition between him Orakpo for the team’s sack title and more.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Leftovers – Week 9

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    This week’s leftovers from THN Weekly with Andre Carter include how Andre spent his bye week, what it’s going to take to turn things around with the Redskins, the big plays given up to opposing offenses and Albert Haynesworth’s assessment following the team’s loss to the Eagles stating that the fans are losing interest and the team needs to find its “want-to.”

    THN: It was written on the Washington Post’s Redskins Insider blog that Coach Blache said Albert Haynesworth isn’t the reason for your improved performance but you’ve said several times that he makes the people around him better, especially you. Why does what Blache says contradict with what you have said?

    AC: I couldn’t even tell you. I do know that the sacks I have is God’s gift. How I am playing is God’s gift. I have always worked hard and prepared my mind and body for the season. My faith and focus has grown from 2001 as a rookie to 2009 as a vet. Haynsworth has been a great addition but the other men on the field have done their part as well. I have worked with [Cornelius] Griffin, [Brian] Orakpo, [Kedric] Golston, when Haynsworth needed a blow. I thank all my teammates first and foremost.

    THN: What, in your opinion, is it going to take to turn this ship around?

    AC: Faith and believing that we can get this turned around.

    THN: Is the team getting frustrated losing to division opponents (especially on national TV)?

    AC: I think the team hates losing period no matter who we play. The division opponents hurt the worse because it puts you in a bind when you are trying to make a playoff run.

    THN: How did you spend your bye week?

    AC: I spent a lot of quality time with the family. Took my son on the merry go round and took many naps, during the day. I am well rested now.

    THN: “Urgency, heart, ‘want-to,’ whatever. I don’t know. We’re lacking a lot of stuff right now. The fans are losing interest. The more games we play, the fewer fans come. It’s getting bad.” That was a quote from Albert Haynesworth by the Associated Press after the Eagles game. Is Albert correct and does he have a point? How does the team find its “want-to”?

    AC: It’s about making a choice. We can choose to play hard and win or chose to be inconsistent. It’s the matter of having the want to.

    THN: It seems as the defensive line improves and applies more pressure to the quarterback, the secondary gives up more big plays. Do you believe that assessment and if so, what will it take for the defense to come to a happy medium and be able to provide blanket coverage in the secondary to go along with pressuring the quarterback consistently?

    AC: I feel as a defense we are getting better. There are many things we need to work on. Tackling, controlling our gaps, etc. One thing we do well is play hard, fast and together. As a defensive line we continue to communicate and focus on stopping the run and rushing the passer.

    THN: Is the defense blitzing enough?

    AC: Greg Blache makes the call and we go out and play. We haven’t blitzed as much I think due to the success of our four man rush.

    THN: Clinton Portis only had 43 yards and was the team’s leading rusher against Philly. What is the reason for his lack of production (for his standards, at least)? Is it because of a decline on his end or the troubles with the offensive line?

    AC: I really don’t know. It’s really hard to say.

    THN: What do you do to handle the stress of a single loss or even a losing season? What do you do to get your mind right and do you think your teammates are taking to correct measures to appropriately handle the team’s current situation?

    AC: My faith, my family and the great men and coaches that I work with gets me through the day. In life, if it’s good or bad, you always have to have a positive perspective.

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    What’s Good?

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    So it’s a bye week, and for Redskin fans, that seems to mean a whole lot of people walking around with their heads down. Who can blame them? It’s been a tough first seven games.

    Since the bye week is almost at the half-way point, I thought I’d take a look at the things that were ‘good’ for the Redskins in the first half of 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Leftovers – Weeks 5 and 6

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    Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for the delay with the Leftovers from Week 5’s edition of THN Weekly with Andre Carter. They are posted below along with Week 6’s Leftovers. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Fire It Up!

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    You know, it’s hard to be excited for the Redskins this year; I know.

    You look at our roster and it feels like a scene from the movie “Major League.”

    Malcolm Kelly? Devin Thomas? Ricky Vaughn? Willie Mays-Hayes? Who are these effin guys?

    Using the pre-season as a barometer, the fan excitement seemed to peak in the first half of the game versus the Patriots.

    There are some things to keep in mind as we start this new season. While it’s true, the Redskins’ didn’t go out and land a big-name free-agent QB, or really any new big-name talent on the offensive side of the ball, there is some glimmer of hope here for the offense.

    An offense that’s not offensive

    The Redskins offense in the first eight games of last year showed some real promise. Many are ready to dismiss that as an anomaly but really, the Redskins offense was really clicking, with largely the same players they have now. They put up 20+ points in five of the first eight games and won six of those eight..

    As far as the second half of the season went, they only scored 20+ points in two games while only winning two of their last eight (one of their 20+ games was a loss; San Fran 27-24). If they had consistently scored 20+ points in each of their last eight games, they would have finished with a record of 10-6…not 8-8.

    Most of the blame for this falls on the offensive line. With Jansen, Heyer and Thomas all injured, the right side of the line became an Achilles-heel for the Redskins’ offense. Defenses could pour through that right side and the game plan began to center around shorter quick passes, and running plays that went to the left.

    If the Redskins’ offensive line can stay healthy, we should see the team return to the form that it was in at the beginning of last year.

    Not just a passing fancy

    Last year Devin Thomas was an after-thought in the passing game. He was the only healthy rookie leaving Moss and Randle-El as the only viable receivers not lining up at tight-end. This year Kelly is finally healthy and turning heads in camp, and Mitchell, the Redskins 7th round draft pick has quickly won over many of the fan-base.

    This should mean that Randle-El should be able to line up as the slot receiver (where he belongs, IMO) with Kelly and Moss to the outsides.

    Wind him up and let him go

    If the Redskins’ passing game becomes a viable threat it will take a lot of the pressure of Clinton Portis. Without a viable passing attack, defenders can simply line up shallow and stuff the run, but if they have to worry about play-action, then you can keep ’em honest with a downfield pass or two.

    Clinton has already shown that you don’t have to give him much in the way of day-light for him to squirt through into the secondary. He was on par to break the single season rushing record last year when the O-line failed. Again, if the line can stay healthy, we should see Portis break the Redskins’ all-time rushing total.

    A little more defensive

    The Redskins’ defense may have been ranked 4th overall last year, but I’ll be damned if I know how. The one thing they did well was stuff the run. They didn’t make a lot of sacks, they didn’t get many turnovers and when the team had a lead, they seemed to let the other team march down the field at will.

    They picked up D’Angelo Hall and that seemed to spruce up the coverage a little bit, but there still really wasn’t a pass-rush to speak of.

    This year the Redskins committed to focusing on the pass rush by acquiring Brian Orakpo and Albert Haynesworth. Even if these two monsters don’t get to the QB, maybe they put enough pressure on him that he throws an ill-advised pass resulting in a pick.

    The keys for the Redskins’ defense are going to be:

    1)      Can they stay healthy?

    2)      Keep the pressure on

    It drove me absolutely crazy seeing the defense let up last year as soon as they had a lead. If you go back and look at those first six wins you’ll see that most of them weren’t as close as the score were implied.

    If the Redskins’ D can keep the pressure on like when they are behind then I think you’ll see more turnovers and more chances for the offense to score.

    The Redskins’ first opponent is the Giants. A game they lost last year by a score of 16-7.

    The Giants have on awfully big hole to fill on offense with the loss of Plaxico Burress. This doesn’t mean that they are gonna be pushovers, but it might just make them weak enough that the Redskins’ have a better chance than many in the media world are currently giving them.

    Kick-off is at 4:15 and it should be a good one!

    Go ‘Skins!

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    So Long, Big Jon

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    As someone that has been known as JansenFan for the past 5 years, someone that owned a 76 jersey before you could buy them at the Redskins Store, it was sad news when Jon Jansen was released by the Washington Redskins. He has been my favorite player over the past 10 seasons.

    I understand why the Redskins made the decision they made, and I understand Rock’s decision to keep playing, particularly when his hometown Lions offered him a contract to play close to his family and off-season home.

    So to the question I’ve received both publicly and privately, no, I will not change my screen name. I am still a Jon Jansen fan. Since he made the decision to stay out of the NFC – East, I won’t even stop pulling for him to do well unless he’s up against Brian Orakpo or another Washington player.

    Watching Jansen and Michael Strahan battle it out twice a year was the highlight for me of some pretty dismal years as a Redskins fan, so for that, I am grateful. Thanks for being a classy leader, a solid contributor, and a Rock for this franchise.

    Good Luck with Detroit… except on September 27th.

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    Redskins Select Brian Orakpo At #13

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    Following all of the hype surrounding the Redskins interest in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, they end up selecting a position of need, possibly because of a little bit of luck.

    First, the New York Jets swooped in to select Sanchez at #5 overall following a trade they made with the Cleveland Browns. And then, unexpectedly, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, projected to be a Top-10 pick on some boards, slipped to the Redskins at #13 overall.

    Orakpo, the Lombardi and Nagurski Award Winner, will likely fill in at defensive end and hopefully provide the Redskins with a pass rush that has long been desired in D.C. He also has the ability to drop back and play linebacker as well.

    Hoepfully the workout warrior will provide the Redskins with instant results and improve the NFL’s No. 4 ranked defense with its lackluster pass rush.

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