THN Weekly with Andre Carter: Week 14
By: Jake Russell @_JakeRussell
Posted: 2008-12-06
Category: Washington Redskins News
It’s that time of year again. The Redskins are in the midst of their annual midseason slump.

The question is: will they compose themselves during the final quarter of the season as they have two of the previous three seasons?

That remains to be seen but it has been done before, as evidenced by the team’s last two playoff appearances.

In 2005, the Redskins won their final five games to compile a 10-6 record. Last season, the team made a very emotional run, winning the final four games following the tragic passing of Sean Taylor to put themselves at 9-7 and give themselves their second Wild Card berth in three seasons.

Taylor was the main source of motivation for the team last season and he still is to this day.

This past Sunday, Taylor was honored at FedEx Field prior to the team’s loss to the New York Giants. With his family in attendance to witness the event and receive the official commemorative Ring of Fame plaques, Taylor became the 43rd player inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame. The team also replaced the Redskin profile on the midfield logo with a “21” for the game. Running back Clinton Portis ran onto the field with a burgundy and gold “21” flag before the ceremony.

“It was a blessing to see Sean Taylor being inducted in the Redskin Ring of Fame. He left a legacy and hopefully his life and how he lived will be shared by fans and teammates for years to come,” Redskins defensive end Andre Carter said.

“I had a chance to shake Sean Taylor's dad's hand. It was an emotional but glorious event for Sean's family, the Redskins organization, and the fans.”

The rain and cold temperature did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance for the ceremony.

“I enjoy the weather. As Joe Gibbs would say, ‘It’s Redskins Weather.’ I enjoy it. It can get a little chilly but fortunately we have warm benches on our sideline,” Carter said.

Surprisingly, the conditions did not hinder the passing game for the Redskins or the Giants. With perfect conditions for a day filled with running plays, both teams ran sluggish and passed somewhat proficiently.

“In this game, you can anticipate so many things, however, the outcome can be totally different from what you expect. Yes, both teams tried to pass more than ran the ball and both sides were unfortunate pertaining to the run game. So when you have teams that are forced to become a one dimensional offense, the passing game is the next step. The Giants were able to move the ball effectively in the passing game. I can't comment on our offense because I don't know what the mentality was relating to the passing game or the game plan in general. In regards to Clinton, he has been having a great year. There are going to be games where things don't work out right. He has been dinged up as well yet he plays his butt off,” said Carter, who had two tackles and one sack against the Giants.

Carter, whose sack on Eli Manning in the third quarter was his third of the season, played Sunday despite coming off of a nagging foot injury. It did not appear to affect his game at
all.

For anyone concerned about Carter’s injury, he gave THN a simple prognosis: “My foot is fine.”

As for the sack, Carter had this to say: “It was a blessing to get the sack. I was rushing against the tight end on a play action pass. He blocked down on me and I clubbed him on his outside shoulder and worked out in order to get a good rush to sack Manning.”

The loss to the NFC leading Giants (11-1) was another blow to the Redskins playoffs chances, making every week important.

This week also provides a difficult test in the 8-4 Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are hosting the Redskins in a regular season game for the first time since moving from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996.

Carter has only made one trip to Baltimore for a regular season game but based on the results, it’s safe to say he doesn’t have any fond memories of M&T Bank Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Ravens 44-6 on November 30, 2003.

“I played in Baltimore during my third year in the league when I was with the 49ers. My experience there is something that I don't want to talk about. The stadium is like FedEx Field except there is a sea of purple jerseys over the horizon,” Carter said.

As if facing the likes of a defense led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata wasn’t difficult enough, the Redskins are also competing against an up-and-coming offense led by overachieving rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.

“I am very impressed. The Ravens offensive linemen are big and physical. ‘Rebuilding’ is not the word that describes the Ravens offense. They are a good pound-for-pound type team,” Carter said.

Along with having to combat the NFL’s second ranked defense and a surprising offense, the Redskins will also have to face a nemesis they have yet to overcome this season: a night game.

This season has been bad for the Redskins when it comes to playing on primetime. The Redskins are 0-3 so far this season, having lost to the New York Giants (Week 1), the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 10) and the Dallas Cowboys (Week 11).

Originally scheduled to be a 1:00 game, Sunday’s “Battle of the Beltways” was “flexed” by the NFL to be played on NBC to be played at 8:15.

“I can't put my finger on these night games. You do have a good point on our record. 0-3. Dang that’s bad. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves and play ball,” Carter said.

With the season winding down and their playoff chances slipping, what is going to get the team to the playoffs?

“Playing Redskin football. An example of that was last year. Our way,” Carter said.

“All we have said was that we have to just play our game and win together as a team. We have determined our position in regards to trying to become playoff contenders. We are in a gray area right now. We control our fate for the 2008 season.”

Under the Helmet:

THN: What do you think of "Black Friday"? Do you know anyone who participated in it?

AC: What do I like about "Black Friday"? I can't really comment on that day because I have never experienced it first hand and have never met anyone who participated in that early morning shopping.

THN: Black Friday seems to be turning into an unofficial holiday. Are there any holidays that you think we can do without?

AC: I think all the other unofficial holidays are OK. Ha ha ha.
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