Rebirth of a Rivalry?
By: Bernie Marshall 
Posted: 2010-09-10
Category: Washington Redskins News
HogWire 2010: Rebirth of a Rivalry?

The Washington Redskins kick off the 2010 regular season on Sunday, Sept. 12 in a nationally televised game against their Division rivals from the state of Texas. Kickoff is 8:20 PM at FedEx Field. This will be the ninth time the two NFC East teams have met in season openers, and the 101st time they’ve faced each other dating back to 1960. Both teams had less than stellar pre-season performances to get ready for the 2010 NFL season. This week’s opponent opened with a 16-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Hall of Fame Game. They also beat the San Diego Chargers 16-14 and the Miami Dolphins 27-25, but lost to the Oakland Raiders 17-9 and the Houston Texans 23-7. The Washington Redskins finished the preseason with a 2-2 record, beating the Buffalo Bills 42-17 and the New York Jets 16-11 and losing to the Baltimore Ravens 23-3 and the Arizona Cardinals 20-10.

Operational Overhaul:

The late kickoff on Sunday night only prolongs the close of the 2010 off season. The Washington Redskins 2010 off season has been something not seen in Ashburn, Virginia in more than a decade. After the Redskins finished the 2009 NFL season with a 4-12 record it was obvious that things needed to change. The owner of the Redskins has a reputation of “doing it big”, and that’s just what he did.

During the off season, the 2009 Washington Redskins weren’t just overhauled, they were gutted and redirected. Shortly after 2009 head coach Jim Zorn’s departure, “Redskins Nation” was blindsided with what they had spent years screaming for when the Redskins owner not only fired his right hand man, Vinny Cerato, but he actually went out and hired Bruce Allen as General Manager of the Washington Redskins, then removed himself from the day to day operations.

Jim Zorn was replaced as head coach by Mike Shanahan who will be entering his seventeenth season as a Head Coach. Shanahan and Allen share the title Executive Vice President of Football Operations and moved quickly replacing just about everything that had anything to do with 2009, from the Strength and Conditioning Department, to Scouting Department. Both coordinators were replaced, and the 2010 Redskins converted to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's version of the West Coast passing game, and to new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 system. Special Teams Coordinator Danny Smith is one of the few members of last year’s coaching staff that is still with the team.

As it turns out, the Redskins owner had another shocker for the team’s fans, he announced new improvements that focused on the game day experience for fans at FedEx Field. The improvements included new HD video boards with eight digital ribbon boards so fans can follow the scores and statistics of ongoing games.

The Redskins player roster took a massive hit once the new staff was in place, in a single day fan favorites like running backs Ledell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Marcus Mason, OL Randy Thomas, and CB Fred Smoot were released. Chris Samuels announced his retirement on that same day. Other off season purges included the release of QB Colt Brennan, and WR Marko Mitchell. All of the 2009 specialist (kicker, punter, long snapper, and PR Antwan Randle El) were let go. CB Justin Tryon, and QB Jason Campbell have been traded; while Mike Williams, LB Robert Henson, and Malcolm Kelly will sit out the 2010 season due to injuries.

Quotes and Notes:

-- "Did I question whether I would be back with the Redskins? Yes, as far as this town goes, it's a bittersweet relationship. On Sundays they love me. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday when the headline comes out, it's a lot of hatred. So you get in that bittersweet relationship and it's like wanting to start over, wanting to start new. It was a new regime coming in. Luckily for me it was coach Shanahan ... knowing, 'OK, now we're legit, we've really got a chance, like things gonna change, all of a sudden buying in and wanting to be a leader of this team and understanding what was asked of me.' In previous years, I really didn't want to lead because I don't feel like there was nothing there to lead." RB Clinton Portis explaining how he was expecting to be an ex-Redskin if Mike Shanahan had not been hired.

-- "The first thing we talked about was him being in excellent shape, him paying the price in the offseason - he's done that… He's in good football shape, you can see it in the way he practices, the way he goes about his business, and he looks like a young player right now. So hopefully it pays dividends this season, and I'm looking for him to have a good year." Head Coach Mike Shanahan on how RB Clinton Portis has prepared for the 2010 season.

-- "I'm just gonna be myself, When you get to trying to change who you are and trying to please others, then that takes you away mentally of what you set out to do. I'm just gonna be myself, make sure the guys are very loose and I'm loose myself and prepared and ready to go and just go out and have fun." New Redskins QB Donovan McNabb discussing how he feels about being praised for the leadership he's shown since being acquired from Philadelphia

-- The Redskins are 37-37-4 all-time in regular season openers, they’ve lost their last two openers (both were road games), and new head coach, Mike Shanahan is 12-4 all-time in regular season openers

-- The Redskins 53-man roster consist of sixteen players that the team drafted, 26 players were acquired through free agency, nine players were acquired as undrafted rookie free agents, and the Redskins have acquired six players via trade.

-- The average age of the Washington Redskins 53-man roster is 28.20 years. On opening day 2009 the average age of the Washington Redskins 53-man roster was 28.02 years.

-- "He started off a little all over the place and got better as he went. It took longer than we wanted, but he showed progress throughout camp ... He's shown the urgency and now it's getting him to practice more like a pro and how he goes about his business." New Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan indicating that Devin Thomas will be used sparingly in the season opener.

-- “They drafted me for this, everyone needs a great left tackle because the game has evolved with so many great pass rushers. You need somebody to neutralize them to give the quarterback a couple seconds to get the ball off. You can’t rely on athletic ability, given that he’s 6-4 and 265 pounds and he’s probably one of the most athletic big men in the game, so you have to fall back on technique.” LT Trent Williams who was selected with the fourth overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft on lining up across from DeMarcus Ware, and protecting the blind side of Donovan McNabb.

Complete Tale of the Tapes:
HogWire’s Tale of the Tapes will start week two of the 2010 NFL season, because this time only the Saints and Vikings have statistics.

Total Offense:
Rushing Offense:
Passing Offense:
Total Defense:
Rushing Defense:
Passing Defense:

Injury Report:
Under NFL rules, all 32 teams must release injury reports on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday prior to Sunday's games. Only on Friday are the designations of Out, Doubtful, Questionable and Probable assigned to players. Therefore these designations are subjected to change.

RB Clinton Portis (Ankle) is listed as Probable
Portis continues to recover from a sprained ankle but is expected to play in Sunday's opener.

QB Donovan McNabb (Ankle) is Probable
McNabb continues to recover from a sprained left ankle, which he suffered in his second preseason game, but Coach Shanahan says he will play.

DB Kareem Moore (knee) is Questionable
Moore remains questionable for Sunday's opener as he continues to recover from a sprained knee he suffered in the team's second last preseason game. He did not practice on Thursday.

LB Andre Carter (Illness) is Probable
Carter was limited in practice on Thursday with an illness but is expected to start on Sunday

LB Perry Riley (Foot) is Questionable
Riley has been out since injuring his right foot on August 27 against the New York Jets. He was limited in practice on Thursday.

Injured Reserves:
The following players are done for the 2010 season:

WR Malcolm Kelly (Hamstring)
Kelly was been placed on the injured reserve list and will miss the entire 2010 season after pulling his left hamstring. He did not take part in the 2010 preseason activities.

WR Mike Furrey (Concussion)
Furrey was placed on the injured reserve, putting an end to his season. Furrey has a history of concussion problems and that could force the veteran to consider retirement.
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