Posts Tagged ‘washington redskins’

John Riggins Has Not Written a Book

September 28, 2010

No truth to the rumor that “Operation Dark Heart” is actually a John Riggins tell-all. 

13 months ago, however, the Hall of Fame Redskins running back and WB teen soap opera guest star called Washington owner Daniel Snyder “a bad guy” and “someone with the mindset of a child.”  He also had this to say to Inside the NFL’s Cris Collinsworth:

“Let me put it to you this way, Cris, this person’s heart is dark.”

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Well-Rested

August 26, 2010

NFL regular-season games played in 2009 for members of the current Redskins’ two-deep:

  • DL Adam Carriker*………….0
  • DL Ma’ake Kemoeatu*………0
  • OL Jammal Brown*………….0
  • WR Anthony Armstrong…..0
  • OL Kory Lichtensteiger……0
  • FB Darrel Young……………..0
  • P Josh Bidwell*……………….0
  • QB Rex Grossman……………1
  • WR Joey Galloway*………….3
  • OG Edwin Williams………….3
  • CB Kevin Barnes……………..4
  • K Graham Gano*……………..4
  • OL Chad Rinehart……………4

* currently listed as a starter

Worth of Haynesworth

May 18, 2010

According to nfl.com, the Redskins had 40 sacks in 2009, for an average of 2.5 per game.  The total was well above 2008 production, and much of the credit was and has been given to free agent signee DT Albert Haynesworth. 

Haynesworth himself had just four sacks – his lowest total since 2006 – but ends Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo each had 11 sacks.  That marked the first time since 2000 (Bruce Smith-10, Marco Coleman-12) that Washington boasted two double-digit sack men, but still a far cry from the 28+ put up by Charles Mann & Dexter Manley in both 1984 and 1985.

Through week 6, the team had 15 sacks and everyone was gushing:

  • DE Phillip Daniels: “Albert’s the key, the way he penetrates.  Teams try to slide protection his way or double him so everybody else is one-on-one.”
  • D-line coach John Palermo: “Albert only has [two] sacks, but he’s probably created another four or five because he has made the quarterback alter his looks.”
  • HC Jim Zorn: “The one guy who has really benefited [from Haynesworth’s presence] is Andre. He’s coming screaming around the end.”

By November, Carter was saying that his sack total was “definitely a tribute to [Albert] Haynesworth… one thing about him, when you watch the film and analyze it, is he sacrifices his body. I mean, he’s a big man, so when you see him dive for a tackle, that’s 300-plus pounds of man there, so sometimes you get banged up. But one thing about him: he’ll tape it up and come back.”  Really?

In the same month, Rick Maese of the Washington Post wrote that the Redskins’ increased sack total was “thanks largely to the addition of Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle.”

Colleague Jason Reid wrote in March of this year that “despite all the criticism of Haynesworth last season, there is no denying the impact he had on the defense. His presence in the middle of the line helped to elevate the level of play of the entire defense.”

Just last month, ESPN’s John “baby” Clayton penned: “Even though injuries limited Haynesworth to 12 games in 2009, his presence was felt. Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo each had 11-sack seasons, taking advantage of the blocking attention given to Haynesworth.”

In looking at the numbers, the sack totals were actually higher without Big Al than with.  The biggest day of the year came at Oakland, when Orakpo & Carter totaled 4 & 2, respectively, and the team posted 8.  Haynesworth?  He never saw the field that Sunday.

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DeAngelo Hall: It Could Be Worse, Right?

November 11, 2009

Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall made national headlines last weekend when he said Falcons HC Mike Smith of “put his hands on [me] in a harmful way” during a sideline skirmish and began “talking [stuff] to me. Saying he’ll kick my [butt] and all this other [stuff]. I definitely stay in Atlanta in the offseason. So if Mike Smith wants to see me, he can find me.”  Hall went on to say “I can’t wait for guys to sit back and watch the replay. I can’t wait to watch the replay. I’m going to be giving Commissioner [Roger] Goodell a call myself because something needs to be done about that.”

After 16 games in burgundy & gold (or white & white), many Redskin fans have grown tired of Hall’s predicable act on and off the field, falling in line with public opinion of Hall already held in both Atlanta & Oakland.  Since joining Washington, Hall:

  • hasn’t yet been spit on by TO after surrendering (in his own words) “a couple of nice catches, and you expect that.” 
    • but has been torched by Randy Moss, saying afterwards that “guys get paid to throw the ball and catch it just like we get paid to stop them… I couldn’t get around Randy’s body to break it up. But guys get paid to catch balls.”  He went on say “We were going up against some of the best guys at what they do… So you take it for what it was, obviously you want to do better.”
  • hasn’t yet attempted to fight any teammates
    • but has said it was “definitely a little disheartening” that his teammates were not there to help on the Falcons’ sideline last Sunday.  He went on: “Disappointment is too big of a word that I’m prepared to throw out there. Some guys are just built different.”
  • hasn’t yet ripped his GM or criticized management for roster moves he thinks are “asinine” and “ridiculous,” signifying that “everyone from the top down is kind of turning it in” and willing to “sit around and watch this ship sink.” 
    • but has criticized his moves that have left the team in “a little bit of desperation” and “a couple steps from getting ready to panic,” saying he doesn’t “know if we’ve got the right personnel here to do it” and “heading into the offseason and preseason we said we needed to address the offensive line… you can always have proven guys out there backing other guys up that have played in this league, have had starts in this league. That’s something we’re lacking.”
  • hasn’t yet been disciplined by the league for any Michael Vick tributes, and its unknown whether his own pit bulls (which once “literally chewed though their fence to escape” and “viscously attacked a man” resulting in six citations for Hall’s brother) have followed him to the Nation’s Capital.
    • but is happy Vick “got a second chance to prove to everybody he can still play” but that he’s “kind of sick we’ve got to see him twice a year but it comes with the territory. I know if we didn’t see him twice a year somebody was going to have to see him twice a year so at least I guess I can say what’s up to him before the game.”
  • hasn’t yet had a three-penalty (for 67 yards) drive leading to a confrontation with his HC, like he did while trying to cover Steve Smith in 2007 (Hall, on a previous Smith TD: “I didn’t think he had much success against me… Obviously, he broke that one. Bad tackling. Fluke play. You do it 10 times, I make that play nine times. So besides that one fluke play, the guy didn’t have that much success against me.”)
    • but has said that the two “went from being good friends to [enemies who] don’t talk” before this year’s game against Smith & the Panthers, in which Carolina QB Jake Delhomme “who appeared to be stopped by Hall after a six-yard gain, dragged Hall for three more yards and a first down.”  Smith, for his part, said of Hall: “Some people are lower than others on the totem pole by age, performance and talk… when you’re the court jester and you’re talking to the king, you have to do stuff like that. But other than that, I’m not going to play games with little kids. There’s no reason to. When you talk you obviously are insecure about something and if you talk long enough, you will hang yourself. And obviously he pointed out things that are in his craw and in his collar… “This ain’t no relationship, sweetheart. I’ve only got two relationships – one with my Lord and savior and one with my wife.”
  • hasn’t yet had his game critiqued as sharply by ESPN talking heads as in the past, via Len Pasquarelli (“he has played steadily but not as spectacularly as he did a year ago, and it is obvious he presses too often to make the big play… Hall has tried to cover everyone’s position instead of simply concentrating on his own job.”) and John Clayton (Hall “struggled from the start of the season as he adjusted to the Raiders’ man-to-man defense.”), or by STATS, Inc. (“In his eight games in Oakland, Hall was beaten 40 times for 552 yards on 66 passes thrown his way… he gave up more yards than any defender this season and was tied for third worst in catches allowed.)
    • but has faced the brunt of fans and local media for his tackling – notably key plays on Giants’ WR Mario Manningham, the aforementioned Delhomme, and Falcons’ RB Michael Turner.  WP writer Jason Reid says “obviously, Hall is not among the NFL’s top tackling corners. That’s just the way it is.”  Even Hall himself said after Week 1 “I feel like the guy that just couldn’t make a play to save my life… I was actually beat on the play… I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and work on some things… we definitely need to tackle better, myself probably No. 1 on that list… I even made a stupid mistake on special teams, you know, got a block in the back. So all around, I just didn’t execute and play to my ability at all.”
    • and has seen a photo of him accompany a national AP story on poor tackling in the NFL, and a follow-up blog post on Shutdown Corner.  In the story, safeties coach Steve Jackson says “A lot of people don’t tackle now because of the salary cap” and drills that have players get in position to tackle but let up “train yourself to ‘just miss… and now [in a game] you have untrain yourself in a manner of split seconds.”  Secondary coach Jerry Gray told the WP in describing Hall, “It’s not a lot of premium [on] putting in a lot of tackling and things. You want to be able to get the guy down. But right now turnovers [are] big.”

It’s the O-Line, Stupid

October 15, 2009

Through Sunday, the Redskins have allowed 14 sacks, good for 25th fewest in the NFL.  This comes after finishing 22nd last year while allowing 38 sacks.  A far cry from the days of the Hogs in the 1980s and even 1991, when QB Mark Rypien was only sacked seven times (the team allowed nine sacks during the regular season) en route to a Lomardi Trophy.  Consider that line:

-LT Jim Lachey: 3 Pro Bowls

-LG Raleigh McKenzie: 70 Greatest Redskins

-C Jeff Bostic: 70 Greatest Redskins

-RG Mark Schlereth: 2 Pro Bowls

-RT Joe Jacoby: 70 Greatest Redskins, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, 4 Pro Bowls

-Reserve Russ Grimm: 70 Greatest Redskins, NFL 1980s All- Decade Team, 4 Pro Bowls

-Reserve Ray Brown: 1 Pro Bowl

-Reserve Ed Simmons: 70 Greatest Redskins

Because of these men and other Hogs among the 70 Greatest Redskins like Mark May & George Starke, the importance of talent along the offensive line is understood among the Washington faithful and those who cover the team.  Understood within the front office?  Perhaps not.  In January the WP Jasons documented that while ‘the team up the road in Baltimore’ has “invested six picks (all in the fifth round or higher, including Gaither) on offensive linemen between 2005 and 2007” who all went on to start games, the Redskins picked zero during that span.  In fact, the Dan/Vin braintrust has sleected just one O-linemen since 2004 (G Chad Rinehart in 2008) and just two in the top four rounds (Rinehart & G Derrick Dockery in 2003) since taking over

After standing out as the team’s the biggest concern over the second half of 2008, fans & media clamored for improvements, upgrades, or simply additioanl experiecned warm bodies for this year’s O-line all offseason.  The result…

-LT: 6-time Pro Bowl selection Chris Samuels (32 years old) played seemingly well before going down with an injury last week; replaced by D’Anthony Batiste (27, 4 carer starts); undrafted Stephone Heyer (25, 17 starts) will start going forward

-LG: Pete Kendall (36) is out of the league; Dockery (29) is back & overpaid after two years in Buffalo and appears to be playing well

-C: Casey Rabach (32) remains steady, although slightly overpaid

-RG: Randy Thomas (33) went down in Week 2; replaced by Will Montgomery (27, 6 previous starts), Reinhart (24, 0 previous snaps), and Mike Williams (29, three years out of the league)

-RT: 33-year-old former Pro Bowler John Jansen is in Detroit; Heyer played marginally through the first five games; Williams will start here going forward

The story is clear and the strugles of this unit have been well-documented, but stats paint an even clear picture:

-Since 2001, Washington has finished higher than 15th in fewest sacks allowed just three times – in consecutive seasons during Gibbs II from 2005-2007.  In two of those seasons the team had a winning record and made the playoffs.

-From 1982-present, the franchise has finished above 15th in this stat 17 times.  In 13 of those 17 seasons (76%) the end result was a winning record, including 10 playoff appearances and two Super Bowl, three NFC, and five NFC East championships.

-Only twice since 1982 has Washington finished with a winning record when not in the top 14 in fewest sacks allowed.

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CP26, Directionally Speaking

October 8, 2009

On Sunday, Washington Redskins’ running back Clinton Portis passed Earl Campbell for 26th on the NFL career rushing list, while carrying the ball 25 times for 98 yards.  It was his highest total since last November, but also his ninth straight game below the century mark.

Portis’ 70 yards-per-game average is his worst since his rookie year, when he went on to finish above 1,500 yards.  His yards-per-carry average of 3.90 is his worst result through Week 4 of any of his 8 NFL seasons.  If it holds, it will be his third (out of six) Redskin season below 4.0 and his fourth below the NFL average (currently 4.19). 

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Has Portis lost it?  Is his lack of production bringing down the offense around him?  He certainly doesn’t think so, saying he thinks “on paper [Washington has] got the most talented team in the NFL,” soon “will do something special” and “from the 20 to the 20, we’re hell on wheels.”  Personally, he thinks “it’s only a matter of time before I have a 200-yard game. It’s only a matter of time before I have a 150-yard game. It’s only a matter of time before I get two or three touchdowns… I know it’s coming.”

However, those in the media haven’t exactly agreed, saying the tailback “hasn’t been himself this year,” has put up “meager running stats,” is “off to a slow start” leaving his team “seeking a spark in the running game,” and “may also be starting to show his age.”

Even John Riggins, who Portis will soon pass as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher has said the younger tailback may be on the decline.  Riggo noted (in between calling CP at “headache” and a “crybaby”) that “unless he changes the way he views himself and views his contributions to the team, then I think that that could be problematic for the Redskins.”

Portis has responded that Riggins “had a great offensive line” and “think of who else was around, you know? Really not hard to be a great running back when you’ve got all that talent and help around you. I think they just had great teams, you know?”  But despite all this research, Portis maintains “I don’t know nothing about this man, for real. I never went and watched John Riggins and studied his film, cared anything about him.”

Maybe he should have.  And maybe he should have listened to The Diesel when the latter warned that calling “his offensive line out last year — I didn’t think that was particularly wise. And I don’t think it really goes over very well in the workplace when you start criticizing people you work with and blaming them for your lack of production or because you’re not where you perceive yourself to be in the minds of everybody else.”

Despite all the public love thrown at CP by his coaches, teammates and even the team’s brass at Redskin Park, Washington may not think there’s much left in the tank.  Just this season, the Redskins have: given Ladell Betts the third-down back role, activated former practice squad-ers Marcus Mason & Anthony Aldridge, and even worked out former Titans RB and NFL substance abuse policy-violator Chris Henry.  This comes just one season after signing former Seahawk Sean Alexander off the street.

Portis received a $9.3 million bonus last March, is a $6.2 million cap charge this year, and is due to make $7.2 million in 2010, $8.3 million in 2011, and $8.5 million in 20212 and 2013.  Given the rate at which his production is going, management may want to reconsider.

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