On the Field for Practice – 10/29

Well, my notes from practice are virtually unreadable. The air was warm enough initially, but by the end of practice the wind was both cold and strong, and my hands were pretty much useless. Which just makes me all the more impressed with the guys who had to actually do football stuff.

  • My whining aside, the wind provided me with one illuminating lesson. Since I started doing this, I’ve been mildly impressed with how well all the players — not just the quarterbacks — can throw the ball. No matter who is tossing the ball back to the equipment staff or the coach or whoever needs it, the ball seems to zip in with a nice tight spiral. In the wind, though, clear differences develop: where the quarterbacks can still deliver the ball on the money, other throws were being blown wide or to the ground. Apparently, all it takes to make an NFL player’s throw look like your brother’s at Thanksgiving is a 20 to 30 mile per hour wind gust.
  • Punting was similarly affected. Some punts swung out of bounds, others seemed to hang in the air forever. What was interesting was watching Ryan Plackemeier get the measure of the wind and start using it to his advantage. I never thought punting was just about kicking the heck out of the ball, and even if I had A Few Seconds of Panic would’ve dispelled that belief, but it’s still impressive to watch all the elements that go into it.
  • Continue reading

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One More Honor: Portis NFC Offensive Player of the Month

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

In addition to Santana Moss’s weekly award, we just got the word as practice ended that Clinton Portis has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. So take all the numbers from the end of the Santana Moss post and add one more to them.

Santana Moss Named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

It’s rare that you can point to precisely the play that earns someone a weekly award, but that’s the case here. Santana Moss took part in one special teams play, an 80 yard punt return for a touchdown, and is now the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

It’s the fourth NFL-issued award for the Redskins, after Clinton Portis being Offensive Player of the Week for week 5, and Chris Horton’s Defensive Player of the Week for week 2 and Rookie of the Month for September.

Redskins @ Lions – Second Quarter Thoughts

  • All right, maybe they’ll get something going here. Being down to Detroit, even just 7-3, is so ridiculously disappointing that it feels much more daunting than that. This possession ending with a Ryan Plackemeier punt doesn’t make it feel any better. Nice punt, though — 49 yards and a fair catch.
  • The press box here is my favorite that I’ve seen yet, mostly because it’s not glassed in, so you can hear the crowd noise and just generally feel much more like you’re at a football game. Too bad this crowd of 44,000 (or whatever it turns out to be) is actually MAKING any crowd noise. Except immediately following big plays (their touchdown, the deep passes), it sounds like I’m behind glass in the Meadowlands. The whole indoor-football environment would remind me of the one Arena League game that I went to, except that the Colorado Crush crowd was much more enthusiastic than this.
  • Ooookay, the Redskins are down 10-3 to the Detroit Lions. This is not particularly exciting. (I have been told that deadpan sarcasm fails on the internet, so let me clarify: what I mean by that is that this is horrible, unpleasant, and discouraging. All said very vehement.)
  • Things that do not improve the situation: a fourteen play, seven minute drive resulting in a missed field goal and no points. The Lions fans respond to this fortunate (for them) turn of events with a smattering of applause and an audible rustling of paper.
  • And Lions themselves respond by going three-and-out. Nice to see the Redskins defense starting to stiffen up a bit.
  • Chris Chase at the Player Haters’ Ball last week called Jim Zorn’s clock management inside of two minutes “inexplicable,” so I posted in the comments with Zorn’s explanation of his approach from his Monday press conference. I’m reposting it here to head off the inevitable questions this strategy raises. Zorn said:

    “I’m very aware of what’s going on with the clock. I have a philosophy of never allowing the defense to have to come back on the field with a lot of time. I want to use it up so that when they put their offense on the field, they’re taking a knee or running the ball…. You have to have positive yardage while you’re doing it as well, so — I know the risks and everything.”

    As I said at the time, you might not agree with the strategy, but at least it’s something he’s given some thought to.

  • And the Redskins pull to within four points as the half expires. There’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be typing. Maybe the third quarter will go more the way we all expected. Or maybe the Lions will continue to threaten the upset, and their fans will respond with a mild round of gentle applause.

Redskins @ Lions – Inactives, In Case You Haven’t Heard

So the tailgates are literally a mile away from the stadium (more on that in a future post), but here are the Redskins inactives in case you haven’t heard.

  • WR Malcolm Kelly
  • CB Shawn Springs
  • RB Ladell Betts
  • T Chris Samuels
  • T Chad Rinehart
  • DT Cornelius Griffin
  • S Chris Horton
  • QB Colt Brennan (emergency third QB)

Apparently Samuels has cartilage inflammation in his knee — it’s been sore, but he expected to play. Both he and Horton warmed up today and turned out to be unable to go.

Stephon Heyer will start in place of Samuels, and Michael Green will start in place of Horton.

A Brief Jason Taylor Update

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

Jason Taylor just stopped to update the remaining media members on his current situation, after Coach Zorn mentioned the likelihood of a Monday procedure on his calf. Here is just about the full text of his quote before departing.

To be honest, I don’t even know what the gameplan is right now. I’m going to the hospital now to find out what we’re going to do, and the only thing I’m focused on right now is hopefully playing in the game on Sunday and trying to help this team beat the Lions. The rest of that stuff doesn’t really matter right now.

There’s been a slight change, and that’s part of the reason we’re [discussing this]. I really don’t know any details, so I can’t give you any details. Like I said, I’m going to go see the doctor at the hospital now, and try to beat the Lions on Sunday.

Voting Works! Portis Wins Second FedEx Ground Award.

I was skeptical that he would pull it off, especially given Steven Jackson’s impressive performance this week. But thanks to your votes, Clinton Portis won FedEx Ground Player of the week, his second such award of the season.