L-Boogie and The No-Names help Skins win
The Redskins have a lot of very well-compensated men on their football team. Some of them were crucial to Sunday's somewhat surprising win over the Broncos. But -- and I'm not breaking any particular ground here -- there were also massive contributions from a few guys not normally in the limelight; Todd Yoder caught a touchdown, Hunter the Punter threw for one, Ladell Betts had the team's best rushing performance of the season, Lorenzo Alexander energized the sideline with a massive hit on special teams, and the offensive line showed up.
"I mean, it's not about superstars," Rock Cartwright said. "Regardless of if it's a superstar or not, I think each individual has to do their part."
A summary. (Note: these are positive things. Believe it.)
How did I never realize that L-Boogie was Betts's nickname?
"Since high school," he confirmed.
Some teammates didn't know, either, until one of the Shermans spilled the beans Saturday night. (And yes, with this team, you always have to follow-up when someone says "Sherman said," which I forgot to do.)
Anyhow, L-Boogie is about the least-appropriate name you could imagine for Betts, a man who's quiet, friendly, non-controversial and straightforward in the locker room, and pleasantly productive on the field.
"I mean, in this league, superstars have opportunities," Alexander said. "And he's the type of guy, when he gets an opportunity, he's gonna make superstar plays. He's a downhill runner, makes great cuts, makes great reads. He's doing a phenomenal job. Him, Rock, and Quinton did a great job of just making that cut and getting downfield."
(Also, the Broncos' had the league's 8th-ranked run defense entering the game. Weird time for the running backs to break out.)
"Boogie's really good," Casey Rabach said. "That's a guy we get reps with every day, you know, it really is. Clinton's been banged up, so he's playing on game day, but not in practice, and [Betts is] a guy that we all have a lot of trust in, that we all really like having in the game, and he's taking full advantage of it right now....It's a continuity thing, it really is. He understands the way we're blocking, we understand the way he's running the ball, and obviously good things happened today."
"I've always been watching him," Albert Haynesworth said. "He always practices hard and runs hard. I think if he ever got his shot and those holes open, he'll hit it."
"I think he's just kind of a hard-hat, lunch-pail kind of guy," Yoder said. "He comes to work every week, he runs hard, he runs dowhhill. His style, it's different than other people, but it's effective, and he hits the hole hard."
He chipped in with nine carries for 41 yards, which would have constituted a breakout performance in previous weeks.
"Rock did a great job, too," Yoder continued. "It's kind of two-back assault, and our O-line did a great job, too. They opened up the holes for 'em. You take the last two quarters of the Atlanta game and the whole game today, we just got a whole different feel on this offense, and I think it starts with the run game. We're pounding people. When you get that run game going, it opens up other stuff."
"I think the rotation that they had with Ladell, Rock Cartwirght, Quinton, they just constantly rolled those running backs in and kept everybody fresh," Andre Carter said. "And the offensive line, they did their job, they moved the ball. It was a great sight to see."
Two weeks, two touchdowns. Calling fantasy football owners. ("I mean, if people picked me up from last week, they're probably pretty happy," Yoder said.)
"I'm on fire," he also said, with a bit of irony. "It's the Mohawk, definitely."
The scoring play? He wasn't necessarily the focus of that one.
"Mainly I'm supposed to help block down, and seal the edge, and I really didn't have anybody to block," Yoder recounted. "So I was like, 'Well, I might as well just go over here and get open.' "
And the fact that he did that so well?
"He's just making plays, period," Malcolm Kelly said.
"It's not a surprise. I mean, Todd do that every day in practice," Marko Mitchell added.
"He's got real good hands," Kelly concluded.
(As for the Mohawk itself, "I don't know if anybody else will rock the Mohawk, but I'm definitely gonna get my barber--who is Chris Cooley--to maybe re-trim it up," Yoder said. "Might dye it again, you never know.")
For a large man, he gets downfield very quickly, and hits people very hard on kick return coverage. Sunday, he absolutely smashed LaMont Jordan in the second quarter.
"Oh man, all I did was heard the WOW," Rock Cartwright said. "Lorenzo, he was hitting people like that last week. A lot of guys didn't notice because we lost, but when you win, more things are noticeable."
"It was awesome," Alexander said. "The guys, for one reason or another, didn't block me, left me exposed, and I was able to run through him....I try to energize the team, give 'em a spark, and it's just an awesome feeling when you can be able to run through somebody....I want to cause some type of pain so he's hesitant when he's back there."
"Oh yeah," he said. "Our whole kickoff team causes pain. That's our motto, Cause Pain."
Not really. But still.
Hey, you put the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and good things will happen. Smith, of course, was a decorated high school quarterback, though it was mostly an option attack. His best passing day, he said, was about 225 yards, and he was better as a receiver. But now he's got a rushing and a passing TD.
"It's kind of nice to use your skills; they've kind of laid dormant for a number of years," he said.
He said they ran the fake three times in practice this week, connecting on it twice. (The third, he said, was dropped by Sellers.) I asked him whether he counts himself as an unsung hero or a sung hero.
"I just count myself as a punter who happened to be healthy enough to be on the field this week and threw a ball," he said.
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