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Redskins Insider: October 5, 2008 - October 11, 2008

Rams-Skins: Unrestricted Preview

We have the official word on injuries, in NFLspeak. Redskins: Reed Doughty (back) -- out. Stephon Heyer (shoulder) and Marcus Washington (hamstring) -- questionable. Jason Taylor (calf), Cornelius Griffin (shoulder), Shawn Springs (calf), Randy Thomas (knee), Pete Kendall (knees) -- probable. Rams: Drew Bennett (foot), Tye Hill (knee), Dane Looker...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Brooks Works on Finding a Rhythm

From Jason Reid: Rookie punter Durant Brooks, who struggled again last week against Philadelphia, performed well in practice and "we're trying to do a few little different things to get him ready for that single kick," Jim Zorn said. "He does really well as he's warming up. You get him...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Washington a Game-Time Decision

An update on other injuries, from Jason Reid: Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington, hampered by recurring hamstring problems the past two seasons, will be a game-time decision, Zorn said. Washington has missed two games, including last week's victory over Philadelphia. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (shoulder) will be re-evaluated today but is...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Heyer to Miss Rams Game

From Jason Reid; Tackle Stephon Heyer (shoulder) will be inactive against the Rams, Jim Zorn said. "He's probably the furthest guy away" among Washington's injured players, Zorn said. "I'm going to put him down. He just doesn't have enough strength in that shoulder yet to really explode." Heyer, who practiced...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Taylor 'Looks Like He's Up to Speed'

From Jason Reid: Having recovered well from emergency surgery less than three weeks ago, Redskins Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor could start tomorrow against the St. Louis Rams at Fed Ex Field. Taylor, who underwent a procedure Sept. 22 to relieve compartment syndrome in his left calf, practiced yesterday...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 1:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Washington, Heyer Are on Practice Field

From Jason Reid: Practice has begun with players in shorts and shells. Marcus Washington and Stephon Heyer are on the field; only Reed Doughty is unaccounted for and he's been out with a bad back, so that is no surprise....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 10, 2008; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Fenty on Bringing Back the Redskins

Sorry to interrupt. Wanted to pass along that over on The League Mark Maske has Mayor Fenty's comments yesterday about getting the Redskins back in D.C. here....

By Emilio Garcia-Ruiz  |  October 10, 2008; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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TCCLs

You can't spell Friday without a T, C, C or L... 165 TCCLs - London Fletcher Just keeps on ticking. Dude has never missed a game, keeping a 10-year streak going, while another remarkable one, that belonging to teammate Jason Taylor, ended. Fletcher was all over Brian Westbrook on Sunday,...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 10, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Trap Game? Kinda, Sorta, I Guess

As the week has played out, I've come around a little on the whole idea that this is a "trap game." I mean, every week up here is a trap game if you ask me, but with the Rams needing a win, losing a coach, and having some individual talent,...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 10, 2008; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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NFC East Is Beastly

Perhaps the Giants' upset of the Patriots in the Super Bowl was the harbinger. For the first time in a long time, the NFC now seems superior to the AFC. With the Pats and Colts staggering, the Chargers imploding, and the Steelers and Titans still unproven, you have to look...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 10, 2008; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Imagine: Jim Zorn and the Wildcat offense...

I'm sure by now most of you are well-versed in the intricacies of the Wildcat offense. And, no, we're not referring to the play-calling genius that Goldie Hawn exhibited back in the day, with "Wildcats" and all. This is the single-wing stuff being run in Miami, with running back Ronnie...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 10, 2008; 8:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Doing the Sack Dance

We've chatted a bit this week about the lack of sacks - six through five games - and a general dearth of a pass rush. Well, actually, we've been blogging about this for years, back when Barno still liked me (at least I think he did). Seems to never change....

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Taylor Practices; Zorn Update

Defensive end Jason Taylor practiced for the first time since undergoing surgery on his left calf, and said he hopes to getting some snaps Sunday. Taylor still has stitches in his calf from the emergency procedure, done Sept. 22 to relieve compartment syndrome in his leg, and has some concern...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Zorn on the Rookie Receivers

From Barry Svrluga, who reports that Jason Taylor (wearing a black sleeve on his left calf), Stephon Heyer and Shawn Springs are practicing; Marcus Washington and Cornelius Griffin are out. Reed Doughty is not practicing, either and is not out on the field at all: Five weeks into the season,...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 9, 2008; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Blache Takes Cautious Approach to Rams

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache just met with the media and was a little more terse than usual. He made a point of letting everyone know that the Rams are not to be taken lightly -- which has been the coaches' mantra this week as they try to make sure the...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Doughty's Back Still Balky

From Jason La Canfora: Safety Reed Doughty said the nerve problem in his back continues to cause problems and he will not practice today. He said it looks doubtful that he will play Sunday, but he isn't ruling it out, adding that there's a chance he could practice tomorrow....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 9, 2008; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Skins Make A Practice Squad Move

The Redskins have waived (pending an injury settlement) linebacker Johnny Baldwin, who was on the practice squad and hurt his knee in practice Wednesday. They have re-signed LB Curtis Gatewood to the practice squad. Gatewood was with the team in training camp....

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Rams Seek Way Out of their Abyss

Jim Haslett is obviously in a weird situation. The Rams' defensive coordinator was named interim head coach when Scott Linehan was fired and is coming out of a bye week knowing full well that his unit has been pretty darn terrible this season, and didn't help Linehan out much. When...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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Campbell and the Perfect Season

The Redskins' lack of giveaways has been perhaps the biggest surprise of the season. Well, maybe the 4-1 record is the biggest surprise. But this is close. Through five games the only turnover was Antwaan Randle El muffing a punt. On offense, they haven't had a fumble or interception through...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 9, 2008; 8:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Horton Finds a Mentor in a Former Redskin

Redskins safety Chris Horton is beginning to make a bit of a name for himself around the league with his big plays, and he already has a few friends in the media. Horton struck up a strong relationship with former Redskin and Cowboy James Washington during his college days at...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Zorn Gives Injury Update

Shawn Springs (calf), Jason Taylor (calf), Stephon Heyer (shoulder), Cornelius Griffin (shoulder), Reed Doughty (back) and Marcus Washington (hamstring) all missed practice with injuries, as we reported earlier. Veteran offensive lineman Pete Kendall was given a day of rest but will definitely play Sunday, according to Coach Jim Zorn. "He's...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (108)
 
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The Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report

I told Rock Cartwright that he might be on thin ice. I love the Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report as much as the next guy - heck, I invented it - but I told the running back that we need a little more controversy, a little more buzz. Every week...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Who's Out as Practice Begins

Jason La Canfora sent in this report, just as practice was beginning: The following players are not in pads and thus not practicing: Marcus Washington, Shawn Springs, Cornelius Griffin, Jason Taylor and Stephon Heyer. Pete Kendall is in sweats. He was not listed on the iinjury report but has a...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 8, 2008; 1:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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(Hip, Hip) Hooray, Christmas

Dan Steinberg has a new installment in what is now a three-part adaptation of "Upstairs, Downstairs" starring Fred Smoot. Today's episode explains why Christmas lights are always up at the Smoot home ("Christmas is always on the way back around. We ain't got, what, like three, four months to go?")....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 8, 2008; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Springs May Miss Practice Today

Shawn Springs said he may not practice today but expects to be on the field tomorrow and to play Sunday. Springs, who said he is feeling better and is ready to play again, locked up Anquan Boldin and Terrell Owens, but given his injury I would not be surprised to...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 8, 2008; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Taylor Looks Unlikely to Practice (Updated)

Jason La Canfora texts this in from the open locker room: It does not look at all likely that Jason Taylor will practice today. The Redskins are obviously taking every precaution with the injury and, with the team performing well in his absence, there is no reason to rush his...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 8, 2008; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Portis Is NFC Offensive Player Of The Week

The accolades keep rolling in for the Skins. Clinton Portis, who ran for 145 yards Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and went over 120 for the second straight week against a division opponent on the road, has been named NFC offensive player of the week. Rookie safety Chris Horton was...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 11:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Unrestricted: Durant Brooks

Jason Reid takes a look at the punting game....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 8, 2008; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (114)
 
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The Case for the Rams (and It Isn't Much of One)

Now comes the hard part: presenting a case for the Rams against the Redskins at FedEx Field. Well, the offense had been beyond horrid, but maybe, somehow, these players rally around Al Saunders, fired as the offensive guru in D.C. after two weak seasons, and come out looking like the...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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The Case Against The Rams

This isn't one of those weeks in which it feels like we can belabor the point and break down every nuance of the opponent's game. The micro-level dissections of strengths and tendencies, the scouting reports? Well, they're probably less valuable with games against the Rams, Browns and Lions coming up...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 8, 2008; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Skins Taking Nothing for Granted

Jason Reid files this report and Dan Steinberg gets a tour of Fred Smoot's house, including "the Fred Room." The Redskins have won four in a row, but overconfidence is not among their problems, players said. "We can play a lot better," versatile defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander said. "This last...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 7, 2008; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Guest Blog: The Curse of Ray Guy

Things must be going well for the Skins if we're obsessed with a rookie punter. But alas, I continue to get a lot of emails and questions about Durant Brooks, and this engaging guest blog from Ami Rozmaryn. Mr. Rozmaryn has done some interesting research on precisely how some top...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 7, 2008; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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His Knee Better, Kelly Hopes to Practice

Jason Reid reports: The swelling in the left knee of rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly subsided quickly and Kelly plans to practice this week in hopes of playing Sunday against the St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field. "It's been frustrating," said Kelly, sidelined the entire preseason and in three of...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 7, 2008; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Rogers Opts to Spend the Day at Work

Jason Reid reports: Although players were off today, cornerback Carlos Rogers had work to do at Redskins Park. It would seem Rogers was entitled to a break considering how well he played during Sunday's 23-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, but there's always room for improvement, Rogers said. "Just trying...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 7, 2008; 2:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Zorn, Campbell Both Make Their Pitches

Jason Reid talks about how Jim Zorn has gotten the Redskins to respond to him. Dan Steinberg examines Jason Campbell's budding career as a pitchman....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 7, 2008; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Saunders "Thrilled" for Campbell's Success

From Mark Maske: Rams offensive coordinator Al Saunders said yesterday he's looking forward to returning to FedEx Field. He said he'll be happy to see quarterback Jason Campbell and the Redskins playing well and believes the team is building on a foundation put in place during Joe Gibbs's second tenure...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 7, 2008; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Evans Played Big Role in Stuffing Barber, Westbrook

While the Redskins lose some pass rush without Jason Taylor at the left end spot, they have not suffered against the run in his absence. Greg Blache continued the rotation of linemen again Sunday in Philadelphia and Demetric Evans had another fine outing filling in for Taylor. The Eagles and...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 7, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Suisham's on a Roll

Shaun Suisham has made seven straight field goals, he was a star Sunday and as we've mentioned in the past, his kickoffs have been much improved this season. Even when he has missed on field goals, he has faced holding issues. The guy looks like the real deal, and nailing...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 7, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Last Thoughts on Eagles Game

Brian Westbrook wasn't right. Skins secondary coach Jerry Gray noticed it right away, commenting to some players that "He doesn't have that giddy-up." Westbrook's brother, Byron, a corner on the Skins' practice squad, saw it, too. "His ankle wasn't 100 percent," Byron Westbrook said. "It was like he had a...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 7, 2008; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Skins Have Room for Improvement

The Skins are obviously off to a tremendous start, but there's always room for improvement. In the interest of fairness, here are a few areas they need to work on: The Pass Rush They rank 30th in the NFL in sacks per pass play. That's not where you want to...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 4:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
 
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The Durant Brooks Watch

Rookie punter Durant Brooks has been under fire much of the season for his erratic output, leaving him to think about having to fight to keep his job. After his struggles Sunday, his job security likely remains week-to-week. Brooks, a sixth-round pick in April, has become more consistent holding for...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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The Next 3: The Cold, Stinky Facts

The Rams, Browns and Lions stink. Simple as that. The Rams already have fired a coach. The Lions have fired their GM. The Browns on the verge of firing a quarterback, and perhaps a whole lot more at the end of the season. They have combined for one win, and...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Time for Predictifying

Let's test your clairvoyance: PD_WIDGET.keyword="auctionid:6242";PD_WIDGET.height="250";PD_WIDGET.width="300"; PD_WIDGET.color1="0xeeeeee";PD_WIDGET.color2="0x1e4370";PD_WIDGET.color3="0x1e4370";PD_WIDGET.create(); And: PD_WIDGET.keyword="auctionid:6243";PD_WIDGET.height="250";PD_WIDGET.width="300"; PD_WIDGET.color1="0xeeeeee";PD_WIDGET.color2="0x1e4370";PD_WIDGET.color3="0x1e4370";PD_WIDGET.create();...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 6, 2008; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Griffin Having MRI; Kelly's Knee Swells

Jim Zorn just wrapped up his weekly presser with the schlubs. Here are the highlights: DT Cornelius Griffin was the only significant injury and is having an MRI on his left shoulder today. Zorn said Griffin has a sprain and the team will "try to get him ready" for Sunday....

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Heyer, Springs, Washington Updates

Jason La Canfora texts this in: Tackle Stephon Heyer said he will not know whether he can practice this week until tomorrow at the earliest. Heyer said his shoulder is responding better to rest and treatment, but he is not yet to play fully. "I want to make sure I'm...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 6, 2008; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (107)
 
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Skins by the Numbers

The Redskins have risen to sixth in the NFL in total offense, fifth in rushing yards per game and 12th in passing offense. Jason Campbell remains the only starting QB who has not thrown an interception. The Skins and undefeated Titans remained tied for the league lead with a plus-6...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Unrestricted: Right Guy in Right Job

The Redskins are 4-1 and Jason Reid talks about the biggest difference he sees in this year's team....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 6, 2008; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Skins-Eagles: Monday Morning H Back

This was another team win. The first quarter Sunday was rough in all three phases - the offense wilted against the blitz and couldn't move the ball, special teams gave up a return TD, the defense gave up an epic opening drive. Then everything clicked for the final three quarters...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Campbell Breaks a Theismann Mark

From Jason Reid: Quarterback Jason Campbell has set a Redskins record, throwing 175 consecutive passes without an interception. Joe Theismann held the previous mark with 161 passes in 1983. "To be honest about it, I didn't even know," Campbell said. "It really doesn't matter to me individually, but the good...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 5, 2008; 8:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (154)
 
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Thomas Has a Few Words for Thomas

Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora report: Right guard Randy Thomas made his feelings clear to rookie wideout Devin Thomas Sunday late in the third quarter of the Washington Redskins' 23-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Leading 16-14, the Redskins needed four yards on third down. Quarterback Jason Campbell completed...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 5, 2008; 7:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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It's a Wrap: Skins 23, Eagles 17

Dominant running game, exhibited by the three-yard gain on 4th and 2 to put the game away. More heady stuff from Jason Campbell, like the tuck and run to pick up a crucial late first down on third-and-long. The Redskins showed they can be diverse - WR Santana Moss, second...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 5, 2008; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (199)
 
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Skin Take Lead in 3rd Quarter

The Skins have run directly at the edge of the Philly D and are gashing them now. It's been almost all runs behind the tackles - with a guard often pulling - and the Eagles seem gassed now. The Redskins obviously need to finish this drive with 7 and not...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 5, 2008; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (148)
 
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Skins Get Within 5 at the Half

The Redskins have changed the momentum of this bad boy completely. They have run on the Philly D that was first in the NFL and giving up something like 2.9 yards per carry. The Eagles allowed some sustained drives, some long drives, and even though the Redskins settled for 3...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 5, 2008; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Eagles Lead 14-0 after 1 Quarter

Jason La Canfora can't get on to the net, so he texts: Not much to say about that performance. One first down by the Skins, on a Portis run. The Eagles didn't blitz as much early as I thought, though it worked well on the first drive. Philly converted 4...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 5, 2008; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Countdown to Kickoff

No Shawn Springs and no Jason Taylor is not a great combination. Even if Brian Westbrook is gimpy, his mere presence alone keeps defenses honest and forces a team ro respect/fear the run game and the screen passes. Andre Carter needs to have a big game and I imagine the...

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 5, 2008; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Springs, Heyer, Taylor, Washington Out (Updated)

Shawn Springs, Stephon Heyer, Jason Taylor and Marcus Washington are out with injuries. Rob Jackson, Chad Rinehart and Justin Hamilton are also out. Colt Brennan is the third QB. Demetric Evans starts for Taylor, Fred Smoot starts for Springs, Jon Jansen starts for Heyer, H.B. Blades is in for Washington....

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 5, 2008; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Springs Unlikely to Play Today

Jason La Canfora, en route to Philly, texts in this update: Shawn Springs' calf injury has not responded to treatment as quickly as he and the team had hoped and he is virtually certain to be out today against the Eagles in Philadelphia, a source has said. Justin Tryon would...

By Cindy Boren  |  October 5, 2008; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Redskins-Eagles: Waiting for Kickoff

It's 7 a.m. Grab some coffee and get ready to do some reading... Barry Svrluga has spent a few weeks focusing on the relationship between Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell and wrote about it this morning. Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders has crunched some numbers on Redskins-Eagles. Yes, it's DVOA....

By Cindy Boren  |  October 5, 2008; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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