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Redskins Insider: November 16, 2008 - November 22, 2008

Skins-Seahawks: 'The Jasons' and DVOA

This weekend, Comcast SportsNet has a new episode of "The Jasons" and, my, the dudes do clean up nicely. Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders fame has been doing something called Smarter Stats for us this fall on The League. Now, I won't lie: sometimes stats can make my hair hurt....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 21, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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The Week in TCCLs

It's Friday...time for TCCLs... 100 TCCLs - Skins defense. To rank fourth after the death of their best player is pretty amazing. Greg Blache is doing a marvelous job and the D is keeping the team in every game despite getting nothing from the offseason/preseason acquisitions (Jason Taylor and Erasmus...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 21, 2008; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
 
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Zorn Expects Randle El to Be Ready

Jason Reid reports: Wide receiver and punt returner Antwaan Randle El (ankle) practiced "and he was a little ginger," Jim Zorn said. "But I think by the time game time rolls around, he'll be ready to go." (Or, you can vote here.) Randle El is third on the team with...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 21, 2008; 1:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
 
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Kelly Hopes to Play Sunday

Jason Reid reports: Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly completed practice this week without experiencing knee problems and said he hopes to play against the Seahawks. "We'll just have to see," Kelly said. "I got in some formations just for me, some little plays here and there just for me, so...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 21, 2008; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Portis a Game-Time Decision, Again

Barry Svrluga reports: Redskins Coach Jim Zorn said the decision on whether star running back Clinton Portis - who is battling a sprained left knee - will play Sunday will be left to the hours leading up to the game for the second straight week. "He really is not full-speed,"...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 21, 2008; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Skins-Seahawks Preview

It's a 6-4 team versus a 2-8 team in a place where the 6-4 team's playoff appearances have ended in the past. Jason Reid looks ahead to Sunday....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 21, 2008; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
 
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Your Emails and Personnel

Most of the emails and questions I get these days refer to the same things we've talked about for more than a year - lack of a pass rush, depth in the secondary, pass protection issues with older offensive linemen and a lack of a true No. 2 wide receiver,...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 21, 2008; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Smells Like a Close Game

The Seahawks are in a slide, losing three in a row and six of seven. Their only win in that span came again San Fran, so even that's a little suspect. That's also the only game of the last seven in which they have scored more than 20 points. They've...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 21, 2008; 7:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (105)
 
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The Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report

As we do every week, we checked in with Rock Cartwright for the special teams report. In the Seattle Seahawks, the Skins have an opponent they know well, since they played the Seahawks there in the playoffs on Jan. 5. Cartwright said the Seahawks are largely the same, although personnel...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 20, 2008; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Will Kelly, S. Alexander Be Active Sunday?

Some interesting roster decisions for Sunday's game will loom for Jim Zorn. Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly is healthy and expected to play Sunday in Seattle, but Zorn said that could be a game-time decision as he assesses how far along Kelly is in terms of knowing the playbook and where...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 20, 2008; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Zorn Hopes CP Can Practice Tomorrow

Running back Clinton Portis didn't practice again today, but Jim Zorn said he expects him to play. He hopes Portis is able to practice tomorrow and Portis has said he definitely will play Sunday in Seattle. Left tackle Chris Samuels missed practice again, resting his sore knee. He, too, is...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 20, 2008; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Blache Not Overly Concerned with Sacks

Greg Blache is pretty much done with talking about sacks. The lack of a pass rush has long been a topic of conversation here, but he said, in essence, not to expect a lot of sacks this season. That's not who this team is and it isn't what his defense...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 20, 2008; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
 
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Cartwright Convinced He Had Downed Ball

Tailback Rock Cartwright said that, after watching film of Sunday's game, he believes he had downed the ball before getting called for a touchback. He was ruled to have been in the end zone when the ball struck him, so Dallas ended up at the 20 instead of the 1....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 20, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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If You Can't Rush the Passer, Blitz Him

JReid looks at the pass rush and the possibility of blitzing LaRon Landry more frequently. ... You can ask Jason La Canfora for his take on this and more in his chat today at 1....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 20, 2008; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (125)
 
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Zorn on Anniversary of Taylor's Death

From Barry Svrluga The first anniversary of Sean Taylor's death doesn't come until Thanksgiving day, but Taylor's presence is still felt daily at Redskins Park. Though Coach Jim Zorn was not with the team when Taylor, Washington's Pro Bowl safety, was shot at his Miami area home Nov. 26 and...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 20, 2008; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Of Pro Bowls and Holmgren

Call it Pro Bowl Gate. Call it a genius PR move. Call it a new kind of fantasy fubball. Call it good clean fun. Call it a plan by Steinberg for a travel-budget-bustin' boondoggle journalism assignment in Honolulu. Whatev. He chatted with players about the road to the Pro Bowl...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 20, 2008; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Zorn a Little Pass-Happy Lately?

Over the last three years, we've mulled how running the ball, time of possession, and being an elite football team are related time and again. But in the last few games Jim Zorn has strayed from the Midwest Coast Offense and leaned a little more West Coast, with more short...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 20, 2008; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Catching Up with the Also-Rans

Let's take a moment to revisit the 10 guys the Redskins interviewed or considered when Joe Gibbs resigned as coach last January. The stock of some of these guys is on the rise, some is falling and some remains exactly where it was when back when Daniel Snyder and Vinny...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 19, 2008; 6:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Zorn Used to Work In Seattle?

Jim Zorn is being peppered with questions about his return to Seattle this week, which is understandable, and he's trying to "stay medium" about the whole thing. He said these kinds of reunions are sometimes "awkward," and he's unsure how the crowd will react - I'll bet they cheer their...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 19, 2008; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Portis Ready to Play; Injury Updates

Running back Clinton Portis said his knee is still sore, and, although he remains limited in practice, he left no doubt that he will play Sunday in Seattle. "It's coming along," Portis said. "I'm sore, but I'm playing this week, no ifs ands or buts about it."...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 19, 2008; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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The NFL Has Ties? Who Knew?

You know how you were surprised when Donovan McNabb didn't know an NFL game could end in a tie? Turns out he isn't alone. Dan Steinberg polled some of the Redskins about that rule and others and found out that, gasp, football players don't really watch games on their days...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Skins by the Numbers

The Redskins rank 13th in the NFL in total offense - second in rushing yards per attempt and 22nd in passing yards per play. They need to become more balanced and they know it, but that's been easier said than done over the years. (If you can't use this widget,...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 19, 2008; 2:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Roll Call at Practice

From Jason La Canfora Here's a player update as practice begins: Marcus Washington (ankle) is not on the field. Clinton Portis (knee), Antwaan Randle El (ankle), Chris Samuels (knee), and Anthony Montgomery (Achilles') are not in helmets and full pads. Portis, Samuels and Randle El are expected to play, Jim...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Alexander, Plackemeier Staying Medium

From Jason La Canfora: RB Shaun Alexander, who spent his entire career career in Seattle before signing with the Redskins, said the return trip there will be special for him, but he's not getting too amped up about it. He said he's excited about seeing friends and visiting his church,...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Springs Says He'll Play

From Jason "Jasno" La Canfora: Ran into Shawn Springs and, although we've heard this before, he said he is definitely going to play Sunday, that he's feeling good and that there are no issues with his calf. DeAngelo Hall turns 25 today...he says he celebrated with a nice dinner....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Octavien Replaces Gatewood

The Redskins have signed linebacker Steve Octavien to the practice squad, filling the spot vacated by Curtis Gatewood, who was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs' active roster. Octavien will wear No. 56. According to the Redskins, Octavien went to training camp with Kansas City this season after the Chiefs...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Unrestricted: Kelly Time?

The Malcolm Kelly topic is a hot one this week; we'll have further updates as soon as the locker room opens. Meanwhile, JReid gives his unrestricted take on the matter....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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A Campbell-Hasselbeck Preview

The latest Expedia "Go Like Pro Show" features Redskins QB (or "kewbee," as Jim Zorn likes to say) Jason Campbell in what I would say is a supporting role with Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck. Frankly, I think Campbell is way underused in this webisode; it's odd to have him obliviously throwing...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 19, 2008; 9:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Young CBs Looking at New Deals

New cornerback DeAngelo Hall began his Redskins career with a nice interception of a Tony Romo pass early in his first game with the team. Romo delivered perhaps his worst pass of the game - Terrell Owens had Hall beaten to the inside, but Romo threw the ball well behind...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 19, 2008; 8:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Sports Waves: Reviewing Sunday Night Football

In case RI Nation missed it, Len Shapiro reviewed NBC's work on Sunday Night's Redskins-Cowboys game in his Sports Waves column. The short version: Michaels is good, Madden is still good at times, Kremer is solid at a tough job, and advertising and promos were all overdone. Also, Shapiro notes...

By Jon DeNunzio  |  November 18, 2008; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Skins Know They Play Better in Adversity

From Jason Reid With consecutive losses, the Redskins are among many teams in a muddled NFC playoff mix. Among teams not leading divisions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best record at 7-3. The Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are 6-4. The Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears,...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 18, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (185)
 
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Campbell More Concerned with Decisions than Stats

From Jason Reid: Quarterback Jason Campbell now has thrown nine touchdown passes and three interceptions. Nine touchdowns in 10 games are not a lot, but touchdowns alone do not indicate how well a quarterback has performed, Campbell said. "It's funny to me when people look at quarterbacks and say, 'Well,...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 18, 2008; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Thomas Heartened by Role at the End

From Jason Reid: On a key third-down play late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 14-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Redskins rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas was the primary option in the pattern. Quarterback Jason Campbell and Thomas were unable to connect on the play, the Redskins failed on...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 18, 2008; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Taking Stock of the NFC East

As I said yesterday, it seems pretty obvious to me that no one is catching the Giants in the NFC, and I doubt anyone will catch them for the conference lead, either. Finishing second in the NFC East should likely get you a wild-card spot, and while the Redskins have...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 18, 2008; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (133)
 
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Crunching the Numbers on Offense

Figured I'd look back over the last five or six weeks, the barren period for the Skins' offense, and dissect the numbers a little bit. The numbers are downright Saunders-esque. The Redskins have six offensive touchdowns in the last five games. They have just one TD in their last eight...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 18, 2008; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Two Views of the O Line

JReid discusses the Redskins' offensive line in today's Unrestricted video and Sally Jenkins says the group has "demonstrated competitive heart time and again."...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 18, 2008; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Zorn's Issue with Davis Is Lack of Trust

Fred Davis has been a hot topic - specifically because the rookie tight end can't get on the field for more than a play or two. Jim Zorn, who is as forthcoming as can be, chalked it up to a lack of trust. Specifically, if Davis can't remember when to...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (149)
 
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Campbell: the Good and the Bad in Ugly Loss

Jim Zorn broke down a bit of the good and not-so-good from Jason Campbell from Sunday's game. First, Zorn was upset with a pass Campbell missed to rookie receiver Devin Thomas late in the game on what could have been a big first down. With the Skins down 14-10 with...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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What's Another Word for ... ?

Some of you throw the remote after a painful loss. Some of you BYGO. What do the Redskins do the day after? What's a seven-letter word for word games? Puzzles. Crossword puzzles....

By Cindy Boren  |  November 17, 2008; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Taylor a Situational Pass Rusher?

Defensive end Jason Taylor said his calf has fully healed, and he is making a mental adjustment to being a part-time player, at least for a bit. Taylor played primarily on third down, and while he understands that end Demetric Evans has been playing well on the left side in...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Skins Are 'Treading Water,' Zorn Says

Overall, Jim Zorn said his team is "treading water," which works for me. They haven't played a complete ballgame in more than a month and the offense is weak in terms of scoring. It has six offensive TDs in the last five games, and has not scored more than two...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Zorn: Washington the Big Concern

Linebacker Marcus Washington is the big concern now, even though he has been struggling mightily this season. Washington has a high-ankle sprain, and will be out several weeks. (I asked Jim Zorn if we might see Jason Taylor in this linebacker spot more now, and he said no, which leaves...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Betts: No Setbacks

From Jason Reid: Although still not completely healed, running back Ladell Betts was encouraged by his performance Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Betts, who sat out three games because of a sprained left knee, rushed once for one yard and caught two passes for 27 yards. "It felt good...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 17, 2008; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Washington Out Indefinitely

From Jason Reid: Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington will be out indefinitely because of a high-ankle sprain. "Just found out," said Washington, who sat out two games this season because of recurring hamstring problems. "I'm just going to listen to the trainers and see what they say. We just don't know...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 17, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Washington, ARE, Betts Are Biggest Concerns

From Jason La Canfora: The three biggest injury concerns coming out of the loss to the Cowboys appear to be Marcus Washington's ankle, Antwaan Randle El's ankle and Ladell Betts' knee. As he left FedEx Field, Washington was wearing a walking boot. X-rays taken during the game were negative and...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 17, 2008; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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What's on Tap Today

While the scribes are getting into position to ask some questions today, Dan Steinberg found a different vibe to the Skins-Cowboys rivalry last night at FedEx Field. As usual, if it's Monday, there will be chats. Cindy Boren is up at 11 a.m.; Mike Wilbon steps into the Chat House...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 17, 2008; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Monday Morning H-Back

I'm going to keep this short and sweet 'cuz it's almost 3 a.m. as I write this and Monday will be a busy day. We'll pick this loss apart in more detail a little later, but here are some general thoughts. The division race is over. The Giants aren't going...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 17, 2008; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Skins Fall, 14-10

I think you have to hang this on the offense. Pass protection was a problem, there were no secondary receivers beyond Moss and there was no ability to finish drives. They had some injuries, but it' a night when two TDs might have won it. The Skins now have six...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 11:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (143)
 
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Skins Still Lead by 3 after 3

The Skins are having big problems in pass protection again, and the pass game lacks any vertical element. It's all short stuff, with a lot of plays and a lot of receptions, but no yardage. They are taking time off the clock for sure, but again settling for field goal...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 10:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (153)
 
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Skins Up 3 after 2

Jason Garrett, the Dallas offensive coordinator, is doing a much better job of getting Marion Barber involved regularly. He has been especially effective running pitch plays to the right side and also catching screens in a spread formation. Garrett is starting to pick on the slot guys now, too. Dallas's...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 9:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (161)
 
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Monk, Green Get Their HOF Rings

Dan Steinberg reports that FedEx once again was dominated by Redskins fans and Paul Tenorio covered the pregame ceremony in which Darrell Green and Art Monk were presented with their Hall of Fame rings: The presentation opened with a video montage of highlights from Green and Monk's careers and included...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 16, 2008; 9:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Skins Lead 7-0 after a Quarter

Iron Mike Sellers is back. The fullback was featured on the first drive and caught a huge screen pass to set up fourth and one, and then caught the TD pass. Dallas had no one on him - Sellers had just two receptions this season coming in - and kudos...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 8:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (190)
 
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F. Jones Leads Dallas Inactives

RB Felix Jones remains out with an injury. CB Quincy Butler, LB Bobby Carpenter, G Montrae Holland, G Joe Berger, T Doug Free, and WR Isaiah Stanback are also scratched....

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (168)
 
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Springs, Montgomery Top Inactive List

CB Shawn Springs (calf) and DT Anthony Montgomery (Achilles') are out. WR Malcolm Kelly, OL Jason Fabini, OL Chad Rinehart, DE Erasmus James, DE Rob Jackson and QB Colt Brennan are inactive. Fred Smoot starts for Springs; Demetric Evans starts for Jason Taylor (as we previously reported)....

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Portis to Play; Springs Out

Shawn Springs will not be active tonight, according to a team source, with the Redskins dressing four running backs - Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright. Springs is recovering from a calf tear. Will have the rest of the inactives shortly....

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Springs Tests Injured Calf

Cornerback Shawn Springs was in sweats, running down the sidelines, testing his torn calf muscle. He wasn't sprinting full out, but was testing it....

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Portis Working Out

Portis is doing agility drills on the field right now, working out for trainers. Portis, who has a tear in his left MCL, is n shorts, cleats and a long sleeved shirt - it's legitimately cold out here tonight - sliding from side to side, doing quick bursts, getting his...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Portis, Springs Still In Limbo; Evans to Start

Tailback Clinton Portis and corner Shawn Springs are among those who still unsure if they will be able to play. Both are looking to the warm-ups to make a final decision. Portis missed practice all week, while Springs did take part in some drills Friday with the first team, according...

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 16, 2008; 5:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Marty's Pants. Yes, Marty's Pants.

Here's a little halftime-of-the-first-game entertainment from Steinberg. Check out Marty's pants -- something Dan does just a liiiitttttle too often -- from a classique John McDonnell photo. Fred Smoot took time out this week to teach children to hate on the Cowboys. Of course, Steinberg was there, too, and mercifully...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 16, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
 
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It's Gonna Be Windy and Cold

Heading to FedEx Field? Layer up, the Capital Weather Gang says. They say, "Brrrrrr;" I imagine you'll say something like, "Brrrrrring it." Give Mike Wilbon a read today. He chatted with Jerry Jones on Friday. And Barry Svrluga writes about the relationship between former Redskins who now are broadcasters and...

By Cindy Boren  |  November 16, 2008; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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