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Redskins Insider: August 9, 2009 - August 15, 2009

Smoot Steps in as Free Safety Backup

Top cornerback Shawn Springs occasionally worked at free safety last season to provide the team with quality depth behind starter LaRon Landry. Springs left in free agency, so the Redskins are using veteran corner Fred Smoot in the backup role. Smoot opened at corner in place of injured starter Carlos...

By Jason Reid  |  August 15, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
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Pacman Isn't a Possibility, For Now

Many Insider readers have emailed me about Adam "Pacman" Jones, asking whether the team has any interest in the free-agent corner/return specialist. I was not surprised. Antwaan Randle El struggled last season as Washington's primary punt returner, and cornerback Shawn Springs, who excelled at playing in the slot, left in...

By Jason Reid  |  August 15, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
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Is Wildcat an Option for Redskins?

The New York Giants are the latest team to begin installing the Wildcat offense. And with Michael Vick now in the NFC East with Philadelphia, the Eagles might run the change-of-pace formation often. Last season, Coach Jim Zorn said he wanted to study the Wildcat before deciding whether it could...

By Jason Reid  |  August 15, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
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Did Colt Complete Pass to Jessica?

With Michael Vick signed to wear Eagles colors next season, there's another hot free agent on the market whose name was circulating Saturday morning at Redskins Park. But it's doubtful that pop tart Jessica Simpson will help the team's offensive woes too much. On Friday, word started sweeping through the...

By Rick Maese  |  August 15, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Despite Injury, Mike Williams Still Determined

I bumped into Big Mike Williams on Friday at the practice facility while he was headed to receive treatment for the abdominal strain he re-aggravated in Thursday's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. We chatted for a few seconds as he entered the main building and I exited after my...

By Jason Reid  |  August 15, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
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Redskins Prepping for Steelers (Updated)

After a day off, the Redskins return to the field this morning to begin preparations for their second preseason game Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. The Baltimore Ravens routed the Redskins, 23-0, and gained 500 net yards on offense Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium. Coach Jim...

By Jason Reid  |  August 15, 2009; 7:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
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Zorn Bothered by Lack of Effort in Loss

Usually upbeat and animated, Coach Jim Zorn seemed perturbed Friday while addressing the media at Redskins Park. Losing, 23-0, in a preseason opener will do that to a coach - especially if many young players fail to display enough effort. It would have been unrealistic for Zorn to expect...

By Jason Reid  |  August 14, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (155)
 
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Zorn: Injuries in Loss to Ravens 'Not Serious'

The Redskins made it through Thursday's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens with no major injuries. "Not serious from the standpoint of guys being out" for significant time, Coach Jim Zorn said today at Redskins Park. Defensive tackle-end Lorenzo Alexander (oblique), tackle Mike Williams (abdominal strain) and tight end Fred...

By Jason Reid  |  August 14, 2009; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (115)
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Zorn Says Vick Deserves 2nd Chance

Jim Zorn will meet with the media soon for his weekly day-after-the-game gabfest, but I also chatted privately with him about the Redskins and other topicslate Thursday night. Zorn gave me his view on the Philadelphia Eagles' signing of Michael Vick, and it was pretty much what I figured. Zorn...

By Jason Reid  |  August 14, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
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O-Line Passes One Big Test

The organization breathed a collective sigh of relief when the first-team offense completed its two series Thursday night in a 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The team's main goal, many in the organization told me, simply was to get quarterback Jason Campbell through his outing without being hit often....

By Jason Reid  |  August 14, 2009; 6:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Campbell Gives Rinehart High Marks

I have to admit I've been skeptical regarding all the happy talk about second-year guard Chad Rinehart. Line coach Joe Bugel generally raves about the Redskins' linemen (with the exception of rookie tackle Scott Burley), so I take that for what it's worth. Vinny Cerrato also has pumped up Rinehart...

By Jason Reid  |  August 14, 2009; 12:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (209)
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Smith Makes Most of 'Punt-Fest'

One of the most active members of the Washington Redskins during Thursday night's 23-0 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens was punter Hunter Smith, who kicked nine times in the shutout loss. Smith, who spent the previous 10 years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, equaled his output from...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 14, 2009; 12:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Hall Happy that Vick Found a Team

During the Washington Redskins' preseason opener in Baltimore, news broke that Michael Vick had signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he received a text from his former Virginia Tech and Atlanta Falcons teammate informing him that, "I found a team, the Eagles." Hall, who...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 13, 2009; 11:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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A Redskins Final, by the Numbers (Updated)

Here's a quick stat pack on the Redskins Team stats 196 yards 6 penalties for 38 yards Time of possesion: 24:16 Two turnovers 11 first downs 1-of-11 third-down conversions 56 rushing yards 140 passing yards 9 punts, 45.2-yard average (37.1 net average) Individual stats Passing Campbell 3-of-6 38 yards Collins...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 13, 2009; 10:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Brennan Struggles in 3rd Quarter

It was more of the same in the third quarter, as the Redskins continued to struggle. Don't want to beat a dead horse here, but even the one and only Colt Brennan could not escape the first- and second-year player problems of this game. Brennan threw an interception and spent...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 13, 2009; 10:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Redskins Evaluate Performance

This being preseason, Redskins players and Coach Jim Zorn were available at halftime. Here's what they had to say, via Dan Steinberg's typing and Redskins' PR: Jason Campbell: "We felt good. We felt comfortable. I thought the offensive line did a good job of protecting. We came out and completed...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 13, 2009; 9:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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A First Half of Futility

Impressions from the first half of the Redskins' first preseason game...well, if you're a first- or second-year guy, it's been mostly bad. Let's review: Second-year corner Justin Tryon, who has looked great in practice, has been beaten four or five times in the game. Rookie Kevin Barnes was beaten twice,...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 13, 2009; 9:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Redskins Not Sharp in 1st Quarter

Neither starting unit for the Redskins looked sharp in the first quarter, with the Redskins' offense punting on both of its drives and the starting defense giving up a 13-play, 67-yard drive - though they did hold on to limit Baltimore to just a field goal. Perhaps the most worrisome...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 13, 2009; 8:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (146)
 
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Redskins' Starters Go 6 Plays on 1st Drive

Washington's offensive starters lasted six plays and gained two first downs on their first series against the Baltimore Ravens. The first downs both came on short passing plays, a 12-yard checkdown pass to running back Ladell Betts (who started in place of Clinton Portis) and an 11-yard throw to Chris...

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 13, 2009; 7:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Redskins' Scratches Include Randy Thomas

There is not an inactive list for preseason games, but the Redskins have a list of players who are not expected to play against the Baltimore Ravens. Among the starters, right guard Randy Thomas, running back Clinton Portis, wideout Santana Moss and cornerback Carlos Rogers are scheduled to sit out....

By Jason Reid  |  August 13, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
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Game On: Who Will Win Redskins-Ravens?

On July 27, I declared the fubball season open on twitter, but now I really mean it. I don't have to tell you that there's a game tonight, featuring a reunion of the Landry brothers, and that this is the place to be if 1) you can't be at M&T...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 13, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (171)
 
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Campbell: O Line Just Needs Reps

Before camp began, I had a long talk with Jason Campbell about the offensive line because, as we all know, it was the primary reason for the 2-6 collapse last season. It seemed as if there were breakdowns in pass protection on nearly every snap late in the season. Campbell...

By Jason Reid  |  August 13, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (182)
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Holmes Looks for Spot in Crowded Secondary

It wasn't that long ago that Lendy Holmes' success was unquestioned and on display for anyone who paid attention to college football. A defensive leader of the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners last season who helped the team to the Jan. 8 national title game, the safety was part of the team...

By Bill Oram  |  August 13, 2009; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Band of 4 Will Handle Punt Returns

Punt returns in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens will be by committee, Coach Jim Zorn said. Antwaan Randle El, the Redskins' primary punt returner the last three seasons, will lead a group of four players vying for the job. Wide receivers Keith Eloi and Marques Hagans and running...

By Jason Reid  |  August 12, 2009; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
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Steinberg, on Haynesworth, Hall...and Much More

Over at the Bog, Dan Steinberg has been busy noticing stuff, particularly concerning stuffed shirt Tom Coughlin. Steinz noticed that Bob Glauber of Newsday interviewed Albert Haynesworth the other day about a couple of flirtations he had with the New York Giants and Coughlin. The words "notorious" and "taskmaster" come...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 12, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Mitchell Takes Relaxed Approach to NFL

Marko Mitchell is spending his time at Redskins training camp looking forward, trying to lock down a roster spot and elbow his way into a crowded wide receiver picture. But that didn't stop him last week from lamenting his college team's inability to play beat Colt Brennan's Hawaii Warriors, a...

By Bill Oram  |  August 12, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Alexander Waits for Role on Offense

Lorenzo Alexander played a key role on offense, defense and special teams during the Redskins' late-season run to a playoff berth in 2007. Last season, he was an effective pass-rush specialist as a defensive tackle. In camp this season, Alexander has primarily worked in the important tackle-end hybrid position that...

By Jason Reid  |  August 12, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
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Suisham Faces Challenge from Rayner

One of the more interesting position battles that begin with the preseason opener in Baltimore should be between kickers Shaun Suisham and Dave Rayner. Suisham will handle kickoffs and field goals in the first half and Rayner is scheduled to take over after halftime, special teams coach Danny Smith said....

By Jason Reid  |  August 12, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
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Position Battles Set to Officially Begin

It'll be a quiet day at Redskins Park today, with no media availability as the Redskins complete preparations for Thursday's preseason opener against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Still, there's plenty to discuss ahead of this game. Many key position battles will begin, including at Z receiver (flanker) between...

By Jason Reid  |  August 12, 2009; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
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It's More than a Game for Bugel

Okay, you've heard Greg Blache describe the defense in Jason Reid's previous post and you have no doubt how deeply the guy is into his job. On the other side of the ball, feelings are just as intense for the coach who runs the show on the offensive line. Joe...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 11, 2009; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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High Hopes for Defense

Expectations are high at Redskins Park about the team's defense, which was ranked No. 4 overall in 2008 and added Pro Bowl tackle Albert Haynesworth and impressive rookie end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo.

By Jason Reid  |  August 11, 2009; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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Portis, R. Thomas Not Likely to Play

Running back Clinton Portis and right guard Randy Thomas (knee) are not expected to play Thursday against the Ravens. Portis is not limited because of an injury, but Coach Jim Zorn said he probably would let him sit out the first preseason game. Thomas, who underwent knee and vertebrae surgery...

By Jason Reid  |  August 11, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
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Haynesworth Won't Play in Preseason Opener

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is scheduled to sit out the Redskins' preseason opener Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, which is no surprise. The other day, Haynesworth said he was pleased with the number of reps he had received to that point in camp and he did...

By Jason Reid  |  August 11, 2009; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
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Segal Visits -- and Shoots Down Vick Talk

The minute I saw agent Joel Segal chatting with Vinny Cerrato this morning under a tent at Redskins Park, I figured I would soon be sitting at my laptop typing this name: Michael Vick. Despite having been the first to report that Vick would not be joining the Redskins, I...

By Jason Reid  |  August 11, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
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Horton Richer, Thanks to C(olt)-Note

Most plays during training camp don't mean much, but Colt Brennan managed to throw a costly interception Tuesday morning - to the tune of $100. Brennan, trying to overtake Todd Collins as the Redskins' backup quarterback, made it through the first 12 days of camp without throwing a single interception,...

By Rick Maese  |  August 11, 2009; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Blache Expected to Take Questions (Updated)

Barring a change in the schedule, defensive coordinator Greg Blache is expected to address the media today in advance of Thursday's preseason opener against the Ravens. The dominant performance of the defense in camp has Redskins fans talking and I'm really curious to see how Blache plans to blend in...

By Jason Reid  |  August 11, 2009; 5:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (157)
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This Year, Secondary Should Get a Better Jump

Some Redskins defensive backs in recent seasons have privately bemoaned the team's lack of a consistent pass rush. Media and fan criticism about the secondary's relatively low interception totals irked some of its veteran members, who said it was difficult to jump routes when opposing quarterbacks could sit back in...

By Jason Reid  |  August 10, 2009; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
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Zorn: Team's Health 'Not to My Liking'

With just a couple of days left to prepare for their first preseason game against the Ravens in Baltimore, the Redskins are trying to figure which players belong on the field and which deserve a spot on the injured list. On Monday, Redskins Coach Jim Zorn said the current state...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 10, 2009; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (114)
 
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Rinehart on Last Year's Disappointment

Here are two words that will make you instantly click or "cybernavigate" to Dan Steinberg's D.C. SportsBog: butt burglar. Technically, Steinz's post is about Chad Rinehart and how he struggled last year. It turns out he dedicated himself to improving and shaping up, prompting Mike Sellers to say: "I'm just...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 10, 2009; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Randy Thomas Unfazed by Health Concerns

I was answering my e-mail while watching Todd Collins complete a nice ball to Malcolm Kelly at Redskins Park, and I noticed something as I scrolled down my BlackBerry: Many of you are really worried about Randy Thomas. I stopped counting the e-mails I've received about Thomas's physical condition, but...

By Jason Reid  |  August 10, 2009; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (140)
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Tryon Puts Rocky Rookie Season Behind Him

Cornerback Justin Tryon quickly got off to a rough start with the Redskins after being selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. In an introductory conference call with reporters, Tryon immediately inserted his foot into his mouth, making bold predictions about taking a starting job from one of...

By Jason Reid  |  August 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
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Counting Down to Preseason Opener (Updated)

Although their practices are no longer open to the public, the Redskins continue preparations today to kick off their preseason schedule Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Perhaps the biggest question -- it's one on which so much hinges -- is the offensive line, again. Coach Jim...

By Jason Reid  |  August 10, 2009; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
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Brown Reveals Rams' Haynesworth Strategy

Has St. Louis center Jason Brown figured out the secret to stopping Albert Haynesworth? He seems to think so. A friendly hat-tip to ESPN.com's Mike Sando for spotting this St. Louis radio appearance in which Brown said in pretty simple terms that Haynesworth, a two-time Pro Bowler, tires easily. Brown...

By Rick Maese  |  August 9, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
 
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Orakpo's Exceeding Expectations

The buzz about rookie defensive end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo continues to grow. In his first NFL training camp, Orakpo has exceeded expectations that were already high when the Skins selected him with the No. 13 overall pick. Orakpo often was unblockable during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage when he rushed the passer...

By Jason Reid  |  August 9, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
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One-on-One With Mike Williams

The last thing I wanted to hear early on a Sunday morning was that Big Mike Williams was looking for me. Williams has lost more than 70 pounds since he signed with the Skins in late April and is down about 100 pounds from his heaviest point, but he's still...

By Jason Reid  |  August 9, 2009; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
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Rogers, R. Thomas Return; Moss Uncertain

On Saturday, during the Redskins' scrimmage, injuries limited many players and kept some of them out of pads altogether. But on Sunday morning at Redskins Park, several were present at practice, helmet in tow - some even going full-speed for the first time in several days. Cornerback Carlos Rogers, who...

By Rick Maese  |  August 9, 2009; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Alridge, Dorsey Try to Hold On

Running backs Anthony Alridge and Dominique Dorsey are competing to make the Redskins' season-opening 53-man roster as special teams players. But coaches also are interested in having a change-of-pace speed back to complement top back Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, and Alridge and Dorsey have home-run potential, coaches said. But...

By Jason Reid  |  August 9, 2009; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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Redskins Hit the Practice Field (Updated)

Fan Appreciation Day means the end of training camp's public practices. The team, though, sticks with its schedule. They'll be practicing at 8:30 a.m. at Redskins Park; as @Keloi16 puts it: The tease is over so now back to our regularly scheduled programming! Breakfast with full pads, lunch with shells...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 9, 2009; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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