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Redskins Insider: August 16, 2009 - August 22, 2009

Special Teams Struggle Despite Big Plays

It was a night of mixed results for the Washington Redskins' special teams, which turned in two positive moments, but also struggled in kickoff return coverage. Two plays from coach Danny Smith's special teams unit led directly to points for Washington. Rock Cartwright kept the Redskins' opening drive going when...

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 22, 2009; 11:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Steelers Lead Redskins by 3 after 3

With Chase Daniel in at quarterback, the Redskins finally managed to score a touchdown, tying the score at 10-10. Daniel, the undrafted rookie out of Missouri, hit Marko Mitchell with a 3-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes, 27 seconds left in the third quarter. On the drive, Daniel completed 4...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 22, 2009; 9:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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Steelers Lead Redskins, 10-3, at Halftime

The Redskins have played six quarters of preseason football and they've yet to score a touchdown. They trailed 10-3 at half to the Steelers and failed to crack the 50-yard line in four second-quarter tries. Entering the second half, the Redskins are the only team in the league that has...

By Rick Maese  |  August 22, 2009; 9:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Redskins Trail Steelers, 7-3, after 1

After four scoreless quarters at Baltimore a week earlier, the Redskins scored their first points of the preseason on their first drive, courtesy of a 20-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. Despite the close first-quarter score - Steelers led 7-3 - it was not an especially productive 15 minutes for...

By Rick Maese  |  August 22, 2009; 8:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
 
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Scratches for Steelers-Redskins (Updated)

Anthony Alridge, Devin Clark and Mike Williams are out for the Redskins; Ben Roethlisberger and Chris Kemoeatu are out for the Steelers. Malcolm Kelly will start for the Redskins. Charlie Batch will start at QB for the Steelers. Doug Legursky replaces Kemoeatu. Frank Summers was a late scratch for Pittsburgh....

By Jason Reid  |  August 22, 2009; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
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Pass Protection's Still the Name of Game

When the Pittsburgh Steelers came to FedEx Field in Week 9 last season, the Redskins thought they were ready for a high-profile NFC-AFC matchup. Washington was 6-2 entering the game under rookie head coach Jim Zorn, and eager to measure itself against one of the other conference's best clubs. The...

By Jason Reid  |  August 22, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
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Redskins Face Tough Decision on Mitchell

Rookie wide receiver Marko Mitchell made a strong impression during training camp, which could prompt the Redskins to make a difficult decision. The team's seventh-round (243rd overall) draft pick out of the University of Nevada, Mitchell has made many highlight-tape catches in practices while drawing the ire of the Redskins'...

By Jason Reid  |  August 22, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
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GameDay: Steelers vs. Redskins

Barry Svrluga offers his analysis of the Steelers-Redskins preseason game, which kicks off at 7:30 tonight at FedEx Field. Other things you'll need to know if you're going to the game tonight: The Capital Weather Gang, featuring Jason Samenow, say the storms should pass in time for the game tonight...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 22, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Facing Long Odds, Young Tailbacks Keep Rolling

There are no nametags needed among the Redskins' running backs. This will be the sixth straight season the team's backfield rotation included Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Mike Sellers and Rock Cartwright -- not too encouraging for tailbacks in camp hoping to crack the 53-man roster. The young tailbacks' best hope...

By Bill Oram  |  August 21, 2009; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Smoot on Tryon: 'He'll Be Fine'

Second-year cornerback Justin Tryon was repeatedly beaten for long gains in last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache and secondary coach Jerry Gray made it clear to him he must play better, and they were encouraged by Tryon's performance in camp this week. Although veteran...

By Jason Reid  |  August 21, 2009; 4:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Daniel Ready To Get Back in the Game

Chase Daniel last played in a football game in December 2008. The last pass he attempted in a game was a winning touchdown in overtime of the Alamo Bowl. And the last time Daniel participated in a game he did not start was 2005, his freshman season at Missouri. Daniel,...

By Zach Berman  |  August 21, 2009; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Blache Expects Even More From Landry

LaRon Landry has started every game of his NFL career, all 32 of them. Not many players, even those taken in the top six picks in the draft (Landry was sixth out of LSU in 2007), can make such a claim. But defensive coordinator Greg Blache now believes Landry should...

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 21, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Betts Expected to Again Have a Big Role

Clinton Portis has said he is fine with whatever role backup running back Ladell Betts has in the offense each season. Well, it appears Portis will have an opportunity to prove it this season. Coach Jim Zorn has expanded Betts's responsibilities, making him the primary running back on third downs....

By Jason Reid  |  August 21, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (131)
 
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Previewing Preseason Game 2

He survived the takeout larvae soup he got from an Ashburn establishment the other day, then made a daring escape from his undisclosed location, just in time to appear on "Washington Post Live" on Comcast SportsNet. Ladies, gentlemen and Jack's kids, Jason Reid: Today's schedule calls for no media access...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 21, 2009; 7:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
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A Bounty of Towels for 50,000 Fans

Redskins fans surely haven't forgotten the last time the Steelers came to town. Coaches and players can't shake the maddening image of twirling yellow towels, either. But team officials have concocted a plan to sure no one experiences a repeat Saturday night when the Steelers return. To make sure FedEx...

By Rick Maese  |  August 21, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Players Welcome End of Camp

If you think that's not a big deal, even to the guys who have been through this time and again, consider the way the last two-a-day practice ended Thursday afternoon at Redskins Park.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 20, 2009; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
 
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Steelers Find This Plot Twist Stinks

Coach Grinch! Picture those poor Pittsburgh Steelers, all excited about the prospect of getting a morning off from two-a-days and being taken to the movies, just like that nice Mr. Cowher had always done during training camp. So when Mike Tomlin ordered the buses to line up at Saint Vincent...

By Cindy Boren  |  August 20, 2009; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Starters Will Play Until Zorn Sees 'Production'

The Redskins' first-team offense could play early into the second quarter or until Coach Jim Zorn sees enough "production" Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. Quarterback Jason Campbell and Washington's other starters were on the field for two series during last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore...

By Jason Reid  |  August 20, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (182)
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Montgomery, Golston Likely to Be Busy (Updated)

With the addition of a Pro Bowl player in defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, young defensive linemen Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston are expected to play less than they did last season. Obviously, the Redskins would prefer to have Haynesworth on the field as much as possible, and Cornelius Griffin is...

By Jason Reid  |  August 20, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
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Hall Steps Into Springs's Role (Updated)

Veteran cornerback Shawn Springs played in only nine games last season because of calf and hamstring injuries, and some fans were upset about his part-time schedule. Based on the high number of negative email I received regarding Springs, his departure to the New England Patriots in free agency was well...

By Jason Reid  |  August 20, 2009; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
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Punt Coverage Jobs Are Still Unsettled

With the addition of veteran punter Hunter Smith, the Redskins expect punt coverage to improve significantly this season. In the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Smith had much better distance and hang time on his punts than the team's punters last season, Durant Brooks and Ryan Plackemeier. Regardless of...

By Jason Reid  |  August 20, 2009; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
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It's Battle of the Kickers, Part II

A leader has not yet emerged in the position battle between kickers Shaun Suisham and Dave Rayner, but that could change Saturday when the Redskins play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. Because of the team's poor performance on offense in last week's 23-0 loss to Baltimore, Suisham...

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (107)
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Doughty Will Have Major Role

Even if Chris Horton starts at strong safety, Reed Doughty is expected to play a major role on defense and special teams. "He's always been a [John] Havlicek for us," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "He has no problem coming off the bench, being that sixth guy, making plays, helping...

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
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Tryon, Blache Go Back to Drawing Board

Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache conducted his weekly media gab session after the morning practice, and he was as insightful and colorful as usual. The poor performance of second-year cornerback Justin Tryon in last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens was among many topics Blache covered. Tryon has impressed in...

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (148)
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Daniels Sits After Having Knee Drained

Phillip Daniels says he will play Saturday, but missed the morning practice after having his knee drained.

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (88)
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Cooley Sidelined by Back Spasms (Updated)

Tight end Chris Cooley sat out the morning practice with back spasms but expects to return to practice Thursday.

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
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Davis Determined to Keep Coaches' Trust

No player has had to work harder to gain the trust of the coaching staff than pass-catching tight end Fred Davis. As a rookie, the former Southern California all-American caused a stir when he missed the final day of the 2008 minicamp and had to be located by team security...

By Jason Reid  |  August 19, 2009; 10:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
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Cooley, Daniels and Morning Update

For the morning practice, the team is in pads, although Chris Cooley and Phillip Daniels are not. It looks as if Cooley, who rarely misses practice, might have a morning of sidework ahead of him. Anthony Alridge started the morning on the stationary bike....

By Rick Maese  |  August 19, 2009; 9:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Player Rep Advises Redskins to Save Up

Whether it's rhetoric or not, the NFL Players Association's top boss told reporters this week he expects owners to impose a lockout.

By Rick Maese  |  August 19, 2009; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Moore Trying to Develop

Washington Redskins safety Kareem Moore played from the second quarter to the end of the game in last Thursday's preseason opener loss at Baltimore, and the second-year defensive back's development over the next few weeks could be worth watching.

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 18, 2009; 5:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
 
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Smoot's Like a Rookie Again

After eight seasons, Fred Smoot is a rookie all over again. The cornerback is working extensively at free safety for the first time in his career as the Redskins seek to have quality depth behind starter LaRon Landry. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache intends for Smoot to fill the role cornerback...

By Jason Reid  |  August 18, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
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Mike Williams Keeps 'Chopping' Weight Down

(updated 6:22 p.m.) Big Mike Williams weighed in this week at 339 pounds, which means he has lost 111 pounds in six months. Regardless of what he does on the field this season for the Redskins, that's some impressive work right there. "We're just chopping it on down, and it's...

By Jason Reid  |  August 18, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (163)
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Taking the Measure of New Pass-Protection Rules

Let me begin by saying that, for the most part, I trust Jim Zorn. Of all the coaches and managers I've covered in my career, I believe Zorn, more than any other, strives to be honest in his assessment of things when speaking with the media. I qualify this only...

By Jason Reid  |  August 18, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
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Wilson in Transition (Updated)

At 6 feet 4, 247 pounds, Wilson was considered undersized for a defensive end and had been used sparingly as a situation pass rusher in his first two seasons with the Redskins.

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 18, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Haynesworth Likes Line's Potential

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and I were talking recently about the Redskins' defensive line and he thinks it could be the league's most formidable. That line is expected to be on display for the first time when Haynesworth plays Saturday against the Steelers. "We've got a lot of talent and...

By Jason Reid  |  August 18, 2009; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
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Frustration Over Poor Effort

Coach Jim Zorn expressed his frustration about the poor effort many of the team's young players exhibited in last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

By Jason Reid  |  August 17, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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Portis Expected to Play

Top running back Clinton Portis is expected to make his preseason debut Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field.

By Jason Reid  |  August 17, 2009; 6:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Let the Hazing Begin

The first rookie hazing during Washington Redskins training camp took place after Monday afternoon's practice session, with cornerback Kevin Barnes and linebacker Robert Henson rounded up and tied to a goalpost by veteran defensive players.

By Paul Tenorio  |  August 17, 2009; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Orakpo Continues to Impress Coaches

Rookie defensive end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo continued to impress as a hand-down rusher in last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Ravens tackles struggled to slow the speedy Orakpo, holding him often as he displayed a variety of moves. Linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti also was satisfied with Orakpo's performance...

By Jason Reid  |  August 17, 2009; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
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Haynesworth Expects to Play Saturday

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth expects to play Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. "I'd like to," Haynesworth said. "I like to get in three games [in the preseason]. I like to be at full speed when the season starts, so three games is good for...

By Jason Reid  |  August 17, 2009; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (170)
 
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Alridge Plans to Practice Tuesday

As the Redskins practiced on the fields below, Anthony Alridge emerged from the team's facility Sunday, sat in the shade and watched his teammates from afar. "It's killing me not being out there with them," he said. Alridge hasn't been on the field since spraining a toe during the team's...

By Rick Maese  |  August 17, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Smith's Progress Is on Target

Hunter Smith punted nine times in Washington's 23-0 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "I don't like to punt that much 'cause it means we're not moving the ball," said Smith, who recalled punting only nine times in the entire 2008 preseason as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. "But...

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
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Much Ado about 140-Character Messages

My new partner on the beat, Rick Maese, is sitting next to me working on an old-fashioned newspaper story about the Redskins' Twitter/blogging policy that was changed a few hours ago. Reporters no longer are permitted to tweet or blog from the field during practice. We were allowed to blog...

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2009; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
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Redskins Spell Out Their Twitter Policy

The Redskins announced Sunday that media organizations covering the team can no longer use Twitter to report updates from the team's preseason practices. "We, like other teams, are concerned about the type of information that's being reported during practice," said team spokesman Zack Bolno. He said the Redskins don't want...

By Rick Maese  |  August 16, 2009; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Portis: Redskins Made Too Many Mistakes

For all the criticism the offense has taken since putting up zero points last week against the Ravens, it's probably worth noting that the Redskins' most reliable offensive weapon wasn't in pads. Clinton Portis was a healthy scratch for the preseason opener, which means he watched the game from the...

By Rick Maese  |  August 16, 2009; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Thomas, Kelly: 'Almost Like We're Same Person'

Second-year wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly have been linked since the first day of the 2008 draft. The Redskins selected Thomas and Kelly with two of their three second-round picks (pass-catching tight end Fred Davis also was chosen in that round), and the wideouts' names often were mentioned...

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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Redskins Ban Twittering from Field

Zack Bolno just came into the press room to lay down the Redskins' new edict about no more Twittering from the field. I'm not surprised this happened. Actually, I figured it would happen a few weeks ago. My guess, however, is that this isn't the end of the issue. Stay...

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2009; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
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Hall, Mitchell Tangle in More Intense Practice

Just two days after Coach Jim Zorn said some of his players were "soft" in the Redskins' preseason opener, the intensity level was noticeably higher at Sunday morning's practice at Redskins Park. Players' tempers matched the rising temperature, as the first fight of the preseason broke out during a team...

By Rick Maese  |  August 16, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Kelly Is Making Strides

He only had three catches for 25 yards. And on a third-down reception Thursday in the Redskins' preseason opener against Baltimore, Malcolm Kelly did not run a route deep enough to extend a possession. The second-year wide receiver, however, displayed some of the skills that could provide a major boost...

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2009; 6:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
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