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Marko Mitchell's Play Keeps Him in the Mix

Technically, there are still five players battling for the Redskins' fifth receiver spot -- Keith Eloi, D.J. Hackett, Marques Hagans, Marko Mitchell and Trent Shelton. Four of those players have combined for six preseason catches. The fifth, Mitchell, has five receptions by himself, including a pair of touchdowns. Has the seventh-round draft pick from Nevada separated himself?

"That's a good question," Coach Jim Zorn said Saturday. "I'm not sure about that yet, but he's definitely been impressive. He made a couple of really heads-up plays, strong catches, another one for a touchdown -- which he was excited about. ...

"One more game. He's going to be here next week to play again. We hope that he continues to show his improvements."

Mitchell's touchdown catch in Friday night's loss to New England came on a 33-yard fade route from Colt Brennan on which Mitchell made a nice adjustment to the ball and showed good footwork in sneaking into the corner of the end zone. Afterward, though, he preferred to talk about another play -- one that could go even further to earning him a spot on the roster, a downfield block that helped tight end Chris Cooley extend what ended up being a 73-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Jason Campbell in the second quarter.

"I'm more satisfied with the block than I am the TD," Mitchell said Friday night.

That is the kind of response that would likely please the coaching staff. Mitchell, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 218 pounds, had two catches for 40 yards Saturday and has shown that he is athletic and skilled enough to play in the NFL. He has five catches for 61 yards and the two scores in his three preseason games. Only second-year wideout Malcolm Kelly (six catches) has more receptions, and no Redskins wideout has a longer catch than Mitchell's 33-yarder from Brennan. Among the candidates for the fifth receiver slot, only Hackett -- a veteran signed early in training camp -- has more than one catch; he has three.

As much as he appears to be excelling, Mitchell said he was dissatisfied with his blocking against Pittsburgh, a game in which he caught a short fade pass from Chase Daniel for a touchdown.

"That's what I felt like I did terrible last week was in my blocking game," Mitchell said. "And this whole week, I've been working on it, working on it, working on it, trying to do better. I just hope that I did a lot better helping Cooley with that long grab."

Mitchell said he has had a difficult time adjusting to the intensity with which receivers in the NFL are expected to block. "We tend to take plays off when it's a running play so we can catch our breath," he said. That, of course, doesn't work at the pro level, and coaches notice.

"This time I was just trying to come off the ball hard -- harder -- to make sure I can get in front of my block to make sure I'm not just standing around looking at the game," Mitchell said. "You got to block totally different here in the NFL than you do in college. In college, it's easy for you to get up under their pads and everything. And here, guys, they're strong. Everybody's strong, so they can just push you off. You got to make sure you got the right hand placement."

Mitchell is also being evaluated for his play on special teams, with which he had been unfamiliar. Mitchell called his own performance on special teams -- on which he has played on punt and kick coverage -- "a work in progress." Zorn praised him Sunday for getting in on a tackle during kickoff coverage in the second quarter.

"He's starting to help in that area as well," Zorn said. "He's definitely in the mix."

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 29, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

No brainer.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Trevor Matich asked Blatche about the lack of a pass rush last night, and Blatch proceeded to rip Matich a new one...

It was a fair question, but I think it was one that BLatch was tired of answering. I think Matich could have asked the same question in a different way. I think what irked Blatch was that it sounded overly critical.

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. It would be foolish not to keep him. Guy can play, and shows all the signs of being a complete player in time. I'm impressed with how quickly he's taken to playing at the pro level.

Posted by: freakzilla | August 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Drew, wtf are you doin' in SLC?

Posted by: RedskinWillie | August 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

JASON CAMPBELL SUCKS!!! COLT BRENNAN SHOULD BE THE STARTER!!! BLAH BLAH BLAH

Where are you idiots now???

Posted by: Barno1 | August 29, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

If I were D' Hall, I will practice more often against Marko Mitchell. Mitchell has the height, body frame, speed and looks comparable to Randy Moss. For a quick second, I thought Randy Moss switched uniform looking at Marko Mitchell's performance. The guy is a beast. I will be the first to say he will make this team and he will contribute far beyond our expectations. Laron Landry is no Seaun Taylor. Colt? humble yourself and you shall prosper. Haynesworth is the man but not in a zone yet, and Orakpo had a taste of playing against a superior offensive line, same he will face on season opener agains the Giants.

Posted by: abxinc | August 29, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Whoever scouted Marko Mitchell should get a bottle of Dom P...

Anyway, I've been thinking...it's not that the Redskins have not had successful draft picks. No team has all their pick to make the team, the DIFFERENCE is that teams have been stockpiling picks longer than the SKINS. I don't criticize Cerrato for picks that don't pan out, I criticize Cerrato and Gibbs (oh, yes...Joe "Jesus" Gibbs) for giving away picks that can become your backups and depth. I judge Cerrato from the time since Gibbs left and it looks like we've got some yong talent.

Gibbs would probably cut Marko Mitchell

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As I said in an earlier post, The Block is what sealed his roster spot. Besides, playing devils advocate, Vinny will ensure another 7th rd'er is on this roster to continue to show his draft prowess. Which if Horton continues to grow and DT,Kelly and Fred Davis step up this year,... Vinny gets a lot smarter.

CLEGG

Posted by: michael_b_clegg | August 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Mitchell, while he is a liabiliy on coverage teams, would make a great insurance policy if he could step in and be that 6-4 jump ball guy if/when Malcom Kelley's knee swells up.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Stat on Soups from the 6-2 start last year.... 1700+ yds passing and a 99.5 Rating... all prior to OL losing it's health.. Soups is our QB. Embrace it!

CLEGG

Posted by: michael_b_clegg | August 29, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Devin looked good returning kicks. Two 30-yd returns, two touchbacks. We've seen Rock do this weekly though.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"Yesterday, someone laughed at the thought that Jason Campbell and the redskins' offense needed to take the Pats preseason game seriously."

Moe, if this was directed at me:

I never laughed at the thought of the players taking a preseason game seriously.

I laughed at people making proclamations about the team's regular season based on preseason "games".

Last year's "tune-up" against Carolina is all the proof you need.

Stay Medium AND Hungry

Posted by: Yoder-lay-hee-who | August 29, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Mitchell, while he is a liabiliy on coverage teams, would make a great insurance policy if he could step in and be that 6-4 jump ball guy if/when Malcom Kelley's knee swells up.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 2:52 PM

Really? He got in on one tackle last night and was the first one down the field on another (although he missed the runner)

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

In fact, Devin looks like a good runner period, picked up 8+ on that bubble screen too.

Is D Hall's ego to blame for the personal fouls? The late hit during the Steelers game wasn't too bad but was still stupid. Two 15-yards penalties, both of which occured on drive-ending 3rd down stops, both of which led to points scored.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

yoder

"Moe, if this was directed at me..."


Yoder--you my dawg.

I ain't got nothing but love.

I ain't directing nothing your way but dap.

I didn't mean to offend.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 29, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful pass by Matthew Stafford.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I think that Mason making the team really hinged on Devin's ability to run back kicks unless they keep 4 RB's. Roc is a locker room leader but does he separate himself enough from the pack on Kick returns or on returns team? I don't think so. He's not effective in the backfield either. No change of pace and we desperately need change of pace!!!!

CLEGG

Posted by: michael_b_clegg | August 29, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Mitchell, while he is a liability on coverage teams..."

Perhaps he'll be a reverse James Thrash: he'll learn to excel at special teams, while having a nack for being an above average wide receiver.

Moe was on the Marko Mitchell Bandwagon 1st.

Now, he's revving up the Chase Daniels wagon while the Antonio Dixon vehicle warms on the practice squad.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 29, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Jon Jansen looks pretty sorry in blue and silver.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I've eaten my share of crow the past couple of weeks.

No, before anyone else will, I'll eat this statement:

Vinny Cerrato is a crappy talent scout.

Yes, I know this is like pointing out Hitler's good points in this blog, but check out this list of names:

Chris Horton
Marko Mitchell
HB Blades
Kedric Golston
Anthony Montegomery
Stephon Heyer
Kareem Moore
Mike Sellars
Derrick Dockery
Jeremy Jarmon
Chris Wilson

But for Jarmon, these are all low round guys or cast offs who'll be value contributors this season.

Two of the players--Horton/Mitchell-would be scooped before nightfall the day the team let them go.

For every bonehead decision, there are some younger, low cost roster additions of guys whose hunger drives a team.

So we take back the claim that Vinny does a crappy job.

In fact, I'll say he hasn't been as bad has Hitler as doing it.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 29, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, I'll say he hasn't been as bad has Hitler as doing it.Posted by: MistaMoe"

In English please?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Mitchell, while he is a liabiliy on coverage teams, would make a great insurance policy if he could step in and be that 6-4 jump ball guy if/when Malcom Kelley's knee swells up.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 2:52 PM

Really? He got in on one tackle last night and was the first one down the field on another (although he missed the runner)

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I think they'll keep him. I just hope he's a fast learner (seems to be). That runner he missed was Chung, who returned the punt to our 23 yardline - game winning field goal. If Mitchell figures out he needs to break down then maybe he gets the guy running side to side instead of giving him an open lane.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | August 29, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Somebody compared Mitchell to Randy Moss -- no offense, but Moss is a whole other level of speed. Marko finished a very respectable 14th or thereabouts among WRs at the Combine -- around 4.49 if I remember correctly. Randy Moss probably hasn't run forty yards that slow since he was fifteen.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Mista...which leads me to my next question...

do ya'll think Cerrato had any control over personnel over Gibbs, because this recent trend of young talent is not what was here under Gibbs.

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Marko's upside is way too much to let go. No way even VC lets that guy out the door. With Kelly steppin' up, MM doesn't have to be a hero right now. If the playing time/situation indicates anything, Hackett, Eloi, et al better be HUGE at something this coming week.

Posted by: gufinufi | August 29, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Not even gonna address the Randy Moss/Marko Mitchell comparision...someone had too many Pabst Blue Ribbons....

anyway...

if Marko Mitchell pans out, it makes our future WR corps look brighter when Moss departs in a couple of years.

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Moe's Crows:

I respect a man who can reflect as you posted. A rare quality. Having said that, which do you see as being really good? Other than Horton (who I like), none are starters or likely to become such in the foreseeable future. That is not something for VC to brag about compared to what the Pats, Colts, Chargers and (just a)few others have done. I hate it, but we're still at the bottom of a 4 team division during VC's regime. He's got budjet. The needs (O-line) are widely known. Why are we looking up?

Posted by: gufinufi | August 29, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Heyer is a starter - my bad - but no Mark May or anything...most of us want an upgrade.

Posted by: gufinufi | August 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

this is why I advocate trading all other picks away aside from our 7th rders. We can find what we need in the 7th rd those other picks are just too pesky.

Mitchell looks more instinctive and polished than any of the other young wr's. If we stop evaluating his draft position and evaluate what he's doing he'd have a chance to be our Marcus Colston.

Thomas finally flashed last night showing some burst and elusiveness kick ofs might have finally loosened him up and allowed him to feel the flow of the game.

kelly's pathetic attempt on the fade needs work his body was in the wrong position on that play which should have been a td like the week before with Mitchell.

Posted by: jrwalkerivory | August 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mitchell has to be the one they keep.

Posted by: jmy999 | August 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Love this quote:

"I'm more satisfied with the block than I am the TD," Mitchell said Friday night.

All the other young WRs (and ARE) should take note...

Marko Mitchell is definitely on the team. The big the question is: Do the Skins keep five or six WRs?

BTW, ARE cannot be traded or cut -- his release fee is 13.5 million this year...

Posted by: siris | August 29, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

1 Campbell 2 Collins 3 Colt

1 Tana 2 Kelly 3 Marko 4 DT 5 ARE

1 CP 2 Betts 3 Marcus Mason 4 Aldridge

1 Sellers

1 Cooley 2 Davis (turn your head!) 3 Yoder

KR D Thomas PR Aldridge

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | August 29, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I love Markos play. I THINK he can be a Horton AFFECT on Offense for the Skins. He has huge upside and Vinny has to get props for finding him

Posted by: tjzukoski | August 29, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

so SkinsfaninKaneohe you think that there going to cut rock? i mean the guys is a spt leader. as four as the wide outs DT is filling that No.5 spot. i am not to sure that colt has a total hold on that 3 spot and lets be for real to we really want jessica simpson in our crowd? really, really. for the most campbell needs a break oout year last year we got a taste this yearhe needs to finish. MM is gonna make the team, if VC cuts him he need to be fired. all in all i think that we have a 10+ winning team. but that might just be me i might be a little bit fanish or maybe more foolish.

Posted by: MGDMaster21 | August 29, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Marko is not in Running every one else is chasing him. Like any rookie, he will make errors, but he seems to not make them twice (IE Blocking). I believe Kelly will be the #2, ARE in the slot, DT #4 and Marko 5, but by the end we may see Marko catch 25 balls this year. I am no expert (at least I admit it hint hint). I think that they will keep Rock one more year and maybe Mason but I think Aldrige and Dorsey are gone. Need Rock on Spec Teams.

Posted by: Deadfish | August 29, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

ROCK AND BETTS CAN GO! what do yall think ladell's trade value would be now.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 29, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Marko -- keep him and start him.

Posted by: mikeyboyo | August 30, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

We need Marko. He has shown me more than all the other WRs save for Moss. I think we need to cut Randal El and put one of the three - Kelly, Thomas or Marko in the slot. Then we can keep Eloi. This would give JC 2-4 big (6'0" - 6'4") WRs at anytime and I think would cause defenses some problems when we run 3 or 4 WR sets. I think it is time to cut Rock. We only use him on special teams. Remember when CP was hurt and Betts was starting over several games? Gibbs and VC went out and got T.J. Duckett because they really didn't see Rock as an every down back. In fact, I don't remember him really spelling Betts much. I do remember Rock complaining that the team didn't have much faith in his running. He is an expensive, albeit good, special teams player. Cut him and keep Mason and Dorsey on the active roster. Daniels to the practice squad and one more year of learning for Colt. These moves make the team a little younger, faster and cheaper.

Posted by: neil64 | August 30, 2009 5:34 AM | Report abuse

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