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The Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report

The Redskins are looking for some improvement on teams this week, particularly after their coverage units sagged last week in Seattle. Too often the Seahawks picked up chunks of yards on returns, and the Skins suffered from poor field position for much of the first half.

Several of Shaun Suisham's directional kickoffs have come up short and some have been fielded around the 20-yard-line. As he does every week Cartwright talked about some of the special teams issues facing this Redskins this week after Seattle's Josh Wilson got the best of them a few times.

"In some cases, not to take nothing away from Suisham, we called some of those directional kicks and he didn't get the ball over there," Cartwright said, "and sometimes when we don't do that you get guys crossing and doing the things we have to do, then you leave holes, and that's what happens, but that guy [Wilson] is a great returner and it's hard to stop him."

Special teams coach Danny Smith makes different kickoff calls in various situations, with the ball needing to be angled far enough outside the hashmarks and deep enough to allow the unit to get into place.

"Sometimes when we want a red kick or blue kick [different calls] we need the ball outside the numbers," Cartwright said, "and it's hard to do that. Not many kickers can do that, and Shaun's a great kicker and we definitely depend on him, and hopefully he can get things rolling again and we can continue to get better as a special-teams unit."

Cartwright said the coverage units were in correct position a fair amount of the time. "We did most of what we needed to do," Cartwright said, "and we roughed [Wilson] up a little bit and he knows that the Redskins' kickoff team is for real and he had some good returns, but in the end we won the game and that's what counts."

Cartwright said the Skins in general did a good job against this week's opponent, New York, in the season opener.

"The positives from that game were we had decent kickoff returns and we covered well on punts," Cartwright said, "but we're still looking for a big play on special teams. We really need a big play and if we get one, then I think it might give our offense a chance to score and give them better field position."

The Giants are very consistent on special teams, Cartwright said, with return specialist Domenik Hixon having a monster season.

"They're really basic at what they do," Cartwright said, "but they do it really well. I guess when you do something for a while over and over again you're going to get good at it, and that's pretty much what they've done. They pretty much run the same looks, but run different returns out of them. They're good at it and it's going to be a tough match-up for us.

"That Hixon guy, he's doing it, man. He had 180 yards on three returns last week, and he almost returned two of them [for touchdowns], and Ahmad Bradshaw [who also returns kicks] is a great player as well. He's flying down there on kickoffs and they've got a lot of guys doing their thing. We've got to bring our 'A' game if want to have a chance to win this football game."


Sean Taylor will be inducted into the Redskins' Ring of honor before Sunday's game and the Redskins ask that fans be in their seats by 12:30 for that. ... It's also Toys for Tots day. Toys should be new and unwrapped.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 27, 2008; 10:00 AM ET
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Posted by: bigmurf08 | November 27, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I still wake up crying every morning when I think about Sean. He was the finest Redskin ever to wear the uniform. I am convinced he could have become mayor of DC after his playing days. He was the ultimate family man and good neighbor. Few knew of his malfunctioning saliva glands that made it seem that he was spitting when he wasn't. But he kept that to himself. Even fewer knew he was close to achieving a major breakthrough in cancer research for the Sloan/Kettering Cancer Institute. It was supposed to revolutionize the way chemotherapy works. But it was not to be. I find it almost impossible to even attempt to carry on. It's like I lost my brother. Though I never even caught a glimpse of him other than on television, I just know he shared the same bond with me. Rage, rage against the dying of the not go gentle in to that good night.

Posted by: 70Chip | November 27, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy T-Day RI!!!! I recall last year feeling a bit embarrased shedding tears for a guy I never met, but I grew up in the parking lots of RFK on Sundays in the 80's. I spent that time then with my Dad, Grandfather, many cousins and the Redskins and of course 55,000 of my closest friends. So when this happened, I felt a close connection. Many people go through very tough things in their "real lives" and Sundays are 3 hours when you can let go of them a be a part of something else.

We'll miss you #21.... You will still be mentioned in the same breath of Ronnie Lott, b/c you brought that same fear in opposing players.



Posted by: michael_b_clegg | November 27, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

This actually brings up a very good point about Suisham. That point is "WHAT'S UP WITH HIS WEAK AZZ LEG?" I remember the chatter in pre-season about him and Frost talking about too much kicking during the week towards the end of last year and them having dead legs..... Looks like it's happening again. 2 FG's short in 2 weeks. Multiple kick offs not even making it to the 10 yd line. That's what kept Seattle in this ball game. Will someone please report on this!!!! Too many of our games come down to the last 4 min of the game and we're going to need his leg to make it into the playoffs.....

Posted by: michael_b_clegg | November 27, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Very sad ... I did have one comforting thought though ... its goes like this:

Sean Taylor to Mike Wise: "Hey, I saw you on TV killing our defensive line yesterday. ... but I'll give you a 30 second head start ... RUN!"

Posted by: dcsween

Thanks D. I needed that laugh this morning.


Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 27, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 27, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I recall last year feeling a bit embarrased shedding tears for a guy I never met

Big Mike you shoudl never feel embarrased about being human. You wasn't the only one crying and the world would be a better place if we put more value on person life even if we never met them.


Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 27, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying it isn't sad or that it isn't a tragedy. I'm saying get some perspective. This wasn't the death of Martin Luther King, or Jesus, or Ghandi, or Mother Teresa. This was the death of a football player that I didn't know but tell me what you would think about somebody who goes around spitting in people's faces, getting DUIs, getting arrested repeatedly, and assaults people with deadly weapons who didn't play football? That's not me judging the guy, those are facts of his life. Yeah when I was young I did some dumb things, they consisted of not paying enough attention in college cause I was having to much fun, they didn't consist of drunk driving, assault with a deadly weapon, or anything else I got arrested for and even with all that I'm not saying he was a terrible person. I'm saying I and majority of everyone else on here didn't even know the guy and to heap this kind of attention and adoration on him is ridiculous, leave that to the people that did actually know him and who were actually a part of his life, remember the things he did on the field don't be over dramatic about the rest of it and move you do about every other tragedy in life that doesn't involve a football player.

I played sports, I love sports, and I always will, but to me the tragedy is the level of reverence and adoration our society puts on the guys cause that play a game but get treated as deities when there are very few of them who are even above average decent members of society these days. Sean Taylor was a GREAT football player and a questionable man, by that I mean the spitting in the face of other players the beating people up with guns the DUIs and other assorted scraps with the law, the fact is we know nothing about the guy personally other than what has been reported to us or said by a bunch of his buddies that we don't know either and most of whom are rich spoiled thugs themselves but because they play a game well they are worshiped and you'd think this guy was the pope or something because apparently he was starting to be a decent guy and good father. Like Chris Rock says, you shouldn't get or want credit for something you're supposed to do, and you're supposed to be a decent guy, you're supposed to stay out of jail, and you're supposed to take care of your children. The only thing special about this guy was what he did on the field, and that doesn't deserve worship, and I'm sad for people who think it does.

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 27, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I just find it ridiculous to be this overboard about the passing of Sean Taylor when 4000+ have died in Iraq, millions die of cancer and Aids, millions are aborted by the minute, and people on here are all broke up about a guy that died over a year ago that they didn't know personally but watched him play a kids game for a few years and get so over dramatic about it. IMO its sad and deserves being noted, it is does not deserve poems, worship, a week's worth of memorialization or blog entries, a spot in the ring of honor with guys who earned it on the field not in potential, and life altering lengthy reflection by anybody other than his friends, family, and teammates.

Tell me, then, if Larry Johnson for the Chiefs (just a name of the top of my head) was killed tomorrow would you be this saddened over it? He is a young pro bowl football player in the prime of his career with a family who has had some recent trouble with the law but nothing approaching the level of ST. Would you give him the same grace and forgiveness as ST? Would you even care? Would this time next year you be sad and composing poetry to him? Why is it any different then? is the answer just cause ST played for the Skins? or is it cause he just seemed like a nicer dude than other people? What impact on your life did ST have that warrants this kind of remembrance and angst? Or what about Richard Collier the Jags guy who got shot 17 times? Or what about the Denver Bronco that was shot and killed, where are his poems? Did you know in three days its the anniversary of Evel Knievil's death how upset are you about that? I bet you a lot more people in this world know his name and saw him perform than ST so does that mean we should anoint him to sainthood?

Posted by: zjfr2 | November 27, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The best part of the story about the wide receiver is that the kid was signing some autographs by the end of the game - too funny.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanks for everything in the last year - found you all last year at this time and it was nice to be "with" people who understood how I felt. So, thank you.

Posted by: suzannepdc | November 27, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I repect your view zjfr2. However, one life is not more important than another life. No matter if he was a football player or not we all should feel the lost of a human life. The lost of a father who will never enjoy watching his child grow up. The lost of a child who will never truly enjoy the love of her father. None of us are without sin my friend. Not you, me, or anyone else on this planet.


Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 27, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

zjfr2 - I completely understand what you are saying. I honestly cannot understand why I began to cry reading the Amy Shipley article in the Post yesterday - I think there is just something about Jackie basically watching her fiance and father of her child die that gets to me. I think the fact that he was a Redskin (and not a Bronco or Jag) is definitely the reason that it still hurts a year later. As a fan who loves this team and can be a bit fanatical during the season, even here, a year later, you notice that ST is missing every Sunday. I catch myself thinking about our opponants's offense players and think that ST can contain them and realize that they cannot. Things effect people differently. For good or bad, Sean's death is more "personal" than people dying in Iraq or of AIDS because (luckily) that are people that are relatively unknown. I do find it strange that I am this sad about someone that I don't know, but he was one of my "Boys" and I think the sudden and senseless way he died makes a differnce too.

LeRoi Moore of the Dave Matthews Band died in August. I had 7th row seats to the show in Hershey, his second to last show, that I had to sell becuase I needed to go see my Mom before I moved to Houston - this still kills me. I have just been able to run to certain songs without getting distracted and sad. I know when I go to my first show next summer, a tear will be shed. Why? I don't know. I just know that he was one of the cogs in the wheel that is DMB and he rocks out the sax on one of my favorite songs and it kills me that I will never be a show to hear him to that again. Just one of those things. Some things stay with you longer.

Posted by: suzannepdc | November 27, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Sean Taylor was a great football player and a man striving to be better. There are many who did not have all of these nice things to say about him while he was alive. The lesson here is that there are many like him still alive, so let us be appreciative of those that are less than perfect.

Posted by: rickyroge | November 27, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: CindyBoren | November 27, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse


Great words.


I see the shallow, but perceived great point b/c of the use of so many words. I understand we've lost many young hero's in the Middle East and I have many family and friends that I've prayed for due to their positions in the Mid East.

However, this is a Redskins Blog. Many of us have many ties with the Redskins for many different reasons. Your point is taken and understood, but very misguided. Mike Wise's article was very fair the month prior to ST's death. The reason it was a fair article is b/c many of Redskins Nation wanted to know about the changed man. A man is judged by his actions. That I understand, but I do believe in lives changed due to the birth of one's child. So let go of your counter point today and let RI celebrate the player we all knew he'd once become.


Posted by: michael_b_clegg | November 27, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

its sad the man died the way he did,but i put him in the same category as vick,pac man,romanowski,etc...thugs

Posted by: pkmones5 | November 27, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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