Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nats Ink DeRosa

Today, the Washington Nationals made it official that the franchise has signed Mark DeRosa to a one year major league contract. DeRosa can play both infield and outfield positions.

DeRosa, who's played for six different organizations since entering the MLB in 1998 (Braves, Cubs, Indians, Cardinals, Giants), has spent the past two seasons with the San Francisco Giants. In 2011, he hit .279 with 12 RBIs and an on base percentage of .351. He has hit 93 home runs over his career.

DeRosa can play all over the diamond. He has spent much of his time at third base, but has experience in the outfield. Since 2009, DeRosa has only committed four errors in the field. In 21 games at left field in 2010, DeRosa was 31-31 in terms of put-outs and had a fielding percentage of 1.00.

DeRosa will be productive where ever the Nationals decide to put him. I would expect him to be spending most of his time in the outfield or second base since the Nationals have Ryan Zimmerman at third and Michael Morse/Adam LaRoche at first base.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fletcher Gets Snubbed

Today, the NFL announced the NFC and AFC Pro Bowl teams. Surprisingly, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was not on that list.

Fletcher leads the NFL in tackles this season with 163 total tackles. Fletcher was beat out by the Bear's Brian Urlacher and 49er's Patrick Willis.

Willis is currently listed as the starter at inside linebacker for the NFC team. Willis has 93 tackles to go with 4 forced tackles and 1 interception. Willis has just two sacks and has recovered 2 fumbles. His back-up, Brian Urlacher, currently has 92 tackles with no forced fumbles and only 3 interceptions. Urlacher has zero sacks and has recovered 2 fumbles.

Let's look at London Fletcher's stats.

This season, Fletcher has totaled 163 tackles with 3 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. Fletcher has also recorded 2 sacks.

Fletcher has also been solid in his pass defense, as well. To go along with his is two interceptions, he has deflected 8 passes. Meanwhile, Willis deflected 12 and Urlacher only deflected 7.

Brian Urlacher has not had the Pro Bowl year that was expected of him. I agree with voting Patrick Willis to the Pro Bowl, he has had a stellar year with the 49ers. But, Urlacher should not be selected before London Fletcher.

Former Redskins defensive end Andre Carter (Patriots) and defensive back Carlos Rogers (49ers) were both named to their respective teams starting Pro Bowl rosters.

Redskins Promote WR, Cut RB

ESPN 980 reported this morning that the Washington Redskins have promoted wide receiver Aldrick Robinson from the practice squad to the 53 man game roster.

This also means that one player must be removed from the game roster. It was also reported today that the Redskins have released running back Ryan Torrain.

In the 2011 draft, the Redskins selected Robinson in the 6th round out of Southern Methodist University. In his senior year for the Mustangs, Robinsons totaled 65 receptions for 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns. In early September, he was released and signed onto the practice squad where he has been ever since.

The release of running back Ryan Torrain does not come as that much of a shock. After having a break out season in 2010, the Redskins then drafted Roy Helu Jr and Evan Royster. Both have turned out to be top caliber running backs. Torrain also had a major set-back when he suffered a hamstring injury and has not been the same since. He was eventually demoted to fourth string behind Helu, Royster, and Tim Hightower at the start of this season.

Do not be surprised if Robinson makes his way onto the field for a couple of snaps in this weekend's game against the Eagles. He must have shown the Shanahans enough in practice this whole season in order to bring him up. They could also be looking to see if Robinson has what it takes to be productive in this system.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Redskins Injury Report

CSN Washington reported today that there were a few Redskins that did not practice today and may miss Saturdays game against the Vikings.

Roy Helu Jr was once again limited in practice today. To go along with Helu, offensive tackle Jamal Brown (groin), linebacker London Fletcher (ankle), and Mike Sellers (elbow) did not complete a full practice.

There were a few Redskins that were able to fully participate in practice today, however. Defensive end Stephen Bowen (knee), punter Sav Rocca (ankle), and cornerback Josh Wilson (head) all completed a full practice today.

To go back to the three that were limited, I would expect only one of them to start on Saturday. When the Redskins final injury report comes out, Brown and Helu will mostly be listed as questionable. I have no doubt that London Fletcher will be on the field at the start of Saturday's game.

Sean Locklear will most likely get the start at right tackle if Brown can't play. Locklear has seen playing time at both tackles this season and has played well. The battle in the trenches will be on the left side between defensive end Jared Allen and left tackle Willie Smith. Locklear will see blitzes much of the game to try to get Allen matched up on Smith 1-on-1.

If Roy Helu is unable to play on Saturday, rookie Evan Royster will be receiving a majority of the handoff's. Royster's role in the offense has grown over the past few weeks. He has seen more and more snaps and received more and more carries. To back up Royster, the Redskins will likely have Ryan Torrain up and ready to roll.

Nats Get Their Ace

CSN Washington reported today that the Washington Nationals have made a trade with the Oakland A's to acquire Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals had to give up an awful lot to make the deal, however.

The Nationals had to give up four players for the ace. Catcher Derek Norris, right-handed pitchers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, and left handed pitcher Tommy Milone were all traded to the A's in order to complete the deal.

The four players that the Nationals gave up to get Gonzalez were considered by many to be cornerstones of the Nationals farm system. In 3 appearances (2 starts), Peacock totaled a .75 ERA and Cole finished the season 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA for Class A Hagerstown. Milone finished the season 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 155-16 strikeout to walk ratio at Class AAA Syracuse.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has finally found that ace that they have been looking for to go along with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. What makes this even sweeter is that these three will be around for at least 4 years since Zimmermann will not be eligible for free agency until 2016 and Strasburg until 2017.

Gonzalez, 26, brings a solid first or second starter in the rotation. Over the past two seasons, Gonzalez has gone 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA and averaging 184 strikeouts per season. He was also in 2011.

The coming seasons look solid for the Nationals. With Gonzalez, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Wang, and Lannan looking as though they could be the rotation, the Nationals are poised to rise to the top in terms of pitching.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nats Get Infiedler

Mark Zuckerman reported today that the Washington Nationals have claimed infielder Carlos Rivero off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies.

At 23, he spent this past season playing in the Phillies farm system. In 136 games at third base between Class AA Reading and Class AAA Lehigh Valley, he batted .260, hit 16 home runs, had 71 RBIs, and had an on-base percentage of .326.

Standing tall at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 200 pounds, Rivero is expected to bring a little power to the plate. Rivero has been immediately added to the Nationals 40-man roster and will compete for a spot on the bench this coming spring.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Redskins Add DE, TE

Chuck Carroll of Football News Now reported this morning that the Washington Redskins have promoted defensive end Doug Worthington and tight end Rob Myers off the practice squad and onto the game squad.

The team traveled this weekend with just 52 players (game roster can have up to 53). One of the vacant spots came from LaRon Landry being put on IR. The other spot opened up due to the recent release of tight end Dominique Byrd this morning.

Doug Worthington was originally a seventh round draft pick by the Steelers back in 2010. He saw some action throughout the preseason and the Redskins were impressed enough to sign him to the practice squad. In his senior year for The Ohio State, Worthington tallied 42 tackles and 2 sacks.

The Redskins also promoted tight end Rob Myers to the game squad. Myers first jumped into the league in 2009 as an undrafted free agent signing by the New York Jets. He played along side of Chris Cooley's brother, Tanner, at Utah State. In 2007, Myers had 21 receptions for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns for Utah State. In his final collegiate game, he had 4 receptions for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I would not expect these two to become corner stones of the offense or defense. The reason the franchise decided to bring them up could possibly be due to the fact that they have progressed enough and worked hard enough to earn a spot. We could certainly expect Rob Myers to see some game action due to the major lack of depth on the Redskins game roster at the tight end spot.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nationals Add Outfielder

It was announced today that the Washington Nationals have signed outfielder Mike Cameron to a minor league deal.

At 39, Cameron is not expected to be the Nationals long term answer to their problem in center field. One report even said he is only expected to play one full season with the organization before retiring and becoming a mentor for the ball club. Cameron may not even make the opening day roster.

The reason the Nationals did not go out and sign a young big name free agent center fielder is because they have their own superstar in their farm system. Bryce Harper is expected to take over in the outfield when he makes his jump to the major leagues.

Cameron was once a marquee name in the baseball world. He is a three-time Gold Glove winner, but, his play and health has fallen off in recent years. Since 2010, Cameron played 81 games with the Boston Red Sox where he hit .219 with seven home runs. He was traded to the Marlins where his numbers did not improve.

In 17 season in the MLB, Cameron has played for eight different franchises: White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox, and Marlins. He has a career .249 batting average with an on base percentage of .338 and 278 home runs.

Don't expect Cameron to be around for very long with the Nationals. At 39, his playing days are numbered. Right now, he is just expected to fill the time between now and when Bryce Harper finally makes his jump into the major league.

Redskins vs Giants: Game Balls

Yesterday, the Redskins had a few players step up and do a little extra to help the team to a 23-10 thrashing of the New York Giants. No, this doesn't include Roy Helu Jr, Rex Grossman, or Santana Moss. This is a list of players that we don't particularly hear about and one player you may have never heard of at all.

Game Ball #1: WR Jabar Gaffney
Yesterday, Gaffney played one of his best games of the season. Gaffney was all over the field making key blocks on running plays and making spectacular catches on third downs to keep drives alive. While he did not catch a touchdown, he was the teams leading receiver with 6 receptions for 85 yards. Gaffney has had a quietly spectacular season for the Redskins. He has totaled 58 receptions for 842 yards and 4 touchdowns. If there was ever an offense player for the Redskins that should have a statement for the Pro Bowl, it should be Gaffney.

Game Ball #2: CB Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson had a key interception early in the fourth quarter. The Gaints were driving down the field and cutting through the Redskins defense like a hot knife through butter. Eli Manning threw a deep pass to the back corner of the endzone and Josh Wilson went up and made an incredible interception and then toe tapped the endzone to complete the catch. That play ended the Giants scoring threat and all but ended their hopes of winning the game. To go along with that key interception. Wilson tallied 4 solo tackles and 3 pass deflections. One of his pass deflections came against Hakeem Nicks and it seemingly broke the Giants rhythm on offense in the fourth quarter.

                Game Ball #3: LT Willie Smith
Yesterday, Willie Smith got his first official start in a Redskins uniform. The undrafted rookie free agent out of East Carolina University took the opportunity and made the most of it. He had the always difficult task of defending Rex Grossman's blind side. The 6'6" tackle played a wonderful game for the Redskins. As a unit, the Redskins offensive line gave up just one sack to a Giants pass rush that has been deadly all season long. Smith also opened up the hole for fullback Darrel Young to plow into the endzone and score the teams second touchdown. If I were Trent Williams, I would be worried about my job right now.

So there you have it! Three players that played exceptionally better than they have played all season long. Gaffney has been a staple for the Redskin offense but Willie Smith proved that he deserves a spot on this team. Josh Wilson was clutch and showed that he has soft hands in the back of the endzone.

Photos from top to bottom: Jabar Gaffney lines up to run a play (Photo: Josh Wilson celebrates his fourth quarter interception (Photo: yahoo! Willie Smiths Redskins profile picture (Photo:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Redskins vs Giants: Gameplan Revisited

Congrats to the Washington Redskins for completing a season sweep of the New York Giants. The Redskins were finally able to put it all together and defeated the Giants 23-10 in East Rutherford this afternoon. The Redskins did a lot of things right. Let's see how they fared with today's gameplan.

"If Roy Helu Jr and Rex Grossman (left) can repeat their performances that they had against the Patriots, the Redskins will have a great chance at being successful."

Santana Moss catches TD. (Photo:
While Roy Helu Jr did not quite repeat his 100 yard performance that he had against the Patriots, his presence still made him just as lethal. Helu did manage to convert multiple key first downs and was still a focal point of the Redskins offense. Rex Grossman had another solid day. After starting the game by throwing more passes to the Giants than the Redskins, Grossman battled and out performed Eli Manning today. Grossman finished 15-of-24, with 185 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and a passer rating of 65.5.

"Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus will have to be rock solid on the edges to protect Rex Grossman."

Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus were the most rock solid tackles that the Redskins have started all year (and yes, that includes Trent Williams). Willie Smith did a fantastic job against Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul finished the day with just one sack. Smith also opened up the hole for the Redskins second touchdown when Darrel Young scored on a fullback hand-off. The Giants only got to Grossman once today for a sack.

"It will be up to OJ Atogwe and Reed Doughty to hold it down in the secondary."

O.J. Atogwe, 20, returns a pick. (Photo:
Reed Doughty stepped up in a big way today. He was the teams third leading tackler with seven overall tackles. He also came up and stopped Brandon Jacobs on a key second down play in the fourth quarter. If Doughty had not have made that tackle, Jacobs could still be running right now. O.J. Atogwe finished with 6 total tackles, 2 pass break-ups, and 1 interception. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson also had interceptions.

"Brian Orakpo (right) and Ryan Kerrigan will need to pin their ears back like they did week one and get after Manning in order to help out a less than impressive secondary."

Oh yeah! I'd say they showed up today. Ryan Kerrigan had a clutch fourth and goal sack today that forced the Giants to give the ball back to the Redskins. Brian Orakpo also contributed with a fourth quarter sack of his own. Orakpo finished with 2 total tackles and Kerrigan finished with 3 total tackles.

"The offensive line for the Redskins will have to step up and slow down the Giant (no pun intended...?) front seven." 

The offensive line for the Redskins had their marquee game this week. They only allowed one sack (they did give up 8 hits on the QB) and paved the way for 123 yards rushing. The Giants only managed to make 4 tackles for loss. The Redskins defense tallied 6 tackles for loss.

The Redskins were finally able to put it all together today and defeated the New York Giants in East Rutherford. This was the first time since 1999 that the Redskins have swept the New York Giants.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Redskins vs Giants: Gameplan

This week the Redskins travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants in an NFC East rematch. In week one, these two teams squared off at FedEx Field with the Redskins coming out on top 28-14. These two teams have dramatically changed since then. The Redskins come into this game going just 1-8 since the bye week and the Giants are 3-4 since their bye week. There are a few things that the Redskins will need to do if the want to duplicate their week one success. Let's break it down!

Surprisingly, the Redskins rank 12th in the NFL in yards passing (237.9). The Giants have the 29th best pass defense (263.7). The Giants also have a rush defense that ranks 22nd in the NFL. As crazy as this might sound, the Redskins have a legitimate chance at winning tomorrow. If Roy Helu Jr and Rex Grossman (left) can repeat their performances that they had against the Patriots, the Redskins will have a great chance at being successful.

The offensive line played well against a good Patriot pass rush. The Giants, however, have a great pass rush. Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus will have to be rock solid on the edges to protect Rex Grossman.

Special Teams
What?! These are important, too! Brandon Banks is a game changer that hasn't changed very many games this season. The Giants just recently blocked a would-be game winning field goal against the Cowboys. Specials Teams are important. If Brandon Banks gets a few more blocks, he could be off to the races in no time.

The Redskins are playing Eli Manning and he is always on his game. The secondary is missing a key piece of the puzzle (LaRon Landry) and another piece (DeAngelo Hall) seems to be more interested in how he looks than how he plays. It will be up to OJ Atogwe and Reed Doughty to hold it down in the secondary. Brian Orakpo (right) and Ryan Kerrigan will need to pin their ears back like they did week one and get after Manning in order to help out a less than impressive secondary.

Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are the staples of this Giant offense. Rocky McIntosh and London Fletcher are going to have bring it all when they go to tackle these two. They run low and hard and hit like tanks.

The offensive line for the Redskins will have to step up and slow down the Giant (no pun intended...?) front seven. This line is full of players that have been just thrown to the wolves. It is now time to see how they respond after getting a full week of practice together.

I think the Redskins put up another good fight: Redskins: 27, Giants: 23.

Redskins: Injury Update

CSN Washington reported yesterday that the Washington Redskins will be without right tackle Jamal Brown and fullback/tight end Mike Sellers. The team is also without safety LaRon Landry (Achilles), left tackle Trent Williams (suspension), and tight end Fred Davis (suspension) for the rest of the season.

For a third straight day, Sellers and Brown did not practice with the team yesterday. With that in mind, Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided that they would not be active for this weekends game against the Giants.

In warm ups against the Patriots, Jamal Brown re-injured his groin. Sellers hyper extended his right elbow while covering a kickoff in the first half.

Filling the void at right tackle for a second straight week will be Tyler Polumbus. Against the Patriots, Polumbus did a solid job at holding his blocks and giving Rex Grossman time to throw the football. He also did a good job at opening up running lanes for Roy Helu Jr.

Filling in at the tight end spot will be Dominique Byrd. Logan Paulsen is slated as the starting tight end and Byrd will see time when the Redskins go to a two tight end formation. The Redskins also have Richard Quinn that could see action Sunday.

The Redskins do expect Stephen Bowen (knee), safety Reed Doughty (rib), linebacker London Fletcher (ankle), punter Sav Rocca (ankle), and reciever Donte Stallworth (ankle) to play this Sunday against the Giants.

Nationals add Four

Chase Hughes of CSN Washington reported this week that the Washington Nationals have added four players to their farm system. The ball club added infielders Jarrett Hoffpauir and Andres Blanco, outfielder Jason Michaels, and pitcher Waldis Jaoquin.

Infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir, 28, has had some playing time at the major league level. In 2009, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals and then played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. In 21 career games, he has a .217 average.

The other infielder that the Nationals have acquired is Andres Blanco from Venezuela. The 27 year old first signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2000. Along with the Royals, Blanco has played with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs throughout his six seasons in the MLB. In 36 games with the Rangers last season, Blanco had a .224 batting average with 2 home runs and 3 runs batted in (RBI). In 235 career games, he holds a .255 average.

Outfielder Jason Michaels, 35, spent much of last season with the Houston Astros before having hand surgery in September. In 1999, he was drafted in the fourth round of the MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Something to note, while with the Phillies, Michaels had behavior problems as he was arrested for assaulting a police officer in 2005.

Pitcher Waldis Jaoquin, 24, has spent three seasons at the major league level with the San Francisco Giants. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Jaoquin as appeared in 19 career games with 21.2 innings pitched and an ERA of 5.40.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Redskins Have Holes

With the latest news that the Redskins will be missing starting safety LaRon Landry and starting left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins will need to find quality players to fill those voids.

Landry has already missed five games this season (Achilles) and could likely miss the rest of the season due to this groin injury. Reed Doughty has stepped in to fill the void.

Even though the Redskins have been missing their star safety, they still rank in the top 10 in the NFL in pass defense. That could sure change, however, when the Redskins take on Tom Brady and his star studded Patriot offense this weekend.

In five games this season, Landry has accounted for 48 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble and fumble recovery. Reed Doughty has also played five this season and has recorded similar numbers. Doughty has totaled 59 total tackles and 1 forced fumble and recovery. While Landry has been out, Doughty has been a good fill in the safety spot.

The Redskins will also be without starting tight end Fred Davis for the rest of the season. Davis and Trent Williams violated the leagues drug policy and were both suspended for the remainder of the regular season.

Taking Davis's spot will be two year veteran Logan Paulsen. Paulsen, from UCLA, has 7 receptions for 95 yards. Another player that could make an appearance at the tight position is Dominique Byrd. Byrd, from USC, has been in the league for 3 years with the Seattle Seahawks before the Redskins acquired him this season.

The place that is not fairing so well with the absence of the starter is left tackle. In 10 games this year, Trent Williams has been solid. He has only allowed 3 sacks. This point last season he had allowed at least double that number. Currently filling that void is 4 year veteran Tyler Polumbus. In his first game this year, Polumbus allowed a sack.

This week in practice, however, rookie Willie Smith and veteran Sean Locklear have been sharing reps at left tackle.

The left side of the line could be the biggest wrinkle in the Redskins offense this week. If Smith gets the nod, he will be starting along side fellow rookie Maurice Hurt at left guard.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nats Swap Pitchers reported this evening that the Nationals have traded right handed reliever Collin Balester to the Tigers in return for Ryan Perry.

A reason for the trade could be the roster flexibility that it provides. Balester will be out of options and thus will not be able to be sent to the minors. Perry, on the other hand, still has one option year remaining and can still be designated for assignment if he does not make the opening day roster.

Perry was a first round draft pick for the Tigers.
At 24, Perry (pictured right) has made 149 appearances for the Detroit ball club over the past three seasons. He was the 21st pick in the MLB draft three years ago for the Tigers. Through 149 appearances, Perry managed a 4.07 ERA.

Balester, however, did not produce the consistency that the Nationals expected from their reliever. At 25, he has spent his first 4 years in the MLB with the Montreal Expos and now Washington Nationals. In 62 appearances, 22 as a starter, he worked to a 5.17 ERA.

In terms of Perry making the opening day roster, he has a chance to do just that with a fastball that can hit 95 mph. He has a chance at making a middle reliever spot but will have to battle Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, and Henry Rodriguez who all have guaranteed jobs. Ryan Matthues is expected to be the Nationals other reliever.

Redskins: Time to Grow Up

Bowen, 72, won an award for courage. (Photo:
I try to read the Washington Post sports section as often as I can. This morning, I'm glad I did. For those of you that did not pick up and read the sports section this morning,  you missed two excellent articles written by Mike Wise and Barry Svrluga.

The article written by Mike Wise looked into the scandal that is tight end Fred Davis and offensive tackle Trent Williams being suspended for the remainder of the season by violating the leagues drug policy. Williams and Davis were found to be using marijuana on a regular basis. Wise wrote about how immature and irresponsible the players on the team have become.

Barry Svrluga wrote about a different player, on the same team, with a totally different outlook on life. In the past six months, defensive end Stephen Bowen has lost a son and a mother-in-law...and has started every game this season. He keeps his personal life personal and does not let it effect his professional life. Yesterday, Bowen won a league wide courage award that is given to a member of each team and is voted on by the players.

The thing that struck me the most after reading these two articles, is how polar opposite the locker room at Redskins Park is. On one side, you have the hard working, level headed type of player you want in your locker room. On the other side, you find the exact type of loud mouth, selfish player that you strive to get rid of. The problem for the Redskins is "Selfish vs Selfless" players in the locker room.

Williams, above, was suspended for the season.
It's no wonder why this team is terrible this year. Hardly any players are focused on playing the game of football. The problem with the Redskins is not a lack of talent, although it couldn't hurt to have a little more, but, a lack of focus.

Soon the Redskins will start to lose their veteran players, such as London Fletcher, that do contribute and help the team on Sundays. They simply would not want to play with such a childish team. Why would London Fletcher, the Redskins best player and leader, want to return to this team next season? He's 36! He wants to win a Super Bowl and he will not win one if he plays with these children.

It is sad to see such a talent filled locker room go to waste due to a little selfishness and immaturity. The way the trend goes, Mike Shanahan has one more year to turn this club around. Right now, they are on pace to finish worse than their dismal 6-10 2010 season.

Davis, 86, was suspended for the season.
The solution to this problem is to cut away the fat; the selfish players. Fred Davis and Trent Williams, while excellent players and crucial to the offense, have to go. You can't keep players that are more concerned with what they are doing after practice. Keep and re-sign players such as Stephen Bowen to long term contracts (did you know that Bowen has started every game this season?).

The Redskins franchise has become a franchise of immaturity and that will not get better over one off-season. While getting rid of Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb got rid of negative vibes, the Redskins have gone right back to where they were when they had them.

The Redskins will not make the playoffs next season, the season after, and probably the season after that (if they could prove me wrong that would be great). But, until the immature mature and the selfish become selfless, the Redskins will forever be the doormat of the NFL.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nationals Select Catcher, Pitcher

This morning the MLB held its Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft is a draft where teams are able to select players in other teams farm systems (minor leagues) to be added to their 40-man major league roster. Teams pick in the same order as they did the MLB Draft back in June. The one exception: teams that have a full 40-man major league roster are not allowed to make selections in the Rule 5 draft.

If selected in the Rule 5 draft, a player must be kept on the teams active 25-man major league roster for the entire season after the draft. That player may not be optioned or designated to the minors. Some notable players selected the Rule 5 draft in years past include All-Stars Dan Uggla, Johan Santana, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, and Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

Minor League teams can also participate. Triple-A Teams can select players from Double-A Teams and Double-A Teams and can select players from Single-A Teams.

The Nationals selected a few players and lost a few players this morning in the Rule 5 draft. The two players that the Nationals lost were from their Class AAA affiliate Syracuse.

With the 22md pick, the Cardinals selected outfielder Erik Komatsu. Komatsu, who played for AA Harrisburg in 2011, was aquired via a trade with the Brewers in exchange for Jerry Hairston Jr. Komatsu hit .277 and had 48 RBIs to go along with 7 home runs in 2011.

Just seven picks later the Yankees selected right handed pitcher Brad Meyers. The 26 year old right hander was selected by the Nationals in the 5th round of the MLB draft in 2007. Meyers finished 9-7 witha 3.18 ERA for A Auburn, AA Harrisburg, and AAA Syracuse last season. He had a 378 to 105 strikeout to walk ratio over 5 seasons in the Nationals farm season.

The Nationals minor league teams did select a couple players to play on their Double A and Triple A clubs.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, Triple-A Syracuse selected catcher Beau Seabury from the Rockies AA team in Tulsa. The 26 year old will be on AAA Syracuse. He hit .274, had 20 RBIs, and had 2 homers for A Modesto last season.

In the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, Double-A Harrisburg selected right handed pitcher Matthew Buschmann from the Padres Single-A team. The 27 year old pitcher was a 2007 MLB draft selection in the fifth round. He was 12-6 with a 6.16 ERA in 32 games with 22 starts for AA San Antonio and AAA Tuscon.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Redskins vs Jets: Gameplan

Roy Helu Jr. will need to be unstoppable once again. (Photo:
Tomorrow, the Washington Redskins travel to New York to take on the New York Jets. Since the bye week, the Jets have gone 2-2 with both wins coming over the Buffalo Bills. This past week the Redskins finally broke their 6 game losing streak with an impressive 23-17 win in Seattle against the Seahawks. This week their opponent is much better. Here are a few things that the Redskins should focus on if they want to win tomorrow.

I certainly would not expect the Redskins passing attack to be much of factor tomorrow...well, at least not what should be the focal point. Roy Helu Jr will have to, once again, put the team on his back. The Jets are ranked 15th in the NFL in rush yards allowed. They give up an average of 114 yards on the ground. In his first game as the starter, Helu Jr. ran for 108 yards and he is expected to start again tomorrow.

He will be running into stiff competition on the other side of the ball such as Bart Scott (who is rumored to be able to stop a nose bleed), Eric Smith, Calvin Pace, and David Harris. The offensive line will need to get bodies on bodies and keep tabs on the whereabouts of those players.

If the Redskins have to throw the football, Rex Grossman will need to locate Darrelle Revis and simply stay away from him.

Special Teams
This is no team to fall asleep on on special teams. Kick returner Joe McKnight averages of 34 yards a return and is not afraid to bring it out of the endzone.

The Redskins pass defense will have to show up tomorrow. With the absence of LaRon Landry, the secondary is sure to be on the hot seat tomorrow. Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller will be running wild tomorrow if they do not keep tabs on them. While Burress started the season quiet, he has certainly come on strong as of late. On paper, it looks as though the Redskins are severely outmatched throughout the secondary. The young and inexperienced secondary will need to step up tomorrow. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will need to play like men possessed tomorrow to force Mark Sanchez into making mistakes.

Shonn Greene is another player the Redskins will need to contain. Greene only average under 60 yards per game, but, can still create plays and run defenders over in the open field.

The Redskins are, for sure, not the better team between these two. Most players will need to play their best game of the year in order for them to have a chance. The Jets are tough, mean, and most of all...talkative. The Redskins can not afford to listen to what Rex Ryan or any other member of the Jets will say. That will only get them into trouble.

My Prediction
Redskins: 23 vs Jets: 20

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Minor League Managers

Today, the Washington Nationals organization announced the promotion of two of its farm league managers.

Mark Zuckerman first reported today that Tony Beasley has been promoted to Class AAA Syracuse and Matthew LeCroy will move up to manage Class AA Harrisburg.

Tony Beasley was promoted from Class AA Harrisburg. He managed the Senators to a 80-62 record. This past season the Senators finished first in the Eastern League's Western Division (wait...what?). In 2006, Beasley was the third base coach for the Nationals in the MLB and then moved to the Pirates organization and then returned to the Nats this past season. Another plus to the move, Beasley was phenom Bryce Harper's manager in Class AA Harrisburg and will likely be with Harper in Syracuse.

Matthew LeCroy was promoted to the vacant spot left by Beasley. LeCroy, a former MLB catcher and DH, started in low Class A Hagerstown, then moved to high Class A Potomac and guided Potomac to a 68-71 record.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wizards Big Man Held Overseas

Here's a funny story. CSN broke today that Wizards big man and number one draft pick Jan Vesely is not allowed to come to the US as of right now.

Vesely, a native of the Czech Republic, is waiting to acquire his work visa (that's right, NBA players receive work visas, too). He cannot file to get his work visa until he signs his contract with the Wizards. He cannot sign his contract with the Wizards until the NBA lockout is officially over! Oh the drama!

There is a possibility that Vesely will not be in the states in time for training camp. He could still be in his homeland waiting for his work visa (still sounds funny) to be processed.

Espinosa Named to All-Rookie Team

Today, it was announced that Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has been named to the 2011 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.

In the 2011 season, Espinosa appeared in 158 games for the D.C. ball club. He recorded a .236 batting average with a total of 135 hits. Espinosa hit 29 doubles and 21 homeruns. He scored 72 runs and finished with 66 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .414. Espinosa was also a threat running the bases with 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

Espinosa seemed to explode onto the scene in his first full season with the Nationals. He went through a few rough streaks were his hitting lagged, but, look for him to improve even more during his second full season in the majors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wizards Lose Big Man

Brian Jackson reported earlier today that Wizards free agent forward Yi Jianlian has injured his right knee while playing in China during the lockout.

Jianlian was hurt when his teammate for Guangdong Hongyuan fell into his right leg while facing Beijing's Stephon Marbury. He was taken to a hospital and doctors diagnosed him with a strained ligament in his right knee. Jianlian is expected to miss two to four weeks.

Jianlian also missed 19 games last season due to an injury to the same knee. He is currently a restricted free agent and the Wizards have right of first refusal on any offer sheet Jianlian receives from another team.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Capitals Week Preview

This week marks the beginning for new Head Coach Dale Hunter. Hunter will attempt to turn around the Capitals who have fallen from first to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. He will be thrown to the wolves early, however. His upcoming week looks to be a tough one.

Tomorrow night the Capitals welcome the 13-8-2 St. Louis Blues to the Verizon Center. The Blues rank 2nd in the NHL in goals against with just over 2. The Capitals rank 5th in total goal per game with just over 3. This game should be a shootout and will certainly test the ability of Hunter to make in game adjustments.

This coming Thursday night the will play host to their hated rivals: the 14-6-4 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are currently ranked in the top ten in the NHL for goals per game, goals against, power play percentage, and penalty kill percentage. Washington won the only meeting between these two team back in early October.

The Capitals the round out the week on Saturday in Ottawa to play the currently 11-10-2 Senators. The Senators rank toward the bottom of the NHL in goals against. The Capitals should be able to showcase their powerful offensive attack. Washington won the only meeting between the two teams.

The Capitals face two very tough teams to start the week. It will test their ability to adapt to new head coach Dale Hunter. They certainly have the game against Pittsburgh circled on their calenders.

Hey Caps Fans!

Hey there, Capitals fans! From here on out I'm going to be trying out a new type of article so you can keep up with your favorite NHL team! Every Monday I will write a week in review and week preview. I will review the previous weeks actions as well as Capitals news! I will also set the stage for the next weeks action! I will let you know the schedule, any player movements, and so much more! Stay tuned, Caps fans!!


This "Tebowmania" thing has to stop. Every time I flip on ESPN or any sports radio/TV show, people are constantly talking about Tim Tebow and his incredible accomplishment of winning games. What?! We're STILL praising this guy for playing like a STARTING quarterback? In my opinion, it's about time he started playing like this!

Let's get something straight: I am NOT a Tim Tebow hater. I think the things that he can do on the football field are simply incredible. His ability to make plays is like no other. He is a breed of quarterback that we have never seen before in the NFL. But, people need to hop off the wagon.

First off: Enough of the references to his devotion to his religion! I am nowhere NEAR against his devotion, I think it's great, but, do we constantly have to reference that? Do you know how many other players pray before, during, and after the game? There are TONS of other players that are just as devoted as he is to their religion. I am not against his devotion, I am tired of people constantly using that to set him apart from other players.

Second: Are we SERIOUSLY praising him for WINNING? We don't sit back and talk about Tom Brady every week. We don't head to the water cooler and talk about Mike Vick every week. What about Drew Brees? Have we already forgotten about Matt Ryan? What's that guys name the plays for that team in Wisconsin again? Those guys are winning every week, as well. Have we lost sight of the fact that Tim Tebow is a STARTING quarterback? It appears so. His JOB is to win football games. I know the way he does it is impressive, but, he's done it the same way 5 different times now. Is it really that new of a thing? He did it for 3 years at the University of Florida.

In terms of being a quarterback, Tim Tebow is awful. His throwing motion is slower than molasses, his read progression only goes to his second or (maybe) third option, and he is inaccurate. He is not a quarterback. He is a running back that can throw the football. He runs more than he passes during the course of a game. He is a 4th quarter player. He is the worst in the NFL for the three quarters, but, turns it on when he has to get the job done (give him credit for that).

Is he the best player in the NFL? No. Is he one of the best play makers in the NFL? Yes. He simply finds a way to win football games. After all, he IS the starting quarterback. That IS what he is supposed to do.

Boudreau Out

(Photo: yahoo!
Early this morning the Washington Capitals announced the departure of head coach Bruce Boudreau. Former Capital Dale Hunter will take over the vacant position.

The firing came after the recent nosedive that the team took from first to eighth in the Eastern Conference. After starting the season 7-0-0 the Capitals have now gone 5-9-1.

Hunter has had some coaching experience. He led the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League to their first Memorial Cup Championship in the 2004-05 season. He even won Coach of the Year honors in the 2003-04 season. In 11 years behind the bench, Hunter 451-189-23-24 record. He was the fastest coach in league history to get to 300 and 400 wins.

Hunter also played 19 seasons in the NHL from 1980 to 1999. He played in 1,407 games racking up 1,020 points (323 goals, 679 assists) and 3,565 penalty minutes with Quebec, Washington, and Colorado.

Hunter begins his new career with the Capitals tomorrow night at home against the St. Louis Blues.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Redskins vs Seahawks: Gameplan Revisited

Roy Helu Jr. finally had his breakout game. (Photo: yahoo!
Well would you look at that! The Redskins won a game! They took down the Seattle Seahawks 23-17 and ended their 6 game losing streak. Earlier today I pointed out a few things that the Redskins should focus on if they want to win. Let's see how they did!

"It's Roy Helu Jr. time."

Boy was it ever! Roy Helu Jr. ran all over the Seahawk defense. He ran around, through, and even OVER (see photo) the defense on his way to the endzone. The MVP for the Redskins today was easily Helu. He finished with 23 carries for 108 yards and 1 impressive touchdown run. He also piled up 54 yards on 7 receptions. Oh yeah, Roy Helu Jr. has arrived!

"Rex Grossman will need to step up today."

Rex Grossman: 26/35 - 314 yards - 2 TDS - 2 INTS. Grossman played a good game today. He did turn the ball over a couple of times, but, he had a pair of touchdowns to go with it. He moved around the pocket, took a couple of hits, and delivered strikes to his receivers.

"Shut down Sidney Rice."

Sidney Rice gained a total of 3 yards today...on a 3 yard carry. He was only targeted twice and did not catch the ball either time. The Redskins secondary did a great job shutting down the Seahawks number one pass threat.

"The main threat today is Marshawn Lynch."

Lynch played a great game. He was definitely the main threat that the Seahawks had today. Lynch powered through the Redskins front seven numerous times, but, never found the endzone.He finished the day with 24 carries for 111 yards. The Redskins defense did a decent job at stopping Lynch when they had to.

The Redskins have finally ended their losing streak. Even though this one came against the Seahawks, it is still a quality win. Seattle came into this one winning their past two games and played this one at home in front of one of the loudest crowds in the NFL.

The Redskins improved to 4-7 (1-3) with today's victory. Next week they come home to play the always entertaining New York Jets. Kickoff will be a 1 o'clock and you can find the game on CBS.

NFL: A Nice Guys Game

What is going on with NFL these days? It seems that guys can't play tough anymore. Players are afraid of hitting another player hard because the NFL could fine or penalize them. Referees protect quarterbacks like they do their own daughters!

I am not trying to say that dirty players should be idolized, but, the NFL front office is starting to get a little ridiculous. I am also not trying to defend Ndamukong Suh and his actions in last Thursday's game against the Packers. I am simply saying that the NFL is not a game for tough guys anymore.

When players sign their multi-million dollar contracts to join the league, they should understand that they are in for some pain. To be honest, I think they DO know that. They have been playing the game since they five years old. I understand that the NFL wants to "protect players" and "make the game safer", but, the only way to do that is to eliminate the game all together.

Hard hits and rough plays is what makes If the guys in the NFL front office doesn't understand that, then maybe they shouldn't be in charge! Why do they care? These are the same guys that have turned the game into a business. Hard hits and rough plays sells tickets.

The NFL front office needs to just let the players play. I know that there is a difference between intentionally hurting someone and just laying a good hit. Football, back in the day, was awesome to watch because it was just grown men stepping out onto a battle field every Sunday and just imposing their will against their opponent. Now they go out there and try not to be too rough. It's almost as if they are playing scared.

I am tired of the NFL stepping in and reviewing every single big hit. It was a great hit, let it go. Football is a violent game. It always will be a violent game. There isn't anything that anyone can do to change that. If you don't like the big hits and the violent play, then maybe the NFL just isn't for you. In the immortal words of ANY true football coach: "Just shut up and play."

Redskins vs Seahawks: Gameplan

Roy Helu Jr. could have a breakout game today. (Photo:
Today the Redskins are in Seattle to take on the 4-6 Seahawks. The Redskins, who have not won since week 4, have a great chance at picking up a win today. These two teams are simply identical. They both average around 300 yards of total offense and allow around 335 yards on defense. They even score (16) and give up (20) the same amount of points! They both have a quarterback situation that has yet to be resolved and both have offensive lines that provide many of their own problems. What do the Redskins have to do? I'll tell you!

It's Roy Helu Jr. time. Since coming off the bye week, the Redskins have not been able to run the football. They average 84 yards per game running the football. The Seahawks average giving up only 100 yards rushing; not bad. Helu has proven to be a difference maker. He is the teams second leading rusher with 248 yards. He runs down hill and can move side to side, as well. But, of course, this can not be down without a healthy offensive line. Not to worry! Trent Williams is expected to be in the line up today.

Rex Grossman will need to step up today. The Seahawks allow 230 yards passing. If Grossman can get some time, then the Redskins receivers will easily get open against a less than stellar secondary.

Special Teams:
What? They're important, too! Redskins have done a pretty good job in kick and punt coverage. Keep it up, guys! Gano...hit your field goals.

It is expected that Tavaris Jackson will start today for Seattle. With him at the helm, the Seahawks average 203 yards passing. There is one way to stop that: shut down Sidney Rice. Sidney Rice is also banged up, but, is expected to start.

The main threat today is Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks average just under 100 yards per game on the ground. The Redskins defense ranks 18th in the league in stopping the run. They have also not proven themselves against quality runners. I'm sure we all remember Lynch's improbable post-season touchdown run against the Saints. The Redskins should try to avoid that today.

It all comes down to the running game. This game will be tough for the Redskins to win. Keep in mind that rain is expected to fall during the game. If the Redskins can hang on to the ball and keep traction, today could be there best chance to break the losing streak.

My Prediction:
Redskins: 30 - Seahawks: 27

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh So Close

The Rams fell just short of the playoff field this year. They did all they could do, but, came up just short.

The teams that the Rams needed to lose this weekend won. California, Kutztown, and Elizabeth City all took care of business and put themselves in the playoffs.

A team that got in as a little bit of a surprise was Concord. Concord finished the season 7-3, but, since they defeated Shepherd they were able to jump ahead of  Shepherd.

A team that, surprisingly, did not make the field was West Virginia Wesleyan College. WVWC lost to Concord this past weekend 48-40. That bumped them down below Shepherd, but, did not move Shepherd up enough to put them in.

Many believe that Shepherd should have been ranked higher coming into the final week of play. I, for one, think so. I predicted that the Rams would have been ranked 9th, not 10th, coming into this past weekends game. Had the Rams been ranked 9th, they still would not have made it into the post-season.

Ram fans can now only dream of what could have been. The Rams had a good enough to be able to make some noise in the post season. I also believe that this team was starting to peak in the past couple weeks just in time to make a huge playoff push.

Last season the Rams made the final four, this season the Rams did not make the post season. It was a great season. I am sure that the Shepherd faithful cannot wait till next year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Redskins vs 49ers: Gameplan Revisited

Roy Helu broke the franchise record for receptions in a game with 14. (Photo:
Today, the Redskins were once again defeated. This time the San Francisco 49ers handed the Redskins their fourth straight loss. Let's break it down according to the gameplan.

"Today is John Becks coming out party."

If you decide on this one based on stats, Beck played an O.K. game at best. He finished 30-47 with 254 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. John Beck's decision making was God awful today. Many times he had a receiver that was wide open deep and, instead, passed it to the check down receiver. On one play in the second half, two receivers were wide open and could have walked into the endzone had the ball been thrown to them. He would do the exact opposite, as well. He would go deep when the check down would be the better option.

"The offensive line is going to have to give him some time."

The pass protection was not as bad as it has been. Keep in mind, this is the 21st ranked pass defense the Redskins went against. John Beck was hit 6 times and was sacked only once. For an offensive line that has lacked in protection the past few weeks, they showed much improvement today.

"It is the same thing week in and week out: they must stop the running game."

49ers team rushing totals: 32 carries, 138 yards, 4.3 yards per play. The Redskins did a poor job of tackling today. Frank Gore ran through numerous arm tackles on his way to another 100 yard performance.

"The secondary cannot feel comfortable today. They have been picked apart week after week and now they are lacking back there when it comes to talent due to injuries."

Alex Smith (49ers 31st ranked pass offense): 17-24 with 200 yards and 1 touchdown and a passer rating of 109.7.

Roy Helu Jr. and Graham Gano made history today. Helu broke the franchise single game reception record with 14. The previous record holder was Hall of Famer Art Monk. Graham Gano broke the franchise record for longest field goal. Gano booted a 59 yard field goal right before halftime.

There is one positive thing that happened today: the no huddle offense. I think the Redskins may have found something with it. Statistically, the Redskins have done much better this season when they have gone to the no huddle offense. John Beck looked much more relaxed and went 10-11 on a drive that ended with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. I know that the defense was probably a little more relaxed in coverage, but, it is still something for the Shanahans to ponder.

Next week the Redskins travel to face the Miami Dolphins. The game will be on Fox and kickoff is at 1 PM.

Redskins vs 49ers: Gameplan

Today the Washington Redskins will play host to the 6-1 San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers come into the this game on a 5 game winning streak. Here are the keys to success for Washington.

Today is John Becks coming out party. Yeah, I JUST said that. The 49ers have the topped ranked run defense in the NFL and the 21st ranked pass defense in the NFL. The Redskins running game has not been a factor against mediocre run defenses and I don't expect it to do much against a great run defense. John Beck has played O.K. over the past few weeks and now it his time to step up to the plate. Today he needs to take charge. The front seven for San Francisco will be coming after him. He is going to have to make plays and move out  of the pocket.

The offensive line is going to have to give him some time. They have been lacking in the pass protection since the bye week. If Beck has time, he will be able to pick apart of very poor secondary.

It is the same thing week in and week out: the must stop the running game. The 49ers have the 6th ranked run offense in the NFL. Frank Gore imposes his will on linebackers all across the league. By taking away the running game early, they will force the 31st ranked pass offense to win the game.

The secondary cannot feel comfortable today. They have been picked apart week after week and now they are lacking back there when it comes to talent due to injuries.

It's to come down to whether the defensive line and stop Frank Gore and whether the offensive line can protect John Beck.

My prediction: Redskins 27 - 49ers 24

Win and In?

The dream of winning a national championship can still become a reality for the Shepherd University Ram football team.

Coming into this weekends action of division 2 college football, the Rams were ranked 10th in the Super Region. The top 6 teams will advance to the playoffs. Here is the standings prior to this weekends games (region record shown):
  1. New Haven 8-0
  2. Winston Salem 8-0
  3. West Virginia Wesleyan 9-0
  4. Bloomsburg 8-1
  5. Elizabeth City 7-1
  6. Slippery Rock 8-1
  7. S. Connecticut 7-1
  8. California 7-1
  9. Kutztown 8-1
  10. Shepherd 6-2
There were some major upsets that took place across the region this past weekend, however.

West Virginia Wesleyan was defeated by Charleston by a score of 28-17. Bloomsburg was topped by Kuztown 52-14. Slippery Rock was taken down by Gannon 33-27. South Connecticut had a bye week.

With a win this past weekend, the Rams improved to a region record of 7-2. The new top 9 should look something like this:
  1. New Haven 9-0
  2. Winston Salem 9-0
  3. Elizabeth City 8-1
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan 9-1
  5. S. Connecticut 7-1
  6. California 8-1
  7. Kutztown 9-1
  8. Slippery Rock 8-2
  9. Shepherd 7-2
With a win against Fairmont State, Shepherd will have its best chance at making the playoffs. Slippery Rock and Kutztown play each other this week. With a loss, Slippery Rock will then drop behind Shepherd in the standings. Shepherd will move up to number 8.

California will play Cheyney. If California loses, they will most likely  fall behind Shepherd, as well. Shepherd will then move up to number 7.

If Southern Connecticut loses, Shepherd will then slip past them in the polls. Shepherd will then crack the top 6 and have a playoff spot.

Concord and West Virginia Wesleyan play. If Concord can hand West Virginia Wesleyan its second straight loss, that may be enough to move Shepherd up to the number 5 spot.

In order for all this to even be a factor, Shepherd has to defeat Fairmont State this weekend. If they win in blow out fashion, that will only help their chances at cracking the top 6.

It all comes down to this. Shepherd has played through 10 grueling weeks and their chance at the playoffs all comes down to one final game. They will play at Fairmont State at noon on Saturday. This is going to be one wild weekend.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rams Defeat Pioneers

This past weekend, the Shepherd University Rams traveled to Glenville State to play in a much anticipated rematch. In the regular season finale last season, the Pioneers defeated the Rams at home on senior day to ruin Shepherd’s perfect season. This game, however, would see a different ending.

The scoring began early for the Rams. After the Glenville punter dropped the snap and attempted a pass, Larry Lowe caught the ball for an interception and returned it 45 yards for the game’s opening touchdown.

The Pioneers would attempt to answer on their next drive. Glenville’s Joe Mesadieu took the first down hand off 33 yards to the Shepherd 27 yard line. After an incomplete pass on third down, kicker Colston Bayless connected on a 36 yard field goal.

The Rams would showcase the passing attack of Bobby Cooper to Nikkolai Norrell on their second drive. The duo would find each other three times for 26 total yards. Cooper would finish the drive himself, however. On second and one on the Pioneer 3 yard line, Bobby Cooper snuck it in himself for the touchdown.

The defense would then flex its muscle. After a sack by Howard Jones, Dom Dixon intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Glenville would finally answer with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession. Darold Hughes took the handoff 34 yards for a touchdown. Shepherd was leading after one quarter by a score of 21-10.

After relying on senior running back Thomas Addison, the Rams were once again within striking distance. After two straight Shepherd penalties, the offense would stall and Eric Dobratz booted a 34 yard field goal attempt.

The Pioneers would show off a passing duo of their own on their next possession. Darold Hughes found Jordan Griffin four times with the last being a four yard touchdown pass. Glenville State was back within seven with a score of 24-17.

Shepherd managed to keep scoring throughout the first half. The Rams relied on the wrecking ball that is Kenny Williams by feeding him the ball seven times on the drive. Once again, the Rams drive stalled inside the red zone and Eric Dobratz connected on yet another field goal, this time from 24 yards out.

Cooper and Norrell were not done, however. Cooper found Norrell three times in the final minute of the first half. Dobratz came on to kick his third field goal of the game with just under a minute left in the half. The halftime score was Shepherd: 30 to Glenville: 17.

Glenville opened the second half with a field goal producing drive to bring the score back to within ten points.

The Rams looked unstoppable as the fourth quarter began. Kenny Williams once again led the offense down the field to the Pioneer 1 yard line. Williams was not able to punch the ball through the goal line, however, and Shepherd was stopped on the 1 yard line on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs.

Shepherd’s defense forced a three and out and the offense took the field on Glenville’s 33 yard line.

The offense once again could not get the ball in the endzone. Eric Dobratz took the field for a 24 yard field goal. The kick appeared to come out low and the attempt was blocked.

Dom Dixon once again proved to be the Pioneer offense’s worst enemy. Dixon came up behind the runner and forced a fumble by punching the ball out of the ball carrier’s hand.

Thomas Addison once again was the focus of the drive. Addison carried the ball three times for 25 yards all the way down to the Glenville 5 yard line. The Rams then brought in Kenny Williams to put the game out of reach. After an offsides penalty was called against the defense, Williams found the endzone on a 3 yard touchdown run.

The defense was not done. On fourth down, Corey Washington dove and intercepted Steffen Colon’s pass.

When the dust had settled, the Rams were victorious by a score of 37-20.

“It’s been a while since we won [against Glenville]. To be able to beat them down here is pretty special. Our effort was excellent,” said Head Coach Monte Cater.

The Rams were penalized 13 times for 136 yards. When asked about the penalties, Coach Cater declined to comment.

Thomas Addison led the way for the running backs with 16 carries for 90 yards. Kenny Williams finished the game with 20 carries for 85 yards and 1 touchdown. “The line did great and I just hit the holes. We came out hard and our line put us on their back,” said Williams.

Bobby Cooper had a solid outing going 17-20 with 185 yards. Cooper also contributed to the running game with a touchdown of his own. Bobby Cooper has now eclipsed 2,000 yards passing this year.

Nikkolai Norrell led the receivers with 9 receptions for 90 yards. John Frick and Larry Lowe both had 2 receptions for 42 and 29 yards respectively. “We practiced really hard. I have never beaten these guys and I really wanted to,” said Norrell.

The offense finished with 349 total yards. The defense held the Glenville offense to 218 total yards.

Dominic Tolson led to way for the Rams defensively with 7 total tackles. Howard Jones and Xavier Tyler both had one sack. Dom Dixon forced a fumble and had an interception return for a touchdown. Corey Washington and wide receiver Larry Lowe both had an interception. “It was a team game. We won as a team,” said Dixon.

The Rams have improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the WVIAC. This week the Rams travel to Fairmont State for their regular season finale. Kickoff is at noon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Is it Tebow Time?

No. It is not, nor will it ever be, Tebow Denver.

We have all seen Tebow produce on the field. He is a proven winner and has the ability to lead teams to victories.

Against the Texans last season Tebow threw for a career high 305 yards on 16 completions with 29 attempts. He had 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The very next week against the Chargers he finished 16-36 with 205 yards and 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23 and lost to the Chargers 28-33.

Tebow has proven that he can win football games. I just think that the Lions are a much better team than the Broncos. I know that front four for the Lions defense is one of the fiercest in the NFL, but this IS Tim Tebow we're talking about.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Tebow is one of the toughest NFL quarterbacks in the game.

The thing that the Broncos need to be doing now, is constructing an offense AROUND Tebow. I am talking about an offense similar to what he had with the University of Florida. That is what makes good coaches great. They have to have the ability to use the strengths of what they have.

Tim Tebow is not, and will never be, a pocket passer. He is a move around and make the defense work play in and play out quarterback. He is excellent outside the pocket and will tuck the ball and run with power.

The Broncos need to allow this stallion to run free (pun...intended?). He is tough and deserves to play hard nosed football. Tebow can throw - he's not the best at it - but he can complete a few passes every now and then. He is also a very powerful runner. That is where the Broncos need to get creative.

Creating an offense designed for a player as versatile as Tebow would be one of the smartest moves in NFL coaching history. Bringing in the read option, QB draw, and even the infamous jump pass up from college and into the NFL is exactly what the Broncos need to do.

Tim Tebow needs to be looked at as a new toy. What do you do with a new toy? You don't just sit it on a shelf! You play with it and push it to its limits! The Broncos need to push Tim Tebow to the edge (if there is) of his potential.

So here is the bottom line: Tim Tebow is a good player in a bad situation.

Johnson to Manage in 2012

Today the Washington Nationals announced that manager Davey Johnson will return to manage the team in 2012.

Halfway through this past season, Jim Riggleman resigned as Nationals manager and the 68 year old Johnson stepped in to fill the void. Under Johnson, the Nationals had a record of 40-43 and finished with an overall record of 80-81.

Johnson still has an option built into his contract to allow him to manage into the 2013 season.

Johnson also said that he will return his entire coaching staff with the exception of bench coach Pat Corrales. Corrales will remain with the franchise but not at the major league level.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Redskins vs Bills: Gamplan Revisted

Fail. That is the grade that Redskins receive after today's 23-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. They failed to accomplish anything on the gameplan. Lets go back and compare.

"The gameplan for the Redskins offense this weekend is the same that it has been: they MUST run the football."

That did not happen. The Redskins only managed to run for 26 yards against one of the worst run defenses in the country. They only handed the ball off 12 times. That is no where near enough carries to establish a run game. John Beck dropped back to pass 33 times and running backs only took the hand off 12 times. The running game should have been more of a focus today.

"The presence of Marcell Dareus in the middle will be a huge factor in today's game."

Marcell Dareus: 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hits.

"The gameplan for the Redskins defense is to simply attack Ryan Fitzpatrick."

They did not even come close to making Ryan Fitzpatrick uncomfortable today. The Redskins defense only managed 2 sacks. Fitzpatrick was hit 4 times and John Beck was hit 14 times.

"The front seven will also need to contain the fourth best rushing attack in the NFL."

Fred Jackson finished the day with 26 carries for 120 yards. Jackson averaged 4.6 yards a carry. The Bills, as a whole, totaled 138 yards on 33 carries.

There were, believe it or not, some good things that happened today.

The Redskins defense forced the Bills to kick 3 field goals. Even though they gave up points, they gave the offense many attempts to make the score tighter. Five times today the Redskins offense was inside of Bills territory. Here is how those drives ended up: punt, downs, interception, interception, downs. Five times the Redskins could have gotten some sort of points and five times the Redskins failed to do so.

The Redskins drop to 3-4 and the San Francisco 49ers will be visiting FedEx Field this weekend. It could be another long Sunday unless the Redskins can managed to dramatically improve.

Redskins vs Bills: Gameplan

This week the Washington Redskins are in Toronto to take on the 4-2 Buffalo Bills. The Redskins have lost their past two games and the Bills are coming off their bye week.

The gameplan for the Redskins offense this weekend is the same that it has been: they MUST run the football. The Bills run defense is ranked 30th in the NFL. They allow opponents 135 yards per game. Even with the absence of Tim Hightower, the Redskins should still be able to have a great game running the ball. After the bye week, the Redskins have averaged just 67 yards per game. The presence of Marcell Dareus in the middle will be a huge factor in today's game.

The Bills pass defense is ranked 30th in the league. The Redskins pass offense will only find success if the run offense finds success early in the game.

It is crucial that the Redskins run the football. The Bills have one of the topped ranked offenses in the NFL. Like they say: your best defense is a good offense. The Redskins offense will need to be great today.

The gameplan for the Redskins defense is to simply attack Ryan Fitzpatrick. The secondary will be lacking some key players so the front seven will need to force Fitzpatrick to make mistakes. The Bills passing game is ranked 15th in the NFL and the Redskins passing defense has been one of the worst in the NFL since the bye week.

The front seven will also need to contain the fourth best rushing attack in the NFL. In five games this season, Fred Jackson has totaled 607 yards with 6 touchdowns.

The Redskins secondary will be tested today and they will need to answer the call. Roy Helu Jr and Ryan Torrain will need to have success if the Redskins expect to have any chance to win today.

My Pick: Redskins 34 - Bills 30


The Shepherd University Rams continued their winning streak this weekend against the Bowie State Bulldogs by a score of 38-17.

The Rams have now won their past three games in a blowout fashion.

The best Shepherd can do in the WVIAC is make a three way tie for first. The two other teams the Rams would be tied with is West Virginia Wesleyan and Concorde. Both teams defeated Shepherd and therefore would both finish ahead of the Rams in the final conference standings.

The Rams still have a chance at making the playoffs. According to numerous sources, if the Rams win out, they can make the NCAA Division 2 playoffs.

There are currently a number of teams that are undefeated that Shepherd is fighting a playoff spot for. Teams such as West Virginia Wesleyan, IUP, and Edinboro are all currently ranked ahead of Shepherd in the region.

IUP came into this past weekend with 2 losses and lost once again. Edinboro also has 2 losses, but managed to win this past weekend.

The best thing that the Rams can do is win out. If the Rams win out and have a few teams that are currently in the region playoffs lose, the Rams can make the playoffs.

Shepherd needs to continue to blow teams out, as well. By dominating teams, that will show the voters that Shepherd is still a quality football even though they have two losses.

Shepherd is in control of its playoff destiny. If they win out, they could very likely find themselves in the NCAA division 2 football national playoffs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rams top Yellow Jackets

This past Saturday was homecoming for Shepherd University and the visiting West Virginia State Yellow Jackets looked to spoil the day.

It did not take long for the Rams to score the game’s first touchdown. Just 1:55 into the first quarter, senior running back Tommy Addison took the goaline handoff and leaped into the endzone to give the Rams the early 7-0 lead.

After a botched punt, the Ram offense would start on the 50 yard line. Tommy Addison was once again the featured player. He took the handoff three times and even had one reception. Addison capped off the drive with another touchdown run. With just over eight minutes left in the first quarter and the early 14 point lead, it looked as though the Rams were going to run away with the game.

The only blunder in the first half for the Rams came on the Yellow Jackets one yard line. When running back Kenny Williams took the handoff on the goaline he was met at the line and fumbled into the endzone which was recovered by the Yellow Jackets.

There would be no need to worry about the turnover, however, as the always tough Ram defense forced a 3-and-out. After a mediocre punt, the Ram offense would take the field at its own 44 yard line.

The focus of the Ram offense in the first half was Tommy Addison. Addison took the handoff 5 times on this second quarter drive but could not quite get it done. Kicker Eric Dobratz would line up and knock down a 36 yard field goal to give the Rams the 17-0 lead at halftime.

A brief halftime stat: the Ram offense ran 47 plays and totaled 308 yards in the first half alone.

In the third quarter the Ram special teams got in on all the fun. William McKenzie came flying off the edge and blocked the Yellow Jacket punt which was returned by Levi Barber for a Ram touchdown.

Later in the quarter the Rams would showcase their passing attack. After a 13 yard punt return from D.J. Scott, the Shepherd offense took the field on the West Virginia State 32 yard line. It only took them one play to score as quarterback Bobby Cooper connected with Larry Lowe for a 32 yard touchdown.

The Yellow Jackets lone touchdown came at the end of the third quarter with a 2 yard touchdown run from LeFloyd Phillip.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Kenny Williams would get his chance at redemption. After relying on Williams for much of the drive, the offense turned to him to finish the drive off. Williams took the handoff on the Yellow Jacket one yard line and plowed his way into the endzone for the Rams final touchdown.

The final score came to be the Shepherd University Rams 37 and the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets 7.

Tommy Addison finished the day with 17 carries for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kenny Williams finished the day with 12 carries for 90 yards and 1 touchdown. Addison also contributed to the passing game with 3 receptions for 48 yards.

Bobby Cooper finished the day going 16-22 with 219 yards and 1 touchdown. Cooper also had 11 carries for 40 yards.

Neal Hardie led the way for the receivers with 4 receptions for 53 yards. Robert Byrd finished with 3 receptions for 65 yards. Larry Lowe scored the passing attacks only touchdown and also had 3 receptions for 35 yards.

The Ram offense finished the day with 443 yards of total offense. The defense held the Yellow Jackets to just 133 yards.

Elijah Davis led the defense with 7 total tackles. Leons Kabongo had an interception as well as 5 tackles. Mike Franklin and Corey Washington both had 4 tackles.

Kicker Eric Dobratz broke Shepherd University’s scoring record with an extra point in the fourth quarter.

The Rams improved to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the WVIAC.

This coming Saturday the Rams will be facing Bowie State in Shepherds final home game. Kickoff is at noon, but, be sure to get there early and support the senior football players on Senior Day.