Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Redskins Cut 9

Picture from examiner.com
Ryan O'Halloran reported today that the Washington Redskins have cut nine more players from their roster. Most notable is Malcolm Kelly. For much of his short Redskins career Kelly was plagued by injuries. Of the ten players selected by the Redskins in the draft three years ago, only four of them remain on the team. Way to go, Vinny! You know how to pick 'em!

The list of players cut by the Redskins today looks like this:

DB Dante Barnes
QB Ben Chappell
OL Xavier Fulton
DB Tyron Grant
WR Malcolm Kelly
LB Eric McBride
OL Corey O'Daniel
K Clint Stitser
TE Joe Torchia

The Redskins still have 80 players on roster and they are expected to put defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and the season ending injured reserve list due to a knee injury.

Judgement day for most third and fourth string players comes after the final preseason game. The Redskins will then need to delicately trim their roster of 80 players down to 53 for opening day.

Strasburg Returns

Picture from beat.bodog.eu
Davey Johnson reported today the Washington Nationals pitching ace Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his first major league start of the season. Strasburg is coming off of Tommy Johns surgery to repair his elbow in his throwing arm. He will return on September 6th versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nats Park. That's right, next Tuesday. Mark your calenders!!!!!

This Thursday night Strasburg is expected to make one more rehab start for Class AA Harrisburg. If all goes well, expect him to be on the mound against the Dodgers.

This return has been much anticipated for Nationals and baseball fans everywhere. Strasburg is one of the most infamous players ever to be drafted onto a Washington DC sports franchise. I expect Tuesday nights game turnout to be nothing less than his first career MLB start.

The Nationals have handled the rehab of Stephen Strasburg well. He has had multiple rehab starts in all levels of the minor leagues and is looking like that pitcher that made us googly-eyed when we first saw him.

My advice? If you plan on attending this game, you may want to go get in line now at the ticket box. This will be one that you will not want to miss. However, I wouldn't quite expect the Nationals to let him try and pitch a complete game. This game won't really help their chances of making the playoffs and they do not want to cause further harm to their Ace.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strasburg Pitches For Hagerstown

In his fourth rehab start tonight Stephen Strasburg pitched 60 pitches over 3 solid innings.
After his dismal performance in his last outing Strasburg returned to form tonight. Over 3 innings Strasburg allowed 2 runs off 2 hits and struck out 6 batters. The phenom had the hitters on their heels all the while.

Even though Strasburg allowed an uncharacteristic 2 runs, he still showed a mental skill that is key to him becoming a standout major league pitcher: He was able to put his past appearances behind him and move on. Top major league pitchers need to be resilient and should be able to come back stronger and better than ever in their next outing.

The road to recovery is slow but patience is key for how the organization handles Strasburg. Rushing him back too soon will only add further injury and waste one of the greatest talents to ever come through Washington sports...period. However, they appear to be handling him well and everyone is excited about his return to the Washington Nationals rotation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

College Football Playoff

So I'm sure we all agree that the NCAA needs a playoff to determine the national champion for division one college football, but how will they do it? I have got the answer! Follow me on this one...

While sitting at work discussing this topic with a coworker I had a real life epiphany. I have figured out a way to have a college football playoff system AND keep the bowl season. Please, read on...

The way to a college football playoff goes through the conference championship game. Year in and year out we see a football team from a conference that has an official game that determines the winner of the that conference wins the national championship. What if we took the conference champion from each of the conferences that have a conference championship game and put them in a playoff.

Currently, there are eight NCAA Division 1-A conferences that have a conference championship game to determine the conference champion. Take the winners of all eight games and put them into a playoff. There will only be eight teams in the playoffs. Not too long and not too short.  Once we have all eight teams determined, they are reseeded to determine who will be seeded first to eighth. Those eight teams then battle it out in a single elimination bracket style format to determine the NCAA Division 1-A Football National Champion.

The next question becomes what will we do with the losers of the conference championship games? Bingo! There's the new BCS!! Those other eight teams get automatic bids into one of the five BCS bowl games. But wait, that leaves one game open. In the fifth BCS bowl game you put two at-large teams that don't belong to a conference with a conference championship game. After the BCS, there will be upto around 15-20 bowl games left. I say we keep up to 10 of them and 20 teams that deserve to be in bowl games will play in those games.

Let's say you're a fan of a team that doesn't belong to that type of conference. Too bad! Guess your team should suck it up and join a REAL conference! Sorry! No National Championship for you if you don't want to play in a real conference! Not happy about it? Oh well! Don't say I left you out of the equation!

This idea is very rough. Keep in mind that with the transition to this type of format it means that teams could add upto three games to their schedule. This type of format will allow the NCAA to keep the bowl season, BCS, and give the fans what they want: a fair way to determine the national champion.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Redskins Cut Graham

In one of the smartest moves in Redskins history, the Redskins have cut kicker Shayne Graham. Graham lasted one game (2 kicks) for the D.C. franchise.

In cased you missed it, the first drive for the Redskins ended with a chip shot 29 yard field goal. That is until Shayne Graham stepped on the field for the attempt. The key word for Graham is ATTEMPT. The kick was lined up on the right hash and Graham preceded to kick the ball across the front of the uprights and so far wide left that a fan in the left corner of the endzone caught the ball! C'mon MAN!! Grahams second attempt was from about 40 yards out. He then pushed that one wide right.

So from one Graham to the other we go! The Redskins sole remaining kicker is now Graham Gano. Gano went 3 for 3 and kicked a 45 yard field in the final three minutes to seal the game for the Redskins.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The End Of Kickoff

As we saw these past two nights of football, one of the most iconic plays in football has virtually died: Kickoff.

The new rule that the NFL has put in to kickoff from the 35 yard has killed kickoff. Last night, Redskins kicker Graham Gano put the kick between the uprights. Meaning it's a touchback and the ball will start on the 20 yard line going out.

The NFL made it clear why they moved kickoff: to reduce the chance of injury. Players on the kicking team would run as fast as they could down field and would launch themselves into the players on the receiving team. Many times we saw players get carted off the field because of this type of play.

The days of the opening kickoff getting taken back for a touchdown are over. The always exciting quick touchdown after the opposing team scores days are gone as well. The new rule has also diminished the value of the returner. Returners are now only needed for one play: punts.

The iconic field level Super Bowl kickoff shot will be there, but the days of the kickoff game changer are over.

Redskins Show Promise

Last night the Redskins defeated the Steelers 16-7 in their first preseason game. Even though it was a preseason game, the Redskins did show some promise. Keep in mind while reading this...I DO know that it was a preseason game and the Steelers only played their starters for ten plays.

Lets start with the offense.

The offensive line played better than I think anyone expected. Grossman had good protection and the offensive line was able to move the defensive line around. Speaking of "Gross Rexman" (courtesy of Sally Block), he didn't play that bad last night. Rexman, I mean Grossman, went 19 for 26 with 207 and a touchdown. The receivers played well catching virtually everything that came their way. They also did a good job blocking on the outside to open up running lanes for Tim Hightower.

Tim Hightower! What a pleasant surprise the ENTIRE running back corp was! Hightower, Helu, and Royster were running all over the Steelers defense last night. They were catching screen passes and running hard down hill.

Lets move onto the defense.

Holding the Steelers to seven points is no easy task. But, the Redskins were able to make it happen. Rookie Ryan Kerrigan was making plays all over the field. Newly added nose tackle Barry Cofield was in the backfield quicker than you can say "hike". The corners were coming up and supporting the run defense and the linebackers played well supporting the secondary. All in all, I'm more than pleased with the Redskins defense.

Now for the special teams.

Special teams. Yeah, I don't know where to begin. We could start with how Shayne Graham just gave the job to Graham Gano? If there was ever a "C'MON MAN" moment, Shayne Grahams 28 yard field goal attempt was it. Let us not forget how the air tackled Brandon Banks. He shakes the punter and breaks another players ankles, but, good old air was there to save the day for the Steelers! At least our back up punt returner didn't screw up. Oh wait...he did worse. Aldrick Robinson fumbled two punts! Yep! We spent a draft pick to get him! Go head on over to receiver drills, Aldrick, that's where you're going to stay. But there is one thing that we do know about our special teams...Graham Gano is going to be the kicker!

Next week the Redskins head to Indy to take on the Colts. Don't expect to see Chris Cooley on the field as he is still nursing a knee injury. Hopefully the Redskins can keep improving from this decent start to a preseason.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Redskins vs Steelers Preview

Redskins QBs from left: John Beck, Kellen Clemens, Rex Grossman
It's opening night for the Redskins in preseason. Their first opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff tonight will be at 7:30 at Fedex Field.

The theme for tonight's game for the Redskins is going to be quarterback. Expect Rex Grossman to take most of the snaps that the first team will take tonight. John Beck is still healing from a groin injury he suffered last Saturday at practice. Beck, however, is expected to some snaps. Look for Grossman and Beck to take most of the snaps in the first half and look for Kellen Clemens and Ben Chappell to take over in the second half.

The squad of running backs that the Redskins have lined up is, well, interesting. Tonight Ryan Torrain, Keiland Williams, and Tim Hightower will be featured in the first half. To me, only Hightower has an opportunity to be effective for the Redskins. The running backs that I want to see are playing in the second half. Evan Royster and Roy Helu can become two outstanding running backs for the Redskins. Look for Helu to really take advantage of his snaps tonight. He's fast and shifty and can really run with the football.

The offensive line should be a blast to watch. With the release of center Casey Rabach the Redskins have lost their main man on the offensive line. The battle for just about every position on the o-line will be on tonight. Trent Williams is the only one who really has his spot locked up at left tackle.

The defensive line should be an area of note to watch. With the exit of Albert Haynesworth the line will take on a whole new athleticism with the addition of Barry Cofield. Also look for Adam Carriker to see some reps at nose tackle as well as Cofield. The rest of the Redskins defense looks solid except for safety as Laron Landry and Kareem Moore will not play as they are on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Also, keep an eye on O.J. Atogwe at cornerback. He has had a great camp and expects to perform very well for the Redskins.

All eyes will be on the offense tonight to see who will step up at quarterback. Keep in mind that John Beck is still healing from a groin injury and therefore his reps, and the plays he runs, will be limited. Also, don't expect to see Chris Cooley as he will be resting an injured knee.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are You Ready?

What is it about the NFL that makes us love it so much? Could it be the big plays? The big hits? The electric atmosphere? The personalities? I say it's something much more. Please...read on!

When I watch a football game, I see much more than 22 men beating the crap out of each other. There is something there that is so mesmerizing that I can't get enough of. The creativity. The sights. The sounds. All of it! Every aspect of an NFL game grabs my attention and keeps me watching.

The way the players are constantly battling trying to get the better of one another. The constant chess match between the coaches. The offensive coordinator constantly trying to beat the defensive coordinator. The competition between the offensive line and the defensive line.

I love the way the NFL brings people together. Whether it's a kickoff party in someones living room or 40,000 of your closest friends in the stands watching your favorite team take the field, everyone comes together to root for a common goal and against a common enemy.

So this fall make sure to call your friends, throw some bratwursts on the grill, and fill a cooler with cold ones. It's time to gather 'round the T.V. to watch the game we all love. The NFL is back! I just got one question for you...

Are YOU ready for some football?

Cooley Out on Friday

CSNWashington.com reported yesterday that Redskins tight end Chris Cooler will not play in Fridays preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cooley is still bothered by a left knee injury. Mike Shanahan confirmed Cooleys status after practice.

Don't expect his knee to be bothering him into the regular season. Cooley is still participating in some practice but the coaching staff don't want to injure his knee anymore.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Redskins Add OL

Rich Tandler reported yesterday that multiple sources say the Washington Redskins have signed former Seattle Seahawk Sean Locklear.

The 30 year old veteran has played seven seasons in the NFL, all have been with the Seahawks. Locklear played both guard and tackle. He is an excellent pass blocker but an average run blocker. His role with the Redskins is yet to be established but he will be competing for a starting spot at either guard or tackle.