Sunday, April 29, 2012

Redskins Draft Recap

Robert Griffin III, above, was the Redskins number one draft selection. (Photo:
Yesterday marked the end of the 2012 NFL Draft. For the Redskins, it was that of a fairly successful draft. Some of their picks made sense and some of their picks certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Their first selection was not that much of a surprise. Everyone on the planet knew it was either going to be Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck. It all depended on who went first. They Redskins finally got their man, however, when they selected Robert Griffin III second overall.

The Redskins did not select again until the third round. A concern for them this offseason has been filling the position of offensive guard. They made somewhat of a surprise selection when then picked SMU's Josh LeRibeus.

The Redskins then made a series of trades with the Steelers, Vikings, and Bills to gain themselves a few more picks to play around with in the later rounds. On day three of the draft, the Redskins had seven total selections.

They had two picks in the fourth round. They spent their first pick on another quarterback. With 102nd overall pick the Redskins selected Kirk Cousins from Michigan State. This pick certainly confuses me and I am sure a number of other people as well. They already drafted RG3, why take Cousins?

17 picks later the Redskins were once again on the clock. This time they returned to the state of Texas to work on the defense. The Redskins selected linebacker Keenan Robinson of the University of Texas. Expect Robinson to move to the inside linebacker position and replace London Fletcher when he finally decides to hang 'em up.

The Redskins next selection came in round five. Once again, the focus was on the offensive line. With the 141st pick, the Redskins selected Adam Gettis from Iowa. He played for the Hawkeyes and will certainly challenge for a spot with the Redskins.

Washington then had two selections in the sixth round. The first was running back Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic. Morris is expected to be used more as a fullback than running back.

The second pick in the sixth round was South Dakota offensive tackle Tom Compton. Compton is a big strong tackle that can easily fill the right or left tackle position.

The Redskins then wrapped up their draft with two picks in the seventh round. Once again, they returned to Texas and selected defensive back Richard Crawford from SMU. While he is not expected to start, he is a solid back-up.

To finish off the draft, Washington went back to Iowa to select cornerback Jordan Bernstein. The former Hawkeye is expected to compete with Crawford for time as a back-up.

The Redskins addressed several key concerns in this years NFL draft. They made a few trades and gained a few more picks and ended up having a successful draft. Stay tuned throughout the week for a a more detailed and extensive look at each and every one of the Redskins selections.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nats Banged Up

Chad Tracy, above, took a fastball off his wrist late in last nights game against the Dodgers. (Photo:
As of yesterday, two Washington Nationals were placed on the 15-day DL and one more is now listed as day-to-day.

First off, the news broke yesterday afternoon that the Nationals were placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day DL to try to heal his ailing shoulder. Zimmerman first injured it during the Nationals opening homestand when fielding multiple ground balls each game.

The Nationals called up Bryce Harper to take the place of Zimmerman. Harper will start in left field and Stephen Lombardozzi will play third.

Second, closer Brad Lidge was also placed on the 15-day DL with an "abdominal wall strain". As a result of that, the Nats called up right-hander Ryan Perry from AAA Syracuse to replace Lidge.

The third big blow to the Nationals major league roster came in the ninth inning of last nights game. Chad Tracy, a member of the famed "Goon Squad", stepped in to pinch hit with two outs in the ninth. He took a two strike fastball off his wrist and had to come out of the game due to the pain.

His x-rays came up negative, however, and Tracy even joked later with Adam Kilgore when he said "That's why you drink your milk." The teams best pinch hitter is listed as day-to-day with a wrist injury.

While the season is young, you'd hate to see the Nationals start off hot and then cool off due to injuries to key players. Last time Zimmerman had to sit for an extended period of time due to an injury, the Nationals collapsed in on themselves and fell way behind in the standings.

Hopefully these injuries will quickly pass. The Nationals are off to a great start and it would be terrible to see it spoiled due to some bad luck on the injury front.

Warren to Tryout for CFL Montreal

Today, South Dakota quarterback Dante Warren is trying out for the CFL franchise Montreal Alouettes in Orlando, Florida.

You may remember Warren from an earlier article that ran here on the blog right after his combine in Akron, Ohio. He was one of the four South Dakota players. His teammate, RJ Polley, drove to the university from his North Dakota home to pick up two other teammates and then off to Akron so they could all be together at the combine.

Not long after the combine, Warren got a call from the Gladiators all the way over in Basel, Switzerland to come and play for them. However, Warren felt it best if he stayed here instead of going overseas. The main reason was because Warren wanted to play against the best possible competition. "The CFL has better opportunities financially as well as the difficulty of competition," said Warren.

There will certainly be a number of athletes at the tryout since it is an open tryout. They will be tested in the 40 yard dash, Pro Agility, and 3-cone drill. Afterwards, they will take to the field to showcase their abilities in position drills and 1-on-1 drills.

To prepare, Warren said that he has been throwing 4-5 times a week and for 2-3 hours at a time. "Monday through Friday I will lift and run to stay in shape and stay strong," said Warren.

Warren has all of the necessary tools to be selected and signed by the Alouettes. He has great awareness, great feet, and an accurate and strong arm. Expect him to be one of the top players at the tryout in Orlando.

"I am very confident that I will do my best at the tryout. I am confident that I will impress many of the Montreal coaches and front office," said Warren.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zim to DL, Harper to Nationals

Bryce Harper, above, is expected to make his big league debut tomorrow night. (Photo:
Today, the CSN Washington reported that Ryan Zimmerman will be placed on the 15 day DL and 19-year old Bryce Harper will be brought up to the major league's effective tomorrow.

Zimmerman has been sidelined for a few days now due to a shoulder injury. Last we heard, he could barely swing the bat without having any discomfort.

It was first reported that Zimmerman had sustained this injury after the Nationals opening homestand. He most likely injured it after diving after a number of ground balls at third base. He will be seeing a specialist in Los Angeles for further evaluation.

Harper will make his debut tomorrow night against the Dodgers for the Nationals. He will be playing left field.

In 20 games at AAA Syracuse this season, Harper has an on base percentage of .333 with a batting average of .250. He has 18 base hits with four doubles, a triple, and one home run. He also has three RBI to go along with eight runs scored.

Many, including me, have questioned Bryce Harper's maturity level. Last season he went so far as to blow a kiss to a minor league pitcher after he hit a home run. After all, he is only 19.

But, the Nationals definitely have a future All-Star in Harper. He gets on base and does well in the outfield. Much like the Nationals other outfielder, Rick Ankeil, Harper has an absolute cannon for an arm. Unless he gets caught up in the major league lights and action, expect him to play well tomorrow night.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Redskins Sign Fletcher, Jackson

London Fletcher, above, tweeted that he is returning to the Redskins. (Photo:
London Fletcher tweeted yesterday, and CSN Washington later confirmed, that he has been resigned by the Washington Redskins.

As stated by Rich Tandler, some reports have stated that they deal is for two years. The dollar value of the deal has not been disclosed. Most likely, Fletcher will now retire as a Redskin.

The search for Fletcher's replacement and the contract discussions between Fletcher and the Redskins was kept as quiet as possible. The first we heard of the two sides even working on a deal was when Fletcher tweeted that he had been resigned yesterday.

2011 was the 14 year veteran's best season yet. Fletcher finished with 166 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions.

The Redskins also resigned Tanard Jackson. This report came via a tweet from the team with a picture of Jackson signing his contract:
New #Redskins S Tanard Jackson signs his contract this morning at Redskins Park: 
Jackson, who signed a one year deal, was released by the Buccaneers after he failed a physical. He appeared in just ten games for the Bucs as he had an injured shoulder. This past off-season, he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Jackson, a Silver Spring, Maryland native, has 229 tackles throughout his four year career. He has 10 interceptions with 27 pass deflections.

The signing of Tanard Jackson is a risky one. I, personally, don't get it. He failed a physical with the Bucs. What on earth on makes Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, and Mike Shanahan think that he will pass one in Washington? Jackson is another one of those "quick fixes" that has no long-term upside.

He has never done anything in the NFL that has "wowed" anybody. He's just an "average Joe" safety that takes up space on the field. I guess we'll have to wait till next year before we finally get a quality player at the safety position.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nationals Injury Notes

Michael Morse, above, will be shut down for six weeks. (Photo:
This past week has been a dismal week for the Nationals on the injury front. They have lost two minor leaguers and two major leaguers to injuries.

Brian Goodwin
This past Monday night, Hagerstown Sun and Nationals 2011 first round draft, Brian Goodwin pulled his hamstring. In the early innings of the game, Goodwin showed off his speed when he beat the throw to first base, but in the process he pulled his hamstring. He will likely be out 2-3 weeks.

Anthony Rendon
One of the most anticipated prospects from this years draft suffered a partial ankle fracture this past week. Rendon, who plays for Class A Potomac, suffered the injury while rounding the bases. Rendon is now in walking boot and  will be seeing a foot specialist soon.

Drew Storen
Yesterday, the Nationals closer underwent a procedure to remove a bone fragment from his throwing elbow. While the whole thing sounds bad, Storen actually caught a break. Since the team has already had one pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, undergo Tommy Johns surgery, they new the signs of a ligament injury. The halted all throwing for Storen and sent him to a specialist. Most likely, this could have developed into a situation like Strasburg's had they not have been so cautious. He is hoping to return by the All-Star break.

Michael Morse
In Spring Training, Morse suffered a lat injury that kept him sidelined for most of preseason. He started the season on the DL but was then moved to Harrisburg. He, and Rick Ankiel, were relocated to Hagerstown. While in Hagerstown, Morse reaggrevated his injury. It was obvious on Monday that he was having issues. He could not get the ball from the outfield to the infield without having it bounce three or four times. He has been shutdown completely for the next six weeks.

Life of a Free Agent: Robert Henson

Have you every had your dream job just taken away from you? You are more than qualified, have everything going your way, and all of a sudden everything is just wiped right out from under your feet? That's what happened to Robert Henson. This is his story.

Henson, a four year player for the TCU Horned Frogs, recorded 270 total tackles with 4 interceptions throughout his career at linebacker. His senior year, he was a First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection.

Henson then entered the NFL draft. He was a sixth round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2009. "I did feel the pressure to perform. It was stressful being in a new environment and told to make it happen as well as have your family's well being depending on your performance on the field," stated Henson when asked about being a sixth round draft pick.

After many sleepless nights and many hours studying his playbook, Henson got his chance to play during his rookie season. In 2009, he appeared in six games for the Redskins and recorded six tackles.

As the franchised then transitioned into the 2010 season, the front office got some new faces. The men that drafted Henson,  GM Vinny Cerrato and head coach Jim Zorn, were replaced by new GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan. "Having the front office replaced was indeed a tough situation for me because the people that drafted me and helped me grow as a football player were suddenly gone," said Henson.

At this point, Henson only had one year under his belt. He went on to say that the veterans of the team were instrumental in helping him and his fellow new comers stay focused. "...[I] made it my mission to prove to the new staff I belonged," said Henson.

In week four of the preseason, the Redskins traveled to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Henson suffered a major set-back when he sustained a knee injury during the game. On the plane ride back, Henson could not sleep. He needed to know his future.

"...I decided to sit down with Coach Shanahan and ask him what his plans were for me. That is when he told me I had nothing to worry about," said Henson.

On August 5th, 2011, almost a year later, Henson got the devastating news that he had been released from the organization. "I was disappointed because I felt I could have contributed heavily. I was about a week away from returning to the field and was excited about doing so. I cleaned out my locker, said thank you to the coaches for the opportunity, and found my friends and told them good bye," said Henson.

Henson then drove back to the hotel to see his wife, Sarah. After breaking the news, they promptly gathered their belongings and headed for home.

"The following few months were stressful because I knew the longer I went without a team, the harder it would be to get back in the NFL," said Henson when asked about the months following his release.

In the weeks following his release, there were a number of teams contacting him about his services. "...they all felt I needed to get healthier before we enter into agreement so that has been my goal," said Henson. He never got the chance to sign a contract.

Now-a-days, Henson gets to spend more time with his family and that is something that is obviously important to him. He even stated that "As long as I am a part of TEAM HENSON I am fine."

Henson works out regularly to keep himself in top physical condition for when that call does come again.

No matter what, he always has a positive out look on life. "I think it is important for guys (Athletes) to realize the game is unpredictable and nothing is promised, but with God and a lot of hard work anything is possible!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nats vs Mets Series Review

Today, the Nationals wrapped up their three game series against the New York Mets. They split the first two games and the Nationals won the rubber match 4-0.

The common theme throughout the three game stretch was bad umping. In game one, everything was a ball. The Nationals could not by a strike. In game two, everything was a strike. Game three, however, was all over the place. It was inconsistent and terrible. In the beginning of the game, Stephen Strasburg had all sorts of troubles getting a strike call. Towards the end of his start, everything became a strike.

The umpires were not the only ones making mistakes. In game one, pitcher Henry Rodriguez committed a costly error when he tried to kick start a double play. He threw the ball past second base and into the outfield. With a tie game, no outs, bottom of the ninth, and runners at the corners, the ending looked grim for the Nats. The next batter, Daniel Murphy, then hit the game winning RBI single into right field.

Ross Detwiler took the mound in game two for the Nationals. After a rough start in which he allowed two hits in the first inning, he settled into a grove. He recorded 6 strikeouts over 5 scoreless innings. He only gave up two hits. Ian Desmond hit a leadoff home run to start the game. Jayson Werth finally broke into the hitting column with an RBI single and Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI in the 6-2 win.

Today, Stephen Strasburg took the mound to face Johan Santana. Strasburg pitched 6 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts and just two hits to pick his first win of the season. Santana was not so great. In the second inning, Mark DeRosa scored when Santana threw a wild pitch. Twice the Nationals scored on a walk. DeRosa drew a full-count walk in the seventh which scored Ian Desmond and Jesus Flores drew a bases loaded walk in the ninth which scored Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats would win 4-0.

Werth Gets in the Hit Column
After starting the season 1-14 against the Cubs, Jayson Werth went 5-11 with 2 RBI against the Mets. His series was highlighted by his four hit and 2 RBI performance in their 6-2 game two win.

Zimmerman Gets 500
Ryan Zimmerman recorded his 500th RBI in game two. In the eighth inning of Tuesdays contest, he hit a sacrifice fly to to right field which scored Wilson Ramos. It was his second RBI of the season.

LaRoche Starts Hot
Adam LaRoche has been the most productive hitter in the Nationals line-up thus far. Through the first six games, he has eight hits including two home runs, six RBI, as well as three walks. He has an on base percentage of .407 and is batting .333 from the clean-up spot.

The Nationals return home for their next eleven games. They start off with a four game series game against the Reds and then another four game series against the Astros before finishing off the homestand with a three game series against the Marlins.

Redskins Sign Three

Yesterday, CSN Washington confirmed that the Washington Redskins have added three more defensive players to their roster. The team resigned defensive end Kedric Golston and signed safety Madieu Williams and cornerback Leigh Torrence.

Golston, a 2006 sixth round draft pick for the Redskins, has been with the franchise ever since he broke into the NFL. He has appeared in 82 games for the Redskins and has 168 total tackles. He is coming off of a season in which he suffered a season ending knee injury. Most likely, he will be a solid back-up when Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan need a break.

The Redskins have also acquired the services of safety Madieu Williams. Williams, originally a second round pick of the Bengals, is beginning his ninth season with his fourth different team. He has 489 total tackles with 12 interceptions. Williams is the type of player that will give a solid effort. He has a tendency to blow coverage. This signing will at least create competition at the safety spot.

The final player that the Redskins resigned was cornerback Leigh Torrence. Torrence, a six year vet who spent 2007 and part of 2008 with the Redskins, appeared in the 13 games for the Saints last season. He had 20 tackles with one interception. Torrence will most likely see some action from the get-go. He is a decent corner that can get the job done. He will get beat deep, however.

As of right now, the terms of the deals have not been disclosed. They are probably for 1-2 years and worth $2-3 million.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One-on-One: Andrew Schaetzke

Meet Georgetown's own Andrew Shaetzke. He was a four year player for the Hoyas. Throughout his career, Shaetzke had 195 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 3 interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.

After recording 59 tackles and 2 interceptions in his junior year, Shaetzke was named an All Patriot League First Team player.

His senior year was his best. He had 69 tackles, 13 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles on his way to being named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and was named an FCS First Team All American.

You were an ECAC Defensive MVP and FCS First Team All American; what do those accomplishments mean to you?
"Those are great individual accomplishments. But, they are truly a credit to my teammates and coaches. The only reason I got any awards was because we as a team were able to win some games and get recognition this year."

What is your favorite memory of your college career?
"My favorite memory is most likely the second game of my senior season vs Lafayette. We were able to battle back as a defense and force a fumble late in the game when they could have taken a knee and kicked a field goal for the win. They wanted to secure more yards for an easier kick with about :30 seconds left on the clock, but, we made the running back fumble and we recovered it instead."

If a scout were to ask you what your best quality is, what would be your answer?
"In my opinion, I would like to think my motor and work ethic. I am a hard worker and am continually fighting to maximize my potential."

What is one thing that sets you apart from the defensive ends in this years draft class?
"There are great D-ends in the draft. However, I believe my quickness and agility in combination with my motor will set me apart."

What is one aspect of your game that you could improve on? What have you been doing to improve on it?
"I did not drop into coverage as much as a true 3-4 outside backer does in the NFL. Therefore, I have been working on my drops so that I can cover as much space as possible."

What have you been doing to prepare for the draft and impress the scouts?
"I did my Pro-Day at the University of Toledo on March 13th. I have been working with a speed coach, Coach Joe Gentry, since about January."

What are you most looking forward to about playing at the next level?
"The experience as a whole I anticipate to be great. I am blessed to even have the opportunity to be considered in the draft."

When I watched Schaetzke on film, I was absolutely blown away. He has quick hands and great feet. Before a blocker gets a chance to touch him, he has already blown right past them. His most remarkable quality, however, is his football I.Q. By the time he takes his first step, he already knows where the ball is going. He reads his keys exceptionally well. He will have to prove he can play a stand-up defensive end. If he can cover, he will get his chance in the NFL.

Here are his results from his Pro-Day in Toledo:
40 Yard Dash: 5.01; Bench Press (225 lbs): 22 Repetitions; Vertical Jump: 32 1/2"; Broad Jump: 9' 07"; 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.34; 3-Cone Drill: 7.11

Nats News and Notes from Hagerstown

Last night, Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel both got the start in Hagerstown for the Nationals Class A affiliate Suns. The Suns hosted the Astros Class A affiliate Lexington Legends.

The Suns found themselves up early after Matthew Skole crushed a grand slam over the right field wall. Skole was a fifth round pick for the Nationals in the MLB draft this past year. The Legends would not go quietly and tied the game in the late innings. The game would head into extras and Caleb Ramsey would end it with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eleventh inning. The Suns won 8-7.

Morse Not Ready
It became quite clear last night that outfielder Michael Morse is not ready to come back to the majors. There were many signs that pointed to him still being bothered by his hamstring. He had a tough go in left field as the Legends ran him all around it. He had trouble getting the ball from the outfield wall to the infield on one bounce or less.

In the batters box, Morse went 2-4 with two singles. He showed some hustle when he beat the throw to first base on a one hopper to third. Morse was then pulled from the game before the eighth inning.

Ankiel Making Strong Recovery
Rick Ankiel looked very strong for the Suns last night. He is recovering from a quad injury and is doing quite well. He went 4-5 with a two-run home run and an RBI single.

He got the start in centerfield. He, too, had some running he had to do while playing defense. However, Ankiel's arm looked strong as ever as he was able to get the ball from the outfield wall to the infield on one hop or less (usually none). Ankiel, like Morse, was also pulled before heading to extras. He was replaced before the tenth inning.

Top Prospect Injured
Nationals first round draft pick and Suns right fielder Brian Goodwin pulled up after hustling down the first base line and beating out the throw to first for a base hit. After crossing the bag for the base hit, Goodwin then bent over at the hip and appeared to be stretching out his hamstring. The apparent injury happened in the second inning.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Morse, Ankiel in Hagerstown

Yesterday, the Hagerstown Suns Twitter page tweeted that Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel will both be in Hagerstown tonight and will be available to be put in the line-up.

Morse and Ankiel both started off in the minors after suffering injuries during Spring Training. Morse has been battling a hamstring injury and Ankiel is recovering from a quad injury.

Before being assigned to the Class A Suns, Morse and Ankiel started off in Harrisburg. Both played well. They each reached base multiple times in their first outing and Ankiel even hit a home run.

Both are expected to recover fully and quickly from their preseason set backs. They should be returning to the majors by mid to late May.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nationals: Cubs Review

Brad Lidge, 54, had his first save for the Nationals on Opening Day. (Photo:
Today, the Washington Nationals finished up their season opening series against the Chicago Cubs. After taking the first game, the Nationals dropped game three today.

The Nationals certainly earned the title of cardiac kids in this series. For each game, they found themselves down late and managed a late inning rally.

In game one, the Nats tied the game in the eighth after a Jayson Werth bases loaded walk and then scored the game winning run off of an Ian Desmond RBI single that scored Chad Tracy.

In game two, the Nationals once again waited till the last minute to bring out the offense. Adam LaRoche kept them close with a two-run home run in the fourth. The Nationals took the lead for good off of a five-run rally in the eighth. It was also Gio Gonzalez's first start for the Nats.

In game three, the Nationals once again found themselves down late. In the top of the ninth, Adam LaRoche stepped to the plate with Ryan Zimmerman on and crushed another two-run shot to deep left to bring the Nats within one. Nats first timer Xavier Nady ended the game when he popped up in foul territory.

Biggest Surprise
Adam LaRoche was a nice surprise for the Nationals this weekend. In three games, he had two two-run home runs. After starting the series by only reaching base on a walk and striking out every other time, he performed well and kept the Nationals in contention the other games.

Biggest Disappointment
Hopefully, this does not become a theme for the Nationals, but, Jayson Werth went 0-10 and only reached base when he was walked. He has to be able to turn this around. They always say that the first hit is the hardest, but he has to break through in a big way. His success is key to the franchise making it to the post-season.

Biggest Upside
Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa showed us why they are the number one and two hitters in this line-up. In game one of the series, they both reached base on their first four plate appearances. Ian Desmond even brought the game winning run around on a single in the ninth inning. Desmond was the teams biggest source of offense that game.

Looking Ahead
The Nationals are now traveling to New York to take on the Mets in a divisional showdown. This series could be a preview for October as both teams are overflowing with potential and confidence. Edwin Jackson takes the mound for the Nats in his first appearance for the ball club on Monday at 7:10 PM.

Friday, April 6, 2012

One-on-One: Tommy Addison

Tommy Addison played running back for Shepherd University in West Virginia. He saw playing time as a freshman and started his junior and senior year.

Throughout his career for the Rams, Addison rushed for 3,597 yards with 41 touchdowns. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and 91 yards per game.

His junior year was by far his best. He rushed for 1,670 yards and 19 touchdowns on his way to becoming an All-America selection.

Your junior year you were named to the All-American squad, what does that mean to you?
"It means a lot to me. It was the best season I had in college. It showed that I can play with anybody. I can play any time and any place. Since it was also my junior year, it means that I have skills."

What is your favorite memory you have of playing at Shepherd?
"My favorite memory was after the Mercyhurst game. We beat them. After the game we were celebrating and taking pictures in front of their scoreboard. We played as a team and won as a team. It was one of the happiest days of my life."

If a scout were to ask you what your best quality is, what would be your answer?
"My best quality is my explosion. I get through the holes quick and I don't sit back and dance. I can get the tough yards, but, I can break one, too."

What is one thing you do that sets you apart from the rest of the running backs in this years class?
"The thing that sets me apart is my explosiveness. I am very quick and can make a lot of people miss. That can translate to tough yards that keep drives alive. I also believe that I can read blocks well. I can follow my linemen and cut off their blocks."

What is one aspect of your game that you feel you could improve on? What are you doing to improve that?
"My blocking. I am not the biggest person in the world, but, I need to stick my nose in there and get the job done. I have been lifting weights. I squat and bench so I can get my strength up and be a bigger guy."

What have you been doing to prepare for the draft and impress scouts?
"I have been doing a lot. Everywhere I go guys want to see if I can catch the ball. I practice catching the ball with my dad and brother often. They all want to see if I can catch the ball. So I have been working hard to have great hands and be able to catch the ball."

What are you most looking forward to about playing at the next level?
"I am most looking forward to learning new things. Once you go to the next level there are guys that have been their for years and they have a lot of knowledge. I am hoping that they can teach me things and improve my game."

When I spoke to Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN about Addison, he told me that he classifies Addison as a "scat back". He is a quick and shifty player that has great moves in the open field. When watching this player on tape, you can see why. Addison has a great ability to get through the hole. He does not dance in the backfield. He does an excellent job at sticking with his linemen and never breaks away from the play.

Addison needs to show off his ability to catch the ball. We didn't see him do that very much in college and he will need to show that he can do that in order to get to the next level.

At the BSN Combine in Akron, Ohio, Addison posted some pretty impressive numbers. He repped 225 pounds 15 times on the bench press and ran a 4.19 5-10-5 shuttle drill. At a CFL tryout this past week, he was clocked running a 4.38 in the 40 yard dash.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lannan Wants Out

Just one day after the Nationals designated pitcher John Lannan for AAA Syracuse, the disgruntled pitcher informed the franchise via email that he wants out.

On Wednesday, the Nationals made a somewhat shocking move when they made Ross Detwiler the fifth man in the starting rotation and sent Lannan to the minors.

During Spring Training, the Nationals tried to trade Lannan in an attempt to acquire a starting center fielder. GM Mike Rizzo stated that he hoped to get a decent package of prospects for the 27 year old left hander. Rizzo, however, never found a deal that he deemed good enough to make the trade.

A report earlier stated that the Nationals tried some 20 teams when they were shopping Lannan and not one of those teams would offer enough for the often inconsistent Lannan. Today, Nats manager Davey Johnson stated that he still wants Lannan to be part of the organization.

At just 27, Lannan still has a number of years left in him. Last time the Nationals sent him down to the minors he returned to the big league better than before. Maybe this is exactly what he needs.

One-on-One: Jayah Kaisamba

Jayah Kaisamba has played defensive back for the Georgetown Hoyas since his freshman year in 2008. In each of his four seasons, he played in at least ten games.

Throughout his four year career, Kaisamba recorded 170.5 tackles with five forced fumbles. He also totaled 17 pass break-ups, 24 passes defensed, and seven interceptions.

After his junior year, he was First Team All Patriot League and was also named to the ECAC Division I FCS First Team. Kaisamba was also an ECAC All Star. That year, Kaisamba recorded 59.5 tackles, six pass break-ups, 11 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions.

Your junior year you were named an ECAC All Star, what does that accomplishment mean to you?
"It meant a lot to me but it also is a credit to my secondary coach, Robert Sgarlata. We had set some high standards and goals that we had wanted to achieve as a secondary and we were able to make incredible strides from my sophomore year to my junior year. It really showed the hard work that the team and myself did to improve from a season in which we won no games."

What is your favorite memory you have of playing at Georgetown?
"My favorite memory of playing at Georgetown is when we beat Lafayette University my junior year. We were down 21-7 in the second quarter and came back to win 28-24 when I picked off a pass on our own 3-yard line to seal the victory with one minute left. It was a great team victory and a testament to the hard work and four quarters of play we put together. Also, it was great because it was Georgetown's first league win since I had been there."

If a scout were to ask you what your best quality is, what would be your answer?
"I would say that off the field my best quality is my preparation. I love to watch film and breakdown tendencies of my opponent. On the field I would say my best quality is my ability to play press man, in combination with reading receivers and upper body I know it can translate that especially to the next level."

What is one thing you do that sets you apart from the rest of the DBs in the draft this year?
"I believe that the one thing that sets me apart from other DBs in this year's draft is my combination of strength and speed. There aren't too many corners that are both really strong and fast, but I think I have one of the best combinations of that as compared to those in recent year's class and it translates to my performance on the field."

What is one aspect of your game that you feel you could improve on? What have you been doing to improve on that?
"One aspect as a corner that you are always trying to work on is your hip fluidity and quickness. Having great and smooth hips helps in your transitions and with receivers being so quick you need to be able to react to their breaks and movements. I have been putting a much greater emphasis in stretching on a daily basis and doing hip exercises to increase my flexibility which also translates to being a faster player."

What have you been doing to prepare for draft and impress scouts?
"I went to the NFL Baltimore Regional Combine and also to the Beyond Sports Network Showcase in Akron, Ohio. I had a leg injury at the Regional Combine so I wasn't satisfied with my performance there but at the BSN Showcase ready and healthy I had a career day at the combine. I had also been invited to a Winnipeg tryout in Dallas but because of some circumstances out of my control I was not able to attend."

What are you most looking forward to about playing at the next level?
"The thing I look forward to most in playing at the next level is the opportunity to play against my sports heroes and legends and to prove to them and myself that I deserve to be playing and performing at a high level with them. It is an exciting time in my life and I just look forward to putting 110% into whoever gives me that opportunity."

When watching Jayah Kaisamba on film, you can't help but be impressed with his ability. His speed and ability to close is uncanny. He can easily make up five steps while the ball is in the air. He does a great job at making a play on the ball and not on the receiver. He is aggressive and has soft hands. His aggressiveness could get him into trouble. Over aggressive players run a high risk biting on fakes.

Kaisamba's numbers at the Akron combine were impressive. He ran a 4.42 40 yard dash and a 4.13 on the 5-10-5 shuttle run. He had a vertical jump of 40.5" and bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nats Send Down Lannan

Yesterday, the Nationals made the final, and most surprising, move to get down to the 25-man Opening Day roster.

The Nationals had six starting pitchers at the beginning of the day and needed to send one down to the minors in order to have their five locked in. The choice came down to John Lannan and Ross Detwiler. Just last week, Nationals manager Davey Johnson had claimed that Lannan "was [his] guy."

That all changed. The Nationals have since sent Lannan down to AAA Syracuse in favor of Detwiler.

Throughout the spring, Detwiler has out-performed Lannan. He posted a 3.06 ERA and Lannan posted a less than impressive 5.14 ERA.

As stated in an article on the Nationals website, Lannan also had a minor league option left on his contract. Knowing that, the choice was easy for Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo.

The final spot in the rotation was opened up once Chien-Ming Wang had to be placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a hamstring injury.

Two years ago, Lannan was known as the Nationals ace pitcher and you could find him on the cover of the gameday program that they hand out at the gates. Now-a-days, you commonly find him as one of the free baseball cards that are given out in the centerfold of the program.

Earlier this spring the Nationals put Lannan on the trade block in hopes of getting a centerfielder. The asking price was too high, however, so the market for Lannan was fairly small and the Nationals never reached a deal with anyone.

The Nationals recent off-season signings really didn't help his cause, either. The returns of Stephen Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang and the signings of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson have bumped Lannan down to the low-man on the rotation.

Lannan is still available for trade. The Nationals are most likely looking for the next great centerfielder and I wouldn't be surprised if he was involved in a trade to get one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NFL Draft Breakdown: Tight Ends

Coby Fleener, above, really impressed scouts at his pro day. (Photo:
Today, I will be analyzing the top three tightends in this years draft. Like usual, the depth at the tight end position is not that great. This year, however, it is unclear as to whether or not there will be one taken in the first round. Much like the tight ends and running backs, the top prospect is virtually in a class of his own.

Coby Fleener (Stanford)
In his senior season for the Cardinal, Fleener had 34 receptions for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns. Standing at 6-6 and weighing 240 pounds, Fleener is a pretty good sized tight end.

When watching Fleener on film, I am amazed by his speed and agility. He does not run like a traditional tight end. He cuts in and out of his routes like that of a tight end. He can really stretch the field with his ability to run and cut. His unofficial 37 inch vertical is also an added bonus. He has the ability to go up and over cornerbacks with ease thanks to this. He is also physical with his hands at the line to get open.

At just 240, Fleener might get pushed around when he is blocking for a running back. Whoever drafts Fleener would get the most out of him at the slot position. I picture him being more like a Gronkowski in the NFL.

Orson Charles (Georgia)
At 6-3 and weighing 241 pounds, the Bulldog is not as big as Fleener. He caught 45 balls for 574 yards and five touchdowns.

Personally, I don't see Charles drafted until the third round. When watching him on film, I don't really see anything that wows me. Some positives that I saw were his feet. When running his routes, he breaks clean and has the ability to leave linebackers spinning in the open field. He also does a decent job at finding the hole in the zone. He knows where to go and where to sit in order to be in the sweet spot for the quarterback.

Charles isn't going to be the teams best blocker. When gets beat, he essentially gives up. At times he blocks right into the ball carrier. His feet are almost too crisp for himself to handle. He falls down during a route. He also has a tendency to drop one or two throughout the course of the game.

Dwayne Allen (Clemson)
Standing at 6-4 and weighing in at 255 pounds, Allen is the heaviest of these three. This past season for the Tigers, he had 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns.

Simply put, Allen is a big and physical tight end. When he is running his routes he really plants hard on his outside foot when cutting. He goes up and grabs the ball at it's highest point. He doesn't just catch the ball, he grabs it. Drops are not really a problem with him. He has sure hands and you can tell that the quarterback feels confident when throwing him the ball.

Blocking is an issue with him. He rises up after contact and doesn't do a very good job of running his feet after the initial hit. He needs to stay low and power through the guy he's blocking. NFL defensive ends will run right through him if he rises up.

I would not expect any of these three tight ends to be taken in the first round of the draft. While they all posses the skills they need to be great receiving tight ends, they all lack the ability to block. Look for all three of these guys to be taken off the board by the time the fifth round rolls around.

Nationals Make Moves

The Washington Nationals announced today that outfielders Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. Since those two will not be on the Opening Day game roster, Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady will be on the bench for Opening Day.

Michael Morse has been sidelined for much of spring due to a strained lat muscle. Rick Ankiel has also missed some time because of discomfort in his quads.

Chad Tracy has played well at the corners for the Nationals and Xavier Nady has played well in the outfield. Neither are expected to start, however.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, four other players are expected to start the season on the DL. Pitchers Drew Storen (elbow inflammation), Chien-Ming Wang (hamstring strain), and Cole Kimball (shoulder surgery) are all expected to start on the DL. First baseman Chris Marrero (hamstring surgery) will also start on the DL. Kimball and Marrero will both be on the 60-day DL.

Monday, April 2, 2012

NFL Draft Breakdown: Wide Receivers

Today, I will be breaking down the top three receivers in the NFL draft this year. This draft has a large class of receivers and the depth in this draft is tremendous. There will still be decent receivers available well into day two of the draft.

Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)
Blackmon is coming off of a stellar year for the Cowboys. He had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns.

When watching Blackmon on tape, what's not to love? He plays big. He is strong. One thing I like is his hand usage. He gets physical at the line of scrimmage to avoid being jammed. When he runs a fake in the route, he plants hard on the cut and sells it well. Blackmon has great awareness. He knows where he is in relation to the sidelines at all times. When blocking, he gets low and inside and jams the corner.

One thing he should focusing on improving is how he holds the football. He has a tendency to hold the ball loose and he runs the risk of fumbling.

Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
Michael Floyd had a great senior year for the Fighting Irish. He had 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns.

Floyd does not quite have the speed that you look for when evaluating wide receivers. The quality that makes him so good is his ability to just get open. He beats you with a quick move at the start then uses a series of fakes to make himself available to the quarterback. He has a knack for being able to get the ball at its highest point. Floyd has great hands and also presents a big target for quarterbacks to hit.

If there was one thing he could improve on, it would be his speed. I know you can't coach speed, but, if he could just get a little bit faster, I think he could be a lock to be a top 20 pick.

Kendall Wright (Baylor)
Kendall Wright performed exceptionally well for the Bears this past season. He had 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The first thing that comes to my mind when watching Kendall Wright is his speed and balance. He is arguably the fastest receiver in this years draft. He's got great speed and utilizes it right from the snap. He uses his quick hands to avoid being jammed and then runs right through the secondary on his way to the endzone. He has a great feel for his location and always knows where he is in relation to the sideline.

One thing he needs to do to better prepare himself for the NFL is gain weight. At just 190 pounds, Ray Lewis may kill him if he comes over the middle.

All three of these receivers have the potential to go in the first round. I would rank them like this: 1) Blackmon 2) Wright 3) Floyd.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

NFL Draft Breakdown: Running Backs

Today, I will be breaking down the top three running backs in the NFL draft this year (arguably). This year the draft is not very deep at the running back position. Much like the quarterbacks, there are only a few (two to be exact) that are expected to go in the first round. Let's take a closer at the top three running backs.

Trent Richardson (Alabama)
Last season, the Heisman finalist had a solid year for the Crimson Tide. He rushed for 1,679 yards with 21 touchdowns. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

Standing at 5-11 and weighing in at around 225 pounds, Richardson has the stature of former Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Richardson style, however, is far different. Richardson hits the hole low and hard and powers through it as if he's running a goal line play. However, once he gets through the hole, he rises up and turns on the jets. He's got great vision and sees/uses the whole field when he runs. He also holds the ball high-and-tight to avoid fumbles.

One thing I would like to see more of is his ability to catch the ball. He only had 29 receptions last season. More and more now are NFL running backs expected to catch the ball and become a fifth receiver.

Lamar Miller (Miami of Florida)
Last season, Miller had a productive season for the Hurricanes. He rushed for 1,272 yards with nine touchdowns. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

The big thing that pops out to me when watching Miller play is his speed. His biggest attribute is his speed. The 'Canes used him a lot as a return man and I expect him to primarily be a returner in the NFL. He has quick feet and decent vision, but, I just don't see him as a primary running back. He will get reps at the running back position, but he will make his money on special teams.

A way he could have a huge impact on any team is receiving. With his speed, he could be a lethal slot receiver or third-down-and-long type of back. If he can catch the ball consistently, he will find a home in the NFL.

Doug Martin (Boise State)
Martin, a senior for the Broncos this past season, had his most productive season in 2011. He ran 1,299 yards and found the endzone 16 times. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

When watching Doug Martin on tape, I don't really see anything that makes him stand out. He's got a good burst, good feet, and he runs hard. He is a solid running back. He holds the football high and tight; although sometimes it does hang loose and vulnerable. He is a solid mid-round running back. Will he start? No. Can he contribute? Certainly.

Martin follows the trend of the other two: hands. If he can prove that he has good hands and can catch the football, he will get his chance.

All three of these running backs will find a home at the next level. They all have one big thing that they need to prove: hands. Catching the ball out of the backfield is becoming a cornerstone to some offenses.

Expect Richardson to go in the top ten. Miller will most likely go in the second round and I anticipate Martin going either late in the second round or early in the third round.