Friday, August 31, 2012

Rodriguez Has Surgery

Former Nationals closer Henry Rodriguez underwent a procedure today to fix a bone spur in his right pitching elbow. He is not expected to pitch winter ball, but could return in time for spring training.

Rodriguez began the season as the Nationals number one closer. He was able to hit 100MPH consistently on the radar. Through his first nine appearances, Rodriguez didn't give up a single run. In the month of May, however, everything fell apart for him as he had a 7.36 ERA throughout may.

It is not quite certain when Rodriguez was first bothered by the injury. According to Mike Rizzo, Rodriguez first complained of the injury in the month of July. Throughout July, he had an ERA of 7.56.

Injured or not, Rodriguez has a lot to prove to Nationals fans and hopefully the front office if he expects to see the ball field much next season. He showed a lot of promise in the beginning of the season and then, for whatever, fell apart and an 8.14 ERA over his final 26 appearances.

Despite his lack of production, their is major potential there. He can throw 100 MPH whenever he wants to. He's kind of like a real life version of Rick "The Wild Thing" Vaughn from the popular baseball movie series "Major League". He's a hard throwing closer that just needs a little control help.

Hopefully, Rodriguez can find the handle on his pitches next spring. For now, he'll be working with the Nationals training staff and team doctors to begin his road to recovery.

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Source: CSN

Redskins Lose Jackson

Jackson, above, has been banned for one-year. (Photo:
The NFL has suspended Redskins free safety Tanard Jackson for a minimum of one year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Jackson was brought to the Redskins this offseason following being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was expected to compete for a starting safety spot and it was anticipated that he would see the playing field throughout the season.

According to John Keim, the Redskins had been waiting for this ruling. That suggests that they knew that Jackson had been caught with a banned substance and were awaiting the NFL's ruling.

Today, they ruled and Jackson has been banned at least one year for violating the leagues substance-policy.

This is the second time that Jackson has received a year long ban for such an offense. He missed all of the 2010 season for the same reason. With that in mind, he's lucky that this punishment is only one-year. The league could have very well suspended him for life. They could still do that. We will have to wait and see.

In the mean time, let's look at who will fill the void.

Madieu Williams and Dejon Gomes will be the two main free safeties. That took much of the reps this preseason, but Jackson still showed some promise when he got his chance.

This could very well be it for Tanard Jackson. Roger Goodell takes substance abuse very seriously and doesn't pull any punches. The NFL could very well give Jackson a lifetime ban for this second offense.

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Source: FOX Sports

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Career Night for the Rookie

Bryce Harper, above, spikes his helmet after being called out at first. (Photo:
Last night, Bryce Harper had himself quite the game. He went from the highest of the highs, to the lowest of the lows. He once again showed the potential he has and his youth in the same game.

It all began in the fourth inning. Harper came up to the plate with Jayson Werth already on base. He then jacked a two-run shot over the right field wall to put the Nationals up 2-0. That kick started a four run fourth for the Nationals.

Then, in the fifth inning, Harper came up to the plate and did it again. This time he sent a solo shot 416 feet over the right-centerfield wall to put the Nationals up 5-0. With two swings of his bat, he had two home runs and three RBI.

It was the first time since that late 1980's that a teenage centerfielder hit two home runs in one game.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, Harper also showed his youth.

In the top of the ninth inning, Harper grounded out into a double play. As he hustled through first base, he was called out and threw his helmet on the ground in frustration. First base umpire CB Bucknor then tossed him from the game.

So while we all went gaga eyed over the power of the rookie, we were then once again reminded that he, indeed, a rookie.

This is the first that Harper has been ejected. This isn't the first time equipment around. Back in the beginning of the season, Harper was frustrated after grounded out and went into the runway (that leads to the clubhouse) with a bat. When slammed the bat against the wall it bounced back and hit him the face cutting him above his left eye.

Numerous times this season he's broken his bat after striking out. One piece of lumber flew up and hit the home plate umpire. Harper later apologized to the umpire.

A few nights ago, Harper once again took to the runway to release some frustration. He was kicking bats and helmets around after not finding any success from the batters box.

Now, before we rip the kid apart for his actions, just remember: he's a rookie. Davey Johnson said it last night during a post game interview: "He'll learn. He's young and he'll learn." Harper has a few more years left him (I hope) and with the age will come more maturity.

Right now, the only thing that we should worry about is equipment costs. Bats and helmets aren't cheap and he's been going through them like they grow on trees. Maybe that's one way the Nationals can force Harper to mature? They can fine him for each piece of equipment he breaks.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Than A Football Player

Chris Cooley, above, doing what he loves, spending time with the fans. (Photo:
Yesterday, the Redskins had to let go of one of their franchise players. A player that will forever be remembered in the hearts of Redskins fans around the country. A player that some even came to know as Captain Chaos.

Chris Cooley has been in the NFL for nine years and has spent all nine years with the Redskins. Washington drafted him in the third round of the 2004 draft. Cooley proved throughout his career that he was no ordinary tight end from Utah State. He turned into one of the best tight ends the NFL had to offer.

Cooley played in every single game his rookie season. He hauled in 37 receptions for 314 yards and six touchdowns. He came back better than ever in 2005 and had 71 receptions for 774 yards and seven touchdowns. In his first five seasons, he played in every single game for the Redskins.

His best season came in 2008. He had a career high 83 receptions for 849 yards and one touchdown. Cooley also picked up 43 first downs for the Redskins.

In 2009, his season was cut short due to an injury and many were worried about how he would fair in 2010. He shut the critics up by nearly eclipsing all his career totals with 77 receptions for 849 yards, three touchdowns, and 40 first down conversions.

Once again, however, Cooley was bitten by the injury bug in 2011 and played in just five games. Fred Davis was beginning the blossom into an NFL caliber tight end and that was leading many to believe if the Redskins should still hold onto Cooley.

The Redskins kept him and Cooley realized that he would receive a very limited role. However, it wasn't meant to be as the two sides had to part ways yesterday in one tearful goodbye.

Cooley made two Pro Bowl appearances in 2007 and 2008 and was even an All-Pro selection in 2005. He holds the Redskins' All Time Record for Most Receptions by a Tight End with 428. He finished his Redskins career with 4,703 yards receiving and 33 touchdowns. 

Chris Cooley was (is) so much more than a football player. He is an incredible role for all kids both wanting to play the game or just trying to live a lively and healthy lifestyle. Cooley always came to work with an enthusiastic smile on face didn't let anything get him down.

Cooley was willing to do whatever it took to stay on the Redskins. It was obvious that he didn't want to leave. That, alone, makes him an incredible role for all football players. Hardly ever do you see a player love his team, his hometown, his situation like Chris Cooley.

He wasn't in it for the money. Chris Cooley played for the love of the game. He played for the relationships that are built. He is the quintessential football playing role model that so many parents dream of for their kids.

Thank you for an incredible nine years, Captain Chaos. You gave us all some good laughs and some memorable moments.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Redskins Sign/Cut Kicker(s)

Cundiff, above, was signed this morning. (Photo:
Well, instead of a quarterback controversy in D.C., there is a kicking controversy. Although, after the latest events of the morning, it's not so much a controversy as it is a head scratcher. Let's recap!

Yesterday morning the Redskins announced the release of kicker Neil Rackers. He and Graham Gano were locked in a kicking competition this offseason. With the release of Rackers, it appeared as though Gano had won the job.

Then early this morning, another kicker was brought in: Bill Cundiff. Cundiff was cut by the Ravens just two days ago. Now, we could have said that the Redskins were going to have a one game playoff for the teams place kicker spot.


Graham Gano texted to ESPN 980 and then tweeted that he has been released from the Redskins. So the kickers that we had to start the preseason aren't even on the roster anymore. Instead, a kicker that was cut two days is going to be the starting kicker for the Washington Redskins.

And it makes a lot of sense.

One of the best, and worst, things about the new kickoff rule is that it is almost a guarantee that the returning team will start off at the 20. With Graham Gano, however, that was not so. With Billy Cundiff, however, the Redskins will get more touchbacks out of their kickoff specialist.

In 2011, the first season with the new kickoff rule, Gano had more kickoffs returned (36) than touchbacks (33). About 57 percent of his kicks were returned.

For Billy Cundiff, however, he was dishing out touchbacks before the new kickoff rule. In 2010, he issued 40 touchbacks to just 38 returns. That was when they still kicked from 20 yard line. With the new rule, however, Cundiff put 44 kicks in the endzone for a touchback. He had a touchback percentage of 57 percent. Cundiff also averaged four yards more than Gano on kickoffs.

In 2011, both kickers had eerily similar field goal percentages. Both had a percentages of 75 percent. Cundiff, however, was much better than Gano when he was closer to the goal posts. Let's break it down:

20-29 Yards: Cundiff (9-9), Gano (14-15)
30-39 Yards: Cundiff (10-12), Gano (5-9)
40-49 Yards: Cundiff (7-9), Gano (8-11)
50+ Yards: Cundiff (1-6), Gano (4-6)
PATs: Cundiff (38-38), Gano (25-26 with one block)

So as you can see, this isn't really about field goal kicking. Both kickers are statistically similar with Cundiff having the edge from 30-39 yards away.

Giving the opposing teams offense a long field to work with is very important. For Gano, that was not always the case. He had more kicks returned that touchbacks. Cundiff had 14 more kicks go for a touchback than returned.

This move really doesn't have much to do with field goal kicking ability. Both kickers are too similar for that to be the main reason. Instead, this move has a lot to do with kick-offs and touchbacks. The Redskins have definitely upgraded themselves, however, at the kicker position with by signing Billy Cundiff.

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Source(s): Bleacher Report

Radio Show Appearance

My latest radio show appearance took place over the phone with a show in Israel. We talked about the Redskins and the Nationals.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Redskins Make Roster Moves

Today has been a busy day for the Redskins. First, they cut ties with kicker Neil Rackers and news also broke that right tackle Jammal Brown has been lost for the first 4-6 weeks of the season after having hip surgery.

The latest news to come out of Redskins Park regards a trade with Lions as well as a number of players being released.

First off, the trade.

The Redskins traded away cornerback Kevin Barnes to the Lions in exchange for a conditional draft pick. There's only one condition: Barnes must make the Lions 53-man roster in order for the trade to be made official.

Barnes was a third round draft pick of the Redskins in 2009 out of the University of Maryland. He saw playing time all three seasons including appearing in 15 games for the Redskins in 2011. He has 45 career tackles and three interceptions.

I just didn't make sense to keep Barnes on the roster. Josh Wilson, Dejon Gomes, DeAngelo Hall, and now Richard Crawford have all proved to be the Redskins top cornerbacks.

The Redskins also cut 12 players (not including Neil Rackers) today.

Running backs Antwon Bailey and Lennon Creer, offensive lineman Chris Campbell, wide receivers Samuel Kirkland and Lance Lewis, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, linebacker Monte Lewis, guard Nick Martinez, tight end Beau Reliford, and cornerback Morgan Trent all received pink slips today and were waived from the roster.

There will be more roster cuts in the coming days. Teams have to have their rosters trimmed down to 53 by 9 PM on Friday.

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Source(s): CSN

Redskins News and Notes

Brown, above, will miss 4-6 weeks. (Photo:
A couple stories broke today about the Washington Redskins that you need to know. Lucky for you, you checked The Skinny On Sports this morning!

First off, the Redskins have reportedly cut ties with kicker Neil Rackers. Rackers was brought in to compete with Graham Gano for the place kicking job.

In three preseason games this year, Rackers went 1-2 and missed from 54 yards out. Gano did not attempt a field goal, but did connect on all his point after touchdown (PAT) attempts.

More than likely, the Redskins stuck with Gano because of past history. Statistically, both Gano and Rackers are similar. Last season, Gano was 31-41 on field goal attempts, but, five of them were blocked.

The next, and most important, bit of news is that right tackle Jammal Brown will miss 4-6 weeks due to hip surgery. He had it done sometime yesterday or this morning and doctors repaired a torn hip ligament.

Brown has missed then entire preseason due to his hip injury. While the Redskins gave him multiple cortisone shots to try to kill the pain, he never progressed and he had to get surgery.

Filling in for Brown will likely be Tyler Polumbus. Polumbus has started this preseason in Browns absence and had has played well. The Redskins won't lose much with Brown out.

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Source(s): ESPN, CSN

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Portis To Retire A Redskin

Portis, above, was an exciting player to watch for the Redskins. (Photo:
Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis will announce his retirement on Thursday. He played seven seasons with the Redskins that dated from 2004 to 2010.

Portis was originally a second round draft pick of the Denver Broncos back in 2002. He went to school at the University of Miami in Florida.

Over his nine seasons in the NFL, Portis amassed 9,923 yards rushing and 75 touchdowns. One of his best career seasons came with the Redskins in 2005 when he rushed for 1,516 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

Portis was most successful when he played for current Redskins coach Mike Shanahan in Denver. In his first two seasons in the NFL, he ran for over 1,500 yards each season and had at least 14 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry in Denver.

Unfortunately, injuries plagued Portis throughout his Redskins career. He played only three full seasons and in 2009 and 2010 combined, he played in just 13 games. He was slowed by leg injuries and ultimately a concussion.

Portis still remains one of the most memorable running backs in Redskins history. Certainly, nobody will be as memorable as John Riggins, but Portis created his own legacy in Redskins history. Whether it was his on field celebrations or his off field antics ("Coach Hanky Spanky"), Portis was a back that Redskins fans loved and you could certainly find plenty of "26" jersey's at FedEx Field on game days.

He will retire a Redskin with the same coach that drafted him: Mike Shanahan.

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Giolito to Surgery?

The Washington Nationals top 2012 draft pick, Lucas Giolito, is seeing a specialist today regarding his right elbow.

The 16th overall pick in the MLB draft this past June was shutdown after just two innings in a start in the Gulf Coast League in Viera, Florida because he had "soreness" in his elbow. It was his first professional start.

This is not the first time that the 18-year old right hander has experienced issues with his elbow. He missed part of his senior year of high school due to a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. The Nationals knew that, but were certain that that would not effect him anymore.

Yesterday, he was seen by team doctor Wiemi Douoguih and the Nationals have since sent him to Las Angeles to meet with orthopedist Lewis Yocum.

The Nationals have a history with Yocum and know him quite well. Yocum performed both Tommy Johns surgery for both Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.

While we all hope that it is not that serious, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo did say that if he needs Tommy Johns, then he's getting Tommy Johns. "Once we get a diagnosis from him, then we'll proceed with whatever we have to do."

Giolito is in good hands. The Nationals have dealt with serious elbow issues before and they have done well for the themselves. They have a good farm system and rehab program and, if Giolito needs Tommy Johns, is in one of the best possible situations for it.

He's only 18. There is no need to stress about him needing the surgery...yet. If he returns from the surgery, and this is only if he has it done, better than ever with no discomfort, great! However, you'd hate to see a talent this young go to waste due to an injury.

At any rate, Giolito is in good hands with the Washington Nationals organization. They are careful with elbow injuries and have a good rehab program.'s not like they're NEEDING a starting pitcher right now...

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Source: CSN Washington

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Notes and Observations: Preseason Week 2

Robert Griffin III, above, scrambles on a pass play. (Photo:
Well, last night proved to be tough for the Redskins in the first half. Sure, they came back in the second half. But, the second half most consists of guys that won't play very much for either team. When it comes to preseason games, it's all about the first half. And for the Redskins...they lost big time. Here are a few things I noticed during last nights 33-31 loss against the Chicago Bears.

Alfred Morris is the Real Deal
The Redskins appear to have gotten quite a steal in this years draft. Rookie running back Alfred Morris was drafted out of FAU in the sixth round and he has turned into quite the back for the Redskins. In their first preseason game, Morris played in the second half and was an absolute work horse. He had 15 carries for 54 yards. Last night, he ran with the first teamers and really shined. He had 10 carries for 34 yards including a 21 yard burst on the first play. He's got great footwork and has a good first cut. He's used to playing with a below-average offensive line. At FAU, his junior and senior year lines were pathetic. Due to that, he's learned the art of the quick decision and finding the cut back lanes. Like last year, the Redskins managed to snag a good running back in the late rounds

RG3 Became A Rookie
He was terrible. But, he wasn't as great as he was against the Bills, either. Robert Griffin III simply looked like a rookie quarterback. He finally went up against a decent pass rush and last night was a true test of his CURRENT skill. He was sacked three times and there were a couple times when he could have stood in the pocket a touch longer (in other words, he almost became run first over pass first). He also learned his lesson in the second quarter when tried to run away from a Bears defensive end (they're faster in the NFL). But, like all rookie quarterbacks, he had his share of good moments. There were a few times where he stood in the pocket and delivered a perfect pass down field. He also used his feet and picked up a first down. All in all, I'm pleased with his performance last night. It was a learning experience and that's a good thing.

The Secondary
Like I said at the beginning of this post, last night was a much better test than the Bills. One main reason, the Bears have a legitimate passing attack. The secondary went up against the Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and failed with flying colors. In the first half alone, they allowed well over 150 yards passing. Jay Cutler tore them apart. They got beat deep, middle, and short. Simply put, last night proved that the Redskins secondary has a VERY long way to go. They will still be the weakest point on the ENTIRE team.

Who's More Famous: The Players vs The Trainers
I saw the Redskins athletic trainers show up way to much last night. First it was Brian Orakpo when he injured his shoulder trying to tackle Devin Hester. Then it was Brandon Meriweather when he tried to tackle Michael Bush on his way to the endzone (a fat man fell on his knee). Then, in the second half, Dejon Gomes went down. The status of those three players remains to be seen. One things for sure, however, the Redskins can't afford to lost any of those players.

I'm probably correct when I say that mostly all of you are enraged that I didn't include Kirk Cousins in this post. Why should I? He played well against the second and third stringers. Are you really going crazy over a BACK-UP quarterback? Come on, people.

The Redskins took a very tough test last night in Chicago and it really showed their weaknesses. Overall, they had some high points, but mostly low. They have a lot of things to work on before the season begins.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Wizards Preseason Announced

Yesterday, the NBA announced their annual preseason schedule. Preseason in the NBA is a lot like how it is in the NFL...pointless. But, it is another way for unknown players to step up and make themselves known. Who knows, maybe the next chosen one is on the Wizards.

The Wizards will play eight preseason games 2 1/2 week period and, interestingly enough, only one of those games are at home in the Verizon Center. The schedule is as follows:

Sunday, October 7th: 1 PM @ Charlotte
Thursday, October 11th: 7 PM vs New York
Saturday, October 13th: 7:30 PM @ Cleveland
Monday, October 15th: 7:30 PM @ Brooklyn
Wednesday, October 17th: 7 PM @ Toronto
Saturday, October 20th: 8:30 PM @ Milwaukee
Wednesday, October 24th: 8:30 PM vs Miami (Spring Center, Kansas City, MO)
Friday, October 26th: 8:30 PM @ San Antonio

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Source: NBA

Redskins News and Notes

Whether it was a player being put on injured reserve, a franchise player being given a small role, or an injured player showing improvement, it happened yesterday and luckily you have me to recap it for you! Shall we?

Hightower Returns
Just nine months following his season ending knee surgery to repair a torn ACL, running back Tim Hightower was back in 11-on-11 drills yesterday. While Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan admitted that he played on scout team, it still counts because he was on the field playing. Shanahan did go on to say that " can see he's making a lot of progress and we'll get the chance to evaluate him next week." Hightower probably won't make an appearance in this weeks preseason game. Evan Royster and Alfred Morris will be the two main running backs we see against the Bears. Roy Helu Jr is nursing an injury, as well.

Redskins Sign DL
In order to fill the vacant roster spot left by defensive tackle Chris Neild, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL, the Redskins signed defensive lineman Marlon Favorite. Favorite is simply a depth signing. Marlon has played in just about every football league there is. He's played in the AFL, UFL, and NFL. In the NFL, Favorite has been on the Panthers, Rams, Chiefs, Seahawks, Saints, Bills, Colts, Patriots, and Eagles. Not once did he make it off the practice field. He was on their practice squads. So yes...this is merely, and better be, a depth signing.

Hanks to I.R.
Darius Hanks was an undrafted rookie receiver out of Alabama and had little to no chance at making the Redskins roster. Well, now he's got zero chance at making the roster. Hanks was released a few days ago due to a shoulder and clavicle injury that he sustained in practice. Hanks made it through the waiver system and has been added to the Redskins Injured Reserve. He is out for the season.

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Source: Washington Post, CSN

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nats All The Rage...

...For the wrong reason.

While the entire baseball world has caught Nationals fever, many of them have caught for the wrong reason. Instead of caring about how the team has the best record in baseball, the deepest farm system in baseball, or just the best all around big league roster in baseball, they are all focused on one thing: Stephen Strasburg's innings limit.

And boy does EVERYBODY have an opinion! I'm not going to state mine here, though, because I've already done that here and here. Restating it would just be redundant.

But, I am very saddened that when the Nationals segment comes on Baseball Tonight on ESPN all they talk about his Stephen Strasburg. We get it, he's the Nationals ace pitcher and the best player on the team. Every time he takes the mound he's almost a guaranteed win and yes, you're right, he would be wonderful to have in the playoffs,



What about their depth? Did you know that since the Nationals lost ALL-STAR shortstop Ian Desmond, they've played some of their best baseball? That's right! They've gone 19-6 without thanks in great part to the play of Danny Espinosa and Steve Lombardozzi. Those two have pick up their play not just in the field, but in the batters box as well. They have both been productive hitters and have knocked in numerous RBI.

What about the return of Jayson Werth and Michael Morse? Those guys returned TO FORM. They didn't waste anytime trying to "get back in the groove of things". They came off the DL and played like they had never left.

What about the dominance of Jordan Zimmermann? His ERA this season is 2.38. What's Strasburg's ERA? 2.91. Zimmermann has a WHIP of 1.09. Strasburg has a WHIP of 1.13. What about Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler? While they may not have as good of numbers as Strasburg, they have been superb on the mound and all of them are pitching well enough to the ACE on a few other teams in the MLB. Instead, the Nationals have 5 ace's on their rotation.

What about Tyler Clippard? The All-Star reliever turned shutdown closer. He's sixth in the National League with 25 saves and tenth in the MLB. And guess what...he has been the closer all season long! He picked up that job about a month into the season.

What about how the Nationals are nearing the completion of one of the greatest single season turn-around's in MLB history? A team that struggled to a near .500 record last season now holds the best record in baseball just one year later. There's something you can talk about on your radio and TV shows.

My point being, there is so much more to talk about that what people are saying. I understand that Stephen Strasburg's innings limit is a big deal, but that's only due to the incredible play from the rest of the team. Without their winning ways, Strasburg being shutdown wouldn't even be a storyline because they wouldn't be headed to the playoffs.

So while everyone is talking about the innings limit and what the Nats should do with Stephen Strasburg, just keep this one thing in mind....

Baseball is a team sport...and Stephen Strasburg is not the only reason why him being shutdown is a big deal.

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Ailing Redskins

Helu, above, will likely sit against the Bears. (Photo:
Here are a couple of updates on two key Redskins players that are both facing injury.

Yesterday, Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan said that he will most likely leave running back Roy Helu Jr out of this weekends preseason game against the Bears. While nothing is set in stone yet, Shanahan said that "My gut is we'll keep him out this game". He has been sidelined with knee tendinitis.

Roy Helu Jr not being available hurts him more than it does the Redskins. There were already questions about his durability and it seems as though Evan Royster has taken the starting job from him. Also, Alfred Morris is a name that stepped up in the Redskins first preseason game and was very impressive. He will get a number of carries coming off the bench.

The Redskins are doing everything they can to avoid having to send Jammal Brown surgery. The projected starting right tackle has been sidelined with hip pains and things don't seem to be improving.

Yesterday, he received a cortisone shot in his left hip. It is the second one that he has received. The purpose of the cortisone shot is to take the pain away and avoid surgery. It shouldn't take to many. Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed a few weeks this season with a shoulder injury and one cortisone shot cleared all that up. Brown has now had two shots.

Brown will stay on the PUP list and thus will not be allowed to practice. If he remains on the PUP at the beginning of the season, he will have to stay there for the first six weeks of the regular season. There is no timetable for his return and Mike Shanahan added "I don't see much improvement, but hopefully it comes quickly."

Tyler Polumbus and Willie Smith will be splitting the reps at right tackle while Brown is sidelined. James Lee and Chris Campbell are also two other players that could see time there during the second half against the Bears.

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Source: CSN, Washington Post

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nats News and Notes

Rendon, above, was a first round pick of the Nats in 2011. (Photo:
A few things happened yesterday that you should know about. Whether it was player movement, development, or rehab, it happened and you need to know! Luckily, you got me. :)

What an interesting day for Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon. Yesterday morning, Rendon was called up from Single A Potomac to Double A Harrisburg. Rendon had just 22 starts in Potomac after finishing his rehab of his broken ankle. The Nationals liked what they saw and promoted him to Harrisburg.

By looking at his numbers, the decision to promote him was easy. He batted .333 with an on base percentage of .438 and a slugging percentage of .630 throughout 32 at bats in Potomac.

One could say that Rendon being moved through the minor leagues so quickly could mean that the Nationals might call him up. Well....

Last night Davey Johnson told reporters that Rendon could be a candidate to be called up in September. What makes it more likely is the fact that Rendon is on the Nationals 40 man roster (25 players suit up, 40 on the MLB roster all together). In other words, the Nationals would simply have to sit one member of their team and have Rendon step in. It's pretty simple thing to do.

If/When Rendon gets called up, I wouldn't expect him to see much playing time. He plays third base. Ryan Zimmerman has that locked up. But, Rendon could play a game or two just before the postseason if the Nationals feel comfortable. I'm sure Ryan would appreciate a night off here and there.

Adam Berry tweeted on Twitter that Nationals short stop Ian Desmond could return to the line-up this Friday. Last we saw, Ian Desmond was headed for the DL with a torn oblique muscle. Desmond is moving way ahead of schedule as he wasn't expected to return until late August. He went through a full workout Monday and Tuesday and is expected to do it again today. Another solid workout and we could see him Friday.

Michael Morse missed yesterday's game due to his thumb. He said that he jammed it on Monday, but it seems like no big deal. Expect to be in the line-up today.

Another little bit that you should know about. One of the last remaining players from the days of the Montreal Expos, catcher Devin Ivany, was released from the organization yesterday. He batted a weak .243 this season in the minors.

As the Nationals head for the home stretch, it seems all the pieces are coming back together and fitting nicely. There is only one HUGE story line that remains, when will Stephen Strasburg be shut down? Tune in later to find out!

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Source: Washington Post/Times

Tough Practice for Redskins

Hankerson, above, was carted off the field during practice. (Photo:
Yesterday marked possibly the worst day for the Redskins so far this preseason. They had a couple of players go down during practice and one was even lost for the season. They also got some interesting news about a key running back.

While the temperature didn't quite make it over 100 degrees yesterday, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson gave people quite a scare when he had to be carted off the field for what was believed to be heat related issues. He was taken inside the team facilities in the middle of practice on a cart and never returned.

Most likely, it was heat related. While he may not have been very hot for the fans, keep in mind these guys are wearing full pads and, especially for the receivers, are doing a lot of running. Hankerson will be just fine.

Following the scare, the Redskins defense got some devastating news: defensive tackle Chris Neild has been lost for the season after tearing his ACL two days ago.

Follow Monday's practice, Chris Neild was sent for an MRI on his knee which revealed a torn ACL. Neild will be out for the entire season.

The Redskins 2011 seventh round draft pick is entering his second season in the NFL and was expected to have an impact much like last season. Neild played in all 16 games last season and racked up 10 tackles including two sacks. In the Redskins first preseason game, he had two tackles and one sack.

Neild was in a rotation with Chris Baker and Barry Cofield at the nose tackle position. Fortunately, the Redskins don't need to panic over the loss of Neild. They have plenty of depth at the defensive tackle position.

Tuesday started off however, with a shocking revelation from running back Roy Helu Jr. He told reporters yesterday that his current ailing Achilles tendinitis is worse than what it was last year.

For Alfred Morris, that's music to his ears. With Helu missing time in practice and probably Saturday's game, Morris now has an opportunity to step up and really gain some ground on Helu. Hopefully this doesn't keep him sidelined for long because Helu has a lot of talent and you'd hate to see that go to waste due to an injury.

For the Redskins, yesterday sure did bring a lot of drama. There were a few good things that happened yesterday...

Guard Kory Lichtensteiger did some drills yesterday to begin rehabbing his knee. He had surgery on it not too long ago. Tackle Trent Williams was able to pad up and even participated in a few 11-on-11 plays. Williams is expecting to play on Saturday and Lichtensteiger is eyeing a week one return.

It's been a rough training camp for the Redskins highlighted by yesterday. Look at the bright side, it can only get better...right?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kicking Competition

While the Redskins don't really have any quarterback controversy this season, there is one position that never seems to lack any sort of controversy: kicker.

This is possible to see again. (Photo:
Yesterday, while at Redskins practice, Graham Gano and Neil Rackers went head-to-head in a field goal competition. The each attempted nine total kicks from distances of 20 (yards), 29, 32, 37, 41, 49, 51, 53, 57. Gano went 5-9, Rackers went 9-9 (including that 57 yarder).

For the past two years we have been Graham Gano to be a good (not great!) kicker. Just make a few field goals each game when we ask you to. For the most part, he's been close to that.

Last season, he had a field goal percentage of 75.6%. He made all but one of his extra points and even connected on a kick from 59 yards away. Not bad.

Last season for Rackers, however, he had a field goal percentage of 84%. He, like Gano, made all but one of his extra points and his long last season was just 54 yards. His career long is 57 yards and yesterday he hit one from 59 yards in practice.

So, we've got two very similar kickers in terms of stats. There are a few key differences, though.

Gano is 25. Rackers is 35. Gano has always been a Redskin. Rackers has been a Bengal, Cardinal, and Texan. But, there is one more difference between the two...

Clutch Rating. How good are you when the game is on the line? Let's just compare them stat for stat. (These stats are from 2011)

When the final margin of the game is 7 points or fewer. Rackers: 18/21 long of 54. Gano: 17/22 long of 53.

In the fourth quarter. Rackers: 6/7 long of 50 yards. Gano 9/10 long of 47 yards.

When trailing or tied in a game. Rackers: 14/17 long of 54 yards. Gano: 26/34 long of 59 yards.

However, there is one problem when looking at these kickers...we have to think of the offenses that they played with.

In Graham Gano's three seasons in the league, he has had the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck as his quarterback. In other words, he has played with some of the worst offenses in league history.

For Neil Rackers, however, has had Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner, and Matt Schaub quarterback the offenses for his respective teams. He's played with an offense that can get the job done.

The point of the offense is to score a bunch of points. Teams shouldn't have to always rely on the kicker to be the sole source of points. With the Redskins, however, that has been the case. They have had to constantly rely on kicking to score them points and that's not always going to work. Some games that will work. But most games it won't.

So, before we pull the plug on Graham Gano for good, I say we give him one more year. Let him work with an offense that will score some more points. That may take the pressure off and we'll more than likely see his numbers go up.

Instead of the kicker helping the Redskins, maybe the Redskins should try helping the kicker...

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Cardinals Picture of Neil Rackers:

Redskins Cut Hanks, Sign Campbell

Yesterday, the Washington Redskins made two roster moves. The first was to cut wide receivers Darius Hanks and the second was to sign offensive tackle Chris Campbell.

Hanks was an undrafted rookie out of Alabama. While he had 26 receptions his senior season for the Crimson Tide, he didn't make any plays during the Redskins first preseason game against the Bills.

With the latest news that lineman Trent Williams will sit out a few days due to a left foot bone bruise, the Redskins cut Hanks to make room for another offensive tackle in Chris Campbell.

Once again, the signing of Campbell is merely a depth issue. Campbell was an undrafted free agent rookie signing of the Green Bay Packers back in 2010. Campbell has never made it past the practice squad for the Packers and was cut and signed to it three times before the two sides finally parted ways this past May.

Campbell brings more depth than skill to the offensive tackle position. The Redskins need bodies at that position as Williams joins Jammal Brown as yet another starter that has been hit with the injury bug.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Redskins Injury Update

Armstrong, above, could lose his spot. (Photo:
The Redskins currently have two notable players banged up right now. And for one, it could cost him his spot in the roster.

To start, expect offensive tackle Trent Williams to sit out a practice or two this week due to his left foot. He got a bone bruise when another player fell on him when he was blocking down field for Pierre Garcon's touchdown run and catch.

The Redskins are in a wait-and-see approach in regards to this Saturday's preseason game. If Williams has any discomfort at all, I would not let him play. For a guy that has his spot locked up, there's no use in letting him play hurt.

Williams is the fourth projected starting offensive lineman that has been effected by the injury bug this offseason/preseason.

The next notable player to have been taken by the injury was is wide receiver Anthony Armstrong. Armstrong has a second-degree separation of the AC joint. Coach Mike Shanahan thinks that Armstrong could "return soon".

For Armstrong's sake, I hope so. With the additions of Garcon and Josh Morgan, Armstrong now finds himself on the bubble of getting the last receiver spot. Armstrong, Santana Moss, Brandon Banks, and Dezmon Briscoe are all competing for the last few spots at wideout.

With this injury, Armstrong now falls far behind the rest of the group. For his sake, hopefully he returns soon.

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Source: Washington Times 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's 180

Strasburg, above, will most likely pitch out the season. (Photo:
Yesterday, word got out on Twitter that the innings limit for Nationals ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg stands at 180. What does that mean? Basically, Strasburg will finish out the regular season with the Nationals and then he will get shutdown for the season. No postseason play for him.

I understand why Mike Rizzo wants to shut down Strasburg. He simply wants to protect his long-term investment from further harm and this is how he sees it best. It makes sense, really. Strasburg can't get hurt if Strasburg's not playing.

Let me continue...

Like Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2009. He progressed much like Strasburg and return to the big leagues near the end of the 2010 season. His first full season came just two seasons after the surgery in 2011. He had a 160 innings limit and that spanned 26 games.

Now, after completing the seemingly two year long rehab process, Zimmerman is in the midst of his first full season following the procedure. He has been by far the Nationals most consistent, and possibly best, pitcher this season. He's 9-6 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are tops on the team.

So while many of you may not agree with the decision to shutdown Strasburg, there is a proven logic behind it. But, I understand why you are all so upset with the impending doom...

It's the postseason. Last year, the Nationals didn't stand a chance at making the post-season so nobody cared that Jordan Zimmermann got the hook early. This season, however, the Nationals are one of the favorites to win the World Series. And in order to have the best shot at winning the World Series, Stephen Strasburg is going to have to be a part of the rotation.

The only question I pose to Mike Rizzo, however, is not so much WHY 180 innings, but HOW did you come up with 180 innings? What were the parameters of the decision? Does it look at performance over time? Or is this simply just a number that seemed large enough, yet small  enough to make some sense?

While I have personally not decided whether or not I like the move to shut down Strasburg, in the long run it's a great idea, short run it's a terrible idea, I do understand why: Mike Rizzo is protecting a long term investment in hopes he turns out like Jordan Zimmermann.

But, like I stated above, why does it have to be 180 innings? Why not go has high as 190-200? Then he at least gets some post-season experience.

Once Strasburg does get shut-down, expect John Lannan to be called up from Triple A to take his place. In two starts this season, both against NL East opponents, Lannan is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Redskins Underdogs: Preseason Week 1

One thing I love about watching preseason football is the unknown player that steps up and makes a name for himself. Somebody that nobody saw coming. I like to call them "Underdogs". What qualifies you to be an Underdog? Well, it's simple. You play in the second half of the preseason game. Here are three guys that have made to my "Underdogs to Watch" list.

Alfred Morris
Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris (above) put the team on his back in the second half. He finished with 15 carries for 54 yards. He ran with a low pad level and kept his feet churning. He's a good north-south runner that always finishes going straight forward. He doesn't get knocked around.

Unfortunately, he's in a bad situation. In order to make the team, he'll be battling Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr, and Evan Royster. However, I do think that Morris should receive some serious consideration from the Redskins. He's got more upside than most people believe.

Chris Wilson
The defensive end who saw time last season is still fighting for it this season. Wilson was second on the team in overall tackles with five and even had one tackle for a loss. While he never got to the quarterback, he was wreaking havoc in the backfield as he was blowing up the Bills offensive lineman and pushing them into the lap of the quarterback.
Wilson will probably make the team due to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's need for depth. He's an excellent pass rusher and I fully expect to make a some big plays down the road.

Richard Crawford

A.K.A: Brandon Banks' worst nightmare. The last thing that Banks wanted last night was to have the back punt returner make plays at his regular position. And that's exactly what Crawford did. He had one tackle, a pass deflection, and an interception last night at his cornerback position. On his interception, he got his head around early, stuck with the wideout, and made the play. It was just an all-around great play from him. Crawford also averaged 14 yards per punt return on three returns and his longest went for 17 yards.

The Redskins aren't going to waste a roster spot on a player that has only position of punt returner. Brandon Banks needs to make some huge plays on offense as his punt return back-up, Crawford, made himself more valuable last night. It's not that the Redskins don't want Banks on the team, it's that they get more bang for their buck with Crawford than they do with Banks.

So there we go! The first three members of my "Underdogs Watch" list: Alfred Morris, Chris Wilson, Richard Crawford. Keep an eye on all these guys for the rest of the preseason. They could very well be diamonds in the rough.

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Notes and Observations: Preseason Week 1

Robert Griffin III, above, was excellent in his first game. (Photo:
Last night, the Washington Redskins opened up their preseason schedule with a Thursday night thriller in Buffalo against the Bills. Here, I am going to highlight a few things that I noticed as I watched.

Bad Run Block, Good Pass Block
I was not at all impressed with the Redskins run blocking. The Redskins managed 87 yards on 32 rush attempts and that works out to be an average of 2.7 yards per carry. Only one Redskins running back averaged over four yards per carry and that was Roy Helu Jr who only had a total of four carries so the numbers are off. The Redskins offensive line has to get better in the run blocking area if this team wants to see any success. If it weren't for the hard running Alfred Morris seemingly willing the offense down the field in the second half, they would have become one dimensional.

On the flip side, the pass protection was excellent. Not a single Redskins quarterback got sacked and only a few times did the quarterback even get touched. The Bills brought a few blitzes and few even rushes and the front five turned them all away.

The Redskins Really Want Brandon Banks
It is more than clear that the Washington Redskins want to see Brandon Banks thrive as a wide receiver. He was targeted yesterday nine times. That's two more that the next closest receiver (Josh Morgan, 7). Unfortunately, that only resulted in 2 receptions for seven yards. They looked to him short, middle, and deep and came up empty most of the time. Granted, he ran a lot with Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins as quarterback, so I would like to see him get some time with the eventual starter, Robert Griffin III, before we write him off just yet.

Still Got the Pass Rush!
The Redskins pass rush hasn't missed a beat since last season. They were just as tough up front as ever and really gave one of the best pass protection lines a good game. Bills quarterbacks were hit five times and sacked four other times. Two of the Redskins eight pass deflections came at the line of scrimmage. The front seven was by far the second brightest spot last night.

But what was the BRIGHTEST spot last night?

He's The Real Deal
Oh boy do we have the quarterback of the future. Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III looked excellent in his first real live NFL game. He was making great reads, looking off safeties, and best of all, he stayed in the pocket. Only once did RG3 run the ball. He stayed in the pocket, trusted his offensive line, and connected 4-of-6 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. One play from RG3 that really stuck with me came at the beginning of the touchdown drive for the Redskins. Robert Griffin III rolled left after a play fake and was staring down a Bills linebacker who keeping contain. The threat of RG3 embarrassing forced the linebacker to stay back and wait for RG3 to react. While the play resulted in a dropped pass, RG3, without even moving his feet, bought time. His athleticism has already gained him that much respect in the NFL.

Overall, I am pleased with the Redskins first preseason game. They've got a great foundation and really have some good things going. They've got things to improve on, such as run blocking, and great things to build on, such as RG3.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Game Preview: Redskins vs Bills

Oh it's a wonderful thing isn't it?! Redskins football is back! They kick-off their preseason schedule tonight in Buffalo against the Bills. Here are a few things to watch for tonight.

RG3 Debut
I'm just going to knock this out early. It's the debut of star quarterback Robert Griffin III. Here's something I want you to think about: don't talk about how many interceptions he did about how many he did NOT throw. Hear me out.

Griffin could very well come in tonight and stink it up. He could throw three interceptions on three straight throws and the other few times he didn't throw the ball he got sacked. Do I think that will happen? No. But could it? Sure.

So when the dust settles and the RG3 chants quiet down, look at his performance. Did he throw and interceptions? How many incompletions did he throw? Those two stats go hand in hand.

Every time he takes a sack, throws the ball away, or scrambles for a few yards, that's one interception not thrown. So if he does take a sack or throw the ball away (some would call that wasting a down), take it as a good thing. It shows good ball security and maturity not force it in a tight window.

The three-headed monster that nobody has clue what to do with! All three will see significant time with the first teamers tonight and all three will falter and all three will have some good plays. Nobody on the Redskins staff has a hold yet on deciding who will be the top dog following camp. Right now, Helu is listed as the third string running back. Rather than a QB controversy in D.C., there's a running back controversy in D.C.!

The Secondary
We know that the Redskins front seven are going to be just fine. London Fletcher will have those guys ready to go. But what about the back four? Who leads them?

Is it DeAngelo Hall? The proven yet underwhelming veteran? What about Madieu Williams and Brandon Meriweather at safety? Is this the year that Josh Wilson shines and puts himself at the top of the Redskins cornerback list? What about names like Jordan Bernstine, Dejon Gomes, and Kevin Barnes? Will they step up and assert themselves as forces in the secondary?

The whole secondary is a big mess. Tonight could be painful, folks. The Bills could just run right past the Redskins secondary. Hold on tight.

Tonight marks the beginning of a new era for the Redskins. As they usher, or throw, out the Rex Grossman days, we parade in the prototype quarterback of the future in Robert Griffin III. Don't get to caught up in the little mistakes. Preseason football is all about making mistakes and learning from them.

Check out The Skinny On Sports for a recap of the Redskins first preseason game with the Buffalo Bills!

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Historic Night for Nats, Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez, above, takes a lap after hitting his first career home run. (Photo:
Last night, a Nationals pitcher finally went the distance: a complete game.
Ace Gio Gonzalez gave up nine hits, two walks, and struck out seven on his way winning a 4-3 complete game. It was just the second complete game of his career and the first by a National pitcher this season.
Once again, the Nationals pitching staff proved why they are the best; not just with their arms, but their bats.

In the second inning, Gio Gonzalez launched a towering two-run homer over the left wall the bring the Nationals to a 2-1 lead. With that blast, the Nationals now have the best hitting rotation in all of baseball.

Through 141 innings this season for the Nationals, the All-Star ace has a 3.32 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and he has struck out 154 batters.

For any of you wondering whether or not it was a good idea to bring in catcher Kurt Suzuki, Gio Gonzalez through his second career complete game in his first Nationals career game with Kurt Suzuki...and they were teammates in Oakland. There's chemistry there, folks.

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Wangs Off Rehab

Nationals rehabbing pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has been pulled off the rehab trail due to continued hip soreness. He was not removed from the D.L. He has been shut down until his hip can heal.

Wang has been out of the majors since July 3rd with the hip injury and has been dreadful in most of his minor league rehab starts.

This is yet just another reason why the Nationals shouldn't resign Wang following this year. He is owed $4 million to play in the minors or sit on the bench. The veteran starting pitcher, once ace for the Yankees, hasn't been the pitcher that the Nationals thought they got. He has been mediocre at best and overall just a letdown.

It's unclear when Wang will return to the majors, but my guess is it won't be anytime soon. He'll have to go through rehab all over again and then IF his hip is feeling up to it, he'll return to the majors as a long reliever.

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Source: Washington Times

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Banks Needs to Earn It

First...before you all attack me...I AM A FAN OF BRANDON BANKS. I think that he is a good player with a ton of speed and potential.

Unfortunately, one key area that he lacks in is his size. Meaning...he has none.

Let's face it, weighing 165 pounds and standing at 5-7 isn't going to cut it in the NFL. He is simply too play wide receiver.

With all that in mind, Banks' best shot to make the 53 man roster is to be an absolute stud on special teams. He has no choice but to average over 25 yards pick kick-off return and over 15 yards per punt return. Both of those he is more than capable of doing.

With the addition of Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, Banks' chance of making it on the roster as a wide receiver are all but gone. In terms of receiving, there's only one thing he can do: deep routes. He is so much faster than the rest of the receivers that that will be one thing that keeps him on the roster. Speed is his greatest asset and it's going to be the one thing that keeps him on the roster.

However, the Redskins don't run very many pass plays that have a deep receiver (even though they have the capabilities). Many times last season we saw them just try nickel and dime their way down the field.

With the addition of Robert Griffin III, that could all change. Griffin throws a much better deep ball than Rex Grossman and John Beck combined and from what I've been seeing and reading about at training camp, the Redskins plan to exploit that.

Still, for me, the only place where Brandon Banks can make this team is on special teams. He is too small to play receiver. Any corner back in the league that tries to press him is just going to lock him at the line and overpower him before he can get going.

I still think that Brandon Banks would be an excellent threat on special teams. He gives opposing coaches something to worry about the night before the game. The age old question of "do we kick to him or not" will always be present with Banks back there.

I'd love to see Brandon Banks on the roster just as much as the next guy. But in order for that to happen, he's going to have to be one heck of a returner if he expects to be on the sideline when the Redskins square off against the Saints week one.

Like the old saying goes: speed kills. And for Brandon Banks, he is going to have to have a killer instinct if he want's to make the final cut.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nats Sign Suzuki

The Nationals recently acquired the services of A's catcher Curt Suzuki. I have to say...I love that move.

Suzuki adds some much needed depth to the catcher position for the Nationals. With Wilson Ramos gone, the Nationals had been reduced to relying on the not always reliable Jesus Flores and Sandy Leon.

While Flores and Leon can get the job done, I have always thought, and said, that they are not good enough to start on most other MLB teams. They are solid backups, yes, but not everyday starters.

However, the addition of Curt Suzuki, which GM Mike Rizzo said was not made to get a "rental player", changes everything for Leon and Flores. Following next season springs training, I wouldn't be surprised if they find themselves on a plane to Syracuse or Harrisburg (the Nationals minor league affiliates).

Ramos and Suzuki are both starting catchers and have been for some time. Suzuki brings some experience to the position that the Nationals lose when Flores isn't in the line-up. What's better, is that Suzuki has experience with one of the Nationals ace, Gio Gonzalez. Since Flores likely won't return this season, Suzuki is getting time in with the rest of the Nationals line-up.

The addition of Curt Suzuki sures up one of, if not the, weakest parts of the Nationals roster. Ever since Ramos went down, the catcher has been a position of worry and dread for both Nationals fans and the Nationals (even though they may not admit it).

I love the addition of Curt Suzuki. He brings experience and depth to a position that has been lacking just that this season. When he and Wilson Ramos team up and takeover the position next season, the Nationals will have one less thing to worry about.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Werth The Wait

Werth, 28, will hopefully have a few more celebrations like this one at the plate. (Photo:
The Nationals $127 million dollar man, Jayson Werth, returned to the line-up last night after he was taken off of the 60-Day DL due to a broken wrist. To make room for Werth, the Nationals placed close Henry Rodriguez back on the 15-day DL due to a back injury.

In his return to the majors, Werth went 1-3 with an RBI and a walk. Yep...he's back!

Werth brings a lot more to the table than his stat line shows. Listen to the first six batters in the Nationals line-up:

1) Danny Espinosa
2) Bryce Harper
3) Ryan Zimmerman
4) Michael Morse
5) Adam LaRoche
6) Jayson Werth

If that's not fire power...I don't know what is. Espinosa and Harper are extraordinarily good at getting on base and Zimmerman, Morse, LaRoche, and Werth are experts at moving them around the bags and bringing them home. Espinosa and Harper can even hit home runs. On any given night, the Nationals could finish the first inning of a game with a 6-0 lead or more.

Ryan Zimmerman's return from the bench was a productive one. He sat out Wednesday night's game with some soreness in his back. Zimmerman went 1-2 with a run scored, two walks, and one strikeout.

Ross Detwiler pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out three batters. He now improves to 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA. Davey got it right when he inserted Detwiler back into the starting line-up.

Adam LaRoche was the real winner from last nights contest as he had two RBI including a solo shot in the second inning.

One more thing to note, Chien-Ming Wang allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings Thursday in his latest rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg. I don't expect Wang to rejoin the major league club anytime soon (at least...he SHOULDN'T). Wang has been less than impressive during his rehab stint and has ten days left in his 30-day rehab window. He still may not be activated following the end of that window.

The pieces are starting to come back together for the Nationals. They have Chad Tracy, Drew Storen, and Jayson Werth back. With the line-up, bullpen, and bench put back together, I have a feeling the best is yet to come for the Nationals.

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Balmer's Gone Missing

Balmer, above 96, has gone missing from training camp. (Photo:
Redskins defensive end Kentwam Balmer has gone missing. He just up and left training camp. Balmer cleaned out his hotel room and left nothing but a Redskins sweatshirt. The Redskins have tried to get in touch with Balmer and his agent, but nobody is responding to the Redskins from the Balmer camp.

Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander told reports that he "decided to leave". This isn't the first time Balmer has gone AWOL. In 2010, he packed up his things in the middle of Niners camp and he was eventually traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

Balmer has been in the NFL for five seasons, but has played in just three of them. Over those three seasons, he has 62 tackles and no quarterback sacks.

To me, Balmer has very little upside. The fact that he decided to just up and leave tells me that his head isn't in the game of football. At least not with the Redskins, that is. The Redskins would do themselves a huge favor by releasing him from the team. The fact that he abandoned his teammates will not sit well in the locker room.

Unless Balmer had a very good reason for leaving, say a family emergency, the Redskins should cut ties with him. He doesn't want to play on this team and will only bring negative vibes into the locker room.

The Redskins pass rush will be fine without Balmer. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are fast becoming the most premiere pass rush in the NFL. Loosing Balmer won't hurt that status one bit.

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Source: Rotoworld

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nats Stay Quiet at Deadline

The Nationals quite possibly made the best move at the trade deadline yesterday: nothing.

Hey! If it ain't broke, don't fix it! And that's exactly the approach that the Nationals took. While the rest of the MLB world was playing "Let's Make a Deal", the Nationals sat back and watched. As they should have.

The Nationals, with the team they currently have, own the best record in baseball. They didn't trade for anybody in the process. They simply stuck with what they had and made it work.

The Nationals have a darn near complete team. Once Jayson Werth returns, which should be soon, it will be Werth-Morse-Harper in the outfield. To me, that's a pretty impressive outfield. Three good defenders and three big bats. That's exactly what you need.

Let's look at the infield.

Adam LaRoche will be playing first base if his back allows him (which it should). He's been one of the Nationals biggest bats this season and I don't expect that to change.

Danny Espinosa will slide over to second base once Ian Desmond returns in mid-August, but for now, Steve Lombardozzi is claiming that position. He's been a sensational lead-off hitter and has played great in the field.

Danny Espinosa is holding his own at shortstop. It's obvious that second base is his better position, but the Nationals don't lose much on defense without Desmond out there. Once Desmond does return, the Nationals line-up will only get that much more stacked.

Ryan Zimmerman, well...what can I say? He's a Gold Glover and he's playing like hit. He's swinging a hot bat and playing great defense. The "Face of the Franchise" is playing like...well...the "Face of the Franchise".

The Nationals pitching staff has been the best in baseball since the season began. All five starters are good for 6-7 innings every night. Yes, some starts have been better than others, but this rotation is still the best in baseball and one of the best rotations of this decade.

The only place that the Nationals could have improved on was at catcher. With Wilson Ramos out, Jesus Flores and Sandy Leon have been the two catchers for the Nationals. While both get the job done, their not starters for years to come. Both are good enough to be the second string catcher on any other big league club.

Even with the lack of talent at catcher, the Nationals are sitting pretty roster wise for the rest of the season. They stayed quiet at the trade deadline and that's okay. Like I said above, if it ain't broke...don't fix it.

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Tracy Returns

Tracy, above, has been out since late May. (Photo:
Yesterday, the Washington Nationals activated first baseman and pinch hitter extraordinaire Chad Tracy off of the disabled list. Tracy had been out due to a sports hernia.

In order to make room for Tracy, the Nationals optioned outfielder Corey Brown to Triple A Syracuse. Browns visit to the majors was not in vein as he did collect his first career major league hit and home run with one swing of the bat.

In 12 rehab games, Tracy batted .375 with one home run and five RBI. He finished his minor league stint going 8-for-13.

Chad Tracy instantly makes the club better. While he probably won't start a game for the rest of the season, his ability to pinch hit and clutch pinch hit isn't matched by any other major leaguer. Even though he's been out for two months, he is still second in the majors with nine pinch hit RBI.

Tracy brings an extra bit of fire power and gives the Nationals an even better chance of winning if they are down late.

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Source: CSN Washington

Nene Hurt in Olympics

What is the worst thing about NBA players playing in the Olympics? The injury risk. And Wizards forward Nene has been bit by the injury bug.

Following Brazil's win over Australia, Nene was walking with a slight limp. His plantar fasciitis has once again flared up once again.

Nene is going to play through the injury, unfortunately. This is the same injury that limited him at the end of this past NBA season.

The worst part is, it won't have a chance to heal. Nene is going to finish the Olympics and nobody knows how long that could take. The Brazilian team could make a run into the medal rounds and that means that Nene will be battling the injury for at least two more weeks.

If this continues, there is doubt as to whether or not he will be ready for Wizards training camp. But, playing through the pain and not giving his foot a chance to heal certainly won't improve his chances on joining the Wizards on time for training camp.

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Source: Washington Post

Werth, Tracy Returning Soon

This was the scene last time Werth, above, was on the field with the Nats. (Photo:

Outfielder Jayson Werth and pinch hit specialist Chad Tracy are both nearing their returns to major leagues. Werth has been out with a broken wrist and Tracy has been out due to a sports hernia.

Right now, both are on the rehab trail in Triple A Syracuse and playing well for the Nationals affiliate. After starting cold, Werth is beginning to find his swing and Tracy has been hitting .333 with five RBI and a home run on his rehab trail.

Personally, I am more excited for the return of Chad Tracy. Tracy is STILL in second place in the majors with nine RBI. He is an electric and reliable bat off the bench and he will certainly have an impact.

Unfortunately, when Werth returns the Nationals will have a tough decision to make. Do they sit Roger Bernadina who's been swinging a hot bat for somebody coming of off wrist surgery? The answer is obviously going to be yes, but the Nationals should take a good hard look at things before they pull the plug on Bernadina.

When said at the beginning of this post that both are expected to return "soon"...I really mean "soon". As in, the end of this week. Both have progressed very well and I fully anticipate them to be in the line-up on Friday or Saturday.

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Source: Nats Insider