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There has been much speculation today over the status of Clinton Portis, and why Portis fell to the ground without contact during the Redskins 30-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Responding to questioning on the issue, Coach Mike Shanahan stated that Portis went down because of an injured wrist and and there was concern. that he would fumble the ball.
It should be noted that Clinton Portis stated that he was perfectly healthy, with no lingering injury concerns.
The wrist injury that Portis suffered is what ultimately forced Shanahan's decision to use Ryan Torain in the second half at running back. Yet despite the wrist injury, Portis was still inserted for one series in the second half in which he received a pass out of the backfield.
Which leads to the question, if Portis was too injured to continue running for extra yardage, why is he catching passes in the third quarter? There is a logic breakdown somewhere at Redskins Park, and Coach Shanahan is going to need better explanations of some fairly inexplicable events if the season keeps progressing at its current arc.
Albert Haynesworth played on Sunday against the Rams as part of a deep defensive line rotation. He failed to record a tackle, but played well enough that he wasn't a target of the post game blame storm; which is sort of a win for him. As Jason Reid reports, he just had a normal day as an NFL defensive tackle.
Haynesworth did not start and but was a key member of the line rotation, especially with third-string nose guard Anthony Bryant sidelined because of a concussion. Haynesworth was not used to rotating much during his all-pro seasons (2007 and '08) with the Tennessee Titans and last season with the Redskins. "That's just way we do it, and we do that in practice," Haynesworth said. "I'm getting better at it."
Reid had more from Haynesworth:
"We're coming into a new defense, and we've just got to feel comfortable with ourselves in this defense," Haynesworth said. "We've got to rely more on the scheme and figure out what we need to do ...
"I mean, I'm fine, playing nickel in the 4-3 and stuff like that," he said. "I'm just gonna try to get after it no matter if a start or don't start. ... It's not up to me [how much he plays]. Whenever they put me in there, I'm just going to try to help the team as much as I can."
If I didn't know any better, I would have never guessed those comments came from Albert Haynesworth. But maybe that's because at this point, I'm just expecting him to do the most damaging thing possible at all times. It's almost refreshing to see him make an at the very least neutral contribution on the field, and a positive one to the team's media relation. Any time he just sort of blends in with the crowd, is a newsworthy event in and of itself.
So far, this season has been a mix of attention drawing antics, and boring forgettable play for Albert Haynesworth. One minute, he's making a slave reference in regards to his enormous contract; the next, he's filling the role the coach's are asking him to, and sounding like an actual factual team player in post game comments. He certainly keeps it interesting, even when he kind of doesn't.
Obviously the Redskins would like to get more out of the highest paid defensive tackle of all-time, but at this point I think they'll be happy if he just falls in line.
Little has apparently changed from 2009 to 2010 despite early indications the Redskins would be a better team in terms of execution and preparation. It was an ugly performance today in St. Louis as Washington fell to the Rams 30-16 in a lifeless effort from the entire team.
Honestly, can you take anything positive out of this game? Ryan Torain had a good half of football and Santana Moss made up for his costly fumble, but one yard of rushing in the second half did the Redskins in.
Washington ran the ball for 115 yards in the first half. They didn't run the ball once in the fourth quarter and just five times in the third quarter. Somehow they still averaged 6.8 yards per carry for the game. Washington gave up on the run and it cost them dearly.
The second issue is the lack of depth on the offensive line. The Redskins could use an upgrade at left guard, center, and right guard, and today without Trent Williams, Stephon Heyer single-handedly managed to sabotage several drives.
Washington will have to deal with Trent Cole, Clay Matthews, Dwight Freeney, and Julius Peppers for the next month, and they must have a healthy Williams if they wish to compete in those matchups. Donovan McNabb appeared to be a bit jumpier in the pocket today with the extra pressure and Williams will go a long way towards easing the backside rush.
Back to this game, my offensive player of the game would have to be Santana Moss. He's quietly having a very good season and he had 6 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. He did fumble the ball early in the first quarter, but he was the only offensive threat in the game.
Roydell Williams was the only other wide receiver to catch a pass and Devin Thomas was invisible again despite the absence of Anthony Armstrong. Armstrong was inactive with an injury. It might be safe to say the coaching staff has no faith in Thomas as a receiver despite possessing more athletic ability than any other wide out on the roster save Moss. Thomas has never particularly impressed me, but he's better than Roydell Williams. If I could know one thing for certain about this year's team it would be why they refuse to put Thomas in at receiver.
On the other hand, Moss has 22 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown. He's on his way to another big year even if Washington isn't.
My defensive player of the game is Phillip Daniels. Daniels had a monster series on the goal line against the Rams at the end of the first half. He had great penetration on several running plays and after Washington forced a field goal attempt, Daniels rumbled through the line and blocked it.
The Redskins defense was unable to get off the field on third down as St. Louis went 7-16 on the money down. Sam Bradford picked apart the middle of the field, and Washington seemed lost for much of the second half.
Linebackers continued to over-pursue the run and the defensive line failed to shoot gaps or occupy extra linemen. Sloppy tackling was the norm and certain outspoken players (see: DeAngelo Hall) were completely disinterested in taking part in contact. The run defense especially wore down in the second half as the Rams took control of the clock. St. Louis held the ball for 34:10 and it showed down the stretch.
Washington will need a more inspired effort next week against Philadelphia and hopefully we will see it since it will be McNabb's return to the city he starred in for 11 years. Regardless, these Redskins have a long ways to go under Mike Shanahan.
It's no surprise that the Redskins players were disappointed following their crushing 30-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams tonight.
The most interesting development of the game was the emergence of newly signed running back Ryan Torain, who got the majority of the carries in the second half. Mike Shanahan revealed after the game that it was part of his plan to get the former Denver running back involved on first and second downs. Torain told Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan that he was ready to embrace the opportunity.
"I was just waiting on the coaches to call my number, and when they called ... I was ready ... Yeah, I was taking [first team] reps. I was preparing myself to get ready for the game. And I was excited to play.
Clinton Portis was refreshingly politically correct when asked about the situation following the game. He told Grant Paulsen that "I have no idea" what his role will be going forward, but then went on to tell the Redskins Insider that he'll be cheering on any other players who step in.
Perhaps Chris Cooley said it best though. His quote to the Redskins Insider was plain and simple. "We got our asses kicked."
Remember the third week of 2009? The Redskins ran into some bad luck in their first two games, but surely they would beat the Lions. They always beat the Lions. Right?
The same can be said this year, as the Redskins were defeated 30-16 by a St. Louis Rams team that had won just six games over the past four seasons. The Redskins went 1-9 on third down in this game.
After being tied for the division lead at 1-1 prior to this week, the Redskins have now fallen to 1-2. Fortunately for them, the Giants lost as well, so the Redskins remain tied with New York and Dallas, but one game behind the Eagles in the NFC East.
We all thought that it seemed a bit phony to see the Redskins defense ranked last in the league going into week three. We are now finding out that 32 might actually be an appropriate rank for this squad.
The Rams had no problem driving down the field once again, forcing the Redskins to use their final time outs in the process. Josh Brown kicked his third field goal of the game to extend St. Louis' lead to 14 points.
McNabb was heavily pressured by Bryan Kehl on the play, and his throw was well off target. The Rams now have the ball at the Redskins' 41-yard line looking to seal the game.
The Rams continue to dominate the Redskins in time of possession in the second half.
For the fourth time since the second quarter, the Rams managed a long drive, eating up the game clock in moving the ball down the field. They capped off the drive once again with a field goal by Josh Brown, and extended their lead to 27-16.
Filling in for the injured Steven Jackson, running back Kenneth Darby converted a critical fourth-and-one for the Rams to extend the drive.
The Rams are wearing down Washington’s defensive front with the ground game as St. Louis grinds out an 11-play, 46 yard drive that lasted over five minutes and into the fourth quarter.
The drive was capped off by a 37-yard Josh Brown field goal, giving the Rams a 24-16 in the final stanza. The Redskins must score quickly to stay in the game as they were unable to take control of the clock after abandoning the run in the third quarter.
Washington’s defense is completely gassed and it’s up to the offense to make some plays.
Just when it seemed like the Redskins had all the momentum, the Rams strike back to retake the lead. They went on a 12-play, 74-yard drive that culminated in a 12-yard touchdown run for Kenneth Darby, who earlier replaced an injured Steven Jackson. St. Louis now leads 21-16.
The Rams kept the drive alive with several short passes against the Redskins' blitz. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was visibly upset with his defense, particularly his safeties. They allowed too much cushion, allowing the Rams to get first downs on checkdown passes.
The onus is on the Redskins offense to sustain a long drive in order to keep their tired defense off the field.
Atogwe, a defensive captain for St. Louis, is questionable to return.
The Redskins have capitalized on the momentum they gained at the end of the first half. Unfortunately, they could not punch the ball into the end zone, but they now have a 16-14 lead after a 21-yard field goal by Graham Gano.
The Redskins picked up most of the yardage on a long pass from Donovan McNabb to Santana Moss on the first play from scrimmage. A 15-yard horse collar penalty added to the big play, putting the Redskins inside the 10-yard line. However, they could not reach the end zone on three plays. Ryan Torain ran twice to get the ball to the two-yard line, but on third and goal, Clinton Portis was stuffed for a loss of a yard, forcing the Redskins to settle for the field goal.
Moss now has over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
After the Rams slowly and methodically moved the ball down the field to leave the Redskins with just 23 seconds remaining in the first half, their field goal try was blocked. The Rams used over seven minutes of clock time on the drive that included six first downs.
The Redskins thought they had forced a turnover earlier in the drive, but an apparent fumble by Steven Jackson was overturned after review. Jackson was injured on the play.
The Rams had six plays inside the 10-yard to punch the ball in, but could not convert for a touchdown. On the ensuing field goal attempt, Josh Brown's kick was blocked by Phillip Daniels.
Rams running back Steven Jackson has left the game late in the second quarter with a groin injury.
Jackson was taken to the locker room right before the two-minute warning and is questionable to return.
Newly signed running back Ryan Torain played a key role in this drive for the Redskins, as they were able to cut the Rams' lead to just one.
Torain was the primary running back throughout the drive, and he now has a total of 45-yards rushing on four carries, equalling Clinton Portis's 45-yard total on six plays. Donovan McNabb also added a nice 26-yard run on third down.
Graham Gano converted a 24-yard field goal to cap off the drive, and the Rams, who originally led 14-0, now lead by only one point.
Just like that, the Redskins are back in the game against the Rams. Just one play after Reed Doughty forced a fumble that was recovered by Lorenzo Alexander on the Rams' kickoff return, quarterback Donovan McNabb found Santana Moss for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The Rams' lead is now just 14-10.
It all started when Doughty slammed through the St. Louis blockers to force Marty Gilyard to fumble. After a mad scramble, where it looked like the Rams recovered, Alexander ended up with the football. On the ensuing play, the Redskins ran a play-action bootleg, and McNabb zipped a ball across the field to a wide-open Moss in the end zone.
After going down early, the Redskins have adapted their offensive strategy. They have switched to that tried and true method of moving the ball: throw deep and hope for pass interference.
It worked for the Redskins on this drive. A 39-yard pass down the middle of the field from Donovan McNabb to Fred Davis netted the Redskins a long gain thanks to a pass interference penalty on Bradley Fletcher.
The Redskins capped off the drive with field goal by Graham Gano, who has been very active so far in this game, handling punting duties as well as field goals and kickoffs.
In his first game back from injury, Moore bailed out the Redskins by intercepting Sam Bradford's pass on first down. It was a poor throw by Bradford, but Moore did an excellent job to tip the ball with one hand and secure it with two hands.
The Redskins now have the ball at their own 15-yard line.
It didn't take the St. Louis Rams long to get on the scoreboard against the Washington Redskins.
On the opening drive with less than three minutes gone in the game, Steven Jackson found a hole and converted a 42-yard run into a touchdown. It was just the seventh play of the game.
The Rams started the opening drive with good field position thanks to Redskins kicker Graham Gano kicking the ball out of the bounds on the kickoff.
Kareem Moore, getting his first start of the year after recovering from injury, missed a tackle on Jackson's long run.
With Trent Williams inactive today due to injury, the Redskins just announced will start Stephon Heyer at left tackle against the Rams. That kills any speculation that they might move right tackle Jammal Brown over to the left side.
The more surprising piece of news is that the Redskins will only have one reserve offensive lineman -- Kory Lichtensteiger -- active. That's really risky, and we'll have to see how it plays out. UPDATE: Correction: Will Montgomery is active , so the Redskins have two backup offensive linemen.
UPDATE: Another correction - Will Montgomery is indeed inactive. The original list is correct. Unbelievable.
This one kind of came out of nowhere.
Apparently, Redskins punter Josh Bidwell was injured badly while warming up for today's game against the Rams. With about 90 minutes to go before kickoff, Bidwell appeared to hurt his leg, and kicker Graham Gano and others helped him off the field. It's unclear what caused Bidwell to get hurt, but it appears he won't play today.
If he can't go, Gano will handle punts. It's unclear who would be the holder on field goals, but the early guess is that it will be Rex Grossman.
Albert Haynesworth is back in the news off the field again because of his recent "slavery" comments on "The Kevin And Rock Show" on 106.7 The Fan. On the field, though, Haynesworth has been nursing a sore ankle.
Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth, fresh off one of his best weeks of practice in Washington, will play today despite his sprained ankle.
I'd throw in a quip about slavery somewhere, but I got nothing.
In what cannot be seen as a good sign for Trent Williams' hopes of playing this afternoon against the Rams, the Redskins have placed him on the early inactive list, according to ESPN 980's Chris Russell.
Once again, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan appears to be irked by Albert Haynesworth talked. When asked about Haynesworth's ankle in his media session today, Shanahan said Haynesworth has not had any setbacks. Naturally, one reporter followed up with a question about whether he would play this week. Shanahan's response?
When asked if Haynesworth would play Sunday, Shanahan said, "Do we have to go through this every week?"
That was via Mike Jones of TBD. And yes, Mike, we do need to go through this every week.
Anyway, here's the injury report, via Redskins PR.
OUT: Anthony Bryant (concussion)
The Redskins will look to go to 2-1 when they take on the winless St. Louis Rams this Sunday at 4:05 p.m. It will be the Redskins first road game of the year, and they haven't exactly impressed against bad Rams teams in the past, but this is certainly an easy game on the schedule.
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