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07Nov

stats are for losers

(photo by Brian Murphy)

When the Washington Redskins acquired defensive end Jason Taylor on the first day of training camp, ‘Skins fans immediately began to compare the team’s defensive end duo of Taylor and Andre Carter with the NFL’s elite. Both had double digit sacks last season, so folks assumed that visiting quarterbacks would spend the bulk of the season running for their lives. As we’ve seen through the first half of the season though, that simply hasn’t been the case.

Taylor has been in and out of the lineup thanks to a left calf injury and something called acute compartment syndrome. He’s spent more time on the sidelines (standing next to oft-injured cornerback Shawn Springs) than actually pressuring QBs. The 11-year veteran has played in six games this season, registering 12 tackles and just one sack. Meanwhile, defensive end Demetric Evans, who has been with the team since 2004, has assumed Taylor’s role – both as a starter and in terms of generating constant pressure – racking up 14 tackles and a team-best 3.5 sacks. It should be noted that the Redskins, as a team, have just 15 sacks through eight games.

We had a chance to talk with Evans after the Redskins’ 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Evans has flown under the radar for much of his seven-year career, so naturally one might think that being the team’s best defensive player on the field Monday night would cause Evans to seek a little attention and/or glory. That simply wasn’t the case.

“It was one of those games where the stage was set and as a D-line we wanted to go out and make plays,” he said. “Unfortunately, the ball didn’t fall in our favor.”

But you seemed to have a solid game with 2.5 sacks, right?

“Stats are for losers,” Evans said bluntly. “I’ll take winning any day.”

So much for his strong outing going to his head.

“We want to win games around here,” Evans said. “We want to play total team football. That’s Redskins football.”

While Demetric wasn’t in the mood to pat himself on the back, we’ll gladly show him some love anyways. If he continues to play at this level the rest of the season, then the ‘Skins defensive line might do just fine without Taylor. You can have all that Dancing with the Stars attention. Evans just wants to win.

05Nov

sean taylor honored

(photo by Brian Murphy)

PRESS RELEASE

ASHBURN, VA – The late Sean Taylor will take his place among Washington Redskins greats when he is inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Fame in a ceremony prior to the team’s contest against the New York Giants on Nov. 30, 2008 at 1 p.m. It will be the first game following the anniversary of Taylor’s tragic death at the age of 24, which occurred on Nov. 27 of last year in Miami.

“It’s appropriate that Sean joins our Ring of Fame after a stellar career cut short far too soon,” said Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder. “His life touched so many of us in such deep and lasting ways. His presence is all around us, in our organization and among our fans.”

Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato added, “Sean was developing into one of the best to ever play the safety position, as well as becoming a role model to those who knew him. He still touches us every day in some way on and off the field.”

Taylor will be the 43rd member admitted into the Ring of Fame, which honors those who have made distinguished contributions to the team. He is the first since Gary Clark entered on Oct. 7, 2007. The ceremony will feature a tribute and messages from former teammates as well as the presentation of a commemorative plaque to members of Taylor’s family.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early at FedExField for the pre-game ceremony.

With his incredible combination of size, speed, athleticism, ferocity and instincts, Taylor was one of the most unique and dynamic athletes the game has ever seen, despite playing less than four seasons. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection after the Redskins made him the fifth pick of the 2004 NFL draft following an All-American career at the University of Miami.

05Nov

steelers playlist

(photo by Brian Murphy)

1. “Betterman” by Pearl Jam

One play summarized the night for the Washington Redskins. On the first play of the fourth quarter, defensive end Andre Carter beat his man cleanly and drilled Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. The ball popped out, but landed squarely in the hands of backup running back Mewelde Moore, who turned upfield for a 25-yard gain. A couple of benchwarmers getting together to ensure the hometown team goes home unhappy. That’s when you know it’s not your night.

 How many ‘Skins fans would have jumped at the chance to take on the Steelers without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? And yet, Leftwich steps in and immediately burnt cornerback Fred Smoot for a 50-yard bomb to wide out Nate Washington. That’s the exact moment the game was officially over. Both teams were hit with adversity. One team was able to respond. On this night, the better team won.

2. “Breakdown” by Seether

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell was sacked seven times. It’s safe to say, if you can’t keep your quarterback upright, you’re not going to win many football games. Tackle Chris Samuels, back from a knee injury after missing the Detroit Lions game one week earlier, was called for three penalties. Seriously, when the last time the five-time Pro Bowler was called for three penalties in a game? Samuels was clearly not 100 percent and the Steelers were able to take advantage of the situation. When your best offensive lineman is having that kind of trouble, you can guess what was going on with the rest of the line.

On the other side of the line, tackle Jon Jansen looked overmatched for most of the night. At this point, it’s impossible to say who between Jansen and backup tackle Stephon Heyer is the best man for the job. In addition to getting guys like Samuels healthy, the coaching staff should take a long, hard look at the Jansen-Heyer battle and figure out once and for all who gives the Redskins the best chance for victory. Either way, if the Redskins don’t get better production from that tackle position, it’s going to be a rough second half of the season.

3. “Moment of Clarity” by Jay-Z

Steelers punter Mitch Berger punted eight times and averaged just over 36 yards per punt. Unfortunately, Redskins punt returner Antwaan Randle El is utterly incapable of doing anything remotely productive. The former Steeler returned just three of the punts and six yards per return. But we can’t even be disappointed with Randle El against Pittsburgh. He’s averaging 6.3 yards per punt return for the season. To expect anything more from him at this point would be foolish.

We agree that having Santana Moss return punts full time isn’t an option. The risk of injury is too great and Moss is too important in the passing game. But the Redskins absolutely need to invest a draft pick in a Joshua Cribbs kind of player this offseason. Watching Randle El take one step to the left, one step to the right and fall forward every time he fields a punt has become painful.

In his other role, Randle El didn’t fare any better, hauling in three catches for 22 yards.  This season, Randle El has yet to have a 100 yard game. In fact, he’s only had more than 75 yards once all season (against St. Louis). It’s unreasonable to expect either of the rookie receivers — Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas — to magically flip a switch and start bringing something to the table this season, but it’d help everyone else enormously if one of the two of them made a big step forward in time for next season.

For our money though, the game turned once and for all when defensive back Carlos Rogers failed to reel in that interception in the first quarter. Much like the 2005 playoff game in Seattle, Rogers jumped the route, got both hands on the ball with a clear path to the endzone and somehow botched it. Instead of leading 13-3 at home, the Redskins continued to struggle in all facets of the game and just a few plays later watched a blocked punt turn the game once and for all. Momentum snowballed in the Steelers favor from that point on. One play might not win or lose a game, but this one definitely turns out differently if Rogers takes care of business on that play.

Let’s go ahead and curb the “Carlos Rogers is an elite lock-down cornerback” talk until he learns how to intercept a pass consistently. Please and thank you.

4. “Cheating On You” by Franz Ferdinand

At least there weren’t very many Redskins fans in attendance. I mean, otherwise they might have gotten their feelings hurt being letdown by the team’s showing Monday night. It’s a good thing so many of them sold their tickets to Steelers fans … oh wait … no, that’s never a good thing. Seriously, Redskins fans should take it personally that so many other “fans” opted to sell their tickets to Steelers fans. The fact that the home team had to go to a silent count at FedEx Field is utterly embarrassing. If you know someone who sold their ticket to a Steelers fan Monday night please do us all a favor and kick them square in the beanbag. This game was basically a slap in the face to real Redskins fans.

5. “Put It On Me” by Ben Harper

Monday night was a night of streaks coming to a halt. Clinton Portis had rushed for at least 125 yards in five straight games. Not anymore. Jason Campbell hadn’t thrown an interception in 11 months. So much for that. About the only streak left in tact is the presidential election being decided by the ‘Skins final home game. Obama fans such as Phillip Daniels and Fred Smoot could sleep easy knowing that their favorite candidate was a lock for the White House after the Steelers win.

Here’s hoping that the bye week does this tired Redskins team some good. Maybe getting back cornerback Shawn Springs, defensive end Jason Taylor and running back Ladell Betts, plus giving Portis, Santana Moss and friends a breather will help recharge this team and get them back on track in time to take on a flawed Dallas Cowboys team in two weeks.

03Nov

are they ready for some football?

(photo by Eric Leichter)

We play hockey with a guy we’ll call Price. He’s an all-around good dude except for one thing – he loves to tell everyone how great he is. We might lose a game 7-1, but if he scored our lone goal, he’ll be sure to let everyone know about it after the game. While we still like the guy, we’ve always preferred to fly under the radar (especially when it comes to our favorite sports teams).

The Washington Redskins, in recent history, are a team that is at their best when flying under the radar. As soon as the nation media jumps on the bandwagon this team inevitably stumbles. This season it was the loss to the winless St. Louis Rams. Last season, they fell apart against the winless New York Giants. The year before, they gave Vince Young his first win after starting his Tennessee Titans’ career 0-5. And we won’t even mention the loss to the pitiful Oakland Raiders in 2005. You get the point.

When the schedule first came out, this week’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was what stood out most. Since 2000, the ‘Skins haven’t put their best foot forward on Monday Night Football – going a pedestrian 3-7. And while the 2005 game ended in dramatic fashion with two highlight-worthy touchdowns by wide receiver Santana Moss, the first 58 minutes of that game in Dallas was awful. Meanwhile, the Steelers are 5-2 on Monday Night Football since 2004. They typically show up when Hank Williams Jr. sings them into town. The ‘Skins, well … not so much.

So if you’re a Redskins and/or John McCain fan, then you’ll undoubtedly be sweating it out tonight, hoping to see the maroon and black pull out a victory before heading into the bye week. Here’s the breakdown of their last 10 Monday Night Football games:

Sept. 17, 2007: Redskins win at Philadelphia Eagles, 20-12
Sept. 11, 2006: Redskins lose vs. Minnesota Vikings, 19-16
Sept. 19, 2005 Redskins win at Dallas Cowboys, 14-13
Sept. 27, 2004: Redskins lose vs. Dallas Cowboys, 21-18
Sept. 16, 2002: Redskins lose vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 37-7
Oct. 15, 2001: Redskins lose at Dallas Cowboys, 9-7
Sept. 24, 2001: Redskins lose at Green Bay Packers, 37-0
Nov. 20, 2000: Redskins win at St. Louis Rams, 33-20
Oct. 30, 2000: Redskins lose vs. Tennessee Titans, 27-21
Sept. 18, 2000: Redskins lose vs. Dallas Cowboys, 27-21

03Nov

selling out is cool

Today is an exciting day for sports fans in our nation’s capital. Not only do we get to enjoy the Washington Redskins taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, but we’ll get to know which presidential candidate will win the election 24 hours early. While that’ll make for must-see TV tonight, it doesn’t really help folks get through another boring Monday now. That’s why we’re here.

First of all, thanks for helping make last week a record-setting week for Homer McFanboy. Maybe it was our in-depth look at running back Clinton Portis. Or our widely-popular ‘ask a cheerleader‘ feature (and don’t forget part two, three and four). Or maybe it was our photo of linebacker London Fletcher’s unique pregame ritual. Whatever the reason, our website had it’s best week, in terms of hits, in our six-month history. We know there are many ways to blow off work, so thanks for wasting some of your time with us.

Which brings us to our big news of the day – we’ve officially opened the Homer McFanboy Store (just in time for the holidays!) We currently offer six t-shirts, including the fan-favorite “Predator” t-shirt pictured above. We’ve also got hockey and basketball themed t-shirts as well, so take a look and let us know what you think of the new merch. And here’s the best part – if you buy a shirt, send us a photo of you wearing it (or better yet, a photo of a hot chick wearing it) and we’ll post it online. You’ll be e-famous and we’ll be able to pay the sweatshop for all their hard work. That’s what we in the business call a win-win.

31Oct

ask a cheerleader (part four)

(photos courtesy of Washington Redskins)

MEET NICOLE

 She’s 27, from Burtonsville, Maryland, and enjoying her second season as a member of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders.

Speaking of your regular job, what do you do and are there any similarities between your two jobs?

I am currently a teacher in Maryland. This will be my sixth year teaching high school science. I enjoy working with students, helping them become self-directed learners. I love that I get the chance everyday to help better prepare students for the real world.

What is the difference between ambassadors and cheerleaders?

I had the privilege to be a Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador for one year and I enjoyed getting to meet fans one-on-one during game day. I helped pep the fans before the game in the Touchdown and Tailgate Club. I also had the wonderful opportunity to visit the suites at FedEx Field and interact with the fans as we cheered the ‘Skins on side-by-side.

I loved having the chance to meet so many adoring fans – we truly have the best fans in the NFL. Now, I have the honor as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader. One of the biggest differences is that I am on the field cheering during game day. We do various appearances in the stadium before the games, but there isn’t as much fan interaction between the cheerleaders and fans at FedEx Field because we are strictly dancing on field or around the stadium pregame. Our fan interaction takes place at the various community events that we attend throughout the year. Both opportunities were amazing and I am so happy that I’ve become a part of the family of Washington Redskins Cheerleaders and Ambassadors.

MEET ABBY

She’s 29, from North Potomac, Maryland, and in her fourth season cheering on the maroon and black.

Since cheerleaders don’t travel with the team, what do you do on the weeks when the team has an away game? Do you watch the Redskins game with other cheerleaders? Are you off that week?

When we have an away game we are usually off that weekend; although, we sometimes attend promotional appearances in the D.C. area. We have held parties at sports bars and restaurants to watch the game and invite the public to attend as well. We are also very busy helping with our Junior Cheerleaders program that practices most Saturdays. If we don’t have an appearance to make, then of course we are watching the game with family and friends! Sometimes we do coordinate special get togethers to watch the game as a team. The week of an away game we are very busy getting ready for the next home game with practices during the week.

Tell us one thing people would be surprised to learn about being a cheerleader for the Redskins.

There are several things people are surprised to learn about being a Redskins Cheerleader. We all have full time jobs, or are full time students, or mothers. (which is more than a full time job!) We are Redskins fans as well as Redskins cheerleaders and are invested in the game and the NFL season. We don’t travel with the team, but travel a lot overseas on military appreciation tours, (most of us take leave without pay from our full time jobs to participate.) We tour more than any other NFL Cheerleading team and pride ourselves on our dedication to giving back to the men and women who sacrifice and fight for our Country and freedoms. We do this job because we love it, not because we get paid.

31Oct

ask a cheerleader (part three)

(photos courtesy of Washington Redskins)

MEET CHELSEA

She’s 22, from Stafford, Virginia, and is back for her third year as a member of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. Here’s what she had to say.

We know the Redskins cheerleaders recently went on tour to Europe to entertain the troops. Can you tell us about your experiences overseas?

The Europe tour was a once in a lifetime experience, I learned so much more about what are these amazing men and women are doing for us overseas. Even though they aren’t in a war zone, I think people underestimate the amount of work and pressure that they do have on a daily basis. The troops were more than accommodating in every country we went to. They would cook us dinner, show us their work stations, and come support us as we put on our hour and a half variety show. I hope they enjoyed our visit as much as we did and I hope to be able to go on tour again soon!

Speaking of your regular job, what do you do and are there any similarities between your two jobs?

I am currently working as a marketing/event coordinator at Potomac Point Winery down in Stafford, Virginia. We have a huge event wing where we hold weddings, festivals, conferences, birthdays. You name it, we do it. My job is to assist in the booking of our different spaces that we have for rent and then work as the day of coordinator. I also work on any marketing materials and advertisements for any in house upcoming events or specials. We are actually going to be on the cover of The Bella weddings guide in January 2009. So if your in the mood for a wine tasting, or just want to get away for a day, come visit our beautiful Mediterranean estate building and vineyard.

MEET KLOHVER

Klohver is 23, from Germantown, Maryland, and is a second-year member of the Redskins cheerleaders.  

Speaking of your regular job, what do you do and are there any similarities between your two jobs?

Well, I have a very interesting job actually. I am a lawyer licensed to practice in Maryland and Washington, D.C. I have practiced in many different areas of law, but I like disability law the best. I help disabled people acquire health care and benefits that they need. I have an opportunity to work with many different people from the area who are in desperate need of legal representation who would not otherwise be able to afford such. My job is very rewarding and I love the work that I do.

What’s it like being a part of the Washington Redskins cheerleader calendar photo shoot?

This year for the calendar shoot, I had an opportunity to shoot my photos with a horse. It was extremely exciting, I love horses, and the scene was breathtaking. I was on the beach with the sun rising behind me and while I was posing on the horse it felt surreal, like a dream. The horse began to buck a little bit because I believe he was a little frightened by the people, but he eventually became calm.

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