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seahawks playlist

(photo by John Pappas)

1. “Go” by Pearl Jam

After back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins needed to get back on track and return to the formula that brought them success earlier in the season. With that in mind, head coach Jim Zorn turned to running back Clinton Portis, who responded 143 yards on 29 carries (after rushing for just 119 yards in the last two games combined) and carried his team to their first win in nearly a month.

As he’s done for most of the season, Portis did the heavy lifting for the ‘Skins erratic offense. Although he’s still nursing a sprained knee and several other nagging injuries, the league’s leading rusher with 1,206 yards through 11 games, got better as the game went on and wore down a feisty Seahawks defense with his punishing running style. Out of his 143 yards on the day, 67 of them came during the fourth quarter (when Portis averaged a whopping 6.7 yards per carry).

Take, for example, the Redskins second-to-last drive of the game, a drive that started on their own four-yard line with just over seven minutes remaining. Clinging to a 20-17 lead, the ‘Skins turned to Portis on first down and he responded with a nine-yard run. On the next play Portis rushed for 11 yards. The third play of the drive brought more of the same, with Portis busting out a 20-yard gain. The Redskins looked to have the game all but wrapped up as they continued to move the ball with ease while simultaneously killing the clock until backup running back Ladell Betts, giving Portis a breather, fumbled the ball at the Seattle 22-yard line.

Fortunately the Redskins were able to intercept a Matt Hasselbeck pass on the next play to effectively end the game, but the truth is the Redskins could not have beaten this 2-9 Seahawks team without Portis.

2. “Outshined” by Soundgarden

Overshadowed by Portis effort was that of Seattle running back Maurice Morris, who rushed for 103 yards on just 14 carries. Morris, who primarily backs up running back Julius Jones, came into the game with 39 carries for 175 rushing yards in seven games this season, and yet, managed to gash the ‘Skins defense seemingly at will in the early stages of this game. His first carry of the day was a 44-yard explosion that would have ended in the endzone, if not for a great individual effort by safety LaRon Landry to save what could have been a back-breaking touchdown in the first quarter.

Speaking of Landry, he also made his presence known in the third quarter with an acrobatic game-changing interception of an errant Hasselback pass. Landry now has three career interceptions against the Seahawks quarterback (counting the two picks he had in the playoff loss to Seattle last season) and zero against the rest of the NFL.

3. “Grind” by Alice in Chains

Another vital cog in the Redskins offense is fullback Mike Sellers, who bulldozed Seattle defenders while blocking for the running game and also contributed to the passing game with four catches for 30 yards. Sure, he dropped a “gimme” touchdown, but Sellers made up for it the rest of the afternoon by paving the way for Portis to run all over Seattle’s Qwest Field.

It’s funny that a game featuring two supposed West Coast offenses came down to a battle of running games, but that’s exactly the case. Thanks to Portis and Sellers, the Redskins ran 30 more plays than the Seahawks (76 to 46), had nearly twice as many first downs (24 to 13) and controlled the ball for nearly 17 minutes longer than Seattle (38:27 to 21:33). It’s hard to win the game when you can’t get your defense off the field, and in the rare moments Seattle offense was in the game, Hasselbeck split his passes evenly between Seahawk receivers and Redskins defenders (two touchdown and two interceptions).

4. “Down” by Stone Temple Pilots

Portis (knee and hip), Defensive end Andre Carter (foot), defensive tackle Kedric Golston (ankle), and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin needed medical attention at various points during the game. Wide out Malcolm Kelly and cornerback Shawn Springs were back in action after extended absences due to injury. Injuries are a part of the game and every team is battling this issue this deep into the season, but if the ‘Skins are going to continue to win, they need to catch a break or two in the injury department. It goes without saying that if Portis or wide out Santana Moss aggravate an injury and are sidelined for long, then the offense is in serious trouble. And the fourth-ranked defense needs guys like Griffin and Carter healthy as they head into the last month of the season – especially against physical opponents like the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens.

5. “Come as You Are” by Nirvana

It wasn’t pretty, but in the end Jim Zorn was able to get a victory over head coach Mike Holmgren because he went back to basics. Recent history shows that the Redskins are at their best when they’re able to run and stop the run. Portis did more than his fair share to help the ‘Skins improve to 7-4, but the Redskins run defense should be an area of concern.

If the Redskins are realistically going to be a playoff contender this year, then they need to tighten up against the run. Morris’ 103-yard effort follows Cowboys running back Marion Barber’s 24-carry, 114-yard night one week ago. While Barber is among the league’s elite, Morris hadn’t rushed for 100 yards since 2006. Watching the game, one couldn’t help but noticed the Redskins undersized front seven getting pushed around and beaten by the Seahawks offensive line at the point of attack. Yes, the Redskins secondary is among the deepest in the NFL, but teams are going to see the film of the Seahawks and Cowboys running all over the ‘Skins front seven and continue to try and exploit the problem until adjustments are made.

On offense, the Redskins just need to continue to try and mix things up. Portis is the work horse, but a dependable passing game will prevent defenses from stacking the line of scrimmage in an all-out effort to shut Portis down. The touchdown quarterback Jason Campbell threw to wide out Antwaan Randle El was a perfect example of what this offense can do. In a five-receiver set, Campbell found Randle El, who had cut behind tight end Chris Cooley in a crossing pattern, for an eight-yard score. Plays like that are going to be vital down the stretch if the ‘Skins have any hope of keeping defenses honest and, more importantly, keeping Portis healthy.


redskins rock the red

(photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Capitals are good. And chances are, they’re going to be really good for a while. Their top four players – left wing Alex Ovechkin (23-years-old), left wing Alexander Semin (24), defenseman Mike Green (23) and center Nicklas Backstrom (20) – are young and seem poised to lead this team to heights D.C. has never seen.

After scoring an NHL-best 65 goals last season, Ovechkin won every conceivable award possible. He took home the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league’s most outstanding player (voted by the players), the Hart Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player, the Art Ross Trophy and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Additionally, coach Bruce Boudreau took home the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

This season, Semin has managed to take his game to the next level – even managing to outplay fellow-Russian Ovechkin many nights early in the year. In just 16 games, Semin has scored 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. His wristshot is so nasty that it ranks among the best in all of professional hockey. Oh, and he became even more popular with locals when he decided to basically call Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney “Cindy” Crosby overrated.

Pairing a motivated Semin with Oveckin, last season’s league MVP, as well as Green, the NHL’s top goal scoring defenseman and Backstrom, runner-up for rookie of the year, easily gives the Caps the most exciting offense in D.C. sports. And folks seem to be taking notice.

Maybe its due to the addition of the Red Rockers, but the Caps’ average attendance at the Verizon Center is over 17,700 (97 percent capacity) this season. (Quick sidenote on the Red Rockers link: can you say one of these things is not like the other?) And the team has rewarded those in attendance with the Caps undefeated (7-0-1) at home in regulation thus far this season. What’s more, even the other sports stars in town are “rocking the red” with the Caps this year.

Earlier this month, Redskins tight end Chris Cooley officially became a Caps fan after attending his first hockey game, a 3-1 Capitals victory over the New York Rangers. While Cooley is new to the hockey bandwagon, quarterback Jason Campbell is not.

The face of the franchise has been spotted at the Verizon Center enjoying Caps games for a couple seasons now, so we caught up with Campbell earlier this week to ask him how someone from Laurel, Mississippi becomes a hockey fan.

What is it about the Capitals and the game of hockey in general that appeals to you?

“I just like the intensity of it,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of like football, except its on skates. Guys are hitting each other and they’re playing hard and getting physical. It’s a tough game. You definitely respect the guys who play that game because it is so physical.”

Had you ever been to a hockey game before you came to D.C.?

(Laughs) “No, I’d never been to one,” he said. “This was my first time going to one and its fun.”

What’s kind of cool for local fans is we’ve got guys like you going to Caps games and now we’ve got Ovechkin and some of his teammates showing up at FedEx Field. Have you had a chance to meet some of those guys and get to know them?

“Yeah, I know Ovechkin real well,” Campbell said. “I also know Ryan Zimmerman [of the Nationals] and a couple of the other guys in the area. I always know when they’re coming to our games and if I go to their games, I always see them before or after the game. We all try to get out and support each other. It’s definitely nice because we’re all in this city together. If we can all get on a winning track this city can really be live.”

What kind of hockey player would Jason Campbell be?

“I’d probably be a bad hockey player,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I’d probably have to be a goalie or something.”

Can you skate?

“I’ve never skated in my life,” Campbell admitted.

Goalie is probably a bad place for you to start then. If someone like Ovie fires a 100 mile an hour shot at you, its probably not going to end well.

“I know, right,” he said. “I’ll probably just have to stick with football.”

Dear Ted Leonsis, if you’re as smart as we think you are, you’ll immediately invite Campbell out to Kettler IcePlex or the Verizon Center to skate with Ovechkin and friends. You don’t have to put him in net, but this is an opportunity too good to pass up.

[Update: Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has taken our advice and extended an offer to Campbell to come out to skate with his team. Here’s hoping Jason won’t be available to do so until after a deep playoff run.]


batch of links

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Believe it or not, but some high-quality reading actually comes from outside of Homer McFanboy. Just in case you missed it, here’s some of what caught our attention this week:

  • Redskins blogger Matt Terl thinks it’s a good idea to give Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot some additional exposure (apparently he’s not familiar with Smoot’s time in Minnesota). Either way, Terl is pushing for fans to vote for Fred in the NFL’s Super Ad campaign. If Smoot wins, his commercial will play during the Super Bowl. We recommend you check it out, if for no other reason than to learn about Smoot being duct taped to the goalpost by former teammate Champ Bailey and friends and left there for two hours back when he was a rookie.
  • Elsewhere, ESPN the Magazine has a feature on how Sean Taylor’s death has affected the NFL. While they went to great lengths to interview numerous players throughout the league, the part with ‘Skins running back Clinton Portis is a must read. And if you take nothing else away from it, please – do not walk up to him, throw your arm around him and tell Portis you pay his salary. Trust me on this. Also, ESPN blogger Matt Mosley covers how Taylor’s loss has affected the ‘Skins locker room.
  • A website called Fast Company has an article listing the six best sports bloggers, which naturally shows some love to the D.C. sports scene. Both Redskins tight end Chris Cooley and the formerly relevant Gilbert Arenas are listed, as well as pitcher/blowhard Curt Schilling, L.A. Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (whose just glad to be making headlines for other reasons). Now, if only someone could explain how they forgot to include the blog of Caps owner Ted Leonsis
  • Finally, we point you to one of our favorite blogs, Mister Irrelevant, who stumbled upon proof that the Redskins apparently at one time had a mascot. No, not Chief Zee. Not the Hogettes. An actual mascot. Go see for yourself.

veterans versus the predator

(photo by Brian Murphy)

With the Washington Redskins losing 14-10 to their hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday night, we know ‘Skins fans haven’t been doing well this week. If the team only wins two games each season, fans always want them to be the two matchups against the Cowboys. We can’t change history and have the Redskins win the game, but we can cheers folks up with our weekly conversation with Redskins rookie safety Chris “The Predator” Horton.

We saw you on the NFL Network last week talking about your new website. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about it?

“I’ve got a new website,, and it’s just a way for people to find out who Chris Horton really is,” said Horton. “He’s not just a football player. I do a lot of other things outside of football.”

We know the site just launched, but what content do you plan on having on the site?

“I’m going to have a lot of stuff,” he said. “Sell some gear that I wear in games, we’ll auction it off. We’ll have a little thing to the best fan, I think, gets a prize at the end of the year and stuff like that. We’ll have a lot of different things on there.”

And this is all you? This isn’t some marketing guy pretending to be you online or something?

“It’s me,” Horton said. “It’s all me. When I find some time … I don’t really get back to people right away, I just kind of find time here and there. Usually on Tuesdays I’m on it a lot.”

You’re a seventh-round draft pick and you’ve already got your own website halfway though your rookie season. Things are coming along pretty nicely for you, right?

“Definitely,” he said. “I’m just trying to find ways to continue my success on the field.”

And the whole “fans giving you the nickname” thing, it looks like you’ve embraced it.

“Yeah, I took it and ran with it,” Horton said.

From there, we headed over to defensive end Andre Carter, one of the most respected players in the Redskins locker room. After dissecting what went wrong against Dallas, the conversation turned to Horton and his brand-new website.

One of your rookies, Chris Horton, just launched a new website this week. Have you heard of

“Are you serious,” asked Carter. “I’ve never heard of it, man.”

We’d like you to tell us, as a veteran whose been in the league for a while, what you think of a rookie launching his own website halfway through his first season.

(Laughs). I gotta get on him, man,” Carter said.

Did he run it by the veterans first?

“No he didn’t run it by us, but we’re gonna get on him now that you told us,” Carter said. “I think me and the committee of older guys – Griff [Cornelius Griffin] and Phil [Daniels] – are gonna have to sit down and discuss that. Kind of sit down and see what we’re gonna do about that.”

What’s your opinion on the whole “Predator” nickname?

“You know what, that’s a new one on me,” he said. “I don’t know how he got that one …”

It came from the fans.

“The fans gave it to him,” asked Carter.

Yup, they gave it to him.

“Wow, that’s love then,” he said. “It’s okay then. I thought he gave it to himself. I got to give it to Chris. He’s a smart guy and he knows how to network. Especially in this business, if you can network then you can do good for yourself. You got to think of life after football.”

So are you announcing with us that you’ll be launching

(Laughs). “Nah, no Dre99, for me man,” Carter said. “What I do, you see me out there getting crunk on the field, and then after that, I’m a family man.”

Well said.


note: hungry like the wolf

(courtesy photo)

Let’s just go ahead and admit it now – we live in a world that just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Just take a quick peak at your sports page and scan the headlines.

For starters, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who has played in 128 games during his 10-year career, didn’t know that pro football games could end in a tie.

In his post-game press conference after the Eagles tied the Cincinnati Bengals 13-13 Sunday, McNabb said he thought there would be a second overtime if the score was still tied after one extra session.

“I’ve never been part of a tie,” McNabb said. “I never even knew it was in the rule book. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie.”

This is where we point out that the last tie in the National Football League was in 2002, when the Pittsburgh Steelers tied the Atlanta Falcons 34-34, Nov. 10. We’ll give McNabb a pass for not knowing the Steelers played to a tie that day – even though both teams reside in Pennsylvania – because he was busy getting beat down by the Indianapolis Colts. But the Eagles actually played Atlanta in the playoffs that season, which means for an entire week McNabb’s focus was on all things Falcons related. When Atlanta came to town with a 9-6-1 regular season record don’t you think McNabb might have thought “Hmmm … what’s that number in the third column?”

If you’re an Eagles fan (always know for their rational thoughts and calm demeanor), then you’ve got to be saying, “Are you kidding me?” Management should march down to the locker room immediately and ask backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, “Do you know the basic rules of professional football?” If the answer is yes, then he’s now the starter in Philly. It’s that simple. It’s inexcusable for a supposed team leader with a decade of experience to not know Football 101.

And if the rumors are true that head coach Andy Reid didn’t know that ties exist in pro football either (which would explain his team’s decision to punt three times in overtime), then he’s got to go too. Turn the team over to Jim Johnson, the defensive coordinator, and send “Cheesesteak Andy” home to deal with his troubled family. We know that Philly is still hung over from winning their first championship in decades, but this is an embarrassment that should be taken seriously. You were willing to take action against Santa Claus. Now do the right thing and turn your attention to McNabb.

But that’s not the only craziness taking over the world of sports. Did you see the story about the 16-year-old girl who was drafted to play professional baseball in Japan?

Eri Yoshida, a 5-foot, 114-pound knuckleball pitcher, was selected by Kobe 9 Cruise in the Japanese League. Like a crap-tastic episode of 90210 or some terrible Disney movie, she’ll go from high school to the big leagues. Seriously. We’re not making this up.

Outside of the Olympics, the only time we’ve ever watched anything close to women playing professional sports was the movie “A League of their Own.” And let’s be honest – Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell were prominently involved, so that’s not exactly putting your best foot forward.

We’re heading dangerously close to “male cheerleader” territory here, which is never good. Let’s just go ahead and admit it now – this is a publicity stunt gone horribly wrong. The first time an opposing batter sends a line drive back up the middle it could very well kill the poor girl. Send her back to gym class while she’s still healthy and innocent and fire whoever thought it was a good idea to bring a “Sweet 16” into a clubhouse.

But the biggest news of the week is Brock Lesnar defeating Randy Couture to capture the heavyweight title at UFC 91. Forget that Lesnar, in just his fourth professional fight, was able to dethrone one of the most respected and established fighters in all of mixed martial arts. The fact is, a professional wrestler just won a real fight. Brock went from collecting a paycheck in the scripted World Wrestling Entertainment to knocking out the Ultimate Fighting Champion.

That’s roughly equivalent to the HoboTrashcan staff getting together for a night out on the town, when a drunken Ned Bitters (redundant, we know) decides to sign us up to play some Rock Band 2 at the bar. Courtney Enlow is singing lead, I’m playing lead guitar, Hobo Stu’s on the bass and Bitters is on the drums rocking out to “Hungry Like The Wolf” and next thing you know, we get signed by some big record label and ultimately win a Grammy.

Or how about this – after successfully guiding his fantasy football team, the Part-Time Models, to an improbable league championship, my brother is hired by the Detroit Lions to become their next general manager. After all, he’s already more qualified than former GM Matt Millen. His team won something.

Bottom line: stuff like this just isn’t supposed to happen. Vince McMahon and friends are in the business of entertaining, not actually bringing something real and tangible to the table. What’s next? Will Jerry “The King” Lawler actually become royalty? Will The Undertaker get a job at Arlington National Cemetery? Will Isaak Yankem become a legitimate dentist? Where does it end?

Note to self is a weekly sports column written for HoboTrashcan.


vote for colt

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Last season 13 members of the Dallas Cowboys made the Pro Bowl. And although the game is completely irrelevant, that numbers didn’t sit well with those in and in support of the Washington Redskins.

This year, the ‘Skins front office vowed to take a different approach – thus the creation of Vote the Redskins Ticket, a campaign encouraging fans to vote Redskins players to the 2009 Pro Bowl. Out came buttons, banners and bumper stickers, all encouraging fans to take a stand and vote for the burgundy and gold. If fans can regularly vote for their favorite contestants on meaningless shows like American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, then why can’t they do the same for their favorite football players?

So why are we bringing all of this up now? Here are the NFC’s 26 starters through this week, as voted by the fans:


QB – Drew Brees, New Orleans
RB – Clinton Portis, Washington
FB – Mike Sellers, Washington
WR – Santana Moss, Washington

WR – Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
TE – Chris Cooley, Washington
T – Chris Samuels, Washington

T – Flozell Adams, Dallas
G – Pete Kendall, Washington
G – Randy Thomas, Washington
C – Casey Rabach, Washington


DE – Justin Tuck, New York
DE – Andre Carter, Washington
DT – Cornelius Griffin, Washington
DT – Kedric Golston, Washington

OLB – DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
MLB – London Fletcher, Washington
OLB – Jason Taylor, Washington
CB – Shawn Springs, Washington
CB – Carlos Rogers, Washington
FS – LaRon Landry, Washington
SS – Chris “The Predator” Horton, Washington

Special Teams

K – Shaun Suisham, Washington
P – Ryan Plackemeier, Washington
KR – Rock Cartwright, Washington
ST – Khary Campbell, Washington

That’s right, folks. There are 21 Redskins players currently leading at their respective positions in fan voting for the Pro Bowl. The rest of the conference? They’ve got five (and only two come from outside of the NFC East). A year ago only Cooley, Samuels and long snapper Ethan Albright earned a trip to the Pro Bowl from the ‘Skins roster, so we’ll call that a slight improvement.

As a refresher, the selection process for the NFC and AFC squads consists of votes from coaches, players and fans. The consensus ballots of NFL fans, players and coaches each count one-third towards determining the rosters. So fans shouldn’t automatically expect to see half of the Redskins active roster in Hawaii this February.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t impressive. It is. Every NFL fan has the opportunity to vote for whomever he or she sees fit. It just so happens, they’re all voting Redskins. So keep up the good work, ‘Skins fans. It’s nice to show that the fans really do care – especially when all we’re hearing from the “real” media these days is that Redskins fans suck and give their tickets away to towel-waving Steelers fans.

If nothing else, maybe this will force the NFL to finally fix the Pro Bowl, which is nothing more than a glorified popularity contest anyways. And if 21 Redskins do make the Pro Bowl, can one of them buy a ticket for backup quarterback Colt Brennan? I hear he’s kind of popular out in Hawaii or something.


hall of a playmaker

(photos by Brian Murphy)

As with most important things in life, we sought out cornerback Fred Smoot to find his opinion on the addition of cornerback DeAngelo Hall to what has now become a crowded Redskins secondary. Would the former “Love Boat Captain” welcome the addition of the talented, but sometimes troubled 24-year-old, or would he take it as a slap in the face from management, adding a Pro Bowler that could cut in to his own playing time?

“He’s a great addition,” Smoot said, when asked about his newest teammate. “The defensive backfield, we call it the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen because I don’t think nobody’s got the kind of superhero power in the backfield that we’ve got.”

Well then. That was easy. With that it was time to track down Hall and get his thoughts moments after his first game with the ‘Skins.

You talked about signing here because you were comfortable with the area. Obviously you’re familiar with Virginia growing up here and going to school at Virginia Tech. So let us ask, how was your first week on the job?

“It was good,” Hall said. “It felt good and I felt comfortable. I felt at home.”

And it didn’t take you very long to make an impact on the Redskins defense.

“Yeah, I was able to get the ball in my hands,” he said. “It was just a slant. T.O. kind of came off the ball aggressive, kind of knocked me off a little bit, but I stayed high on him. [Tony] Romo went front side first and then came back backside and just threw the ball a little bit behind him and I was able to get my hands on it.”

It had to feel pretty good to get that ball in your hands in the first quarter of your first game with the Washington Redskins, right?

“This is a great atmosphere,” he said. “There’s a lot of fans in this place and it’s a primetime game. Any time it’s a primetime game you feel so excited and so amped up. To get the ball in my hands did feel good.”

What have the coaches said to you as far as your role on this team for the remainder of the season?

“I don’t really know,” Hall said. “We haven’t really sat down and talked about it like that. We’ve got four great corners and the best ones are going to get on the field, however many we can get out there. However many packages we can work to get us all out there, that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

So you’re comfortable being a part of what Fred Smoot calls the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?”

“Yeah, I’m definitely comfortable with that.”

For the record, both Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers are also on record as being pleased with the addition of Hall. All four guys seem to believe there’s plenty of playing time and opportunities for each of them and look forward to having talented peers alongside each other to help push the unit to a higher level. While it wasn’t great news for Leigh Torrence, everyone else in town should be pleased with what very well might be the deepest secondary in football.

And speaking of Hall’s local roots, the Redskins are currently offering a free Virginia Tech hoodie with the purchase of a DeAngelo Hall jersey. This will most likely go much smoother than the time the ‘Skins offered free Army recruitment with the purchase of a Robert McCune jersey.

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