All posts in football


pillow talk

While I was down in Richmond sneaking my way onto the racetrack, it looks like one of the Redskins newest additions was making headlines of his own.

Fred Davis, the rookie tight end out of USC, has caused an uproar after missing Sunday’s practice because he overslept, which has prompted some folks to jump on the ridiculous “he had character issues in college” bandwagon.

Before I get into it, let me John Clayton explain exactly what happened.
According to Clayton:Then there was second-round pick Fred Davis. He couldn’t sleep Saturday night because his roommate wouldn’t shut up. So he went to the desk of the hotel and asked for a different room. He slept until 11 a.m., and the team couldn’t find him because he wasn’t in the right room.”

When asked for comment after the final practice of minicamp (and before he knew all the details), rookie head coach Jim Zorn was refreshingly candid and honest about the situation.

“If it is [oversleeping], he’s got to be mortified,” Zorn said. “But that’s a young guy, let’s set the alarm. You can call for a wake-up call, whatever. And some of these guys are young enough, I’m serious, to not even understand that. He thought maybe somebody else was going to wake him up, I don’t know. But he’ll learn, he’ll learn real quick.”

Here’s the thing about this — this is a non-story. Anyone saying otherwise is a twit. Even coming from an established program like USC, this entire NFL experience is still a culture shock for a 22-year-old kid. I equate it to when I first joined the Army and suddenly found myself in Panama and way out of my comfort zone. Being fairly responsible, I had never had issues with forgetting my wallet or oversleeping during my youth, but almost immediately after I arrived in country I started screwing up left and right. Making a mandatory formation was no longer routine and more than one my sergeant had to put a foot in my ass to guide me in the right direction.

As best as I can tell, this has more to do with Davis ending up with loquacious roommate than him being a knucklehead. Let’s all take a deep breath and chalk it up to a little bad luck for this young man. I guarantee, with his professional career at stake, he’ll be too scared to have anything like this happen again.

And just to drive home the fact that I think that Davis is a good kid, I want to share my interview with him from Friday’s practice. Out of all the interviews I did at Redskins Park that day, he was the most enjoyable person to talk to. The biggest gripe I have with him is he grew up idolizing Michael Irvin, but as you can hear in the audio, I took care of that real quick.


remember the spartans

(photo by Brian Murphy)

I wanted to talk about another one of the Redskins rookies, a guy by the name of Devin Thomas, who was last seen tearing it up as a wide out for Michigan State.

Now, this is my fourth preseason covering the ‘Skins. Unfortunately for Thomas and the new guys, they have a much tougher schedule than other rookies faced in previous years. Take LaRon Landry and friends from a year ago. They had a rookie camp, so the first time I saw Landry he was easily the best player on the field. Today, we’re looking at the rookies, while they’re sharing the field with established veterans like Santana Moss, London Fletcher, and yes, Mr. Landry. That makes it a helluva lot harder for them to stand out. In my opinion, Devin Thomas was incredibly nervous in the early stages of his first NFL minicamp. Looking back at my photos, one can’t help but notice Thomas dropping more than a few catchable passes.

After the morning practice ended, I had a chance to talk one-on-one with Thomas and asked him to evaluate his showing in his first NFL minicamp.

“I feel like I did pretty good. I made some minor mistakes, but I think I can adjust to it and perform better in the second practice,” Thomas said.

The good news is, he was right. Thomas warmed up as the day went on and looked perfectly fine by the end of the day. In fact, Thomas made one of the two best plays of the day, by reaching back for a Sam Hollenbach pass that was thrown behind him and hauling in a beauty of a catch that earned cheers from his peers.

We might not be able to tell if Devin Thomas is going to be a Hall of Fame wide receiver in the National Football League after his first day, but we can get an idea of the character this kid has. He was upfront and honest in admitting he made some mistakes and knew he’d have to step it up or the coaches were going to be all over him.
He didn’t want to tell me how great he is, rather what he needed to do to improve. In the me-first world we live in, I’ll take that kind of player on my favorite team any day of the week.

Click here to listen to my interview with Devin Thomas.


getting to know malcolm kelly

Alright, I admit it. I was not doing cartwheels when the Redskins drafted Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly with their third second-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft. In fact, in this very blog, I believe I compared him to Rod “Stone Hands” Gardner. This is the part where I’ll say that I possibly overreacted after hearing one too many stories about his less-than-stellar workouts and the comments made immediately following those workouts just before the draft. If he had never ran the 40-yard dash, and therefore never been labeled a problem child for his comments pertaining to those workouts, then all I would have had to go off of were some sweet highlights from his college days. He’s got a big body, he made some big-time catches for a big-time program and he has speed when it counts during gametime.

Compounding matters, one of the guys who I respect from the Redskins organization told me he’s dealt with Malcolm Kelly a couple times since he arrived in town and has been nothing but a pleasure to be around. So that settled it, if I only talked to one rookie on day one of the Redskins 2008 minicamp, I wanted to it to be Kelly. I wanted to get a feel for this kid and see for myself what he’s made of.

Right away he talked about getting the “day one jitters out” and came across completely humble. He also admitted that he’s going to have to concentrate more on running precise routes, because coaches at this level notice every single misstep you make. He ended the interview by promising me he’s going to “play hard every play, and never take a play off.” If you’d like to hear for yourself, here is the link for the full audio.

(photo by Brian Murphy)


what can phil do for you?

In football by b murf / May 2, 2008 / 1 Comment
(photo by Brian Murphy)

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Which Redskins players are your favorite to talk to?” While I can always find time to chat with Fred Smoot, Marcus Washington, Chris Samuels, Casey Rabach and Anthony Montgomery, the player who is probably at the top of the list is defensive end Phillip Daniels. The 13-year veteran out of Georgia is so down-to-Earth and easy to talk to that half the time I don’t even bother to turn the recorder on. After three plus years of interaction, it feels like to buddies chatting more than a formal interview.

Take for example last year when I discovered that Daniels is the kind of iPods on the Redskins. If one of the new guys buys one and isn’t sure what to put on it, they basically hand it over to Phil and he takes care of them. I asked him to estimate how many teammates he’s had to take care of and he couldn’t even guess. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

So today, on the first day of minicamp, I was talking with some of the Redskins media relation folks and asked if they had seen the YouTube videos of Daniels deadlifting 600 lbs and squating 633 lbs. from a powerlifting competition back in March. I couldn’t remember the exact amounts he had lifted, so I’m pretty sure I actually asked them, “Did either of you see the video of Phillip Daniels powerlifting a Buick?” Once practice ended, I asked Phil exactly how much he had lifted and he told me “633.” Seriously, that’s ridiculous. Most powerlifters are short and squatty. Daniels is listed at 6’4″ and 276 lbs. Most football players are not good powerlifters, but then again, most football players who powerlift aren’t Phillip Daniels.
After getting the official number from him, he was grabbed by ComcastSportsnet for an interview and I snagged some other players. But it just so happened he and I finished up at the same time. As we were headed into the building we started chatting and I asked him when he’s going to help me get big like him. He immediately offered to put together a training regime for me, but said right away, “You can’t be half steppin’.” Basically, his message was if he’s going to do this for me, then I’ve got to commit to it. I told him I’m on the wrong side of 30 and am not trying to play in the NFL, I just want to keep in good shape, and then asked if he’d ever heard of the 300 workout. He hadn’t, so I told him briefly about the training the actors from 300 went through to look ripped for the movie.

Then we got to talking about him powerlifting and that’s when he told me he knows he can beat the 633 lbs. he squatted. Apparently he squatted 650 lbs. earlier in the day, but agreed not to try and overdue it during the competition. He’s going back to Illinois, where his wife shot the videos I linked to earlier, at the end of June and he plans on doing at least 650 lbs. then. His thought process is that he did that in March and is in even better shape now, so he feels like 700 lbs. is a reasonable goal. Considering that’s three and a half of me, needless to say I’ll be impressed when he does it. In fact, I’m saying it now — I fully believe he will do it. Good things happen to good people, and he’s the type of guy to put in the work to reach a crazy goal like that.


talent, credibility sold separately

(photo by Brian Murphy)

I need to up front and honest with you all, this relationship we have is not exclusive. Sure, I come out and tell you how great you are and that you’re the only readers for me, but the truth is — I’m a whore. I hate to admit it, but if you were unexpectedly drop by and check up on me one day, you’ve got a decent chance of catching me in the act with another website. In hopes of clearing the air, I figured it best to lay it all out there.

For starters, I got together with the guys from Skinscast to do a post-draft podcast. We take a pick-by-pick look at the Redskins draft and argue over how we think the team did. One bit of warning – for a guy called Homer, I was fairly pessimistic that night. But I guess that’s to be expected when the ‘Skins draft 37 pass catchers in one day.

In addition to the podcast, there’s my bi-weekly column on HoboTrashcan. This week, I take a moment to thank the Washington Wizards for somehow finding a way to raise the bar after the Redskins and Capitals respective playoff runs. And since the Redskins minicamp starts this weekend and we’re talking about HoboTrashcan, let me take a minute to direct you towards celebrity interviews with some of the most beloved players on the roster — Clinton Portis, Fred Smoot and Marcus Washington. Each of those interviews was from the 2007 season, but I think it’s reasonable to expect we’ll get some new ones this year once training camp gets going. Hopefully these will do until then.


trying to find a nut

Okay, so the last time I mentioned a D.C.-themed t-shirt on here, my buddy George ended up getting a not-so-subtle letter from “The Man” ordering him to shut down production. Hopefully, history will not repeat itself. One of my favorite Redskins fans, we’ll call him Joe, has designed two Sean Taylor Tribute shirts, which can be seen here. Regardless of the fact that I consider Joe a friend, I truly believe his work as a graphic designer is second to none, so go check them out and show him some support.

One word of caution, these t-shirts are only around for a limited time, so head over to Rogue Squirrel and pick them up now. Come football season you’ll make a lot of other ‘Skins fans jealous.


going 5 hole: the draft

Five thoughts on the day after the NFL draft:

1. The Washington Redskins continue to defy logic. All too often, 31 teams have a way of thinking and then there’s the Redskins. When 31 teams decide it’s best to build a championship contender through the draft, the ‘Skins happily toss away picks by the dozens justifying the tactic by saying they’d rather have a proven veteran commodity rather than rolling the dice on a rookie. But then that “proven” player ends up being T.J. Duckett or Brandon Lloyd, meaning they might as well have set the draft pick on fire.

This year Vinny Cerrato and the powers that be opted to give this NFL draft thing a shot. They did their best to keep their draft picks heading into the weekend and promise to actually have a draft board this year. Once the draft began, Redskins fans all held their breath to see how this “new” tactic would play out. Much to our surprise, the front office seemingly made a great move when they traded out of the 21st pick and acquired some extra ammo for their newfound draft strategy. Unfortunately, once they got those picks, the ‘Skins front office couldn’t help themselves. As I stated in my day one recap, the team drafted three pass catchers in the span of 16 picks to go on an offense with plenty of name players (Moss, Randel El, Cooley, Sellers and Portis) who already come into a game expecting to touch the ball from time to time. Not making a move to bolster either the offensive or defensive line with any of the three second-round picks, regardless of how many receivers you had ranked as “first-round talent,” is negligible. At this point, Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas spend as much time on the Redskins sideline as I do. Wouldn’t it be wise to have someone — anyone — under the age of 30 qualified to play on the offensive line this season?

2. The second day of the draft was kinder to the Redskins, if for no other reason than they didn’t draft another wide out. With the 96th overall pick, the ‘Skins drafted Chad Rinehart, an offensive lineman from Northern Iowa. I heard Mike Mayock, the NFL Network’s answer to Mel Kiper, had this guy as a seventh-round caliber player, but that should matter to anyone in D.C. The team brought is a 6’5″, 320 lb. country boy who Joe Bugel should be able to mold into a guard for the future. With their fourth rounder, the ‘Skins selected my personal favorite player from this weekend, J.T. Tryon, a cornerback from Arizona State. He’s 5’9″ and 190 lbs., but he already thinks he can go toe-to-toe with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens and basically said he didn’t care who the Redskins had as cornerbacks on the roster, he’s coming in to win the job. My buddy, Papa John, is convinced he’ll be the first rookie ducktaped to the goalposts during minicamp.

3. Two other players of note worth mentioning — the Redskins picked up both Georgia Tech punter Durant Brooks and Hawaii QB Colt Brennan in the sixth round. I love the punter pick if for no other reason than it very well mean the end of Derrick Frost Era. Frosty, while a “highly” enjoyable interview (unless you ask him, like I did, if the reason he still has a job is because he has naked photos of someone in the front office), scares the hell out of me every time he lines up to punt. You honestly never know if he’s going to punt it 60 yards or six. That’s probably because he doesn’t know either.

About the new quarterback — he’s Jordan Palmer with a new name. A year ago the ‘Skins took a flyer on Carson Palmer’s brother in hopes of developing him from a raw talent into an NFL quarterback. He didn’t last because Mark Brunell was still collecting his pension … er … paycheck here. This year, they took Brennan, who set 21 NCAA passing records in his three years over the rainbow. On the one hand, Brennan comes into a safe situation, with no expectations and a head coach who knows a thing or two about getting the best from his QBs. On the other, this guy is a short, injury-prone, side-armed quarterback who finds himself on the wrong side of the law from time to time. We have Jason Campbell showing up to neighborhood birthday parties, not Pacman Jones making it rain. If this guy even shows up to a meeting late, I’d send him on the next bus to Hawaii. Besides, if were up to me, I would have drafted Dennis Dixon, the Oregon quarterback who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round. That kid is a flat out playmaker.

4. Stepping away from the Redskins draft, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the top three drafts from this weekend. Now, I openly point out that it’ll probably be two years before we truly know how each of these teams fared in the draft, but we can still see some teams have reason to be optimistic sooner rather than later. First of all, the Kansas City Chiefs, led by Herm “We play to win the game” Edwards was phenomenal. Defensive tackle Glen Dorsey is the real deal, and was the number one overall player on the ‘Skins draft board. Branden Alberts, the guard from Glen Burnie High, is exactly the type of offensive lineman I would have traded your kid to get on my favorite football team. Brandon Flowers was one of the most consistent players on a stout Virginia Tech defense, and Jamaal Charles is the type of running back who can break a 60-yard touchdown at any moment. Those are four really good players from four legit college programs who should be making Kansas City proud for the foreseeable future.

I also really liked the Arizona Cardinals’ draft. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a very talented cornerback out of Tennessee State. Calais Campbell is the defensive lineman out of University of Miami pipeline, who I was convinced the ‘Skins would draft. Early Doucet is a productive wide out from LSU who should take full advantage of his situation and learn from ultra talented wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. And finally, I liked how the Pittsburgh Steelers spent their weekend. Rookie Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker should work nicely in the Steelers backfield. Limas Sweed was a dependable wide out during his sentence in Texas, and I’ve already mentioned that I’m a fan of Dennis Dixon, the quarterback from Oregon. There’s a reason the Steelers are consistently competitive.

5. This isn’t completely draft related, but it happened over draft weekend, so work with me. After hearing months of nagging, I finally got my act together and uploaded some of my best photos taken of the Washington Redskins over the past three years. If you were one of the people kicking me to get my act together, or if you just want to see some decent shots of your favorite ‘Skins players, then click this link.

(photo by Brian Murphy)

HomerMcFanboy background image