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redskins year in review

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Now that 2009 is upon us, it seems only fitting that we take a moment to reflect back on the 2008 season for the Washington Redskins. With a rookie head coach and a veteran team, the ‘Skins headed into this past season with more questions that most any other team in football. While many of those questions are still in need of answers, here are, in our humble opinion, the five biggest storylines of the 2008 season. Feel free to post a comment or email us to let us know if we got it right.

1. The Redskins draft well. Kind of.

Vinny Cerrato and the ‘Skins front office left the 2008 NFL draft with a mind-numbing 10 picks. After trading out of the first round, Washington had three second rounders, which the team opted to use on three pass catchers. Wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, along with tight end Fred Davis, justifiably earned the most attention, but it was the team’s final selection, a little-known safety out of UCLA by the name of Chris Horton, who had the biggest impact.

Horton, who earned the nickname “The Predator” because of his fierce play and dreadlocked looks, burst onto the scene for the Redskins in just the second week of his rookie season. With safety Reed Doughty sidelined due to illness, Horton was informed he would step into the starting lineup alongside LaRon Landry against the New Orleans Saints. While he admitted after the game that his nerves got the best of him the night before his first NFL start, it definitely didn’t show during the game as Horton recorded what defensive coordinator Greg Blache called a “hat trick,” or three turnovers. From there, Horton never looked back.

The jury is still out on Thomas, Kelly and Davis, as well as Cerrato’s abilities on draft day (anyone remember the name of that punter the ‘Skins wasted a draft pick on?), but Horton was a genuine steal with the 249th pick in the draft.

2. So you think you can dance?

For the Redskins, adversity hit on the very first day of training camp when defensive end Phillip Daniels suffered a season-ending injury to his anterior cruciate knee ligament. Just hours later, the ‘Skins moved quickly to fill the void by acquiring six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor for a second-round pick in the 2009 draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010.

“We had to act after losing Phillip,” Cerrato said at the time.

What they thought they were acquiring was a game-changing defensive player. What they got was a big name, and not much else. All flash, not much substance. Taylor made a name for himself as a Miami Dolphin, earning 2006 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year awards. Unfortunately for the Redskins, he looked more like the Dancin’ with the Stars Jason Taylor than an award-winning defensive lineman.

Taylor was kicked in the calf in the second quarter of a meaningless preseason game against the Carolina Panthers and had to be rushed to the hospital after team doctors noticed unusual swelling. He was later diagnosed with compartmental syndrome, which explained the mass of blood near his ankle.

Though there was initial concern that it could be career threatening, Taylor was able to bounce back and work his way into the regular defensive rotation. But that didn’t translate into production. A year after collecting 11 sacks, Taylor had just 3.5, his lowest total this decade.

Had the team done nothing after the Daniels injury, they would have been in better shape than trading away multiple draft picks and paying more than $8 million this season for 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. But the front office panicked and did what they felt was best for the team at the time.

And not all of the blame falls on Taylor. He’s at his best when his team has the lead and he’s set free to cause havoc in the opposing team’s backfield. With the Redskins rarely ever having a lead and the defensive staff seemingly confused over the best way to utilize Taylor, it’s tough to lay all of the blame on the defensive end. That being said, Taylor needs to bring much more to the table than his good looks and witty personality if he’s brought back next season.

3. For Pete’s sake.

Pete Kendall has played in 190 games over an impressive 13-year career. As an interior lineman, he’s consistently done an above average job of protecting the quarterback and anchoring talented offensive lines. Coaches can trust the veteran with loads of responsibilities and never have to second guess the decision. But there’s one thing Kendall isn’t – a running back.

Kendall proved such during an October matchup against the previously winless St. Louis Rams when a Jason Campbell pass that was deflected at the line landed in the arms of Kendall. Instead of moving out of the way and letting the ball fall harmlessly to the ground, the 35-year-old, for reasons unknown, decided to catch the ball and make a dash for the endzone. What happened next was one of the two biggest (and unfortunate) in-game moments of the 2008 season.

Pisa Tinoisamoa of the Rams jarred the ball loose from Kendall and Oshiomogho Atogwe swooped in to recover the fumble. Seventy five yards later, Atogwe scored a touchdown that gave the previously lifeless Rams a 10-7 halftime lead. And the rest was history.

“My instinct was – believe it or not – to knock it down and why I didn’t?” Kendall said after the game. “It will bother me for a long time.”

4. Hall of a catch.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall started the season by signing a seven-year, $70 million deal with the Oakland Raiders. After just eight games (in which he earned a cool $8 million), Hall was let go by owner Al Davis and friends because the team wanted to go in a different direction.

The Redskins then somehow beat out teams like the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys for the services of the former Virginia Tech standout, signing Hall for the remainder of the season for just $492,000. Hall arrived in town with some baggage, namely questions about how a “Me-first” player with potential character issues would fit into a tight-knit Redskins locker room. But fortunately for the maroon and black, Hall was on his best behavior off the field and one of their best defenders on it.

Although he played in just eight games for Washington, Hall finished second on the team in interceptions and gave a top-ranked defense an identity. Before Hall came to town, the Redskins defense had little to no pass rush and an inability to create turnovers. After he arrived, there was still little to no pass rush, but now, suddenly, there was a player in the secondary who was actually capable of picking off a pass from time to time.

Now Hall is a free agent who will certainly command more than the veteran’s minimum to keep in town. If management is smart, and that’s never a guarantee, they’ll make re-signing Hall their top offseason priority – even if that means letting go of someone else in the secondary (see: Rogers, Carlos).

5. A fitting end.

No play summarizes the Redskins’ season more than this one.

Trailing 17-10 against a sorry Cincinnati Bengals team, the ‘Skins faced a third-and-goal situation just nine inches from the endzone. Having failed to score a touchdown on the previous play, a handoff to fullback Mike Sellers, the Redskins decided to run that play again.

Unfortunately, the Redskins suffered the same fate as the previous Sellers carry, as the Bengals again stuffed the bruising back short of the goal line. Adding insult to injury, Sellers actually fumbled the ball when he fully extended in hopes of scoring the tying touchdown. Instead of a 17-17 game or closing the Bengals lead to 17-13, the ‘Skins suffered a stomach punch that they never recovered from.

At that exact moment Redskins fans knew the season was over. Sure, there were two more games to play, but if you can’t beat the bottom-feeding Bengals or the downtrodden Rams, then you don’t deserve to play in the postseason.

Honorable mention: Redskins hire Zorn as offensive coordinator, Redskins hire Zorn as head coach, Blache recommends folks fall in love with strippers, Portis dreams of better offensive line, Portis has words for Brian Mitchell, Portis has words for “genius” coach, Cooley blogs, Cooley blogs in the buff, Campbell grows as franchise QB, Campbell regresses as franchise QB, Wanted: dependable second receiver


predator versus the fans

(photo by Brian Murphy)

As if things weren’t bad enough with the Washington Redskins suffering through a December losing streak that ensured there would be no playoffs for the home team, things were even more depressing for Homer McFanboy because our favorite player was missing in action.

Redskins rookie safety Chris “The Predator” Horton missed most of the Baltimore game and all of the Cincinnati game due to a shoulder injury, meaning that even after the humbling losses, there was no voice of reason to make sense of it all. Luckily, Horton was back for the final home game of the 2008 season.

Chris, it’s no coincidence that we got you back in the lineup and the team got back on track and won, right?

(Laughs). “Right,” Horton said, still laughing. “Obviously it has nothing to do with me. I think we just came out as a team – on offense, defense and special teams – and we just got after it. As you saw, that game went down to the last couple of seconds, so it’s a good thing we came to work.”

That’s an Eagles team that has been unstoppable since Donovan McNabb got benched. They’ve been scoring 30 points a game and rolling over everyone. So let’s not try to downplay what you and this defense did against one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

“I think we played a pretty good game out there on defense,” he said. “But still, I’m still having little mental mistakes, but I figure the more and more I play, I’ll continue to become a better football player.”

While you were sidelined, the national media said this team had no heart, had quit on their coach and this game was just a formality because you guys were going to roll over for the Eagles. What the hell happened?

(Laughs). “I mean, whoever said that, they’re not in this locker room,” Horton said. “Obviously they don’t know what kind of guys we’ve got around here. I think every guy around here works at his highest level and every time he steps out on the field he’s going to give it his all.”

Even though you guys have been eliminated from the playoffs, is it nice to come out and do your best to keep your divisional opponents out of the post season?

“It’s nice to just come out here and win football games,” he said. “We’ve been in a little slump and it’s just nice to come out here and feel the joy of getting a ‘W’ again.”

Since the last time we chatted, you’ve gone out and posted your Xbox 360 screen name on your website. What’s up with that?

“Yeah, I’m inviting the fans to come and play some video games with me,” Horton said. “It’s good to let the fans connect with you. Obviously I can’t go sit at their house or give out my phone number, but I do play video games and I do still enjoy playing my Xbox. I figured for the fans who do play Xbox, if I’m on there, you can join the game with me.”

What games do you play?

“Right now, I’m playing Call of Duty: World at War,” he said.

Devin Thomas told us you’re no good at Madden. What say you?

“I’m alright at Madden, man,” he said. “I played against one of the fans and he beat me so bad, I didn’t want to play him again. He asked me to play him again and I’m like ‘Nah, I’m playing Halo now.’ Dude discouraged me from playing Madden.”

So there you go, The Predator is getting in the holiday spirit by playing video games with the fans – just as long as you don’t beat him too bad.


what just happened?

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Holy shit.

That was our reaction when a friend sent us a link to a Sports Illustrated feature story on Washington Redskins rookie safety Chris “The Predator” Horton. In it, writer Lee Jenkins talks to Horton about following in his idol Sean Taylor’s footsteps, but one particular passage caught our eye and elicited the above reaction:

Redskins’ blogger Homer McFanboy started referring to Horton as The Predator — because of his shoulder-length hair and aggressive style — and somehow the nickname stuck. Horton is so enamored with the moniker that his website is

Needless to say we weren’t expecting to be mentioned by the biggest name in the business when we woke up this morning. We haven’t been this excited since we got some love on Alex Ovechkin’s official website. So thanks to Jenkins and Sports Illustrated for the shoutout and to Horton for being such a good dude and a nice story for ‘Skins fans to enjoy this season.


predator gives thanks

(photo by Brian Murphy)

It’s common knowledge at this point that we here at Homer McFanboy have officially adopted Washington Redskins rookie safety Chris “The Predator” Horton.

So when we were wandering around the ‘Skins locker room searching for opinions on the sheer thought of quarterback Jason Campbell attempting to play hockey, we inevitably ended up checking in with Horton.

First things first, Ashford, Virginia? What’s going on here, Chris?

“I might have said Ashburn and my guy just wrote it wrong,” he said.

Do we need to get you a proof reader or something? We like the idea of you having a blog and think it could be a good way for folks to get to know you better …

“It really is,” Horton said. “I’m really sorry about that. I should have caught that.”

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – what kind of hockey player would Jason Campbell be?

“I don’t know,” he said laughing. “He is from Mississippi, and they don’t do too much hockey down there. They probably don’t even have a team that far down south. It’ll probably turn out pretty bad for him. Just make sure there are some trainers there.”

Let’s turn the tables, what other sports can you hold your own in?

“I like to say I’m alright in volleyball,” he said. “Beach volleyball.”

Would you wear the short shorts?

“I could come out there in Speedos, if you wanted me to,” said Horton. “That’s just my personality. I could do a little bit of slow-pitch softball. None of that fast stuff. I like to say I’m a pretty good swimmer. I had a lot of good friends on the swim team when I was in college. I can compete in the backstroke, freestyle, anything.”

We’re hearing a lot of fringe sports. Guess you’re not trying to score an invite out to try hockey with Jason, huh?

“I’m not a big hockey fan,” Horton admitted. “Although I did learn what a hat trick was recently, after the Saints game. Its three goals in a row. I just found out what that was from coach [Greg] Blache. He dropped that on me in the middle of the game. He came up to me and said ‘You’ve got two [turnovers], you need a hat trick.’”

Any other sports you wanna let folks know you’re good at?

“I’m not a big fan of basketball,” he said.

UCLA is a pretty big basketball school, right?

“Yeah, but I’m too aggressive,” Horton said. “I’m too physical for basketball. It’s a soft sport. You get touched and it’s a foul. I like to play sports where there’s no penalties or where you can just blow people up. Oh, and I ran track.”

Did you know that both Santana Moss and Clinton Portis are accomplished track stars? Moss could have qualified for the Olympics, but opted to stick with football at the University of Miami and Portis was on a record-setting relay team in high school. Can you take either one of them?

“Probably not in the 100 or 200, but I think I could take these guys in the 400 [meter relay],” Horton said.

And as we were getting ready to take off, Horton stopped us. He wanted to give us a message to pass on to our neighbor kid.

“Hey Kurt, I’d just like to say that I’ve been giving you props where they’re due for that nickname,” Horton said of “The Predator” label. “It’s become a big hit and I really appreciate it. I’m taking it and running with it.”


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.


the predator has arrived

(photo by Brian Murphy)

We had hoped to catch up with Washington Redskins rookie safety Chris “The Predator” Horton after the 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, but he was in the trainer’s room getting some bumps and bruises looked at by the time the media-types were allowed in the locker room. Luckily for us, Horton’s popularity continues to grow and he was an in-studio guest on the NFL Network’s Total Access yesterday. While most of the conversation centered on being a rookie and the improbable start to a seventh-round draft picks’ career, the end of the segment was very interesting.

One of the NFL Network guys asked – “Predator48, is there something significant about that?”

“Yes, my marketing guys kind of launched a new website that actually launched today –,” Horton said. “It’s a great thing coming from a guy like myself who never really got all the fun things all the earlier picks got. I think it’s a good thing and it’s my nickname out in D.C., so it’s gonna be fun.”

All of this attention for Horton is great for many reasons. First of all, it shows just how unpredictable the NFL scouting and draft process truly is. Horton was the 249th overall pick in the 2008 draft, and by all accounts the Redskins got a steal by finding an impact player so late in the game. And while every other team in the NFL passed on the UCLA product multiple times, even the Redskins looked over him nine other times.

Look no further than the trio of second-rounders the team selected – wide outs Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly and tight end “Sleepy” Fred Davis have a combined nine catches for 69 yards through eight games. With three interceptions, Horton has gotten his hands on three times as many passes as Davis and Kelly combined. And then there’s that whole rookie punter situation that’s best if we pretend never happened.

The moral of the story is, Horton is a helluva player and a seemingly genuine guy off the field. We’ve certainly enjoyed each of our conversations with the kid and folks in the Redskins organization swear he’s the real deal. The fact that this website coined “The Predator” nickname is simply a bonus. So head over to Chris Horton’s official website and maybe even pick up a t-shirt. If that’s not your style, then head over to the Homer McFanboy store and pick up our Predator t-shirt to show your support for one of the best stories of the 2008 NFL season. Christmas is coming. Horton has arrived.


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.

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