Here one fact about each team the Redskins will face in 2012. Here are the teams scheduled in Weeks 9-17. (Weeks 1-8 here)
Carolina—What a difference a QB makes. In 2010 Carolina started Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, and Brian St. Pierre at quarterback and were dead last in the NFL in both points scored and yards gained from scrimmage. Enter Cam Newton last year and with essentially the same skill players on offense they improved to fifth in points and seventh in yards.
Bye—The Nov. 11 bye is tied for the latest date in the season for the Redskins’ by weeks since 2000, when it came on Nov. 12. The bye also fell on Nov. 11 in 2001.
Eagles—Philly has beaten the Redskins three times in a row by a combined score of 112-51.
@ Cowboys—It’s hard to pin the blame on whatever problems the 2011 Cowboys had on Tony Romo. He completed over 66 percent of his passes, averaged 8.0 yards per attempt and threw 31 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions.
Giants—Jason Pierre-Paul became a defensive force last year, sacking opposing quarterbacks 16.5 times. And he didn’t pad his sack total with a couple of big games; JPP has no more than two sacks in any one game.
Ravens—Although there may be a little extra juice to this game due to the geographic proximity of the teams, there really isn’t much there. They have played four times since the Browns moved from Cleveland and became the “new” Ravens franchise in 1996. Baltimore leads the series 3-1.
Browns—The Cleveland defense should get major kudos for being fifth in the leage in points allowed. The got little help from an offense that was 29th in yards gained and 31st in yards per rushing attempt. If they get an offense going, look out.
Eagles—Michael Vick missed three games due to injuries. The Eagles were 7-6 in the games he started and 1-2 when Vince Young started. Had Vick been able to stay healthy and had started those three games an had been able to go 2-1, the Eagles may well have won the division and knocked the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants out of the playoffs.
Cowboys—Fans thinking that the Redskins’ offensive line has problems should look at Dallas. Last year the Cowboys gave up 36 sacks. The Redskins gave up 41 but they were trying to protect the relatively immobile Rex Grossman and John Beck. The Dallas line was in front of the slippery Tony Romo, who probably saves the line from getting charged with about a sack per game with his mobility.
By Tarik El-Bashir
After missing the Redskins’ first two preseason games, Anthony Armstrong knows where he stands in the battle to nab one of the final two jobs at wide receiver.
And it’s not good.
“I know that time is short on opportunities to perform,” Armstrong said Wednesday. “Being two games back, you have to make up a lot of ground.”
Armstrong didn’t need to be reminded of the players he’s competing against for fulltime employment in the NFL this season.
“Aldrick [Robinson] had a great game” in Chicago, Armstrong said. Brandon “Banks has played well. [Dezmon] Briscoe is doing well. A lot of guys are doing a lot of special things. I have to find a way to do something, make my mark, at least throw my name in the hat.”
“And at the end of the day,” Armstrong added, “we’ll see what happens and hopefully I’ll remain.”
Armstrong is a valuable contributor on special teams. To make the cut, though, he’ll likely need to have a big afternoon Saturday catching the ball against the Colts.
“I try not to look at it as pressure,” he said. “But it is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league, and the 2010 season seems so far away. But it’s still fresh in my mind. It’s [a level] you know you’re able to perform at. You just want to make sure you sure you get back to it as soon as possible.”
Armstrong was referring to the dramatic drop off in his production last season after a breakthrough performance the previous year. In 2010, the 29-year-old hauled in 44 passes for 871 yards compared to seven catches for 103 yards last fall.
On Tuesday, Armstrong finally shed the yellow ‘no-contact’ jersey had been sporting since spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder.
On Saturday, he’ll be looking to make up for lost time.
“Feeling good,” Armstrong said of his shoulder. “It’s maybe 98-percent, if you want to be particular. It’s [good enough] to be able to go and cover kicks and make tackles and do everything you need to do.”
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said reserve linebacker Markus White suffered a broken rib and a bruised kidney and will miss Saturday’s game as a result.
It’s unclear how White was hurt, but he removed his shoulder pads early in Wednesday’s practice and was in obvious discomfort as he was tended to by the Redskins’ training staff.
Shanahan said White could return for the team’s third preseason contest against Indianapolis. When exactly he returns, though, could be determined by his pain threshold, Shanahan added.
“We’ll see how long it takes,” the coach said.
White is battling Chris Wilson for a backup outside linebacker job.
A few other notes from Shanahan’s post-practice news conference on Thursday:
--Linebacker London Fletcher did not participate fully in team drills because “he wasn’t feeling too good today,” Shanahan said.
--Wide receiver Darius Hanks was waived-injured Monday because of injuries to his shoulder and elbow, Shanahan revealed today. “It was a six-or seven-month recovery time,” Shanahan said. “The way he hit it, you can tell it was more serious than most shoulder injuries.”
By Tarik El-Bashir
One day after Coach Mike Shanahan said Tim Hightower is nearing a returning to practice, the Redskins’ starting tailback confirmed that his surgically repaired knee is “fine, ready.”
“People ask me what percent I am all the time,” Hightower said Wednesday morning. “I don’t know. I’ve never been through this. But I know I feel good.”
“I can make every cut,” he added. “I can run. I don’t feel any restrictions or limitations. At this point, it’s just a matter of going out there and getting repetitions. The only way to get better a football is by playing football. That’s the next step for me.”
On Tuesday, Shanahan said Hightower, who missed the final 11 games last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in October, could begin taking reps in team drills as soon as Friday. Shanahan also hinted the Hightower could suit up for the third or fourth preseason game.
“When they feel comfortable putting me out there, then they’ll do that and I’ll be ready to go,” said Hightower, who added that he hasn’t been told when exactly he’ll be cleared to participate fully in practice. “But the knee is fine.”
Hightower is listed on the depth chart as the Redskins’ starting tailback. He’s also the team’s top pass-catcher out of the backfield, best blocker and most experienced running back. But he’s also aware that he’s competing for playing time with second-year players Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr., as well as emerging rookie Alfred Morris.
“For me, I get excited when I see guys like that doing well,” Hightower said of the crowded backfield. “It pushes me and encourages me to stay on top of my stuff.”
Whenever Hightower does return, he said his goal is to be more prominent – on and off the field – than he was before the injury.
“I don’t want to be the player I was; I want to be better,” he said. “This team needs me to be better. I need to be more vocal, be a better leader, to be more productive. I want to be better for this team. If everybody on this team is as good as they were last, we won’t be good enough.”
Here are my observations from practice on Tuesday, the last practice open to the fans and, therefore, the last full practice report of the year.
—Aldrick Robinson is still very much in a battle for one of the wide receiver spots that are up for grabs. He has been spotty throughout camp and appeared to be in danger of falling out of the picture. But the second-year player has been doing better lately, running and catching the ball with more authority. It’s hard to put a finger on it but it just seems like he’s starting to believe he belongs there. It’s still an uphill battle.
—Rookie linebacker Keenan Robinson is very active out on the field, moving from sideline to sideline. It doesn’t always look like he knows exactly what he’s doing but that will come with time.
—Some good cornerback play by Josh Wilson. With his back to the quarterback, he chased down Niles Paul as the tight end was preparing to catch a pass. Wilson read Paul’s eyes following the flight of the ball as it got closer and had perfect timing to knock the ball away.
—Trent Williams was game, participating in team drills with a bone bruise in his foot. He was fine for a while but it became apparent that he just couldn’t run. Jordan Black took over at left tackle for the remainder of practice. Williams said after practice that he planned to go for half of practice and that he plans to play in Saturday night’s preseason game.
—Some have asked if Alfred Morris and Dez Briscoe are participating on special teams. From what I saw this afternoon, Morris was the on punt and punt return teams. I did not see Briscoe on any special teams.
—It’s been a few days since Rex Grossman has thrown an interception but he threw one today. Cedric Griffin undercut a route and picked off Rex.
The headline is that Griffin launched a couple of long passes during 11 on 11 drills, something he has not done very often during training camp.
Neither pass was completed. Both passes were overthrown, the first one intended for Leonard Hankerson, the second for Pierre Garçon.
He was having one of his better days in terms of completion percentage before missing on three of his last four passes, including the two deep balls.
One the day, Griffin completed 8 of 14 passes, a respectable .571 completion percentage.
Completions: Royster, Garçon 4, Moss 2, Hankerson
Incompletions: Garçon 3, Moss 2, Hankerson, unknown
By Tarik El-Bashir
Although the Redskins lost reserve nose tackle Chris Neild for the season Tuesday, a number of key players, including running back Tim Hightower, are inching toward a return to the field.
Here’s the latest on the injury situation:
--Wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan were both carted from the field after suffering from the heat during Tuesday’s practice. Coach Mike Shanahan said they were administered fluids via IV and are expected to be fine.
--Hightower is making progress in his return from ACL surgery and could begin taking reps with the team on Friday, Shanahan said.
“You see his quickness has improved from three weeks ago,” Shanahan added. “Now, we have to put him in team situations and see how he reacts.”
--Left tackle Trent Williams (bone bruise) made it through about half of practice before his left foot became too sore. He watched the remainder of the team drills from the sideline.
Williams said he’s still aiming to play Saturday in Chicago.
--Right guard Chris Chester (sprained left ankle) thought he would be ready to practice fully today but was withheld from team drills as a precaution.
Chester said he did not suffer a setback.
--Shanahan also said left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) should able to practice in a “week or so.” Lichtensteiger tweaked the surgically repaired joint on the second day of training camp and opted to have it scoped.
By Tarik El-Bashir
Starting left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is recovering nicely from a second surgical procedure on his right knee and remains on target to play in the regular season opener in New Orleans next month, Coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday.
“He will be back,” Shanahan said. “His rehab has been going good and he has made some progress. Hopefully in a week or so he can start practicing.”
That, obviously, is welcome news for the Redskins’ injury-depleted offensive line.
“It feels good right now,” Lichtensteiger said Monday. “But there’s a little ways to go yet.”
Lichtensteiger tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus last October against the Eagles and missed the remainder of the season. Then, on the second day of training camp, the 27-year-old tweaked the same knee during drills.
“I was hoping it was nothing but the doc checked it out and thought I needed an MRI,” he said. “From there, he wanted to clean it out.”
Lichtensteiger said the doctor presented him with a number of options. He chose to take care of the problem immediately.
“He kind of put it into percentages for me,” Lichtensteiger said, referring to the doctor. “There was a lot lower percentage of making it through the year incident-free without having it scoped and cleaned out.”
“So,” he added. “I kind of took the smarter mathematical choice and got it cleaned out.”
Lichtensteiger said all he’ll need is a handful of full practices to get ready for the Saints.
“It’s not ideal by any means,” he said. “I’m just hoping to get back and get some good, hard practices before I get thrown into a game situation. If I can do that, I think I’ll be all right.”
By Tarik El-Bashir
Redskins running back Roy Helu Jr., who missed practice on Monday due to tendinitis in his left Achilles’, said Tuesday that the injury is not a major concern.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Helu said. “It’s just something I have to deal with.”
Helu wants to be patient with this latest setback. But the second-year player knows he can’t afford to miss too much time given that he’s locked in a four-way battle with Evan Royster, Tim Hightower and late-emerging rookie Alfred Morris.
“I wish circumstances were better,” said Helu, who rushed four times for 17 years in Buffalo on Thursday. “But I also know that this is just the hand I was dealt. I just have to do my best to get it fully healthy before getting out there, because I don’t want to carrying things over into the next week.”
Helu missed two games last season with toe and knee injuries and was sidelined during OTAs with a pulled hamstring.
The Achilles’ injury “is kind of out of nowhere,” he said. “I’ve had it in the past, so I started feeling it last year. But it was nothing to this extreme.”
On Monday, Mike Shanahan hinted that Helu needs to incorporate more stretching into his pre-practice routine. Helu agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“Definitely,” Helu said. “When I pulled my hamstring this spring, I saw that was something I needed to do a lot more of. It’s something I do after practice a whole lot, but prior to practice I haven’t done much.”
Some observations from Monday’s Redskins practice session:
—In the early going, Brandon Meriweather was working catching some balls being fired at him by the JUGS machine. He needed the work. Against Buffalo, he dropped an interception that was right in his hands. He dropped and did about a dozen pushups on the stadium turf as penance but catching a couple of dozen balls is probably a more useful way of making up for the drop.
—Anthony Armstrong is still in his yellow “no-contact” jersey but he took part in all aspects of practice. He needs to get on the field on Saturday to make his case to make the roster.
—Trent Williams (bone bruise in foot) and Chris Chester (ankle) both were on the field in pads and took part in individual drills. But they both became spectators when the team portion of practice started.
—Lennon Creer had a pass go right through his hands while warming up. The eye in the sky caught it and players with his shaky status can ill afford such mistakes.
—I’m very interested to see what Dez Briscoe does when he gets into a game. He reaches up and plucks the ball out of the air with a very natural and fluid motion. Briscoe doesn’t get many reps with even the second team and he’ll have to take advantage of whatever chances he gets. So far, in practice, he has done so.
—Leonard Hankerson had a rare drop. Yes, you read that right. A year ago in camp he was dropping passes with great regularity. But since the first several days of practice he has caught nearly everything thrown to him.
—Fred Davis dropped a Rex Grossman pass over the middle. It’s time to say that Davis isn’t having a great camp for someone who is supposed to have a breakout season. It’s early still and perhaps they are saving the best of Davis’ plays for when the practices are closed. But the simple truth so far is that Davis has been nothing outstanding so far.
—Kirk Cousins got charged with an interception that was only partially his fault. He threw into a crowd but found Chris Cooley’s hands. But Cooley batted the ball and Lorenzo Alexander reacted quickly to make the pick.
—Logan Paulsen is something of an underdog in the tight end table but he made some plays today. He got loose down the middle and caught a bomb from Rex Grossman for a touchdown. And a few plays later he made a good adjustment to make the catch on a ball that was tipped at the line. Paulsen did drop a pass a while later but all in all, a good day.
—Kory Lichtensteiger was spotted doing some agility drills out of the field. He hasn’t been seen since he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee about two weeks ago. The timetable is to have him ready for the regular season opener on Sept. 9.
—Could the Redskins hit on a Hail Mary pass for the first time in forever sometime this season? They could have a good combination in Hankerson and RG3. Hankerson came down with long heave from Griffin in the end zone on a drill with the clock ticking down the last five seconds of a game.
—Armstrong finished off practice tapping his toes inbounds along the left sideline in the end zone to come down with a pass from Cousins.