Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redskins notes, quotes and observations (Wed, 10/27)
CB DeAngelo Hall likes playing zone coverage for two reasons:
1. It allows him to see the quarterback throw the ball and react accordingly because he’s responsible for an area of the field instead of a specific receiver.
2. He has fewer responsibilities. In man-to-man, he has to respect each route in a receiver’s arsenal, but in zone he can ignore some of them because they’ll take the receiver into another defender’s area.
Hall and some of his teammates in the secondary asked defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to call more zone coverage in Sunday’s game against Chicago, so it’s ironic that three of his four interceptions came in man-to-man. (For the record, Hall said all four came in man-to-man, but defensive backs coach Bob Slowik said three out of four. I’m going with the coach.)
“It helps ‘Has’ feel like he can call a lot more man to man,” Hall said with a smile. “But it’s cool. In some situations you want man to man. …You have to go with the flow of the game. It’s something coordinators and players try to hone in on and find the best formula.
Hall’s preference for zone is a big reason why he didn’t fit in well in Oakland, where they play man-to-man almost exclusively. He did both well on Sunday, though, and earned NFC defensive player of the week honors.
“All four of his interceptions he played phenomenal technique,” Slowik said. “He played right within the scheme. His ball skills and athleticism showed once he had the opportunity and the ball was there. At times, if he does take a chance at all, it’s an educated chance.”
Looking back over the last five games, Hall’s request to always match up with the opponent’s best receiver appears to have gone unheeded. He has almost always been on the left side of the field, as far as I can remember.
Hall today was asked for his thoughts about it, and he didn’t concede the point.
“We gonna do some things depending on the matchup we feel we can get,” Hall said. “Indy threw a lot to the left, so we didn’t move. A couple other teams threw a lot to the left. So we felt it was for the betterment of the defense to stay there. It just depends. It’s a week by week game plan. This week we’ll do a couple different things to combat that big guy out there (WR Calvin Johnson) and just go at him.”
MLB London Fletcher will play his 200th consecutive game on Sunday. Think about that for a second. He plays every down and is involved in as much contact during a game as any player on the field. It’s simply incredible.
“That guy is a warrior,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “It doesn’t surprise me. You see how hard he works, what he does to take care of himself, his body. He plays through a lot of injuries. I don’t think he gets enough credit as far as how hard he works year in and year out. He’s a hell of a guy on and off the field. I’m real proud of him.”
Fletcher is tied for second among active players on the consecutive games played list with Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning and Tampa Bay CB Ronde Barber—neither of whom are involved in as much contact as Fletcher. Minnesota QB Brett Favre’s 293-game streak likely will end this weekend, giving those three the lead.
Coach Mike Shanahan did not directly answer a question about whether he might need to work with QB Donovan McNabb for a full season before deciding whether to sign him to a contract extension.
“I don’t get involved this time of year,” he said. “The only thing I talk about is guys getting ready to play at a high level. If I ever talk about contract with a player, it will be at the end of the season for obvious reasons.”
Translation: GM Bruce Allen would be the one that gets a deal done during the season.
Shanahan is preaching focus to his players this week with the bye on the horizon. When asked about this during his afternoon press conference, Shanahan immediately cited two examples from Sunday of teams that struggled in games before their bye. Baltimore gave up 500 yards of offense against Buffalo and Philadelphia lost by 18 at Tennessee. It’s a safe bet is that Shanahan used those examples in a team meeting. For the record, Shanahan’s Denver teams were 8-6 in games before their bye week.
The common thread among RB Ryan Torain’s two fumbles Sunday was the wicked hit that LB Pisa Tinoisamoa delivered to his back to force the first one, Shanahan said.
“He got the hell knocked out of him on the one play before the ground,” Shanahan said. “I was gonna use another word.”
Apparently, the effect of the hit lingered. Shanahan said Torain was “dinged” but doubted he had a concussion.
“I think he got hit pretty good because he went out of the game and then he came back and had that fumble,” Shanahan said. “I’m sure that had something to do with it.”
The bottom line, though? “You’ve got to hang onto that football,” he said. “It’s the difference between winning and losing.”
It will be at least another two weeks before RB Clinton Portis can rigorously test his torn groin muscle, Shanahan said. Just a hunch, but I’m thinking that Portis won’t be back for that Philadelphia game on Nov. 15. That’s not really going out on a limb, I know.
The Redskins signed RB James Davis to the practice squad today and released RB Jeremiah Johnson. Davis was released by Cleveland on Monday. He flashed as a rookie last preseason but spent the year on injured reserve with a left shoulder problem.
Davis played in zone scheme at Clemson and therefore chose to sign with Washington. Johnson, meanwhile, was with the team for less than 24 hours after signing on Tuesday.
The Redskins are using 2009 game film to evaluate Detroit QB Matthew Stafford because he has played only one game this season because of a sprained right shoulder. Stafford used the Lions bye week to try to catch up on his practice work.
Nine Redskins were limited in practice today, according to the injury report: RT Jammal Brown (hip), CB DeAngelo Hall (back), RT Stephon Heyer (ankle), SS LaRon Landry (Achilles), QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring), FS Kareem Moore (knee), OLB Brian Orakpo (ankle), FB Mike Sellers (foot), RB Chad Simpson (hamstring).