2011 Washington Redskins Notebook: First Quarter Review by Barry Barnes

Image: Kerrigan

Additions like Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, OLB Ryan Kerrigan, has made the Washington Redskins the top team in the NFC East for the first quarter of the 2011 season

The Washington Redskins are sitting in a spot where many NFL experts are surprised and fans are optimistic for a playoff season—at the top of the NFC East Division with 3-1 record. 

Within the walls of Redskins Park, a solid start was expected, despite more work that needed to be done.

“I felt that from day one. I have a good feel for this group,” said Redskins head coach and executive vice president Mike Shanahan at his press conference Oct. 4. “I thought, when you take a look at the free agents, when you take a look at the draft choices, you really don’t know coming in. You think you have a feel for them, but, until you work with them, you don’t know for sure.

“It didn’t take long to feel that this is a very solid group both from a character standpoint as well as a playing standpoint.”

The Redskins started with an impressive victory over their division rival New York Giants (3-2), 28-14 at FedEx Field in Week 1 on Sept. 11.  Washington did not have an astonishing performance from all three phrases for one outing thus far.

However, they managed and sustained control over their opponents to stay in striking distance for a win—which they did.

Washington slowed down Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in Week 2 for a 22-21 win. Fell short in Dallas for a primetime Monday Night game. In a tight outing where field goals were paramount, the Redskins gave up a third-and-21 play late in the fourth quarter when Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo connected with wide receiver Dez Bryant for a huge completion. Tapped with a 15-yard personal foul by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall for his penalty on Bryant, the action set the Cowboys up with good field position to get a late field goal as the Redskins lost, 18-16. Continue reading


Huddle Up Week 2: Tony Romo and the Buffalo Bills Answer the Bell by Jason King

On of the star’s of 2011 NFL Week 2 was Tennessee Titans WR Kenny Britt. So “Huddle Up” and checkout Taking It to the House’s Jason King’s review of Sunday’s action
Huddle Up: An Exciting Sunday of Games
For the first time since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, there were no division games yesterday.  It didn’t take away from another exciting weekend of football.  There were great games across the board. 
The Super Bowl champs sweating out a 30-23 victory over the must see Carolina Panthers, behind another 400 yard passing performance from Cam Newton.  The upstart Buffalo Bills overcoming a 21-3 halftime deficit to beat the feisty Oakland Raiders 38-35. 
Even the Detroit Lions recording their biggest win in franchise history, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 48-3.  The two “best” games of the weekend also lived up to their billing as the Patriots beat the Chargers 35-21 and the Falcons concussed Mike Vick on their way to a 35-31 victory over the Eagles.  Continue reading

LaRon Landry: “Miscommunication” from the Redskins training staff and “Don’t Judge Me.” by Barry Barnes

Barry Barnes recently interviewed Washington Redskins safety Laron Landry and he had a lot to say

The worst thing that can happen between a professional athlete and a training staff is miscommunication regarding an injury.

Indeed, no player wants to be re-injured, especially after spending months of painful rehab in order to return in better shape to perform successfully on a high level.

When Washington Redskin safety LaRon Landry tore three ligaments in his wrist and injured his shoulder, he continued to play—until he tore his Achilles in the ninth game of the 2010 season, finishing with 85 tackles and Pro Bowl consideration. Instead of healing and training in Washington, Landry decided to seek help across the country. Continue reading

Vick Shines in Eagles’ MNF Destruction of Redskins

Michael Vick, “You Were Ridiculous!” in the Eagles 59-28 Monday Night Football destruction of the Washington Redskins

With the signing of Donovan McNabb earlier in the day to a somewhat unexpected 5-year, $78 million contract extension with $40 million guaranteed that will more than likely allow the veteran quarterback to end his storied career in the Nation’s Capital, everything seemed in place for a shining moment on Monday Night Football. 

But…Hold-up wait a minute as the quarterback that set the NFL’s favorite weekly evening drama into orbit was none other than McNabb’s former understudy’s understudy, Michael Vick.  The mercurial quarterback, who many doubted ever could become a “complete” passer, opened several eyes as he had a magical night in the Philadelphia Eagles 59-28 demolition of the Washington Redskins (4-5) on MNF.

Vick was the catalyst as the Eagles (6-3) busted out to a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter.  In a night where McNabb – passing numbers 17 for 31 for 295 yards with 2 TDs and 3 INTs in the loss — could only applaud his former Syracuse recruit.  Vick gave Eagles’ Nation something to remember for a long time. 

The Birds set team records for total yards in a game (592), points in a half (45) and had the biggest lead after the first quarter for any NFL road team (28-0) since at least 1950.  “We got outcoached. We got outplayed. They did everything right,” Redskins disgruntled DL Albert Haynesworth said after the embarrassing loss.

At the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles first mini-camp after the draft, I noted to a fellow media member the Vick looked to be 100% back and then he impressed me more by sounding like a new mature humbled individual when I talked with him after practice.  I thought, “Wow”, this guy is going to be an asset helping out new starter, Kevin Kolb, as a veteran back-up and serving in the Wildcat.  But none of us had any idea that the NFL’s new quarterback guru, Andy Reid, had remolded the fallen star and created MV7 version 2010, a masterpiece.

Redemption road has been a long one for the former NFL superstar turned public enemy number one for his part in a notorious dogfighting situation that cost him over two years away from the game that he so dearly loves.  But this is not your standard, “Michael Vick is Back” story as there is no question regarding whether the former 3-time Pro Bowl player can redeem himself.

No, the real question is “How Can’t Michael Vick be considered the leading candidate for the 2010 NFL Most Valuable Player Award?”  Forget about McNabb and his extension – former Eagles franchise great already has his hands full enough with a Washington team that badly needs some offensive talent – as well as former Reid “anointed” starter Kolb.

Vick is playing at a level that deserves to put him in any conversation with the Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.  That’s right…I am doing the unthinkable in putting Vick in a quarterback class that some thought he could never achieve.  Incredibly at age 30, the former Atlanta troubled prodigy has become the player everyone thought he could be when the Falcons made him the NFL’s first overall draft pick way back in 2001. 

His speed to the corner is at an elite running back’s  level, his arm is looking better than any quarterback in the league right now and under the guidance of Reid, Vick now has the work ethic and pocket presence that has to be leaving everyone in the NFL scratching their heads… are you reading Greg Knapp.

On his magical night, Vick became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game. Ironically it was Vick’s magical legs — ran eight times for 80 yards and two scores plus moved past Steve Young  into 2nd place in NFL history for yards rushing by a quarterback – that were an afterthought as his arm did all his talking.  The former Virginia Tech star threw an 88-yard laser touchdown pass to a streaking DeSean Jackson on his first play of the game and he never looked back in one of the greatest performances in Monday Night Football history. 

“I’ve had some great games in my day,” Vick said. “But I don’t think I’ve had one quite like this one.”  He accounted for 6 touchdowns while finishing with off the chart passing numbers finished 20 for 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns – completed first 10 passes of the night.  But more impressive to me is the fact that Vick still hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season – sorry Brett Favre…you lead the league with 16 INTs. 

The Birds are now 4-0 when Vick starts and finishes the game, which has made him an instant star in Philadelphia and galvanized a once fractured fanbase. We will see if the Vick Express can continue all the way through the playoffs, if he too can get a coveted extension, and continue playing at a level the NFL has not scene since Young’s magical 1994 Super Bowl winning season for the Niners.

Eagles’ veteran receiver Jason Avant said of his quarterback’s phenomenal play, “The guy is unreal. How do you defend him when we have everything going? I have not seen anything like that. It was so much fun out there.”

But more importantly, the Eagles and Vick now have moved into a NFC East first-place tie with the New York Giants (6-3), setting the stage for next week’s megawatt Sunday Night Football battle at the Linc.


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 110110

The benching of veteran QB Donovan McNabb was all anyone, including Lloyd Vance and Matt Lombardo, wanted to talk about after 2010 NFL Week 8

After a crazy 2010 NFL Week 8, including the Washington Redskins benching Donovan McNabb in a 2-Minute Drill Situation in a bad loss to the Detroit Lions, NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes an appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 102510 (Part 1)

In Part 1 of this week’s Taking It to the House NFL Podcast —It was the DeAngelo Hall show as the Redskins corner became Bears’ QB Jay Cutler’s favorite target as he produced 4 INTs

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 102510 (Part 1)

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance reviews Week 7 of the 2010 season with host Mark Gray including Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall tying an NFL Record by producing 4 INTs, plus “Pick 6”, against Bears QB Jay Cutler

The Redskins Win in McNabb’s Return to Philly by Lloyd Vance

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb received the game-ball for his triumphant return to Philadelphia that produced a 17-12 win for the ‘Skins

It wasn’t Picasso, but it was the best of both worlds for Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb in his Philadelphia homecoming.  The game started with the Philadelphia faithful saluting their former hero when he was announced — ironically he was loudly “booed” when he took the field under center — then like he had done 11 years prior, McNabb found a way to win.

The Redskins (2-2) took home a big 17-12 win over the Eagles (2-2) to take sole possesion of first place in the NFC East.  McNabb’s numbers showed that he did not have one of his best games statistically (8-19, 125 yards, 1 TD, and 1INT plus 39 rushing yards).  But it was his intangibles of leadership and moving the sticks when needed that mattered most.

When the game was on the line, Big 5 converted a crucial first down by scampering for 18 yards on a 3rd and 4 play to help wind the clock.  The win had to be glorifying for McNabb, but after the game he really was focused more on a team win and the Redskins next opponent, rather than passing out “I told you so” comments.

The Redskins knew they could run the ball on the Eagles smallish defensive front and they were successful as they produced 169 yards rushing.  Leading the way was Ryan Torain with 70 yards and a bruising 12-yard touchdown run, where he trucked Eagles safety Quintin Mikell and veteran Clinton Portis who added 55 rushing yards before leaving with a groin injury.

An unfortunate part of the Eagles-Redskins games was that a highly anticipated McNabb-Vick showdown turned into the McNabb-Kolb after Vick left the game in the first quarter with a rib/chest injury — hurt on a 23-yard run that was called back on a Max Jean-Giles penalty.  As for Kolb, he seem rather “tentative in my opinion as he went for checkdowns several times rather than throwing the ball downfield.

An odd play that showed the Eagles glaring weakness with clock managment was at the Redskins’  1-yard line  in the final minute of the first half. After Head Coach Andy Reid called a timeout, his offense still got called for delay of game on a crucial 4th down.  To the dismay of the Eagles’ sellout crowd, the Birds settled for a David Akers  23-yarder to cut the score to 17-6.

Reid tried to explain the strange series of events after the game by saying, “We had a play called. I wasn’t surprised the clock was moving, but I was surprised it was moving as quick as when it was started with the spot”.

However the game was not over until the very last play when Kolb threw a “Hail Mary” pass into the Eagles endzone that bounced out of receiver Jason Avant’s hands and was intercepted by DeAngelo Hall. 

McNabb said after the game, “It’s about winning ballgames, and that’s one that I take pride in.”


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)