NFC East: Joe Bugel

Saturday Beastlines: Russ and Emmitt

August, 7, 2010
I realize that Albert Haynesworth's the story of camp today, but we're going to focus on a truly special day in Canton, Ohio. Here are a few of the stories the Beast enjoyed reading today:

Grimm strikes blow for the Hogs

August, 6, 2010
ASHBURN, Va. -- As I walked around Redskins Park on Thursday, I kept bumping into folks who were headed to Canton, Ohio to attend Russ Grimm's induction to the Hall of Fame. For a team that leaned so heavily on its running game in the '80s and early '90s, it's amazing that it took so long for a member of those offensive lines to get elected.

[+] EnlargeRuss Grimm
Manny Rubio/US PresswireRuss Grimm is the first member of the famed "Hogs" to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But Grimm was the correct choice to represent the beloved Hogs. He was one of the more colorful players in Redskins history and a dominant offensive lineman. I've had a lot of talks with Cowboys Hall of Fame defensive tackle Randy White over the years, and invariably a lot of those discussions involve the great rivalry with the Redskins. Most teams were forced to double-team White, and the Skins were no exception. But Grimm was one of the few players in the league who could neutralize White (at times) on his own.

There's a great story about how offensive tackle Mark May used to taunt White. It apparently frustrated Grimm to no end because he was primarily responsible for blocking White. According to fellow Hog Joe Jacoby, Grimm had finally heard enough and he lit into May in the huddle.

"I know you've got a stiff over there, but you keep it up, and I'm coming after your ass," Jacoby recalled Grimm saying.

Grimm was apparently referencing Cowboys defensive end John Dutton as the "stiff." But Grimm had immense respect for White, and he didn't want May to give him any added incentive.

Washington went to four Super Bowls in an 11-year span with coach Joe Gibbs, and the Hogs played an enormous role in that run. Gibbs wasn't the most colorful quote in the game, but he truly appreciated having memorable characters on his team. Some of the stories about the Hogs would have made coaches cringe in this era, but Gibbs knew better than to try to curb their appetite for fun. Here's a story that Gibbs recently told former running back John Riggins:
"The one thing I'll always remember about Russ and Joe and that crew, they would always get away from us a little bit in those afternoons when we had those Wednesday scrimmages in Carlisle [Pennsylvania]," said Gibbs. "And I got in the huddle one night, and I mean, the smell of beer was so strong that I backed out of there after calling the play.

"And in between plays, I turned to [offensive line coach Joe] Bugel and I said I've got to tell you something right now, somebody in there has had some beers, OK? And Bugel went and got those guys. I don't know if you remember this, I kind of turned my back and walked off for a few minutes, he got everybody in the huddle and said this better be the best practice of your life or you guys are gonna be running wind sprints for the rest of your life. So Russ goes: 'I plead guilty.'"

Those linemen embraced the "Hogs" nickname because it suited their reputation for not taking themselves too seriously. But when they stepped on the field, there wasn't a more dominant group in the NFL. It took too long for a representative to be voted into the Hall, but now that it has happened, Grimm's the perfect choice. And in a lot of ways, all of the Hogs will be enshrined during Saturday's ceremony.

And if you see White cringe when Grimm's delivering his speech, you'll know he's thinking about that "50 Gut" play from the NFC title game in 1983.

Grimm sounds off on the Hall

February, 15, 2010
Former Redskins guard Russ Grimm talked to XTRA 910 in Phoenix about finally being voted into the Hall of Fame. He talked about the infamous hot dog story and his devotion to offensive line coach Joe Bugel, who recently retired.

"There was never any doubt as to who was going to present me or introduce me in Canton," said Grimm. "The guy is, he’s a friend, he’s a father figure, I’m not afraid to say it..I look at him all the time and say I love you. I mean, what he did for me -- I hated him some days. He pushed you to the point where sometimes you were ready to snap on him, but in the long run he built that group into what it was and I got a lot of respect for the man. He’s not only a great person, he’s a great coach and he said he’s going to retire now from the NFL. And I said there’s one more thing you got to do. When I got selected I said ‘you got to present me in Canton.’ So he was excited about it, and I’m excited for him. And I’m excited for myself."

I'm wondering if being inducted into the Hall of Fame will give Grimm a better shot at becoming a head coach in the league. He seemed to be on that path a couple of years ago, but now his name has stopped coming up.

Another Grimm tale

February, 10, 2010
With former Redskins guard Russ Grimm being voted into the Hall of Fame last Saturday, we've heard a lot of great stories about him. But Redskins blogger Matt Terl pulled back the curtain on the voting process Tuesday by visiting with Grimm's presenter, David Elfin.

[+] EnlargeGrimm
Bernstein Associates/Getty ImagesRuss Grimm received some lofty praise from former opponents.
The former Skins beat writer for the Washington Times (when it still had a sports section) was refreshingly honest about what led to Grimm finally making the final cut. And he talked about how difficult it is to quantify an offensive lineman's worth to a team. Elfin set out to talk to coaches and players who had faced Grimm over the years. And obviously the strategy paid off:

"What I chose to do this year was go to people who opposed Russ. I don't mean the voters, I mean the people who played and coached against him," said Elfin. "Because if they had good things to say, that would be more decisive than anything [Joe Bugel] or [Joe] Gibbs or anybody on the Redskins could say.

"And Randy White said that Russ Grimm was one of the best guards he ever faced. Bill Parcells said that Mike Munchak was the only one that he's ever seen in his time who was better than Russ -- and he was on the Patriots when they had John Hannah.

"Harry Carson said that Russ always gave him a headache and was the glue that held the Hogs together. And Matt Millen said basically that he was the smartest offensive lineman he had ever seen. So that was the basic gist. Those four people, I think, were pretty decisive."

Terl also asked Elfin to talk about who's next for the Redskins in the Hall of Fame:

"For me, if you wanted to name Redskins who are deserving, Chris Hanburger is number one," says Elfin. "Nine Pro Bowls, there's no question. I would say Len Hauss is second, with, like, seven Pro Bowls. And then you'd probably throw [Dave] Butz into the group with Jake and Pat Fischer and Larry Brown and ... off the top of my head, those'd be the lead guys."

The one name missing from that group in my mind is wide receiver Gary Clark. Who's next in your minds? As hard as this is to believe, defensive end Dexter Manley only went to one Pro Bowl. But he was named to the All-Pro team twice and had 103.5 sacks. That sack total is higher than Charles Haley's. Defensive end Charles Mann went to four Pro Bowls but he only finished with 83 career sacks, 82 with the Redskins. But he did play on three Super Bowl-winning teams.

Skins' Bugel to announce retirement

January, 13, 2010
The Redskins have planned a noon ET news conference for 69-year-old offensive line coach Joe Bugel to announce his retirement. Bugel has been a tremendous asset to the organization, and he did as much as anyone could expect with the patchwork unit that he was handed in '09.

We'll have more on Bugel's career as the day unfolds.

The latest on Shanahan

January, 5, 2010
We're still in a holding pattern for the announcement that Mike Shanahan is the head coach of the Redskins, but we all know it's coming. As we discussed yesterday, there's a good chance the organization could wait until Wednesday to hold the introductory news conference because Dan Snyder might want to honor offensive line coach Joe Bugel at some point today. The longtime assistant coach is expected to retire and defensive coordinator Greg Blache will likely follow the same path.

It will be interesting to find out Shanahan's exact job title. I fully expect him to be president and head coach, which would likely give him final say on personnel moves. Joe Gibbs is really the only coach who has enjoyed that much power during the Dan Snyder era, but Gibbs isn't quite as controlling as Shanahan.

Will he retain any of the current Redskins coaches? I'd be pretty surprised if Shanahan didn't make wholesale changes. We've already heard that his son, Kyle, will be his offensive coordinator and that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will take on that same role with the Redskins. I know Zimmer pretty well and I've been told by people close to him that he's excited about joining Shanahan.

I'm headed out to the Cowboys' practice facility for the next couple hours, but I'll try to keep you posted on any developments at Redskins Park. For now, take a peek at this video that features Washington Post writers Mike Wise, Les Carpenter and Jason Reid. I thought they did a nice job of breaking everything down. And I particularly enjoyed watching Reid battle the elements in Ashburn, Va.

Report: Shanahan announcement could be delayed

January, 4, 2010
The Washington Post had been reporting that the Redskins could introduce Mike Shanahan as their new head coach as soon as Tuesday, but the newspaper's Web site is now saying that offensive line coach Joe Bugel's likely retirement could delay the announcement.

The thought is that owner Dan Snyder would prefer to honor Bugel on Tuesday and perhaps make an announcement about Shanahan on Wednesday. A club source has told me within the past hour that it would not surprise him if the Skins waited until Wednesday to introduce Shanahan.

Snyder sent his private jet to pick up Shanahan on Monday and the two are expected to meet well into the evening, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. New general manager Bruce Allen is expected to be part of those discussions. The Denver Post reported two weeks ago that Shanahan was already in discussions with the Redskins.

At this point, it's hard to imagine there being a snag. The only head coach Snyder has hired with more pedigree than Shanahan is Joe Gibbs. And Gibbs' second tenure wasn't close to being as successful as his first run. Shanahan is expected to hire his son, Kyle, as offensive coordinator and it's likely that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be his defensive coordinator.

It's hard to imagine anyone from Jim Zorn's staff being retained. Snyder is a big fan of special teams coach Danny Smith and secondary coach Jerry Gray, but that doesn't mean either assistant is safe. You can bet that Shanahan's basically had his staff in place for months. And Snyder is expected to give him plenty of leeway when it comes to decision-making power.

Will Snyder stay out of Shanahan's way and let him choose his own course? I'll believe it when I see it.

So what happened on the Falcons' sideline?

November, 9, 2009
Posted by's Matt Mosley

If you've watched ESPNEWS at all Monday, you've seen the footage of Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall on the Falcons' sideline surrounded by players and coaches during a confrontation. Hall, who says he arrived on the sideline to help teammate LaRon Landry, has accused Falcons coach Mike Smith of coming "over there to put his hands on [Hall] in a harmful way."


The NFL is reviewing the altercation and I'm sure we'll be hearing about some fines this week. It all started when Landry was flagged for hitting quarterback Matt Ryan out of bounds. In a matter of moments, Hall arrived on the sideline and was surrounded by Falcons. After the game, he told reporters that he intended to contact NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to tell his side of the story.

On Monday, Redskins coach Jim Zorn had Hall's back, saying the video footage seemed to back up the cornerback's version of the events.

"I read what he said, and it looked to me on video it's exactly what happened," Zorn said. "We were penalized, and what he was trying to do was get LaRon off the sideline and LaRon was going and he got grabbed. I think there was emotion involved because their player just got hit out of bounds, the quarterback. That's a tough deal in itself. The emotion rose, and he was the only guy in there. I was really actually proud of DeAngelo for keeping his composure."

This Redskins team has been surrounded by controversy throughout the season. At least this gives them something to talk about other than their 2-6 record. I watched most of the first half of the Falcons game Sunday and that's as poorly as I've seen an offensive line play. Good for offensive line coach Joe Bugel for getting in his players' faces at halftime and inspiring them to have a better second half. It would've been easy to roll over in the second half, but the Redskins actually made a game of it.

It was a heroic effort by banged-up quarterback Jason Campbell, who's basically auditioning for other teams right now. I can't help but wonder how good Campbell could be if he worked under someone such as the Falcons' Mike Mularkey or the Chargers' Norv Turner.

Are you worried about the Skins' O-line depth?

July, 2, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The Washington Post's newest Redskins Insider, Paul Tenorio, has a story this morning on the depth along the Redskins' offensive line. We obviously know that the starting right tackle spot is a concern (I have Stephon Heyer as the starter), but you should be even more concerned about some of the backup spots. If something happens to some of the interior linemen, the backup options are pretty green.

The good news is that longtime offensive line coach Joe Bugel has changed his tune on Chad Rinehart. He reportedly questioned the player's future after the '08 season, but now he sounds much more optimistic. Tenorio asked Bugel what the difference was in Rinehart from last season to now.

"Night and day," Bugel said. "Difference between yesterday and today. He's going to be a real good football player for us."

Other candidates for backup spots are Mike Williams, Jeremy Bridges, Devin Clark, Will Montgomery and Edwin Williams. So what do you guys think about the offensive line? Is it the weakest link for the Skins? We'd love to hear from you.

What's the best organization in the Beast?

June, 1, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The folks at ranked the top 32 NFL organizations based on the following criteria: owner, front office, head coach, coaching staff, quarterback, offense, defense, intangibles. Each franchise received a score on a 1-10 scale. Regarding "intangibles," the folks at said they included things such as fan support, stadium and public relations. Here's how the NFC East teams ranked:

3. Philadelphia Eagles -- Schein said he put the Eagles ahead of the Giants because of their coaching staff. 

4. New York Giants -- Apparently the new stadium helped in the "intangibles" category. 

12. Dallas Cowboys -- Jerry Jones received a 9.5 on a 10-point scale as an owner, but a 2.5 as general manager. The coaching staff received a 7, but head coach Wade Phillips received a 5. 

24. Washington Redskins (ouch!) -- Here's what Adam Schein said about the Skins: "I like Jim Zorn's staff with Greg Blache and Joe Bugel. It's Jim Zorn himself that made the ranking plummet. And Dan Snyder. And Vinny Cerato. Even a strong defensive grade couldn't save Washington."

What's in Mosley's Mailbag?

May, 23, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

Hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Since many of you were kind enough to drop me a note during the week, I've sworn off the holiday in an effort to shed light on some important Beast-related items. Let's get right to it:

Mav in Philly starts us off with a question about the Eagles' cap situation: What do you see the Eagles doing with their cap space? Do they take a wait-and-see approach to see how far they can get in the playoffs and then use the space to plug missing holes for 2010? Or do they spend that money now? Sheldon Brown seems to have hit his value ceiling to me. Could we package him and Reggie Brown along with a draft pick for anything at this point? I just know if the Eagles don't win (or at least make it to) the Super Bowl this year, the fan base will go berserk that they didn't do enough.

Mosley: I think the Eagles would consider adding another defensive end if the right guy becomes available. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Andy Reid tried to sign Greg Ellis if he's released by the Cowboys. He's scheduled to make $4.15 million this season, but there's no way he sees that money. It's far more likely that a team such as the Patriots, Bengals, Eagles, Panthers or Redskins sign him for somewhere in the $2 million range. Ellis could start at defensive end for several teams in the league, but his time as a starter at outside linebacker in Dallas has come to an end. I don't think there's a tremendous amount of interest in Sheldon Brown. The Eagles will wait and see if anyone has an injury in training camp. They'd be thrilled to get a third-round pick for Brown, but that's unlikely. There's no market for Reggie Brown. He may not make the team coming out of training camp. Hank Baskett, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis should all claim roster spots. Brown could be the odd man out.

Tee in Iraq is addicted to the Beast: If the Redskins are so desperate for D-line help and want [Brian] Orakpo at linebacker, why don't they try to get on Simeon Rice? What's going on with Joe Horn and is he still trying to play? Any word on Marvin Harrison?

Mosley: I don't think Simeon Rice is on the Redskins' radar. He wants to play for the Bucs, but it's hard to imagine him making a significant impact anywhere. I think the Redskins believe the rotation of Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn on one side and Andre Carter on the other is enough to be successful. Hopefully they'll realize that Orakpo doesn't belong at SAM linebacker. That's only the 37th time I've mentioned that in the past three weeks. Joe Horn doesn't have anything left and Marvin Harrison's pretty much in the same boat. Harrison will be a Hall of Famer. 

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Redskins' Bugel talks about Dockery

March, 10, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley


Longtime Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel said there was no doubt the Redskins would go after guard Derrick Dockery when he was released by the Bills before free agency. Bugel sat down recently with the people at and discussed Dockery's work ethic:

"He was going uphill the whole time," Bugel said. "In 2006 when he was a free agent, he earned himself a lot of money. He went up there to Buffalo -- I give the kid credit. He is in a great workout program out in Phoenix. He works with cinderblocks, running with that strap harness on. 

"You know those strong-man contests? You know those big trailer truck tires? He is rolling those over. I asked, 'How did you work on those abs without doing those crunches.' He said he used a sledgehammer. Beat the tire. He tightened everything up. He tightened his whole core up. So when I watch him on tape, he walks with an arrogance. He knows he belongs in the National Football League."

Zorn's earned a second season

December, 22, 2008
Posted by's Matt Mosley

As one of the nation's leading Jim Zorn apologists, I will admit to being lonely the last few weeks. In some walks of life, we admire men who admit fault and call themselves "the worst coach in America." But that's not how it works in the NFL. Not even Rod Marinelli would make that statement -- and he has a lot more ammunition than Zorn.

Mike Wise of the Washington Post has done a really nice job describing Zorn's first season as a head coach. In Monday's column, he talks about the coach's "Zornball" approach. He also includes a telling quote from longtime Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel.

Zorn is very unorthodox at times -- and that's fine. But sometimes you can be too smart for your own good. This is a highly intelligent guy whose news conferences sound at times like an Ivy League lecture. Not that I've heard one of those, but you get the point.

Sunday was a gut-check moment for the entire organization. Zorn had to be feeling the heat after watching a 6-2 record turn into 7-7. Now the Redskins have an opportunity to finish the season 9-7 and build a little momentum heading into the offseason. The club needs to take a long look at where it went wrong in the 2008 draft and Zorn needs to identify the areas where he can improve.

It's an endearing quality to have friends who admit they're not perfect. But those guys don't always make it in the head-coaching business.

A conversation with Chris Samuels

October, 9, 2008

Posted by's Matt Mosley

 Rob Tringali/Getty Images
 Chris Samuels has made five Pro Bowl appearances.

Just as the Pacman story was breaking Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to spend 30 minutes on the phone with Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels. Now in his ninth season out of Alabama, Samuels has played for five different head coaches.

He's been to the Pro Bowl five times, which is the second most for an offensive lineman in club history. Samuels credits Jim Zorn for not allowing the Redskins to lose their confidence after a miserable season opener in the Meadowlands.

"The Giants actually dominated us for four quarters," said Samuels. "Everyone had pretty much written us off. But coach Zorn's one of those people who never gets too low and never gets too high. He provided outstanding leadership during a tough time."

In the days following the 16-7 loss to the Giants, running back Clinton Portis was critical of the play calling and the offensive line's performance. Samuels said he and Portis were able to laugh about the criticism because "he didn't really mean it."

He said the turning point in the Redskins' season came when Jason Campbell connected with Santana Moss on a 67-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Saints.

"Ever since then, we've been clicking and rolling," Samuels said.

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The Beast Report: Redskins Edition

August, 22, 2008

Posted by's Matt Mosley

  • Corey Masisak of the Washington Times has a story on how starting safety Reed Doughty has dealt with hearing loss since he was a child. He can't hear the defensive backs changing calls, so he has to rely on hand signals.

"Toward the end of the year last year, they were playing as well as any safety tandem in the league," safeties coach Steve Jackson said of LaRon Landry and Doughty. "The fortunate part is in the meeting room they are used to communicating with each other, so it's not like they don't see each other or talk to each other or communicate. ... One guy likes to talk and the other guy likes to listen. Fortunately, the one guy who likes to listen (Landry) is the one with the best hearing."

  • Our hearts go out to the Redskins, who are mourning the loss of another loved one today. Longtime offensive line coach Joe Bugel and his wife Brenda lost their 36-year-old daughter Holly to bone cancer Thursday. This is an organization that has literally spent the past year grieving. Former head coach Joe Gibbs immediately reached out to Bugel:

"Everybody is so close," Gibbs said. "At this time of the year, Coach Bugel is probably spending more time with the football team than he does with his own family, and so it's like family, you have two families . . . . The thing that you have there is that you get real comfort from all that are around you who care about you."

  • Mike Wise of the Post has a column on the losses of Holly Bugel and Gene Upshaw.