NFC East: Mike Sellers

Friday Conversation: Darrel Young

October, 18, 2013
Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young entered the NFL as a linebacker from then-Division I-AA Villanova. That already made him a long shot. But coach Mike Shanahan asked him to switch positions when he arrived in 2010 and Young has gone from long shot to No. 1 fullback. Young also is a key special-teams player and nobody was more passionate after Sunday's 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys than Young -- because of the poor performance by his group. Young talks about that, what he's learned as a blocker and why he wants to become a Big Brother.

You don’t always see guys talk with as much passion after a game as you did after Dallas about the special teams. How hard was it for you after that game?

Darrel Young: It was just frustrating. It was embarrassing. We practice every day with a purpose; you don’t say, ‘This guy will score a touchdown and this guy will have two big plays to determine the outcome.’ It sucks. Teams will have success. OK, cool, you give up a punt return. Then stop them and make the tackle and give the defense a chance to make them kick a field goal. We got outplayed. It wasn’t outcoached, it wasn’t outschemed. I don’t give a damn if the coach puts 11 guys on one guy, if he makes the tackle then we have a damn problem ... I couldn’t sleep on the plane. I kept replaying it in my head.

As a blocker, what have you learned over the last couple years?

DY: Don’t size guys up. I’m still doing it this year, meaning don’t gather your feet before you get there. Just run through them and make him make a move or something. [Secondary coach] Raheem [Morris] said, ‘You played linebacker, right? What do we teach you? Not to stop your feet, run through the guy.’ So he said take six-inch steps and then explode.

How big a difference does that make?

[+] EnlargeDarrel Young
AP Photo/Tim SharpWhy are fullbacks important? They help set up play-action, Darrel Young said.
DY: So much of a difference, just being able to get on guys, being able to get to the next level with my game. That’s what makes Vonta Leach great. You never see him stop. He just runs through you. It’s not about a fear factor; guys aren’t afraid. It’s about not wanting to miss your block. That’s why he’s the best fullback in the game. He just goes and people react to him.

What else have you learned?

DY: Just understanding the scheme and how guys fit and understanding defenses. You know when you get certain coverages how guys will fit.

How long did that take?

DY: I’m still learning. But it took about two years to recognize it. I had a year with Mike Sellers and if I didn’t have him I don’t think I would have recognized why things happened. He’d be like the linebacker is sitting [in this gap] so you know the safety has to come down. I never thought about that. As a defender you’d say I got the B gap, the safety has the C gap. It makes sense that he’s got to come down in the box. He clarified things for me.

Is this your best season as a blocker?

DY: Hell, no. 2011 was my best season blocking.

What’s the difference?

DY: I don’t know. It’s just the way I feel about finishing guys off. Maybe guys are adjusting to the scheme, I don’t know.

You mean they’re getting to their spots quicker?

DY: Yeah, I guess they’re recognizing stuff more.

Do you ever worry about how the fullback position seems to be going away?

DY: I do, but I know [Mike] Shanahan’s scheme and he loves the fullback. So as long as he’s here, there will be fullbacks in the league.

What’s the benefit of having a fullback?

DY: Better play-action. You can get linebackers to step up more on play-action. I do think sometimes the fullback gets in the way for running backs, I honestly do. Clinton Portis said, ‘I hate a fullback in front of me, I’d rather be with two tight ends and those guys on the line.’ I was like, ‘All right, that’s fine.’

Just better vision for him you think?

DY: Yeah, I think so. Some guys are different. Roy Helu, I know he likes having a fullback in the game. I never asked Alfred [Morris]. Me and Roy were just talking about it. I think Alfred doesn’t care.

Why so much better with play-action?

DY: I just feel if you can give a run action to the linebackers they have to step up. Safeties too. Everyone’s reading the triangle [guards/backs] back there. If you see guards being aggressive and you see backs coming at you, you’re going to step up naturally.

What’s something people wouldn’t know or guess about you?

DY: That I’m very family-oriented. People may not know that because they just see us in the media and I’m not married and I don’t have kids. But my parents go to every game. I love kids.

How much do you do volunteer work with kids?

DY: All the time. Every week we do charity stuff. I just signed up for the Big Brother program so I’ll have a little brother or sister. I know how tough it is to go through some things by yourself. Some people don’t have the resources to get to the next level. If I feel I can change two lives out of a hundred, then I feel I accomplished something.
In all of our discussions on this blog about tight end Chris Cooley's chances to make the Washington Redskins' roster, this has yet to come up. But apparently, with Darrel Young sitting out with a hamstring injury, Cooley's going to see some reps at fullback in the Redskins' preseason opener Thursday night. Per Rich Campbell:
"As far as getting the blocks done, I've never had a problem getting the blocks done out of the backfield," Cooley said after Monday's walkthrough. "Would you ever look at me as a punishing, Mike Sellers-, Darrel Young-type of blocker? No, but I'll get the block in the hole and I'm gonna get my hat on the linebacker and the running backs always have a chance to make a cut."

Remember what we've said all along. Cooley likely has to do three things to make the team: 1) Prove he's healthy, 2) Be willing to accept a lesser role than he's had in the past, and 3) Probably take a pay cut. Given Cooley's sincere devotion to the Redskins -- which is what Redskins fans love so much about him -- Nos. 2 and 3 shouldn't be a problem. A willingness to play fullback shows both that Cooley is aware that he must be willing to be flexible about his role and that he's legitimately up for anything that helps the team. And so far so good on the health thing, which in the end is probably going to be what makes the decision.
Dallas Cowboys

Like many members of the Cowboys family, Darren Woodson says he was hit hard by the news of the death of former special-teams coach Joe Avezzano.

The Cowboys have claimed quarterback Rudy Carpenter off waivers from the Buccaneers. This says a lot, I would think, about Stephen McGee and his tenuous hold on the team's No. 3 quarterback spot behind Tony Romo and Kyle Orton.

New York Giants

Former Giant Carl Banks tells the New York Daily News that the Gregg Williams speech that got all of the attention Thursday was more or less standard Saturday-night pregame stuff, though "some of the stuff was over the line." I think that's the point. In the current NFL culture, where player safety is a paramount issue, the revelation that coaches are encouraging players to target specific existing injuries just doesn't fit. This thing that came to light Thursday wasn't about bounties. It was about intent to injure, and the warning that went out league-wide (if people were listening) was that such specifics need to stop being part of pregame speeches. No matter how common a practice it has been up until now.

The staff of debates some questions regarding the team's safety position and its outlook for the 2012 season.

Philadelphia Eagles

In this story about Demetress Bell's introductory news conference in Philadelphia, we learn that Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd was the one who encouraged the tackle who used to call himself Demetrius Bell to come forward with what turns out to be the correct spelling of his first name.

The Eagles' website takes a big-picture look at the offensive line as a whole with Bell in place as its new left tackle.

Washington Redskins

Former Redskins and current 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers came to the defense of Williams, the embattled former Redskins and Saints defensive coordinator.

The release a few weeks ago of veteran fullback Mike Sellers didn't get a lot of attention, but it had an effect on current fullback Darrel Young, who credits Sellers for help with his development.

Free agency just got a whole lot less exciting for fans of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who may have a lot less to spend on free agents than they originally thought.

Adam Schefter reports that the NFL has docked the Cowboys $10 million in cap space and the Redskins $36 million in cap space for dumping large chunks of long-term contracts into the uncapped 2010 season. The teams are allowed to split the penalties up over the next two seasons, so technically this might not affect either team's spending until 2013. But you have to believe they'd be wise to get at least some of it out of the way this year.

We had the Cowboys at $12.667 million under the cap before they put an $8.8 million franchise tag on Anthony Spencer, so the full penalty would actually put them over the cap and even if they took $4 million of the hit this year they'd still have work to do to get under. We had the Redskins as $47.568 million under the cap before they put a $5.4 million franchise tag on Fred Davis, which means they could take their whole penalty this year and still be under.

What'd they do wrong? Well, they apparently violated no actual rule but rather a behind-the-scenes guideline designed to keep the uncapped year from truly being uncapped.

While the 2010 season was an uncapped year, the NFL told teams not to use that as a means of eating up portions of long-term contracts in order to reduce cap room in future years. The Redskins and Cowboys and, to a lesser extent, the Raiders and Saints, were found to have done just this. As a result, not only do they lose this money, but every NFL team other than Oakland and New Orleans gets an additional $1.6 million in cap room. (The Saints and Raiders aren't docked any cap room, they just don't get to share in what the Redskins and Cowboys have to give back.)

This seems a pretty ridiculous thing for the league to do. Either the year is uncapped or it's not. To tell teams, "Yeah, it's uncapped, but don't spend too much this year just because of that, or we'll fine you for it down the road" feels a little bit like collusion to me. But this is the NFL, which does what it wants and makes up the rules as it goes along. The Cowboys and the Redskins surely know that, and the fact that they were the only two teams found to have engaged egregiously enough in this behavior to deserve a huge loss of salary-cap space indicates that they should have known better.

The immediate fallout will be more roster cuts than initially expected for these teams as they work to stay under the cap and still fill out their 2012 rosters. The Redskins, for example, have already announced that they have cut fullback Mike Sellers and safety O.J. Atogwe.

As for recourse, which some of you are already asking about on Twitter, I doubt there is any. All indications are that this is the result of a settlement between the league and the NFLPA, which indicates to me that the four teams mentioned weren't the only violators, just the worst ones. And again, while they don't appear to have broken any actual league rule that's on the books, they do appear to have been warned. So, they're being punished. In the NFL's world, you pretty much have to do what the NFL tells you to do.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who has been struggling with a toe injury and last week described himself as a game-time decision, is active and will play for the Giants in Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

With defensive end Osi Umenyiora already out, the Giants could ill afford to lose Tuck, who will man the starting defensive end spot opposite 2011 breakout star Jason Pierre-Paul. It remains to be seen whether Tuck will be limited by the toe injury, how many snaps he'll play and how effective he can be. But the fact that he's not listed among the inactives indicates the Giants believe he can help them.

For the Redskins, the most significant inactives are right tackle Jammal Brown and fullback/tight end Mike Sellers, neither of him is a surprise. Brown injured his groin in warmups before last week's game against the Patriots, and Sellers suffered an elbow injury in that same game. The Redskins are playing without either of their starting tackles, as left tackle Trent Williams is serving a drug suspension. And with Chris Cooley out for the year and Fred Davis also serving a drug suspension, Sellers had been working a lot at the tight end position, where the Redskins are obviously extremely thin.

I'll be here all afternoon with your updates. We'll be live-chatting in Countdown Live, so drop on by. And of course, plenty from both locker rooms after the game.
Three days left until the big showdown between the Cowboys and the Giants in the NFC East, and yeah, they're chirping. We'll get you all caught up with the links.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware thinks the reason Giants defensive end Justin Tuck doesn't like Cowboys Stadium is because Tuck is jealous and secretly wants to play for the Cowboys. I'm pretty sure this is untrue, since I've always thought Tuck hated the Cowboys, but I don't know maybe Ware has his reasons for believing what he believes. He also says some stuff in Calvin Watkins' post about how the Cowboys need to get their manhood back, but that it's not just the Giants they need to get it back from or something like that, I didn't really understand. And Mike Jenkins calls Brandon Jacobs "a bully" in reference to his on-field trash talk, which we've heard before. So I don't know. I guess they don't like each other, Cowboys and Giants, is the upshot.

Manhood or not, the Cowboys do appear as though they'll get fullback Tony Fiammetta back for the game. The Cowboys are averaging 5.6 yards per carry this year when Fiammetta plays and 3.2 when he doesn't. His may be a more important return from injury than Miles Austin's.

New York Giants

As Ohm Youngmisuk points out, the Giants have won five of the last seven meetings between these teams and Eli Manning has had some of the best games of his career against Dallas. That, plus the fact that Manning is playing at as high a level as he ever has entering this final stretch, gives him and the Giants confidence as they gear up for Sunday's game.

When left tackle Will Beatty had to have surgery to repair a detached retina, veteran David Diehl had to move back from left guard to his old left tackle spot. His transition has been smooth and has helped the line play well in Beatty's absence, which comes as no surprise to his teammates, as Mike Garafolo writes.

Philadelphia Eagles

Marcus Hayes heard what Andy Reid said about the Eagles being the youngest team in the league, and he understands that most people heard it as an excuse. But Marcus points out that, excuse or not, it might be true, and the fact that the Eagles are as young as they are at linebacker and safety has contributed to the struggles of the defense. Now, you can make the argument that it's Reid's fault they were so young at those spots and they could have found a veteran or two to help out. But as for whether youth and inexperience at those spots contributed to the problem, sure.

Trent Cole defended the play that ended the season of Seattle tackle Russell Okung. Cole was fined $7,500 for that play but said it wasn't dirty, that he plans to appeal the fine and sheesh, whatever you do, he'd really like you not to compare him to Ndamukong Suh. That's apparently one of the worst things you can say about somebody right now.

Washington Redskins

I feel like we've clobbered the Trent Williams and Fred Davis suspensions pretty hard here, so we'll move on from commenting on those. (Though I reserve the right to point out the ways in which their absence affects the offense once people start asking, "What's wrong with our offense?") One piece of the fallout, Mike Jones says, might be more work for veteran fullback Mike Sellers, who has played more recently due to Darrel Young's concussion and says he's ready for more work if need be.

That offense could find some passing yards this weekend against a soft Patriots defense. But Rex Grossman says the key will be to sustain drives and find a way to finish things off in the fourth quarter -- something they couldn't do last week against the Jets.
Drew Brees may have helped put the NFC East race into focus on Monday night by disassembling the Giants. If nothing else, we have separation at the top and a new outright leader in the standings and in the links.

Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

I remember back at the beginning of the season, when Anthony Spencer told me the thing he'd learned from his disappointing 2010 season was that he could no longer "mail in" practice days. Well, Spencer's having a big year in advance of a contract push, and he admits that playing in the final year of his contract is part of his motivation to remain focused every day. If that's what helps, the Cowboys will take it.

Tim MacMahon wonders if the Cowboys need to be careful not to overwork rookie running back DeMarco Murray now that he's become their clear feature back. It's a worthwhile point, since he is a rookie after all, and I wonder if the Cowboys keep winning and clinch the division with a couple of weeks left if they might back him off a little bit down the stretch.

New York Giants (6-5)

Ian O'Connor thinks Tom Coughlin's job is in jeopardy if the Giants don't recover from their three-game losing streak and finish the season strong. I guess it's possible, but you know where I come down on this. I think the Giants have overachieved, given the roster Coughlin was handed, and I don't understand how this is his fault.

Ralph Vacchiano takes a look at the missing Giants pass rush, which was so critical to their early-season success but now has just five sacks and 14 quarterback hits in its past four games. I asked Justin Tuck after the game if offenses were doing more to keep the Giants' defensive linemen off of quarterbacks lately, and he made it clear that they are. I don't know what the answer is for that, though. They seem loath to blitz because they're already not great in coverage and don't want to take manpower away from the back end. The defense only works when that front four is beating blockers, and right now, for whatever reason, they're not doing it.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-7)

Les Bowen wonders if some jobs that aren't coaching jobs are on the line over the Eagles' final five games -- i.e., whether the front office might consider roster changes instead of or in addition to coaching changes based on the way certain players perform and have performed so far. I've been inclined to believe Andy Reid comes back and tries again with a roster they all believed was good enough to do great things this year. But I guess Les has a point that it's possible to play your way out of town from this situation. May or may not be thinking about a guy whose name rhymes with "ShmeSean Shmackson."

Jeff McLane takes up the question of why the Eagles don't use LeSean McCoy more ... in verse! Hey, maybe it'll catch someone's attention.

Washington Redskins (4-7)

Mike Shanahan said the Redskins are going to stick with Roy Helu at running back after Helu's breakout performance Sunday. I'll believe it when I see it, but Shanahan sure does seem excited about his rookie back.

Couple of injuries came out of the Redskins' first victory in two months. Defensive end Stephen Bowen has a torn knee ligament but apparently might be able to play anyway. And fullback Darrel Young has a concussion, which could keep him out Sunday. But the Redskins are actually kind of deep at fullback, which is unusual in this day and age, and could plug in veteran Mike Sellers.

Romo, Bryant, Landry all active Monday

September, 26, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo will be active and start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in their "Monday Night Football" matchup against the Washington Redskins. Also active for the Cowboys are wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Felix Jones, who spent last week battling injuries that might have kept them out of the game. Receiver Miles Austin remains out with a hamstring injury, and Kevin Ogletree will start in his place.

For the Redskins, safety LaRon Landry is active for the first time this season, as he's finally recovered from the hamstring injury he suffered during training camp. Landry's return is a big boost to a Washington secondary that was conceived in the offseason with the idea Landry and O.J. Atogwe as its starting safeties.

Romo fractured a rib and punctured a lung in last Sunday's victory over the 49ers in San Francisco, but the lung has healed, and Ed Werder reports that Romo plans to take a painkilling injection to help him deal with the pain from the rib fracture Monday night. Bryant injured his thigh in the season opener two weeks ago and missed the Week 2 game, but with Austin out his return for this game was critical. He looked good running on the field a few hours before game time, and it'll be worth watching how explosive he's able to be.

Kickoff specialist David Buehler, out with a groin injury, is inactive, which means rookie Dan Bailey will handle kickoffs as well as field goals. And cornerback Orlando Scandrick is out with an ankle injury, a loss that's offset by the fact that starting corner Terence Newman is active for the first time this season.

Redskins fullback Darrel Young is out with a hamstring injury, so veteran Mike Sellers starts in his place.

I will be here at the game, writing about it throughout and late into the night. We'll also be having our Monday Night Live chat, which you can join in if you'd like to pester me and our other fine writers and analysts with questions about the game.

The complete list of inactives:


WR Donte' Stallworth

S DeJon Gomes

FB Darrel Young

LB Markus White

OL Willie Smith

WR Leonard Hankerson

DL Darrion Scott


K David Buehler

WR Miles Austin

CB Orlando Scandrick

RB Phillip Tanner

G David Arkin

G Derrick Dockery

DE Clifton Geathers

Breakfast links: Banged-up QB edition

September, 21, 2011
Morning, all. It's Wednesday, which means practices and injury updates and maybe... maybe some news on the banged-up big-name quarterbacks in our fair division. Everybody wants to know who's out and who's playing and who has a chance to beat whom on Sunday and Monday, but the fact is we still don't have all the information we need to make those predictions, and we're just hoping things will start to become clearer today.

What we do have is links.

Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones says the key to whether Tony Romo can come back from his cracked rib and punctured lung or not is how much pain he can tolerate. I think that's probably true, as long as the lung thing is fully healed and not at risk of worsening. And as long as the broken ribs aren't a risk to puncture the lung again. So you know. We'll see. At least the Cowboys know they have Jon Kitna as a capable backup. I'm really amazed more teams don't prioritize that.

With Terence Newman finally set to return but Miles Austin hurt and Dez Bryant having just missed Sunday's game with an injury, the Cowboys need receivers more than they need cornerbacks. So it's out with Bryan McCann and in with Laurent Robinson as they continue to work to juggle things the best they can.

New York Giants

Everybody on the Giants saw what happened when Tom Coughlin decided to bench Aaron Ross for a series Monday night, and Ross' veteran teammates now know their job is to help Ross come back stronger from the incident, Antrel Rolle says. The Giants don't have an option after Ross right now, so the key is to make sure he's in the right frame of mind to help and improve.

It sounds as though Osi Umenyiora might begin practicing this week as he works to return from knee surgery, but it does not sound as though he'll be ready to play Sunday in Philadelphia. More likely Week 4, from what The Star-Ledger is reporting.

Philadelphia Eagles

If Michael Vick can't recover from his concussion in time to make the start Sunday against the Giants and Mike Kafka has to replace him, we can expect more short and intermediate throws, based on what Kafka showed Sunday night. Of course, on Monday, Andy Reid said he'd been too conservative with calling plays for Kafka, so Sunday night might not be the best indicator of what we could see from Kafka if he's the guy.

Jarrett Bell writes that the drama surrounding Michael Vick and his health status this week is all part of the trouble with being the kind of quarterback Vick is. The style of play that makes him brilliant is the style that puts him at risk, as we all know. And so even if he is cleared to come back this week, there's no guarantee the same thing won't happen again Sunday.

Washington Redskins

What's that, you say? You're fed up with reading nothing put positive, glowing things about the Redskins and their 2-0 start? Well, here you go. The Washington Times offers some reviews of the Skins' offense's disappointing performance so far in the red zone. Just in case you thought everything was roses.

Jason Reid takes a look at demoted veteran fullback Mike Sellers, whose handling of his diminished playing time is an example of the selfless veteran leadership this Redskins roster has in bunches.

All right. Off to work on this week's All-Division Team, because I know you guys won't accept anything less than perfection on that. Should be up this afternoon.
A couple of people were asking during Tuesday's chat whether there was a chance the Redskins might bring back disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. I'd say the interview defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gave on St. Louis radio this week answers that pretty strongly in the negative:
"He can do almost anything he wants. He doesn't want to do anything. To me that's the issue," Haslett said. "He’s one of those guys you walk in a meeting and you tell him, 'Put down the phone.' The next day you have to tell him to put down the phone. The next day, you tell him to put down the phone."

Haslett goes on and on, essentially painting a picture of a guy who refused to play because he didn't like the switch to the 3-4 defense. He says he believes Haynesworth still could thrive in a 4-3, and I guess the Redskins could give him that shot if a 4-3 team makes it worth their while. I've said a few times that I think he'd be incredible in Philadelphia, reunited with former Tennessee D-line coach Jim Washburn. Maybe Washburn knows how to get him to stop reading newspapers in meetings.

And maybe you're hankering for some links:

More Redskins

Rex Grossman went on the radio, too, and said he wants to come back to Washington and start. Said of presumptive starter John Beck, "He's doing everything he can to promote himself, basically. And when there's no practices, you might as well go on the radio and talk about it." Hmmm. If a quarterback controversy falls in the forest ...

Rich Tandler offers a look at Mike Sellers' chances of returning to Washington for an 11th season.

Dallas Cowboys

Calvin Watkins took time out of his busy NBA Finals coverage schedule to write this post about the ways in which Plaxico Burress could affect the Cowboys' 2011 season -- as an opponent. Calvin's 100 percent sure Burress isn't going to be a Cowboy. I guess I'm never 100 percent sure about anything like this.

Josh Ellis says the Cowboys should not sign Nnamdi Asomugha, and his reason is budgetary. I keep hearing this from Cowboys fans -- "We shouldn't sign Nnamdi because it'll cost too much and we have other needs." I can't imagine caring about something like that if I were a fan. Don't you have to assume they'll only sign him if they can afford him? He's a superstar player, and those cost. So what if it creates a contract squabble with Doug Free? And it's not as if there aren't already star-caliber guys at various spots on that defense. I agree that safety's a bigger concern, but to stay away from Nnamdi because of money? The Cowboys? Man, this lockout is messing with peoples' heads.

New York Giants

Free agent Mathias Kiwanuka joined the Giants for their team workout at Bergen Catholic High School on Tuesday. Mildly surprising, since you'd think Kiwanuka would want to steer as clear as possible from any threat of an injury that could negatively impact his chances of getting a contract someplace.

Mike Garafolo thinks the players should have stopped and talked to the reporters who were there. I'm with him. What's the harm in a couple of minutes? Fans are eating up accounts of these workouts in the absence of any other NFL news. It'd be nice if the players understood that people wanted to hear from them.

Philadelphia Eagles

Add Eagles WR Jason Avant to the list of people who'd like to see Burress in Philadelphia. "We definitely can use him in the red zone, I can tell you that," Avant tells Jonathan Tamari.

Clark Judge throws cold water on the idea of Nnamdi in Philly, though. Says they don't want him because he costs too much and isn't versatile enough. There we go with the cost thing again. I wonder if ol' Nnamdi might be a victim of the length of this lockout. Without it, people wouldn't have had this much time to find all those bad things to say about him and drive down his price. If it keeps up, somebody's going to get a steal.

Stay cool out there today, folks.

Rapid Reaction: Giants 31, Redskins 7

December, 5, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Some quick thoughts on the New York Giants' dominating win over the Washington Redskins. This one was over by halftime.

What it means: The Giants did what you have to do against an inferior opponent: break their spirit early. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride talked last week about how he likes to get a feel for what defenses are doing on the first drive of the game. But against the Redskins, the Giants were determined to set the tone early. They scored a touchdown on their first possession for the first time this season on the strength of running back Brandon Jacobs. He had a 39-yard gain on the second play from scrimmage and then finished off the drive with an 8-yard run. The Redskins were playing without their highly paid defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who is battling an undisclosed illness. But I don't think it would've mattered. Between Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants rolled up 139 rushing yards in the first half.

Devin Thomas' revenge: Let me start this by saying that the Redskins had plenty of reasons to finally release their former second-round draft pick this season. But it looks like the Giants picked up the wide receiver at the right time. He downed a punt deep in Redskins territory, had a big hit on Brandon Banks on a kickoff return and then he tipped a Hunter Smith punt that traveled 4 yards. And that's why I have to call it a "tip" instead of a "block." It wouldn't surprise me if Giants coach Tom Coughlin gave Thomas a game ball.

A fast start: Safety Antrel Rolle was upset about his team being booed by Giants fans at halftime last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But there wasn't much to boo about a 21-0 halftime lead that should've been 28-0 if not for a ridiculous interception by quarterback Eli Manning. But about the fast start, the Giants scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and ended any hopes of a competitive game. Even against the lowly Redskins defense, it was impressive to see this offensive line take over the game.

Poor Donovan McNabb: I know the man received a lucrative contract extension a few weeks ago, but you still had to feel for him as he watched his teammates drop all those passes. Chris Cooley and fullback Mike Sellers dropped perfect passes in the first half, and tight end Fred Davis got involved later in the game. McNabb did throw one awful interception in the end zone after the Skins had trimmed the lead to 28-7. Terrell Thomas had the easiest interception of his career when McNabb forced a ball into heavy coverage for no apparent reason. I lost count at one point, but I believe the Redskins had six turnovers in the game.

What's next? The Giants travel to Minneapolis next Sunday to play a Vikings team that has won two consecutive games under interim coach Leslie Frazier. If the Giants can win that one, they'll be 9-4 when the Eagles come to town. The Eagles will have to get past the Dallas Cowboys to have an identical record. But with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks returning to the lineup soon, the Giants are poised to get on a roll. The Redskins don't have any hope of making the playoffs after today's loss. Breaking news, there.

Redskins are banged up today

October, 27, 2010
The list of players who didn't practice fully Wednesday for the Washington Redskins is a little longer than usual. Here's the breakdown:

Right tackle Jammal Brown (hip), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (back), right tackle Stephon Heyer (ankle), safety LaRon Landry (Achilles), Donovan McNabb (hamstring), safety Kareem Moore (knee), linebacker Brian Orakpo (ankle), fullback Mike Sellers (foot) and running back Chad Simpson (hamstring).

Coach Mike Shanahan told reporters it would be a couple of weeks before running back Clinton Portis is able to return to practice from a groin injury. Ryan Torain has obviously done a nice job as the feature back and it's hard to imagine Shanahan replacing him in the starting lineup. Portis has said he'll accept whatever role he's asked to play, and I believe him.

Portis was playing well before he suffered the injury, but not at the level of what Torain's doing right now. We'll keep you updated on all the Skins injuries. I'd keep a close on Brown's hip injury. Shanahan admitted this week that it's been bothering the former Saints star.

With the other injuries, I think the Skins are simply being cautious. This is no time to be resting key players when you have a chance to improve to 5-3 heading into the bye.

The latest on McNabb's injury

August, 24, 2010
You know it's ridiculous when Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb shows up to practice in an air cast -- and Albert Haynesworth is still the lead story. McNabb and fullback Mike Sellers (left leg) both sat out Monday's two practices and coach Mike Shanahan doesn't know if they'll play against the Jets on Friday.

"I really didn't know how bad it was," Shanahan said of McNabb's injury. "I still don't really know how bad it is. He's getting treatment. We'll just kind of figure it out day-by-day."

Something tells me that Shanahan has a pretty good idea "how bad" McNabb's injury is, but perhaps he doesn't want to elaborate at this point. Coaches aren't required to release an injury list in the preseason, so most of them aren't very forthcoming.

The Beast Injury Report

December, 11, 2009
Let's take a quick look around the division to see who's playing and who's sitting:

  • All 53 players on the roster participated in today's practice. Ahmad Bradshaw (ankles/foot) sat out Thursday's practice but he's back on the field today. This is as healthy as the Giants have been in two months. Chris Snee (knee) and Michael Johnson (groin) both looked fine during the small portion of practice reporters are allowed to observe.
  • David Elfin of the Washington Times says DeAngelo Hall (knee), Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and Mike Sellers (thigh) will all miss Sunday's game against the Raiders. Elfin was the first reporter in the D.C. area to report Haynesworth being out. So do Redskins fans think they're getting their money's worth? You guarantee a man $41 million, you'd like to see him out there for at least 13 or 14 games of the season.

Looks like Haynesworth is out again

December, 11, 2009
David Elfin of the Washington Times was the first to report that Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (ankle) will not play against the Raiders on Sunday. Fullback Mike Sellers will also miss the game with a thigh injury. It would be the third game Haynesworth's missed in the past four, so at least the Redskins are used to playing without their star defender.

Jason Reid of The Washington Post stopped short of ruling Haynesworth out for the game. He said that Jim Zorn was reluctant to list Haynesworth as "doubtful" for the game until he absolutely had to. Haynesworth was making his way around the team's practice facility wearing a protective boot Thursday.



Sunday, 10/26
Monday, 10/27