NFC East: Ramzee Robinson

Good first impression for Redskins

August, 14, 2010
It's just one preseason game, but on Friday night, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and his quarterback, Donovan McNabb, made a favorable impression on a fan base starving for success. I thought McNabb looked more comfortable in a 42-17 win against the Buffalo Bills than he has in training camp practices. He and Rex Grossman made enough plays in the passing game to stake the Skins to a big lead. Now, here are few observations:
  • McNabb was 5-of-8 for 58 yards and a touchdown. He hooked up with Anthony Armstrong for a 4-yard touchdown pass. McNabb and Chris Cooley already have a nice chemistry. McNabb loves to use the tight end, as we saw with Brent Celek in Philadelphia. McNabb knows that if he can hit Cooley in stride, the tight end can pick up some yards after the catch. McNabb seemed to have a good command of Shanahan's offense -- especially for this early in the preseason. And he's going to love the fact that Shanahan's hell-bent on establishing the running game.
  • I was impressed with Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams in this game. Shanahan should do everyone a favor and release Willie Parker now, because there's no place for him on this roster. Torain runs a little high for my taste, but I was impressed by the way he set up his blocks. He maneuvered very well between the tackles. Williams launches his body through the slightest hole. I thought he had an excellent performance on his 11 carries for 51 yards.
  • The 3-4 defense is a work in progress, but there were some good signs against the Bills. Albert Haynesworth entered the game in the second quarter and held his own at nose tackle. And he even had some nice things to say about Jim Haslett's defense after the game. I think the secondary will benefit from the 3-4 in a big way. DeAngelo Hall had an interception that set up a touchdown. Haslett's bringing pressure from everywhere, and that's not something we've seen with the Redskins since Gregg Williams was around.
  • Cornerback Ramzee Robinson's making his case to stay on the roster. He made an excellent play to down a punt at the Bills' 1-yard line.
  • Brandon Banks had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. He might be one of those special talents who Shanahan has a difficult time releasing. I'm not sure he helps you in the passing game this season, but I'd stick the guy out there on returns and let him do his thing. He's not as thick as fellow Kansas State return man/running back Darren Sproles, but he's probably a bit faster.
  • Shanahan had to be happy with Devin Thomas' performance after his initial bobble. Grossman threw him a wonderful pass on the 44-yard touchdown, but I love how Thomas snatched the ball and never broke stride. Now maybe he can start climbing up the depth chart.
  • Trent Williams held up fine at left tackle. He said he was a little nervous, but he played through the jitters. His footwork was really impressive. I think the Skins are in business at his spot for the next 10 years or so. And it really helps to have Chris Samuels giving Williams some feedback. I can't think of a better mentor. Offensive line looked pretty solid to me.
  • I thought rookie linebacker Perry Riley out of LSU had a rough time in the second half. I kept seeing him overpursue running plays.
  • Tight end Lee Vickers continues to impress me. Not a flashy tight end by any means, but he'll make tough catches. And he appears to be a solid blocker. I watched Grossman fire balls to Vickers in team drills in Ashburn, Va., and I just think he could be a valuable part of the team.
  • This secondary plays with so much more confidence right now -- especially when Ryan Fitzpatrick's playing quarterback. One negative: Safety Anderson Russell has to come up with the play when he's the last line of defense. He allowed a Bills running back to bounce off him in the second half. He took a really poor angle toward the runner. That will not be a fun film session for Russell.

How will the Eagles address their CB situation?

November, 11, 2009
Posted by's Matt Mosley

After trading for former Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs on draft day, it looked like the Eagles would have quality depth at that position. With All-Pro Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Joselio Hanson returning for the '09 season, it looked like a pretty talented group.

But on Wednesday, the Eagles placed Hobbs on injured reserve with a neck injury and Hanson was suspended for four games by the NFL for using a banned substance. Now the Eagles will face Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and his talented group of wide receivers and tight ends without some key players in the secondary.

Coach Andy Reid acknowledged that the Eagles might promote cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu from their practice squad to help provide depth. Right now, it's unclear who would be the nickel corner against the Chargers. Ramzee Robinson played in 13 games for the Lions last season, but that was mostly on special teams.

In other injury news, running back Brian Westbrook didn't practice Wednesday, but Reid said he'd be ready to go Thursday. The Eagles practiced indoors and Reid doesn't like to have Westbrook run on the hard surface.

Starting linebacker Akeem Jordan (knee), left tackle Jason Peters (ankle), fullback Leonard Weaver (ankle) and linebacker Moise Fokou (flu) all missed practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson was limited with a toe injury. The one piece of good news is that Chris Gocong returned to practice after missing the Cowboys game with quad and hamstring injuries.

In some non-injury news, ESPN 950's Brian Seltzer is reporting that wide receiver DeSean Jackson has fired his agent and plans to sign with Drew Rosenhaus. You can read Seltzer daily on this blog.

Eagles' Hobbs out for season, Hanson suspended

November, 11, 2009
Posted by's Matt Mosley

It's been an awful afternoon in South Philly for the Eagles. First, there was the news that cornerback Ellis Hobbs would miss the rest of the season with a neck injury he suffered Sunday against the Cowboys. And now the NFL has announced that the team's nickel cornerback, Joselio Hanson, has been suspended four games for using a banned substance.

Coach Andy Reid addressed reporters earlier this afternoon, but he didn't make mention of Hanson's suspension. That news came from the league office a little later. Of Hobbs' neck injury, Reid said: "They think they can go in and fix it where he’d have an opportunity to continue his career. He’s done a nice job for us. It’s too bad for number one, Ellis, who wanted to continue to do well and he was rotating in. We’ll move on and the other guys will have an opportunity to step up and play."

The Eagles quickly moved to sign former Lions cornerback Ramzee Robinson, who was the final pick in the '07 draft. It's likely they'll have to make another move to address Hanson's situation. Hanson's attorney, David Cornwell, said in a statement that the cornerback felt "bloated" after eating Chinese food before last season's NFC Championship Game and took a pill that turned out to be a diuretic.

Cornwell had attempted to delay a decision on Hanson's appeal of the suspension based on that fact that the use of diuretics are expected to be a part of the upcoming labor negotiations.
"We are disappointed," said Cornwell in a statement. "Joselio accepts his responsibilities as an NFL player. Nonetheless, we suspect that he is a casualty of the looming labor war in the NFL."
I'm sure the commissioner won't appreciate that last comment since it strikes to the integrity of the league's appeals process. The league said that Hanson was suspended for "violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances."