NFL Nation: El

Skins re-sign Rabach, release 10

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
9:15
PM ET
So much for Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan easing their way into free agency. The Skins began a major overhaul of their roster Thursday evening, re-signing Casey Rabach to a three-year contract but releasing 10 other players.

Rabach
Rabach
The other three teams in the NFC East have extended tenders to players but none of them rivaled the Redskins in terms of purging their rosters. Veteran guard Randy Thomas and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El were the most notable releases. It's not surprising the Redskins would release them, but the timing is certainly interesting. Shanahan has talked about improving from within, but now he'll also have to look elsewhere for help.

Rabach agreed to a three-year contract worth $12.3 million, according to ESPN's John Clayton. It's obvious the veteran center placed more emphasis on security than money by not testing the free-agency waters. The Redskins also released former starting cornerback Fred Smoot as well as veteran backup running backs Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright, who was a valuable specials teams player. Cartwright was also a vocal leader on the team but apparently that wasn't enough to convince Shanahan.

Basically Clinton Portis is the last running back left standing, although that will change via free agency or the draft. Keep in mind that Shanahan is a great admirer of LaDainian Tomlinson after playing against him for so many years in the AFC West. No matter what you think of the Skins' moves, no one can say they weren't decisive Thursday.

"Obviously, it's a day of change for the Redskins," Allen told reporters at Redskins Park earlier this evening.

Last year at this time, the Redskins were paying huge money to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in free agency. This time around, the Redskins appear to be more interested in creating vacancies.

Wrap-up: Redskins 27, Broncos 17

November, 15, 2009
11/15/09
4:21
PM ET
No, that is not a misprint. The Redskins survived two early touchdown catches by Brandon Marshall to pull off the huge upset. I'm sitting in the pressbox at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and Chargers fans are going crazy over the Skins' win over the Broncos. Obviously it helps the Chargers' cause.

But on this day, the Redskins are only concerned with restoring some of their dignity after a disastrous start. Quarterback Jason Campbell did an outstanding job of managing this game. He made plays when they presented themselves but he never tried to do too much. Campbell was 17-of-26 for 193 yards and a touchdown.

On several plays, he made perfect throws on the run. And Antwaan Randle El was the recipient of at least two of those plays. The Redskins allowed two huge plays in the first half, but the defense came back strong in the second half. They knocked Broncos starter Kyle Orton out with an ankle injury late in the first half. And his replacement, Chris Simms, never had a chance. Simms was awful in this game, but a lot of that had to do with the Redskins' constant pressure.

Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo combined for three sacks. And LaRon Landry had a key interception in the fourth quarter to put the Skins in position to take the lead. Carter and Orakpo also combined for 13 tackles. Simms was 3-of-13 for 13 yards and one interception. It was a regrettable performance by a player who hasn't seen meaningful action in years.

The Redskins showed a lot of balance on offense. Coach Jim Zorn and playcaller Sherm Lewis never abandoned the run -- even when it wasn't there at times. As a result, Ladell Betts ended up with 26 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. He ran through a Brian Dawkins tackle to put the Redskins on top, 24-17.

It was nice to see several players run over to hug Zorn after the game. Through this entire mess, they've never quit on their coach. And on Sunday, they rewarded him with a really impressive win.

NFC East: Final Word

September, 18, 2009
9/18/09
4:03
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Five nuggets of knowledge about this weekend's games:

The Cowboys better not peak too early in Sunday night's game: With the grand opening of Cowboys Stadium, owner Jerry Jones thinks his players will be more motivated than ever. And I actually think you'll see a lot of emotion from the Cowboys in the game. If the Giants can match that intensity and sort of hang around for three quarters, I like their chances late.
Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
The Giants will try to force DeMarcus Ware into pass coverage.

The thing to remember is that Tony Romo has all but owned the Giants during the regular season. He replaced Drew Bledsoe at halftime of the Cowboys-Giants game at Texas Stadium in '06. The Cowboys lost that game, but Romo's lit them up since then. Obviously, the huge exception is the divisional playoff game at the end of the '07 season. But still, I think that past success should give Romo a lot of confidence heading into Sunday's game. I talked to Justin Tuck via phone Thursday and he promised we'd see one of the most physical games of the year. The Giants want to keep Romo in the pocket and make sure he's not always side-stepping Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.

Why am I the only guy in the country who thinks Kevin Kolb will play well against the Saints? It's not like the Saints have a juggernaut defense. Starting linebackers Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle still read this blog on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean they'll be able to account for Brian Westbrook coming out of the backfield and tight end Brent Celek running down the seam. I think the Eagles' defense will force at least two turnovers and second-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson will have a big game. I don't trust the Saints' corners against Jackson -- especially Jabari Greer.

Santana Moss is about to go off on the Rams: There, I said it. I think Jim Zorn will take more shots downfield, in part, because Jason Campbell should have more time against the Rams' front four. Leonard Little and Chris Long aren't slackers, but they aren't Umenyiora and Tuck. Can we agree on that? The only thing that gives me pause is the memory of Steve Spagnuolo's defenses dominating the Redskins last season. But the Redskins will roll in this game. Clinton Portis goes for 115 yards and a touchdown and Moss goes for six catches for 127 yards. Trust me on this stuff.

I'm worried about the Giants' lack of depth in the secondary: The Redskins didn't put much pressure on the Giants' injury-depleted secondary last week -- yet Antwaan Randle El still managed 98 yards receiving. Starting safety Michael Johnson (burner) returned to practice Friday, but Kenny Phillips (knee) wasn't able to go. The Phillips injury is the bigger concern. He has the athleticism to cover Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. And he's also capable of doing a good job on the Cowboys' receivers. If one of those players is out, C.C. Brown would have to start. That would be a dicey situation for the Giants. And nickel corner Kevin Dockery missed practice Friday. That means the Giants could go into the game with undrafted rookie corner Bruce Johnson "starting" at the nickel. He did fine against the Skins, but the Cowboys have more offensive firepower. Tough situation for the Giants.

The Giants' offensive game plan will account for DeMarcus Ware at all times: Ware's emerged as the best defensive player in the game. He got dinged up early against the Bucs last week and wasn't himself. On Sunday night, he'll be relentless. He'll move to both sides of the line and I think his athleticism is too much for Giants left tackle David Diehl. The Giants will have to max protect at times -- and they'll also chip on Ware with Kevin Boss. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will do everything in his power to force Ware into coverage. It's not like that's a huge weakness for Ware or anything, but it takes him out of the pass rush. Of course, every team tries that. Eli Manning needs to anticipate where the rush is coming from. Wade Phillips does a nice job of changing those calls up, but Manning has the ability to make him pay.

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