The Redskins and Athleticism: Yes, Seriously

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Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall


So, I don't start threads here very often. I read a lot, post a little, and occasionally hit up the game chat. There's a reason for that. BGO is a place that I treat with a certain reverence. Even though I feel wholeheartedly that I'm among friends, I don't want to "clutter" the board, or discuss things the far-smarter football minds around here have already hashed out.

But this is a topic that I just HAD to get out there for discussion. When was the last time you saw a Redskin team that was this purely athletic?

When we drafted Brian Orakpo, I kind of shook my head and thought, "Wow. It's not fair to our opponents to have a guy who is this strong, fast and quick." Now we have two. Though I admit I wasn't very familiar with Ryan Kerrigan when we drafted him, I've quickly learned that this kid is an absolutely frightening athlete.

Who else makes the plays he has in these first two games? How many guys can fight off a cut block, in a split-second get his hands up, deflect and intercept the pass, and run it in for a score? (I'll spot you Orakpo.) And getting down the field to make the play on the ball that Fletch ended up picking off today, brought a sincere "holy hell!" out of me. I love having that kind of speed, power, and football smarts on both ends of the LOS.

Even the guys up front are serious athletes. Gone is Mr. Lay-on-the-field. Here is Barry Cofield, who always seems to be motoring into the right position. Carriker has a great combination of size and speed, and so does Bowen. We might get beat once in a while up front, or in the D-secondary, but it's not because we don't have the athletes anymore.

On the offensive side, the burst from both Hightower and Helu has been just amazing. Both of those guys seem to see the cut, and once they do, they're immediately hitting top gear. There's no tentativeness, there's no hitting the line "soft." It's "there it is, POW!!!"

But the most improved athlete on this team, IMO, is Sleepy Davis. Kid worked his ass off and shed 20 lbs in the offseason. He's leaner, quicker, and has become a serious threat; and MAJOR matchup problem.

Top to bottom, on both sides of the ball, this team just looks more explosive. I used to watch games and think "is it me, or is this other team just a lot quicker than us?" I don't expect to have that feeling much this year...if at all.

Hail.
 

servumtuum

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HH, I agree wholeheartedly. That is probably the most important reason I feel better about this Redskins team than any I've seen in quite a while.

We have athletes!
 

Boone

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You need to get over the thread-starting hesitation :)

Nice job HH :cheers:

I think you're definitely on to something. Whether it' overall team speed, or the ability to make plays in the clutch, there's definitely better athleticism on disply out there. Maybe we've just gotten way too used to watching vets playing for a paycheck. It's definitely a new day.
 

Goaldeje

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Not all thoughts should be thre... nm, nm! :)

Kidding, HH. You are absolutely right. I love the combination of smarts and motor that Kerrigan has. That play where he corralled Beanie running down the line, adjusting to Beanie's adjustment, tackling for a loss was a beautiful play to watch. There are teams faster than us, but we're getting there.

Watching Helu on offense especially is a LOT of fun. As I said in the chat today, it wouldn't surprise me if Helu gets the starting nod over Hightower by the end of the season.
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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That play where he corralled Beanie running down the line, adjusting to Beanie's adjustment, tackling for a loss was a beautiful play to watch.
I should have mentioned that. That was a phenomenal play. I'm not making the straight-up comparison yet obviously, but it reminded me of LT. You were better off running AT him than away from him, because he'd just penetrate, and chase plays down from behind. That play was beyond impressive.

Like I said, we might get outplayed in some instances, but I don't see us being "outquicked."
 

Miles Monroe

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I agree completely HH. I think is more then just youth and new additions to the team. I sense the accountability, and players not wanting to let their teammates down.

As for starting threads, and posting... If a pin head like me can hang here, you really can be a contributor. Great post.
 

Elephant

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hh, you frustrate me sometimes. You have always been one of the most valued members of either board, well liked and smart!
 

Bulldog

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Davis and Helu look like emerging players on offense.

Kerrigan and Orakpo look like bookends on defense.

We haven't had a group of players 25 and under like this in quite awhile.
 

Boone

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Davis and Helu look like emerging players on offense.

Kerrigan and Orakpo look like bookends on defense.

We haven't had a group of players 25 and under like this in quite awhile.
Tell me about it. Ain't it groovy? :)
 

Bulldog

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Can't wait to see Jenkins get back at DE.

That 2011 draft is turning out to be one to remember.
 

BigRedskinDaddy

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Davis and Helu look like emerging players on offense.

Kerrigan and Orakpo look like bookends on defense.

We haven't had a group of players 25 and under like this in quite awhile.

There you go. Not only are we more athletic, we're much younger than we've been in many a year. Bodes well for the future, yessir it does.
 

redskins26

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So far i am very pleased with the defense we actually held a lead 1 week and the next week we forced a turnover to preserve the lead something we havent seen in about 20 years it seems like.
 

burgold

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It's not just athleticism. It's desire.

You're seeing plays made by effort. Last year or in years previous, would that cut have been made or would the player have been more worried about protecting himself and avoided contact? It's going all out to the whistle.

Previously, our best players would half heart it. Portis, who doesn't remember Moss jogging on routes where he wasn't the guy, Rogers who'd give up the chase if he was beat, etc. Fletcher even admitted that this lack of hustle from others nearly drove him to retirement. This year, a guy who gets blocked tries to get unblocked.

Yes, it's athleticism, but it's also hustle.
 

gbear

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On the Kerrigan tracking the ball and making the tackle all the way down the line, the announcer said the skins could be setup for a reverse or a naked boot leg due to over pursuit. I understand what they are saying, but he was in the backfield so fast seeing the ball. I think either of those plays runs back into him further in hte back field. I will say he better see the ball as he is making that rush across the field or he may very well fall for exactly what the announcer was talking about.
 

Goaldeje

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Agreed GBear. I think if they ran a reverse, Kerrigan would have been in position to make the stop for a loss on that play. He is more athletic than I was led to believe by the experts and incredibly smart. He ran down the line because there was no threat of a reverse.

I love this kid.
 

Lanky Livingston

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It's not just athleticism. It's desire.

You're seeing plays made by effort. Last year or in years previous, would that cut have been made or would the player have been more worried about protecting himself and avoided contact? It's going all out to the whistle.

Previously, our best players would half heart it. Portis, who doesn't remember Moss jogging on routes where he wasn't the guy, Rogers who'd give up the chase if he was beat, etc. Fletcher even admitted that this lack of hustle from others nearly drove him to retirement. This year, a guy who gets blocked tries to get unblocked.

Yes, it's athleticism, but it's also hustle.
This! Love him or hate him, Albert Haynesworth is one of the most athletic DTs in the league. He has zero desire, however, and therefore you end up with him taking a nap while Mike Vick runs around making plays.

A few players you didn't mention hog: DeAngelo Hall is a fantastic athlete - tends to trust his athleticism too much and get burnt, but when he gets it right its very nice to watch. Anthony Armstrong might be the fastest dude in the NFL, and that catch he laid out for against the Giants was a very athletic play - not too many guys can do that.

And don't forget the guy who hasn't even stepped on the field yet, Mr. Dirty Thirty. Dude is a freak show athlete! Mr. Romo is going to find out just how good he is on Monday night!
 

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