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London Fletcher: Drama makes it harder to win

London-Fletcher-RedskinsBelieve it or not, the Washington Redskins won the NFC East title last season. That success is easy to forget when you look at their 3-12 record this season, which has included seven straight losses. If you ask London Fletcher, one of the differences between 2012 and 2013 for the Redskins is drama.

“I think what happens is, in the National Football League it’s tough enough to win on Sundays when you’re just competing against the opponent,” Fletcher told reporters on Thursday, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “But then when you add other dynamics to the situation, that makes it more difficult. Any time you have distractions, some people can block it out. Some people can’t. So it’s not a good thing when you’re dealing with stuff that you have to deal with beyond just the opponent.”

The veteran linebacker made sure to note that he does not believe the Redskins are 3-12 because of distractions — it just didn’t help. If nothing else, I’m sure the drama has made it almost impossible for the team to turn things around over the past month or two.

That said, Fletcher added that he has dealt with plenty of drama during his NFL career.

“I’ve been in Washington for seven years,” he said. “Of course … Oh yeah, ’09 was pretty bad. You had all kind of drama going on throughout the team and coaching. Just a lot of stuff. That was a pretty tough year.”

All players go through tough seasons. Redskins fans can only hope the 2013 season turns out to be the worst of Robert Griffin III’s career. With all the questions surrounding Mike Shanahan’s future and his decision to bench RG3, the past several weeks have been about much more than just X’s and O’s.

Redskins expected to pursue Art Briles as head coach

Art Briles Robert Griffin BaylorThe Washington Redskins could be dreaming of a reunion between Robert Griffin III and Art Briles, his college coach at Baylor.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Washington is expected to pursue Briles when Mike Shanahan’s tenure as head coach comes to an end.

ESPN reported on Sunday that Shanahan thought about quitting after last season because of frustration over the way owner Daniel Snyder favored RG3. They say Shanahan, who is in the fourth year of a 5-year, $35 million contract, stuck with the team because he didn’t want the perception to be that he walked away because his franchise quarterback got hurt. Reports indicate Shanahan could be fired this week.

Briles would be a natural candidate for the position because of his success with RG3 in college. Briles and RG3 began their careers at Baylor in the 2008 season. The Bears went 4-8 in their first year, 4-8 the next year (Griffin tore his ACL that season), 7-6 in 2010 and 10-3 in 2011. The 2011 season saw RG3 win the Heisman Trophy and lead Baylor to a win in the Alamo Bowl. He threw for 37 touchdowns and six interceptions under Briles that season, and rushed for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Since losing RG3, Briles has maintained a strong level at Baylor. The Bears went 8-5 last season and are 11-1 this season. His excellent coaching and explosive offense resulted in him being rewarded with a 10-year contract extension last month that runs through 2023. The contract calls for him to be paid him more than $4 million next season, but La Canfora says it does not preclude him from jumping to the NFL.

Though the appeal of coaching Griffin could be high for Briles, the failures of so many other coaches in Washington could be a turnoff. Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy said this week that he would not want to work for Snyder.

It remains to be seen whether Briles would be open to the challenge when the time comes.

Redskins screwed by referees on non first down call at end of game

Redskins first down

The Washington Redskins were screwed by the referees and chain gang on their final possession in a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night.

Washington had the ball at their 41 with two minutes left and were facing a 2nd-and-5 situation. Robert Griffin III completed a pass to Pierre Garcon, who came close to the first down marker. The ball was spotted just short of the yellow line running across the NBC screen. The confusion came when the chain gang acted like it was a first down after being instructed by a referee to move the sticks forward.

In the GIF below, you can see the official at the bottom of the screen instruct the chain gang to move up for a first down:

The chain gang moved the sticks up and changed their down box to signify first down. The problem was the referees then changed their mind and then signaled that it was third down.

Below you can see the same referee who initially waved the chain gang up for a first down changed and then signaled a three on his hand, all the while the down box said one:

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Philadelphia Eagles fans egged Washington Redskins’ bus

Eagles-fans-egged-Redskins-bus

The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins will play an extremely important divisional game at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Like all of the teams in the NFC East, the Eagles and ‘Skins are rivals. And what do rival fans do to opposing players? Egg their bus, I guess.

“Our bus got egged on the way to the game only in Philly lol #gameday,” Washington nose tackle Chris Baker wrote on Instagram along with the photo you see above.

That’s certainly not nice, but it’s not the first time Eagles fans have fired something at an NFC East rival’s bus. At this point it just comes with the territory.

H/T Ian Rapoport

Albert Haynesworth: Signing with Redskins was ‘worst mistake of my life’

albert-haynesworthChris Cooley made headlines earlier this week by blasting his former Washington Redskins teammate Albert Haynesworth and claiming Haynesworth only signed with the team to collect his guaranteed money and try to be released. As you might expect, Haynesworth remembers things much, much differently.

Haynesworth, who inked a $100 million contract with the Redskins in 2009, spent just two seasons with the team. After he was done responding to Cooley by saying he “sounds as stupid as he looks” and is nothing more than a self promoter, Haynesworth took aim at the Redskins organization and head coach Mike Shanahan during an interview with Tennessee Sports Radio.

“I don’t want the Redskins fans to be mad, but that organization is completely different than the Titans,” Haynesworth said, via DC Sports Bog. “Yeah, they have a long history of being in the NFL, supposedly being one of the top teams. I mean, they’ve got a lot of Hall of Famers from there that I’ve met and that I liked, and liked to learn from. But the current day, I’m not gonna say it’s Dan’s fault — Dan Snyder, I’m not gonna say it’s his fault — but it ain’t really about football, it’s about self-promotion.

“It was ridiculous. I’ve never seen that, and I wasn’t used to that. The whole recruiting thing from the beginning – when I signed that deal – which to me was the worst mistake in my life. You could say yeah I got paid a lot of money — I don’t really care about the money. If I knew it was gonna be like that, I never would have went. I never would have went. I guarantee.”

Haynesworth said he wanted to be a Hall of Famer and that it wasn’t about the money, contrary to what Cooley believes. He said he was told the Redskins would be running a similar defense to the one he dominated with the Titans, but they went back on their word and never did anything of the sort. He also said Shanahan has benefitted from John Elway’s success.

“He hasn’t won a playoff game since Elway retired,” Haynesworth said. “Great coach. Yeah. I mean, that’s what he came in, the very first meeting, he came in saying I’m a great coach, I know how to win, I’ve won 25 championships. I’m like, 25 championships? Then I go back and look, and I was like you haven’t won a freaking playoff game since Elway retired. How come Elway comes back after Shanahan gets fired? Kind of weird. I mean, the guy is all me me me. Sorry to say that.”

There was plenty more in the transcription provided by DC Sports Bog, and it’s all worth reading. It comes as no surprise that Cooley and Haynesworth remember the past differently. In some ways, I’m sure they’re both right about what happened during the Haynesworth era. Whatever the case, we can all agree it was a massive failure.

H/T Pro Football Zone

Speculation building that Washington Redskins could change name to Washington Bravehearts

Washington Redskins helmetBy now, I’m sure you are all at least somewhat familiar with the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins and their team name. There has been increasing pressure on the team and owner Dan Snyder to change the name, with many people feeling strongly about the word “Redskins” being a racist term. Snyder recently insisted that the team will never change its name, but could his stance be softening?

On Friday morning, TMZ published an interesting report about a wealthy patent investor named Aris Mardirossian and his recent trademark application. Mardirossian registered the name “WASHINGTON BRAVEHEARTS” on Oct. 17. A copy of the application, which can be seen here, shows that Aris plans to use the name for “Entertainment in the nature of football games.”

Here’s where it really gets interesting. According to TMZ, Mardirossian is one of Snyder’s neighbors. The Redskins told TMZ there is no connection between Mardiossian’s patent application and the team, claiming Snyder doesn’t even know who he is. When informed that they two wealthy middle-aged men live just a few doors down from one another, the team representative had no response.

In addition to the trademark application, Eye on Football discovered that the domain name www.WashingtonBravehearts.com was registered to Mardirossian last week. Obviously if you’re going to start some sort of enterprise involving the name Washington Bravehearts you would purchase the corresponding domain name, but this is all very suspicious to say the least.

Snyder can probably only hold out so long. The name issue isn’t going to go away. My guess is he has already started planning for the future. If he’s trying to have his buddy help him to keep things on the hush-hush, mission failed.

Philadelphia Eagles accuse Washington Redskins of faking injuries (Video)

Redskins-injury-fakingAlas, it begins. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to run an incredibly fast-paced offense under Chip Kelly this season. If all goes to plan, they’ll be wearing out defenses the way they did against the Washington Redskins on Monday night. And if Kelly’s up-tempo attack finds success, be prepared to hear about how opponents are faking injuries all season long.

On Monday night with Philadelphia leading 12-7 and driving in the first quarter, Redskins offensive lineman Kedric Golston went down with what was later described as cramping. As Golston was on the turf holding his leg, you could hear several Eagles yelling, “He’s faking!”

Former Redskins running back Rock Cartwright agreed.

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