Tag:Tim hightower
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 3:49 pm
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Rex to start vs Dallas, Hankerson done for year

Posted by Will Brinson



It's only Monday, but we've already got our weekly Redskins quarterback semi-drama out of the way: Rex Grossman will start for Washington when they play the Cowboys in Week 11.

That's according to Mike Shanahan, who didn't hesitate to announce the news at his Monday press conference.

"I was impressed with the way [Rex] played," Shanahan said.

Impressed here is relative, of course, because Grossman wasn't good in the Redskins 20-9 loss to Miami, going 21 of 32 for 215 yards and two picks.

Week 10 Wrapup

But Grossman was more effective than John Beck, who he replaced this past week. Grossman didn't get the win, obviously, and he wasn't necessarily good, but he at least moved the offense and provided some hope that the 'Skins could pull off the upset in Miami.

As did rookie wideout Leonard Hankerson, who flashed some serious potential with an eight-catch, 106-yard effort against the Dolphins.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, Hankerson's season ended Monday with the announcement that he was placed in injured reserve with a torn labrum. Shanahan said the timeline for rehab would be about four months.


Shanahan also said that Santana Moss wouldn't be available against Dallas (though he could be back for the Seattle game), which means the Redskins top-two receiving options against their hated rival will be Jabar Gaffney and the newly-signed David Anderson.

Clearly, things have gone south for Washington since their 3-1 start, and there's no real reason for hope in the near future.

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Posted on: November 12, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Report: Beck, Grossman splitting first-team reps

Posted by Will Brinson



Have you -- like us -- become bored with the Redskins quarterback situation over the past few weeks? Are you wondering where the usual drama seeping out of D.C. has gone? Do you think the offense lacks the appropriate combustibility under John Beck? Do you -- gasp -- miss Rex Grossman?

If so, here's some good news: Grossman and Beck reportedly split first-team reps in practice all week!

That's according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, who cites three sources "with knowledge of the situation" who tell him that Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan (the Shaniclan) had Beck give up half of his first-team reps to Grossman this week.

What does this mean? Perhaps Grossman is finally over "the flu" and ready to resume his normal quarterbacking duties and the Shanahans just want to get him maximum action in practice.

More likely, Shanahan is sending a message to Beck that he's on a very short leash this week against the Dolphins this week. As he should be; we've been saying for a while now that there's a decent chance the Redskins find a way to lose out this year.


When Beck initially started against the Panthers, there was some optimism (we guarded against it!) after he posted a pair of scores against Carolina. That optimism disappeared as Mike was handed his first career coaching shutout when Buffalo sacked Beck 10 (!) times in Toronto.

Over the past eight quarters, the offense has mustered 11 points. The Redskins have lost their last four games, and the only thing that's looking like a surprise about their 2011 season is the opening-week win against the Giants.

In short, Beck's been absolutely ineffective. Grossman, as we noted in last week's "Sorting the Sunday Pile," is also quite bad. But Grossman has the explosiveness that Beck lacks, and that actually gives the Redskins a shot at passing the ball further than 16 yards in a game.

Sure, that explosiveness can also result in a four-pick implosion, but the risk of rolling Rex out there, if the Redskins actually hope to compete the rest of this year, is worth it, given what we've seen from Beck this year. It seems like the Shanahans are starting to figure that out too.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:39 am
 

Keep an Eye On: Week 8's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Giants vs. Dolphins
One of the more confounding issues with the Dolphins this season has been the decline of their pass-rush. After recording 39 sacks in 2010 (tied for 10th best in the NFL) Miami entered last week’s game against Denver with just eight. They wound up recording seven sacks in the game, but that was in part because of Tim Tebow’s inability to make quick reads or get the ball out.

The Giants’ reshuffled offensive line has been hit or miss in pass protection thus far (more “hit” than “miss”). At Arizona in Week 4, their brilliant protection practically won the game. But the next week it waffled against Seattle’s underrated D-line (Chris Clemons rather enjoyed facing left tackle Will Beatty).

The Dolphins have one of the game’s best all-around edge-rushers in Cameron Wake, the reigning AFC sack leader. His leverage and tenacity give him strength that’s much better than his size indicates. Wake has been oddly quiet in non-two minute situations this season, though he abused Denver’s somewhat lumbering right tackle, Orlando Franklin, last week.

Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie is more polished than Franklin but has slower feet. He’ll need help. On the other side, Miami may have an under-the-radar pass-rushing talent in Jared Odrick, who somewhat resembles a thicker Jason Taylor.

Ravens vs. Cardinals
The Ravens offense owes everyone a good performance after ruining one of our 17 precious Monday night games. They should be able to get on track against a Cardinals defense that has struggled to generate a consistent pass-rush despite aggressive blitzes from new coordinator Ray Horton.

The intrigue is on the other side of the ball. Roughly two months after the trade and $20-million-plus investment in Kevin Kolb, some Cardinal fans are actually wondering if the 27-year-old quarterback should be benched. That’s the kind of ridiculous thinking that those who don’t actually contribute any skin in the game can get away with. Ken Whisenhunt knows that he’d never get another coaching job if he were to bench Kolb for John Skelton.

Kolb hasn’t been great, but he’s hardly the problem. Arizona’s “non-Fitzgerald” receivers have not been able to get open. General manager Rod Graves may deserve some heat for letting Steve Breaston get away this past offseason, though Graves’ logic was understandable at the time. Third-round rookie Andre Roberts showed intriguing potential as a speedy slasher last season.

Roberts looked like a future starter, and he cost a fraction of what Breaston would have cost. So Graves banked on him. Roberts has responded by failing to reach 40 yards receiving in every game this season. The good-looking prospect prior to Roberts, Early Doucet, has been equally ineffective.

Teams can sometimes get away with having only one quality wide receiver, but not if their offensive tackles stink. And there’s no denying that Levi Brown and Brandon Keith – two heavy-footed lumberers with inconsistent technique – stink.

So far Kolb has been awful when throwing off-balance. It’s doubtful he’ll get to be on balance much against a staunch Ravens D.

Bills vs. Redskins
Don’t pick the Redskins this week. It’s a matter of principle, if nothing else. No team should have expectations placed on it after making a change at quarterback and losing its top wide receiver, running back, tight end, left tackle and left guard in a two-week span. This will look like a preseason version of the Redskins. How will they cope?

It helps that Mike Shanahan’s system runs more fluidly with John Beck than it does with Rex Grossman. Beck is smoother reading the field and much better at play-action rollouts and bootlegs than Grossman. Accuracy is a bit of a concern, however. As for the other injuries and replacement ...

RB Tim Hightower (knee – out for season) had found his niche in this zone-run scheme, but he’ll be missed most in the passing game. Ryan Torain is a decent upright power-runner with a spring in his step, but he can’t stick pass-rushers the way Hightower could.

WR Santana Moss (hand – out 5-7 weeks) was Washington’s only creator on offense. He could generate his own space and turn an underneath catch into a 60-yard scamper. Either Niles Paul or Anthony Armstrong will replace him. Both have flashed at times, but neither is completely trustworthy. And, unlike with Moss, defenses won’t have to even ponder the possibility of double coverage.

TE Chris Cooley (finger, knee – out for season) was trending down and losing his role to Fred Davis prior to get hurting. Davis can fill Cooley’s receiving shoes. But the Redskins are now down a good in-line blocker in the run game. With Cooley and Davis, Washington had the benefit of balancing its formation with a viable pass-catching tight end on each side. This often compelled defenses to stay in basic front seven looks. New backup tight end Logan Paulsen won’t command that kind of respect.

LT Trent Williams (high ankle sprain – out 0-4 weeks) has missed most of the last two games. Pretty easy to identify the impact of his absence: backup Sean Locklear is experienced but much slower than Williams all-around.

LG Kory Lichtensteiger (knee – out for season) was one of the unheralded heroes for this team down the stretch last year and prior to going down in Week 6. Center Will Montgomery moved one spot to the left to fill Lichtensteiger’s void. Montgomery is interchangeable that way, but his replacement in the middle, Erik Cook, a seventh-round pick in ’10, was a noticeable downgrade coming off the bench. He had issues snapping the ball and was overwhelmed by defensive tackle Mike Peterson on a few plays. The Redskins can only hope those were Cook’s jitters working themselves out.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Tim Hightower is lost for season with ACL tear

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Although losing to the Panthers was a big-time bummer for the Redskins on Sunday, the news got much worse on Monday.

We wrote Sunday night that the Redskins medical team believed running back Tim Hightower tore his ACL on Sunday, and Monday afternoon, coach Mike Shanahan confirmed the tear and that Hightower was lost for the season.

Without Hightower, who rushed for 321 yards and a touchdown on 84 carries this year, the Redskins now will rely on Ryan Torain and Roy Helu to take the bulk of the rushing attempts.

Shanahan also said receiver Santana Moss would miss five to seven weeks after undergoing surgery on his broken hand, and he said Rex Grossman, who's been stricken with pneumonia, will stay in the hospital for the next 48 hours.

"Our goal is to get John Beck's supporting cast playing at a very high level,” Shanahan said.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 10:07 pm
 

Report: medical staff thinks Hightower tore ACL

Did Hightower tear his ACL Sunday? We'll know for certain Monday. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Sunday, changing quarterbacks wasn't enough to save the Redskins from themselves. They dropped their second consecutive game to a one-win team, this time the Carolina Panthers. And while John Beck certainly looked more like an NFL signal caller than Rex Grossman did against the Eagles, Washington's backfield could feature different faces next week, too.

It appears that Beck's job is safe (for now, anyway), but running back Tim Hightower, who left the Panthers game with a knee injury and was seen on crutches as he left the stadium, will be out. The only issue is how long.

Chris Russell of ESPN Radio 980 in Washington, DC tweeted Sunday night that "multiple sources told ESPN Radio 980 that Redskins & medical staff strongly believe that Tim Hightower has a torn ACL, MRI in AM." 

The Washington Times' Nathan Fenno wrote after the game that the extent of Hightower's injury wasn't clear but the running back said X-rays were negative (an MRI is scheduled for Monday). Coach Mike Shanahan hoped Hightower didn’t injure his anterior cruciate ligament.

“It’s not excruciating pain, it’s just uncomfortable,” Hightower said. “I’ve never really been hurt so I don’t know what stuff is supposed to feel like.”

Hightower's status for the immediate future and beyond is unclear, but if he can't go he will be replaced by Ryan Torain and Roy Helu.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 9:44 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 10:39 am
 

John Beck named Redskins starter by Mike Shanahan

Posted by Will Brinson

On Tuesday, we got word there would be a quarterback change in Minnesota -- Wednesday morning brought word of a swap in Washington as well, with Mike Shanahan informing his players that John Beck would replace Rex Grossman in the Redskins starting lineup Sunday.

This isn't a huge surprise, considering that Grossman threw four picks (three to the Eye on Defense Award winner Kurt Coleman, who was able to "read Rex all day") and basically sunk the Redskins battleship before they ever even pulled out of the harbor.

Grossman got benched and Beck came in, gave the team a bit of the classic "backup quarterback spark" and managed to actually put a touchdown on the board.

Beck's better than "BAD REX." But he might not be better than "Good Rex." The problem is that Shanahan, like the rest of America, can't predict which Rex will show up, so he's left hoping that Beck's prepared to come in and run his offense effectively.

Mitigating some potential damage is Beck starting against the Panthers on Sunday. Yes, it's an away game, but the Panthers defense has looked like one of the worst units in the league. They're just 11th against the pass, but that's because teams are typically keeping the ball on the ground against Carolina, who rank 31st in the NFL against the run, giving up 140.3 yards per game on the ground.

Beck's job, then, should consist mainly of handing the ball to Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Ryan Torain. Of course, that's what we though Grossman would be doing in Week 6 against the Eagles too.

For those keeping score at home, here's a list of the quarterbacks that have started for Washington since Dan Snyder took over as owner: Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Grossman and Beck.

As Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post tweeted, if you're a Redskins fan and you just read that list, go ahead and punch yourself in the face.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Cooley: 'There's no personal thing with Romo'

Apparently, there will be no Romo-Cooley cage match. (AP/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Somehow it wasn't entirely clear that Redskins tight end Chris Cooley was kidding when he said of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, "It's amazing -- amazing -- to watch him choke like that." Cooley was referring to Dallas' "Hey, let's get up 24 points on the Lions and see if we can lose" game plan, which worked to perfection.

Not helping matters: Cooley was just getting warmed up -- he also said that he wanted to square off against Romo in a cage fight. "For me to beat Tony? I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know what kind of cagefighting skills he has," Cooley said, according to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg. "I would probably try to incorporate my wrestling ability, like when I was in high school. Obviously it’s been a while, but I didn’t like to beat people fast. I like to embarrass 'em a little bit. Like, take a 24-point lead, and then just play with it a little bit."

In a shocking development, Cooley's comedy shtick went over in Dallas about as well as a Romo pick-six … followed immediately by another one.

Cooley, to his credit, is taking the criticism in stride. Appearing on a podcast with SI.com's Jimmy Traina, he explained how his life has changed in the last 24 hours.

“It’s been actually pretty funny today,” Cooley told Traina, when asked if this thing is actual personal. “I’m getting murdered, MURDERED, by Cowboys fans, which is perfectly fine with me.

“No, there’s no personal thing with Tony Romo. I do a radio show with Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington every Monday and we joke around and we have some fun, and they kind of ask me questions. People really are surprised when I just talk like a regular person, I guess. I mean, I’m a fan of the game and I’m a guy that cheers for the Redskins. Now, if you wanted me to go on a radio show and say everything politically correct and be boring, I mean, I have no problem doing that. I obviously have the ability to do that. But we just went on and had a little bit of fun.

“They said did I like watching him choke, and yeah, of course I liked watching him choke. An the biggest [criticism] was they beat us last week. Well, obviously. But I still enjoyed that the Cowboys lost [to the Lions]. I play for the Washington Redskins. I don’t see why anyone would think that I wouldn’t enjoy that.”

So there you have it. And you don't have to be a fan of the Redskins or Cooley to appreciate his sense of humor. Seriously, this is hysterical.


And, hey, it wasn't the most ridiculous thing to come out Washington this week. Tim Hightower predicted that the Redskins will be in the Super Bowl. This season.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:04 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest surprises

Wade Phillips has revitalized Houston's defense (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every year, it’s easy to predict how some teams and players will perform. For instance, this year it was easy to see that the Patriots were going to be awesome, the Colts were going to struggle without Peyton Manning, and some unheralded running back somewhere would surprise everyone with his fantastic performances (Houston’s Ben Tate for example, playing in place of last year’s unheralded/awesome running back Arian Foster).

But, as always, there have been some major surprises through the first two weeks that virtually nobody could see coming. Which is why we follow sports (and the NFL, in particular) in the first place. It’d be boring if we knew everything. But the fact we didn’t know just HOW terrible the Colts would be without Manning is what makes watching pro football a good time.

Therefore, this week, we introduce the Top 10 with a Twist list of the players and teams who have surprised us the most in the first two weeks of the season. No Tom Brady mentions in here. Instead, we give you Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Clausen's replacement.

10. Redskins: Remember how we all laughed at Rex Grossman when he proclaimed he thought that Washington would win the NFC East? Well, look at which squad is at the top of that division. That would be the Redskins at 2-0, ahead of the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. It’s because Grossman has played well, running back Tim Hightower has had a resurgence and the Redskins rank No. 6 in points allowed (they were No. 21 last season). Hey, maybe, in addition to being a pretty decent quarterback, Grossman is quite the soothsayer. 

9. Dunta Robinson: I have to admit that I was shocked that the NFL fined the Falcons cornerback only $40,000 after his egregious case of head-hunting against Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin last Sunday night. You’ll recall Robinson was fined $50,000 the first time he was caught head-hunting last season (that figure was reduced to $25,000), and though the NFL will say this case was different and less severe, I don’t buy it. We called on the NFL to suspend Robinson, and I didn’t think we’d see that. But I didn’t think we’d see less of a punishment than the first time he went helmet to helmet. Though we live in a time when Roger Goodell’s disciplinary decisions oftentimes don’t make sense, this was a shocker.

8. Bills: It’s only been a few years since the Bills started a season 2-0, but could you tell me the last time Buffalo started the season 2-0 and then finished with a winning record? You’d have to go all the way back to 1996, so obviously, the Bills aren’t going to start celebrating anything quite yet. But the way quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play (which, in itself, is a shocker) and the way running back Fred Jackson continues to pile up yards and the way coach Chan Gailey continues to turn around this team, it’s well … a little surprising. And it’s gotten them into first place in the AFC East (well, they’re tied with the Jets and the Patriots, but the Bills alphabetically are at the top of the division, so there’s that).

Johnson7. Kenny Britt: Yes, we knew Kenny Britt had talent, but we didn’t know he’d explode like this after his rather interesting offseason. So far, he’s recorded 14 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns, and considering, in his best season before this one, he totaled 42 receptions and 775 yards, this is looking like a breakout year for him. Now if he only can stop getting arrested in the offseason …

6. Chris Johnson: You might find this selection strange, considering I placed Johnson in last week’s list -- the top-10 candidates for comeback player of the year. But after a Week 1 in which he was underused (only nine carries), Johnson ran for 53 yards on 24 chances last week. Which means that for a player whose stated goal is to break the 2,000-yard mark again hasn’t even cracked the 100-yard mark for the entire season. Considering he just signed a $54 million contract, his output has been rather disappointing. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. Johnson did, after all, hold out from training camp. But Johnson has been so good in his career, the fact he’s been so underwhelming is a little off-putting.

5. Chiefs: How do you go from winning the AFC West crown to being absolutely horrible the next year? How do you go from being pretty decent last year to being absolutely atrocious now? Some injuries (Tony Moeaki, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry), some in-fighting between general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley (supposedly) and some brutal defense. Whatever the cause, Kansas City has been outscored 89-10 combined by the Bills and the Lions. Considering the Packers, the Steelers, the Chargers (twice), the Patriots, the Bears and the Jets still are on the schedule, the Chiefs might be in for a colonoscopy of a year.

4. Cam Newton: People were split about how Newton would affect the Panthers this season. Some thought he’d be terrible (I’m guilty, as charged). Some thought he would excite the masses in Charlotte with his on-field play and his off-field charisma. But nobody really knew for sure. Remember, about a month ago, we thought Jimmy Clausen might beat out Newton for the starting job (gosh, we were so naïve back then, eh?). But even those who thought he’d be a solid quarterback have to be taken aback by these numbers: a 62.7 completion percentage, 854 passing yards, three scores (we’ll ignore the four interceptions so far) and the record for most passing yards in a pro debut and most passing yards by a rookie. Sure, the Panthers are 0-2, but Newton has been pretty incredible.

3. Bill Belichick: Who would have guessed the Patriots coach would ever allow anybody to film his life for a documentary? The first episode of A Football Life: Bill Belichick on NFL Network was an interesting look at the best coach in the league and what he’s like in the meeting room, the locker room and, interestingly enough, on a boat in Nantucket. Belichick comes off like a cold-blooded SOB around the media, but in this documentary -- the second part of which will air Thursday, and supposedly, he really shows his emotions in that episode -- you can see the guy is actually human. And considering Belichick would be the 32nd NFL coach who I ever believed would agree to something like this, it’s a pleasant surprise.

2. Faking injuries: Did anybody think this stuff wasn’t happening before? Just because Deon Grant might have been faking an injury to slow down the Rams’ no-huddle, hurry-up offense  last Sunday (Grant, by the way, takes GREAT offense that you’d even think so), that’s not to say this tactic hasn’t been used for many, many years. It has; it’s usually just not so obvious. In fact, you can read this brief article from the NY Times in which the Bengals ask the league to look at players faking injuries. That article, by the way, is from 1989.

1. Wade Phillips: He wasn’t the most-respected head coach (I think the second season of Hard Knocks with the Cowboys gave the impression he was kind of a bumbling Texan who let people walk all over him), but as a defensive coordinator, he’s done a wonderful job in Houston. Since changing Gary Kubiak’s defense to a 3-4 and since the team signed Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph in the secondary, Phillips has helped Houston become the top defense in the league, allowing 10 points and 271 yards per game (both rank No. 1 in the NFL). Who would have thought that after last season when the Texans secondary was burned in just about every game they played? Phillips, though he might never get another head coaching job, is saving somebody else’s job right now. We knew Phillips would be good. We didn’t think he’d be this good, this soon.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com