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    • By Destino in ES Coverage
      Good afternoon Redskins nation!  I’m in beautiful Landover, MD with Spaceman Spiff who has been pulled away from Instagram models and tailgating and sent down to the field to do what he does best (roll around in the mud).
      Let’s get down to business...  Can we block them?  There are other story lines entering into this game but worrying about them feels largely academic.  The Texans have two terrifying pass rushers and the Redskins intend to block them with optimism and underdog stories.  Alex Smith isn’t a statue but he does take time in making decisions and getting the ball out.  This combination looks disastrous.  The sort of thing that has us all after the game consoling each other with things like “well, it was just a bad matchup" and “we caught them at the worst possible time.” 
      Or... we could walk away wondering just how the heck this team managed to pull off another improbable win.  Last week the gave up something like twelve thousand yards of offense to the Bucs, I’ll have to check those numbers to be sure, but only three points.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Maybe we can enjoy an outrageously unlikely result again.  Not probably, not likely, but you know... maybe.  I’m saying there’s a chance.   
      I’m here for that chance.  (and you know... the free food and climate controlled free seats) 

      1st Quarter Update
      Redskins are running their bend and break defense, and I’m not sure a little over three quarters is enough time for the Redskins offense to close a 10-point gap.  I’m having flash backs of week nine, but having human emotions is considered “disruptive behavior.”  I'm fine.  Everything is fine. 
      That Quinn celebration, whatever that was, was the highlight of the 1st quarter. 
      2nd Quarter Update
      Is there a better way to start a quarter than by scoring a touchdown?  There is, if you follow that TD drive with a forced turnover on defense.  Things are looking good! 

      So much for that.  A great start was quickly ended up canceled out by the Redskins offense.  With a chance to take a lead Alex Smith throws a pick six in the red zone and takes the air out of the stadium.  He followed that up by throwing another interception on the very next drive.  Alex Smith almost made me forget about Vernon Davis dropping that pass.  Almost. 
      Texans missed a field goal attempt and the lead remains frozen at 10. 
      This quarter feels like a giant blown opportunity.  
      Halftime Update. 
      I should have stopped at one hotdog.  I deserve this.
      3rd Quarter Update
      You know the feeling where you say and think all these bad things about a player and then he breaks his leg and you immediately feel bad about it?  I live there now.
      Colt McCoy has freed me from that place of sadness! 
      As much as I love this defense, they have to start forcing teams to punt at some point.  Is there a stat for defense tha thas forced the fewest punts?  We have to be near the top of that list.  Texans have punted just once today.  Holding them to three was good, though.   
      The lead is down to six and Colt McCoy has arrived to save us.  (Please let that be true.) 
      Personal Note:  Someone just stomped, loudly, out of the press area like a while muttering at his phone.  Laughter and comparisons to toddlers followed him.  The media's laugh is an evil laugh!  Good times. 
      4th Quarter Update
      Colt has brought us back.  Welcome to the first lead change of the season, Redskins fans.  You like that?!  (Yeesh, was that always so lame?)  I guess you could say Adrian Peterson contributed by actually scoring the touchdown.  I bet Colt told him to score though, so you have to factor leadership into things.
      Once again, the defense cannot force a punt, hard to feel great about holding a team to a field goal when that field goal gives them the lead in the 4th quarter 
      Remember that whole "can we block them" thing?  The answer was absolutely not on the Redskins 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.  Watt and Clowney each sacked our man Colt, and ended that drive before it really had a chance to begin. 
      Horrible, no good, very bad holding called on Norman gifting Houston a first down at the worst possible time for it.
      Colt chooses to throw deep at an inopportune moment resulting in a 60+ yard attempt for an injured kicker.  Heartbreaking end to a game that cost this team entirely too much (via injury) yet still seemed to be within reach several times. 
      I'm off to the post game press conference and locker room, check back later for updates.
      Final Thoughts
      I’ve always found it preferable to watch my favorite team simply get destroyed, than to feel that they were the better team and still managed to lose.  The Redskins gave this game away with mistakes in the 2nd quarter.  Fred Davis makes a routine catch and Alex Smith doesn’t throw a pick six, and the scoreboard shows at least 7 fewer points for the Texans.  Even if the Redskins had settled for field goals, that’s a 13 point swing in 2 point game.   
      Losing the game wasn’t even the worst part.  Losing Alex Smith, for at least the remainder of the season, is likely enough to push the Redskins past the point where they can continue toughing their way through key injuries. 
      We'll all feel better after a win against the Cowboys next week. 


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And so it begins WT on Champ

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The Washington Redskins will not address cornerback Champ Bailey's contract situation until after the season, at which point the club might move straight to using the franchise tag, possibly with the intention of trading Bailey and signing another unrestricted free agent cornerback.

The Redskins and Bailey broke off talks in the preseason and said at the time that they hoped to resume discussions "toward the end of the season." But negotiations haven't re-started and yesterday vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said the club would wait until after the season to move forward with Bailey.

Meanwhile, fellow cornerback Fred Smoot was named the club's player of the year last night by the Quarterback Club. After slumping in his second NFL season and being the subject of trade talks during the offseason, Smoot has rebounded strongly, playing solid coverage despite the Redskins' poor pass rush.

The award was presented at the Quarterback Club's annual dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park, and was based on a vote by local media. Bailey, quarterback Patrick Ramsey, wide receiver Laveranues Coles and kicker John Hall were the other finalists.

One reason for the Redskins' reluctance to re-open Bailey's talks could be the salary cap. The team started the season with a huge cap surplus, which allowed it to make a nine-year, $55 million offer to Bailey. But a bevy of in-season signings, including defensive tackle Darrell Russell and tight end Byron Chamberlain, and a restructuring of defensive end Bruce Smith's contract has dropped Washington's cap space to just $630,000.

Another reason could be the Redskins are starting to explore other possibilities at cornerback. The unrestricted market is scheduled to be loaded, the options including Baltimore's Chris McAlister, Oakland's Charles Woodson, Buffalo's Antoine Winfield, Seattle's Shawn Springs, San Francisco's Ahmed Plummer and Philadelphia's Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor.

The Redskins could put the franchise tag on Bailey, restricting his movement with a one-year tender offer in the range of $6 million, then trade his rights for draft picks and sign one of the other free-agent options.

Sources familiar with Redskins management have indicated in recent weeks the club is at least considering other ways to use the money pegged for Bailey. If Washington moves forward with an alternate plan, it would have to sign another starting cornerback to play alongside Smoot.

Bailey, for his part, appears to have grown somewhat frustrated with life as a Redskin. On Monday he gave his strongest indication that he is thinking about moving on. After saying how the Redskins' struggles in recent years might affect the club's ability to sign free agents, Bailey was asked whether such thinking makes him less likely to re-sign. He replied, "No comment."

Agent Jack Reale attempted to clarify Bailey's quote yesterday, saying the cornerback isn't looking to go anywhere.

"He's got a deep affection for the history of the team, for the fans, for his teammates and for the media in that area," Reale said by phone. "He would consider and evaluate any opportunity he would have to remain with the organization, and he looks forward to considering any proposal the Redskins would put forward."

Told Washington was not planning to re-open negotiations before the end of the season, Reale said Bailey was remaining patient and waiting for the Redskins to make the next move.

"Given the circumstances of the Redskins' salary cap, it appears they find themselves in a predicament where they're not able to make any sort of proposal at this time," Reale said. "What happens in the future depends on how they manage their resources, and only they know what their plan is."

Putting the franchise tag on Bailey is a key reason the Redskins have sought out linebacker LaVar Arrington for a new contract. Arrington's cap numbers have become bloated due to his Pro Bowl-level play and renegotiations in recent years, and Washington would like to lower those figures while extending Arrington's deal.

Doing so will be extremely difficult, though. Arrington's current contract is so lucrative that Washington would have to offer a massive package of guaranteed pay — in line with the $19 million benchmark Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis received in 2002 — to convince Arrington to accept a new deal.

If a new deal isn't reached with Arrington or tackle Chris Samuels, the Redskins will be constricted in their pursuit of free agents. But if they use the franchise tag on Bailey, trade him and sign another cornerback, a considerable amount of cap space would be freed up.

Note — Details emerged on the foot surgery Ramsey underwent Monday in Charlotte, N.C. Dr. Robert Anderson removed an ossicle, or an extra piece of bone, from Ramsey's foot and repaired a "small amount of tendon," according to a Redskins spokeswoman.

The ossicle was related to the "old fracture" diagnosed in Ramsey's foot in recent months. However, doctors now believe that Ramsey never had a fracture, and the ossicle actually was a birth defect that became inflamed.

Ramsey is expected to be on crutches for 2-4 weeks, in a cast for four weeks, in a walking boot the following four weeks and able to begin running in about three months. He is not expected to miss any of the Redskins' offseason practices.


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