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Extremeskins Recap: Redskins vs. Ravens (UPDATED WITH ALL PHOTOS)


Henry

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Extremeskins Recap: Behind the scenes at Skins vs Ravens Pre-Season

This week, the task of covering the game falls to me. Not only was this my first visit as an official member of the press, it's also an away game. Let me say right off the bat that M&T is a very nice stadium. It's easy to get to and parking is relatively painless. I went with Chris, a friend of mine who will write up the second part for this week. We picked up our passes at the Press will call window and were escorted to the press elevators. From there we decided to head to the field. In the tunnel we walked by James Thrash, Shawn Springs and a couple other receivers. A request for a quick group shot went largely ignored, so I took a shot of them blowing us off: :)

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Then we ran into our first snag of the night. At FedEx, the Redskins give us access to both the press box and the field. The Ravens were not so generous. Chris and I had planned on each taking a half on the sideline, but when I walked out onto the field I was not so gently informed that my pass gave me access only to the press box, and Chris was only allowed on the field. So sadly, I did not get onto the sidelines at all tonight. I did sit up in the box and see the game, and I will be talking about that. Chris will add his experience later.

The press box is really something. There are three tiers of seats with long tables. Sheets detailing lineup changes, injuries, and other information were waiting for me at my seat. I settled into my seat on the second tier next to a nice guy from channel 76 in Laurel (or something.) The place is galssed off and climate controlled, and in addition to having an excellent view (two sections up and in the middle of the field) there were monitors prominently positioned all over the place. After every play someone on a loudspeaker would announce the play results and the monitors would show a replay. After every quarter, runners would hand out updated stat sheets.

Seated in front of me were some local heavywieghts such as Nunyo, Jason La Canfora, David Elfin, John Keim, Paul Woody and Bram Weinstein, and they were jawing back and forth most of the night. It reminded me a lot of one of our game threads. Every play someone would make an observation or comment. David Elfin was particularly sharp. Before one play he said "Bouleware's on the right side" and sure enough, on that very play Bouleware had a sack. Some of these guys clearly know their stuff, despite what we may think of their writing, and they were fun to watch the game with. They were under deadline so anything that slowed up the game drove them nuts. Penalties, Replays, Antonio Brown dropping another pass. He got absolutely butchered up there. I heard somone suggest we should factor Bryant into QB ratings ...

At around the third quarter, after we had all seen the respective performances of our QBs, a man in a Redskins sweater (obviously employed by the team) came over to talk with some of the guys up front. I can't be sure of who it was, but I think it was Casey Husband. But whoever he was, he obviously had the respect of the Press. They asked him why Brunell looked so much better this year, and he said first of all Brunell's hamstrings are better, and secondly he has a 'better demeanor' this year. When asked what that meant, he said Brunell is more confortable with the team, who he can trust, what is expected of him ... that sort of thing. Then Keim asked him if he would start Brunell, to which he shook his head and said "Ain't gonna happen." Ramsey took all the first team snaps, it's gotta be Ramsey now. He said if a change is going to be made it would have to be at the bye week, if at all.

The fourth quarter was absolutely excrutiating. Flags everywhere, lots of scoring. The game slowed considerably, much to the dismay of the Press. When the Ravens went for two La Confora practically busted a gasket. When Campell hit that last pass and called timeout with two seconds left the entire room groaned. I don't think I've ever in my life hoped a Redskin kicker would miss a game-tying field goal in the final seconds, but I suppose there's a first for everything. When Hall made the kick, Elfin was complaining that his deadline was in five minutes. Fortunately (or unfortunately) that's about all the time the Ravens needed.

Once the game ended I met back up with Chris, who informed me that both of our camera batteries had died by halftime ... sorry, pics will be sparse this week, and we worked our way over to the visitors press conference room. At this point Bram Weinstein said that the players were dressing and leaving pretty quickly, so we would all probably have to decide between waiting for Gibbs or catching the players. We decided to wait for Gibbs. I didn't think much of the game, it being the last pre-season game and (in my opinion) rather meaningless, but Gibbs looked very displeased. His eyes were red and I have a feeling the locker room was not a pleasant place to have been a few mintues earlier. I asked him the question about Ramsey holding onto the ball too long, and his answer was fairly generic. I suspect either he didn't agree with me or he didn't feel like talking about it. Chris asked him 'What about special teams' and Gibbs immediately started talking about the penalties. Mistakes were obviously at the front of his mind after that game.

By the time we got out of the press conference, most of the players had left. We listened in on the Ramsey interview for a few minutes (Ramsey is not as big as I thought he'd be. He looks suprisingly normal), and then I saw Brunell walk by. I wanted to ask him about his 'better demeanor' but I couldn't catch him. I did see Lavar leaving, with a big smile on his face, so I shot out "Hey Lavar, how's the leg?" to which he responed "Feels great!" I also caught up with Chris Samuels, who does look as big as I thought he'd be, and asked him how he thought the line was shaping up. He said "We've got a lot of talent this year" and thought they would be able to play as well in the regular season as they had in the preseason. Unfortunately that's all I could get as they were heading for the door by the time I got to them.

In the end, I was sorry we lost the game, though happy it was over. And I now know that no matter the final score, I am glad to be a Redskin fan.

If for no other reason than the Ravens have male cheerleaders. :)

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:helmet:
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Love the perspective, brother. And hats off for meeting your own self-imposed deadline to bring this to us in the wee hours of the morning after what I suspect was a LONG and exausting evening.

Great job.

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Henry, did you by any chance see what if anything was going on downfield on Patrick's handful of called pass attempts? On TV all we could see was Pat camping out back there and apparently not seeing anyone to throw to. Be interested to hear if the Ravens had all his potential targets blanketed, or if for whatever reason Pat simply didn't pull the trigger.

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Henry, did you by any chance see what if anything was going on downfield on Patrick's handful of called pass attempts? On TV all we could see was Pat camping out back there and apparently not seeing anyone to throw to. Be interested to hear if the Ravens had all his potential targets blanketed, or if for whatever reason Pat simply didn't pull the trigger.

Great question, one I was curious about as well. One of the announcers smartly pointed out that it appeared Ramsey was afraid to throw an interception, lest he suffer a pang of diffidence prior to the opener – not to mention having to suffer a week long broiling by the fans & media.

Just curious if that was really the case or if there was just nothing available. The Ravens do have a pretty nice secondary, after all. Maybe a little bit of both?

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Well, not initially, no. After we got about three seconds into one play and Ramsey still hadn't thrown the ball I started to scan downfield, and it appeared as if one of the WRs was doubled, but I didn't get a chance to see the others. The replay they provided didn't show the entire field, but several of the guys in the room started counting off the seconds, and Ramsey had six full seconds to do something with the ball. If everyone was covered after the first five I'm thinking throwing it away might have been prudent. :)

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About what I was thinking, H. It's not often you see an NFL QB hold the ball in the pocket for six seconds. Somebody (OL excluded in a big way, of course) ain't doing something right there.

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Ramsey had six full seconds to do something with the ball. If everyone was covered after the first five I'm thinking throwing it away might have been prudent. :)

Well yeah, there's that. When I think about it, Ramsey seems to throw the ball away about as infrequently as anyone I can remember. I do, however, remember screaming "throw it away dammit!"...many, many times of the course of the last few years.

Still in Ramsey's camp, though.

Until the first bad decision, that is. ;)

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Thanks for the good read.

I'm curious: after the Ramsey sacks, were there any other discussions in the box as to why this seems to be a problem for him? Outside of not wanting to throw an INT, were there any comments or observations referring to his ability/inability to check off on different WR's?

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Thanks for the good read.

I'm curious: after the Ramsey sacks, were there any other discussions in the box as to why this seems to be a problem for him? Outside of not wanting to throw an INT, were there any comments or observations referring to his ability/inability to check off on different WR's?

That's why I asked Gibbs if he thought Ramsey was having a problem holding onto the ball that night. He hasn't played consistantly well this pre-season, but taking unecessary sacks didn't seem to be a problem until last night. Maybe the Ravens were doing something that was throwing him off. But Gibbs didn't say.

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This is so incredible, seeing where the extremeskins website has gone since the merger with Redskins.com. I truly appreciate how much effort you guys put into this website and commend the Redskins organization in trying to make the fan experience something special. It makes me love my team even more!

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Henry, I was curious if your opinion of any of the media types you have been around changed since being with them in the press box? Also, who appears to you to have the more balanced and fair assesments of the team? Just trying to get an idea of which reporters opinions may be more credible. Though I am really starting to think that the best "assesments" come from you guys and Blade.

Thanks again for all the work put in to these reports!

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Henry, I was curious if your opinion of any of the media types you have been around changed since being with them in the press box? Also, who appears to you to have the more balanced and fair assesments of the team? Just trying to get an idea of which reporters opinions may be more credible. Though I am really starting to think that the best "assesments" come from you guys and Blade.

Thanks again for all the work put in to these reports!

I would say in general that these guys are far more informed than we often give them credit for. But they are definately not free of bias. Many of them had their own 'favorite' player they'd jaw about. One of them was a big fan of Koslowski, and would point out every time he took the field. Another just had it in for our punters all night long. That sort of thing.

Mostly, like I said, they reminded me of the die hards on this board. Really knowledgable guys trading observations and whatnot. The big difference, I guess, is that not all of them are born and bred Redskin fans, so their bias might not be the same as ours. Definately an interesting group to watch the game with though. You really had to know your stuff to keep up. :)

As far as who seemed the most credible, well, I couldn't really say that based on my observations from the game. As I said before it seemed Elfin appeared the most astute (at least vocally) but his credibility would really depend on what he wrote, not what he said off the record.

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Interesting to hear about the punter comments, I can't imagine what "bad" things anyone would have to say about Groom's performance. He seemed pretty solid all the way around. Will be interesting to see if Groom can get the touch that Tupa had that allowed Thrash to make the plays he did on coverage last year. Sounds like it was some experience. Again thanks for the insight!

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