Beninati: Perreault Scores 1st Goal

Beninati: Perreault Scores 1st Goal

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A five goal explosion in one period is enough to cure what ails you as the Caps showed a ravenous appetite for goals in the last frame tonight for a sweep of the Panthers. This game was extremely physical from the outset with both teams getting involved as opposed to last night when the Caps did most of the hitting.

The Florida fore-check was filled with hustle for the first two periods and that was one of the reasons why the visitors had the lead after 40 minutes. The third period began with a bang for the home team. Mathieu Perreault's work ethic is contagious and the club was thrilled to see the young pup to score his first ever, to ignite a rally. The more we see of Perreault, the more we like, he was chosen as the Caps "Hard Hat" award winner tonight and the rest of the team took his lead once he scored.

The Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich line, continues to demonstrate wonderful chemistry. So many of the goals this evening were of the scrambly variety; sharp angle shots, rebounds and tip-ins and this line excels in those situations. Florida goalie, Scott Clemmensen had an off night, again, against Washington. He did not fare well against the Caps last year while with the Devils and he didn't manage to give the Panthers the big stop they needed in the third when the Capitals were pouring on the pressure.

Jose Theodore gets the win in net for the Caps. I know that he would have liked to have been sharper with some of the rebounds that he allowed, that led to Florida tallies. Whenever Washington gives up four goals they are never pleased, even when they bag seven. Up next three well deserved days of rest for the boys. That can only help the likes of Ovechkin, Green, Schultz, and Gordon, all of whom are nursing various aliments but for now, the Southeast division lead is significant.

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John Harbaugh defends Joe Flacco's play during difficult season for Ravens

John Harbaugh defends Joe Flacco's play during difficult season for Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach John Harbaugh strongly defended quarterback Joe Flacco after Wednesday’s practice, in the midst of a difficult season for his franchise quarterback, and with the Ravens (3-4) riding a four-game winning streak.

Flacco’s current quarterback rating is 75.4, which would be the second-lowest of his nine-year career if the season ended today. He has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdown passes (five).

So does Harbaugh think Flacco is “elite”? Asked how he assessed Flacco’s play at this point in the season, Harbaugh did not hold back.

“I’m a Joe Flacco guy, and I believe in Joe,” Harbaugh said following Wednesday’s practice.  “Joe Flacco is a great football player. Joe Flacco is the key to our success. So we need to all do everything in our power, so all the things fall into place for him. He can play. He can throw it, he can make decisions, he can score touchdowns for us, he can do all the things we need to do. We need to make sure that we give him a chance to do that. Joe will take care of what he needs to do.

“I’m not worried about Joe taking care of what he needs to do. Joe works on it harder than anybody, cares about it more than anybody. But we need to protect him, we need to run routes, we need to create confidence in our passing game, we need to run the ball well.”

But after Wednesday’s practice, Flacco admitted he needed to play better, regardless of injuries along the offensive line, or struggles with the Ravens’ running game.

“I am obviously not playing good enough,” Flacco said. “We are not a good offense, and it starts with the quarterback. I have to be better. We have to be more precise, and that starts with me – just more consistent overall.”

How well Flacco performs after the bye will be a major key to the Ravens’ fate. But despite Flacco’s recent struggles, his coach still has his back.

MORE RAVENS: Hester counting on bye week to rehab groin injury

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Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,

But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.

The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.

Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.

Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.

We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit