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How I’ll Spend My Winter Vacation

How I’ll Spend My Winter Vacation

I don't go into personal matters much here. My daughter doesn't play field hockey and my dogs don't do much besides sleep and bark at the UPS driver and my life is, by and large, blissfully boring. But I'm pretty pumped up about my upcoming winter vacation. It's about football, so here's the itinerary:

Sunday, December 30, 2007
FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

Redskins vs. Cowboys

I'll be in my usual spot in the press box at FedEx for Redskins-Cowboys. I went to my first Washington-Dallas game 40 years ago at what then was D. C. Stadium. Since then I've been to all but a few of the matchups in Washington. It's likely that this game will have meaning to both teams and that should make it a good one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida

Gator Bowl

Virginia vs. Texas Tech

This game actually is a side trip. The next game, the one on Thursday, is the ultimate destination for this road trip. But I'm driving to Miami so I figured that a stop in Jacksonville would be a good way to break up the trip. And, as long as it's New Year's day in Jax, might as well check out the Gator Bowl. I was able to land a pair of tickets for a very reasonable price and so I'll be there in section 242. It means that I'll have to hit the road at about 3:00 AM on New Year's Day, but I'm not much of a partier any more anyway. My daughter, who is going with me, is and she'll be sleeping most of the way to Florida.

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Florida

Orange Bowl

Virginia Tech vs. Kansas

As some of you know, the Redskins aren't the only team I write about. I just published a book about Virginia Tech's football history as the Hokies are my other favorite football team. I've never been to a college bowl game before so I'm certainly looking forward to this matchup. I'm also looking forward to that epitome of American understatement and restraint, the Orange Bowl halftime show. It will feature ZZ Top and, no doubt, a cast of thousands.

So that's three football games in five days. It doesn't get much better than that.

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]