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What Redskins Fans Have to be Thankful For

What Redskins Fans Have to be Thankful For

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com

Yes, in the grand scheme of things what we might be thankful for regarding a football team pales in comparison to what’s really important in our lives. So, with perspective fully in place and wearing Redskins hat, here’s what Skins fans can be thankful for:

  • Antonio Pierce—He wasn’t supposed to see the field except on special teams, but he’s stepped in for the injured Michael Barrow and gotten the job done. From his middle linebacker spot he calls the defensive signals, gives his all on every snap and is rarely out of position. Pierce is a joy to watch.
  • Heritage—Here’s one for you: of the teams who have won at least three Super Bowls only the Redskins and the Packers also won more than one NFL title in the pre-Super era. There’s the more distant past to celebrate with the championships in ’37 and ’42 earned by Battles, Baugh, Farkas, coach Ray Flaherty, and others. Then there are the recent champs with Riggins, coach Gibbs, Theismann, and the Hogs. In between, Sonny and Billy, Larry Brown, Hanburger, Houston, C. Taylor, Mitchell and many, many more. The legacy of this team is second to none.
  • Gregg Williams—As good a defensive mind as there is in the NFL, a man who has done a worst-to-first job on the Washington defense. Of course, as an aside to this, we’re all thankful actually to have a defense that’s worth talking about at all. Without the performance of this unit, playing without perhaps its best player in Lavar Arrington, this season would be much uglier than it is right now (which isn’t too pretty).
  • Redskins fans—That’s right, be thankful for each other. It’s a great bunch of folks to talk football with, as classy and knowledgeable as any group of fans in the NFL. Add in the fact that no seat at FedEx Field ever goes unsold, guaranteeing that every game every year will be on local TV.
  • Fred Smoot—He’s gone from being a brash, cocky kid who talked just to hear himself talk to being a team leader who speaks for the players. Smoot has still managed to maintain that brashness, a refreshing quality among today’s players. Oh, yeah, almost forgot the on-field aspect of Smoot; he’s a tough as nails player who can lock down any receiver in the league.
  • Tom Tupa—The first Redskins punter in years who doesn’t automatically boom every punt from the opponent’s territory through the end zone on the fly. He hits pitching wedges that die inside the five where they get down by. . .
  • James Thrash—It’s become cliché to talk about this guy, what a team guy he is, how he’s willing to do anything asked of him, how he just wants to win. Well, it’s become that because it’s true.
  • Joe Gibbs—He’s back home where he belongs. Give him time, he’ll get it done and he’ll get it done the right way.

If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to leave a comment here or you can email me at rtandler@comcast.net

On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of you who check out this space to read what I have to say about the Skins. This is a lot of fun to write, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun knowing that so many of you get some small bit of enjoyment out of it.

Hail to the Redskins and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.