Some notes, quotes and observations from Thursday at Redskins Park:
DE Stephen Bowen was named the Redskins’ 2011 Ed Block Courage award winner. It’s given annually to a player on each NFL team who displays extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. This is only a footnote some years, but Bowen’s case is special.
His commitment and toughness this season have been remarkable, really. In June, his wife gave birth four months early to twins. One, Skyler, died 10 days later.
“I don’t wish for anybody to go through none of the stuff I’ve been through,” Bowen said. “It’s really heard, especially with all the stuff happening in one year within a span of, like, five months. I’m glad they recognized that I’m still trying to work hard and get it done on the field, but I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
And then there’s this: Bowen received a note from security at the Redskins’ team hotel last Sunday morning notifying him that his mother-in-law had died. She had suffered from muscular dystrophy, and her condition had steadily deteriorated. Hours later, he started at defensive end – with a torn PCL in his left knee – in the Redskins’ loss to the New York Jets
“It’s an amazing story, everything that he’s been through,” NT Barry Cofield said. “He comes in here with a smile on his face. He works hard. He’s played great football. He deserves that award and we’re pulling for him. He’s an inspiration to all of us.”
As for Stephen III’s progress, Bowen reported good news.
“He’s doing great,” he said. “He’s past all the prematurity stuff. He’s just growing and being a regular baby. I was to say he’s, like, 13 pounds. He’s strong, man.”
SS LaRon Landry (groin) missed practice again. Coach Mike Shanahan would not rule him out for Sunday’s game against New England. NT Chris Baker (quad) also sat out.
P Sav Rocca (left ankle) was limited after sitting out Wednesday’s session. The Redskins also worked out left-footed punter Ricky Schmitt. From the not-a-coincidence category: New England P Zoltan Mesko is left-footed.
CB DeAngelo Hall (back), DE Stephen Bowen (knee), WR Terrence Austin (hamstring), RT Jammal Brown (hip), ILB London Fletcher (ankle), S DeJon Gomes (right knee) and LG Maurice Hurt (knee) also were limited.
The full-length story for Friday’s paper is about Mike Shanahan facing his friend, coach Bill Belichick. Belichick is first among active coaches with 186 wins. Shanahan is second with 164. Check the story out: here.
During offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s weekly news conference, he was asked about abandoning the run in last Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets. He seemed ready for that one. His response, in full:
“I have a hard time thinking that [we] abandoned the run,” Shanahan said. “In the first half, we ran the ball well. We got in a two-minute at the end where we threw it. In the two-minute time, there were a couple of run plays that we had checks on where we went to passes. We got away from running it on a couple of throws – the one to Fred [Davis] that they challenged when he was out of bounds on and the other one to Fred in man coverage, the shallow, that we threw it over his head.
“In the third quarter, we had 11 plays and six of those were runs and the five passes, three of those were on third downs. I believe that’s not getting away at all from the run. The problem is on those six runs and those three passes on third down, we didn’t have any first downs. So we didn’t move the chains at all and started throwing it a little more in the fourth quarter and had gotten a couple of first downs and some momentum. We went down there and kicked a field goal and then we got it back, we were down four, and we fumbled it on the third play. Then, you’re in a time when you have to throw it every play.”
Kyle Shanahan has a realistic outlook on what losing suspended TE Fred Davis and LT Trent Williams means to his offense.
“It’s everything,” he said. “They’re two totally different players. Fred’s a pretty special player in that aspect of the pass game and everything and does a hell of a job in the run game. Not everyone can do what Fred can do. Not everyone can do what Trent can do. So you have to take things into account and figure out what the guys who are replacing them do best and put them in the best situation to be successful.”
Shanahan’s message on the subject: Expect changes.
“You can’t just do the same stuff and expect not to get worse when you lose two of your best players,” he said. “That’s why we have to get guys in there to step up and replace those guys. And not just the guys replacing them. At other positions, you’ve got to raise it to a different level so we can find a way to replace those yards in the pass game and give those holes in the run game.”
Patriots CB Kyle Arrington leads the NFL this season with seven interceptions. The product of Accokeek, Md., and Gwynn Park High School has flourished when opponents have had to pass after falling behind.
“He’s got good hands,” Kyle Shanahan said. “DBs touch a lot of balls throughout the year. When he’s touched balls, he’s picked them. Their defense they mix up. They play some man coverage and they play some soft zone. He’s done a good job at both.
“When the ball’s a little behind a guy or when the quarterback overthrows someone in the zone in coverage, he’s got good vision.”
The Redskins have heaped mounds and mounds of praise on Patriots QB Tom Brady this week.
“If he’s not the greatest,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said, “he’s got to be in the top one, two, three.”
Haslett was asked whether it’s risky to blitz Brady.
“I think it’s risky to line up and play him,” he said. “The guy’s seen everything – man-to-man, zone, blitz, zone-blitz-dog. He’s seen everything. Nothing really fazes him.”
The key to stopping Brady, as NT Barry Cofield knows from the New York Giants’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 2008, is pressure.
“You’ve got to move him off his mark,” Cofield said. “You’ve got to have him at least considering the fact that there’s a rush coming. If you let him go out there and play seven on seven, he’s going to set records. The best thing you can do is hit and harass him, and that’s the play.”
Cofield also took a few playful jabs at Brady when a reporter mentioned Brady’s endorsement of UGG shoes. Funny stuff.
“I think he made a conscious business decision when he put those UGGs on in that commercial,” Cofield cracked. “I don’t think he regrets it. I think he knew he was going to take a lot of heat for it and they were gonna make fun of him. But he’s married to a super model, he’s got rings. What are you gonna say to him? He’s Tom Brady. The only way you can hurt Tom Brady is win. You’ve got to win that day.
“It’s a funny commercial. If anybody can make UGGs cool, he’s the guy.”
In this week’s Redskins Reset on CSNWashington.com, Ryan O’Halloran and I discuss this week’s suspensions and Sunday’s game against New England. Watch it: here.
I chatted with the Sports Reporters on ESPN980 about Fred Davis’ future with the Redskins and Sunday’s matchup. Listen: here.