Some notes, quotes and observations from Thursday at Redskins Park:
SS LaRon Landry (hamstring) was limited in practice. He said practice was “great” for the second straight day and added: “You’ll see me Monday night.” I don’t take that to mean he’s a sure thing. Landry still has not tested his hamstring at full speed – he plans to test it as soon as Friday – so we’ll know more then. Mike Shanahan would not say whether Landry will play.
CB Josh Wilson (back), FB Darrel Young (hamstring) and S DeJon Gomes (hamstring) were limited in practice. So was FB Mike Sellers, whose ankle was stepped on during the workout.
CB DeAngelo Hall’s vow to target QB Tony Romo’s ribs apparently was a popular line of questioning in Dallas’ locker room Thursday. Perhaps the most colorful response came from WR Kevin Ogletree, a University of Virginia product, who attributed Hall’s statement to his Blacksburg roots.
“Yeah, a Virginia Tech guy,” Ogletree said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “That’s why he said it. I think of the classes they took over in Blacksburg versus the ones in Charlottesville.”
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had no problem with what Hall said.
Romo did not practice Thursday.
Rookie LOLB Ryan Kerrigan believes he rushed the passer more effectively against Arizona than he did against the Giants because he improved the angles he took to the quarterback. Against New York, he would rush straight up the field instead of directly to the passer. He fixed that against Arizona, and it helped him record his first NFL sack.
“I started rushing the passer instead of the blocker,” Kerrigan said. “I know that sounds like a silly thing, but it’s really true. When you know where the quarterback is, you kind of react to what the offensive line is doing ahead of you. I think that’s what I’ve been able to do last week.”
He continued: “When you’re going straight upfield, you’re just widening the gap between you and the quarterback, and that’s not what you want. It’s just a matter of angles and changing my rush a little bit.
“I felt like I got more pressure and was able to keep the offensive linemen off balance because of it.”
Kerrigan lined up in a four-point stance on one pass rush against the Cardinals, the first time he’s done that since the regular season started.
“It felt a little odd because I haven’t done it in a long, long time,” the former defensive end said.
“We don’t want to do that too much because we don’t want to really tip our hand on what we’re doing. In some cases when it’s third-and-20 and all the cards are on the table, you might as well put your hands down and go.”
That Kerrigan is managing to make big plays while learning and improving is a huge plus for the Redskins’ defense. And he believes there’s much more room for improvement.
On ILB Rocky McIntosh’s sack against Arizona, for example, Kerrigan believes he would have gotten there first if he had used his hands better to get the offensive lineman’s arm off his shoulder.
I hope you had a chance to check out the story in Wednesday’s paper about how the tandem of RBs Tim Hightower and Roy Helu will challenge opposing defenses. (Read the story: here) Having two running backs with some different skills is a weapon the Redskins didn’t really have during Clinton Portis’ tenure.
Helu’s success last week gives offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan confidence in the rookie, but it doesn’t guarantee a similar timeshare every game.
“It all depends on the flow of the game and how things are going,” Shanahan said. “I think we obviously will be more encouraged to get [Helu] in there more. But it’s just a feel with how Hightower is doing, what the defense is doing and how the game goes. There’s not a lot of consistency with it. But when you have those backs and you’ve got Ryan Torain, three guys we feel are capable of being starters, you really can’t make a wrong decision.
LT Trent Williams’ against Cowboys’ OLB DeMarcus Ware is one of the key matchups of Monday’s game. Williams on Thursday was asked what Ware, the NFL’s sack leader (4.0) does well.
“The better question is what he don’t do well,” Williams said. Well put, I suppose.
Ware had three sacks against the Redskins in two games last year. He gave Williams trouble when he would repeatedly use a certain pass-rush move and then switch to another. For example, he would attack the edge repeatedly with speed rushes and then use his powerful bull rush.
“Be consistent and focus on every play; not get lazy because he’ll capitalize on your mistakes real fast,” Williams said.
“It’s tough when you think something is coming and something totally different comes. I guess you could say it’s a veteran move. He sets you up just like he wants you to, and if you fall for it, then that’s the quarterback.
“As long as you can stay in the right body position and not get off balance, you can be prepared to run him by the quarterback. There’s not one thing you can do to shut down everything. Just staying in good body position will give you a better chance.”
The Redskins are familiar with much of the Cowboys’ defensive personnel, but their scheme has changed under new coordinator Rob Ryan, brother of New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan.
“He’s aggressive,’ Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s all over the place. He’s going to try to confuse you. They do a lot of different things. You really never know what to expect.”
One of the most notable changes Ryan has implemented involves moving OLB DeMarcus Ware around in the defensive alignment. Ware, the NFL’s leading sack leader, won’t always be opposite Redskins LT Trent Williams.
“Everybody is going to know where Ware is, and everyone is going to know where [linebacker Anthony] Spencer is,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “They are easy to find, but they’ll blitz inside or outside.”