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Time for Redskins to spoil the block party

- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lorenzo Alexander has heard fan criticism directed toward special teams coordinator Danny Smith this week after the Washington Redskins had punts blocked in each of their first two games.

"It bothers me," said Alexander, the special teams captain. "But it's the National Football League, and the leader of that group, being the coordinator of special teams, is going to take the fire for it, and he understands that. Just being a guy that's gotten to know him, play for him and know him off the field and on the field, you kind of feel for a guy that's taking the heat that doesn't deserve it."

Alexander believes players deserve the blame for the blocks.

Against the Rams last week, linebacker Perry Riley released downfield to cover the punt before ensuring Rams tight end Matthew Mulligan couldn't get to punter Sav Rocca. Against New Orleans in Week 1, Chris Wilson blocked down, and a defender got a free run at the punter.

Those errors were not Smith's fault, Alexander said.

"It would be one thing if he was not detailed or lazy or didn't show us looks in practice," Alexander said. "Then you can go and say, 'Maybe Danny is losing a step.'

"But when a guy is almost overly detailed as far as what he's giving you — he's giving you all the looks, telling what you should block and how to cover and doing all the right things — it's just hard to see when a couple of guys, players, make mistakes and he takes the heat for it."

Along those lines, Alexander believes the players have let Smith down on the blocked punts.

"Danny I think is probably the most beloved coach, maybe, on our roster," he said. "He's been here the longest. Especially from a special teams standpoint, everybody respects him and loves him as a coach and what he does. It's easy to go out there and play hard for a guy. It's important to us, and I think that's why guys are going to continue to work hard and get this thing corrected."

RG3's sponsorship quandary

Robert Griffin III is a loyal spokesman for Adidas, even if he is a bit sheepish about discussing his preference to cover up the Nike swoosh on Redskins gear whenever possible because he doesn't want to irritate the league.

Griffin was asked Wednesday if his endorsement deal with Adidas is why he continues to cover up Nike's logo. Nike is the official supplier of equipment for NFL teams.

"Nah, it's just I — yes," Griffin acknowledged to a round of laughter. "There's no way around that one."

Griffin warmed up for Sunday's game against St. Louis with a plain gray T-shirt over a long-sleeved white shirt. He said the decision to cover up the logo is his; no one at Adidas asked him to do it.

"In the preseason, I had a blank white normal NFL Equipment one," Griffin said. "They took it and gave me the other one. I just wanted to have a blank shirt on. I'll probably have a blank one on the next game."

Injury update

Receiver Pierre Garcon (right foot), cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion) and safety Brandon Meriweather (left knee) were limited in practice Thursday.

Garcon missed last week's game after being hurt early in the season opener Sept. 9.

"It is nagging him a little more than I was hoping it would," coach Mike Shanahan said.

Garcon would not answer reporters' questions. His status for Sunday's game against Cincinnati is in doubt.

"You just keep on working on it, and hopefully it gets well," Shanahan said. "He's getting as much treatment as he can every day. He's working extremely hard, but it's still sore."

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