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Kerrigan To Miss Some Time
by Chris Russell
May 20, 2015 -- 9:29pm
ESPN 980
Ryan Kerrigan had his left knee scoped recently as CSN Washington first reported on Wednesday and ESPN 980 confirmed.
 
The exact timetable for when Kerrigan can return for the team's off-season program is unknown but he told ESPN 980 and other media outlets that he will be re-examined next week and a determination will be made then. 
 
The 26-year old will probably not participate in the Redskins organized team activities and it is reasonable to think that he won't be ready to practice until training camp opens in very late July. 
 
Perhaps what is somewhat more problematic is that this is the 2nd time Kerrigan has had a nagging issue with the left knee. He labored through much of the 2013 season with a meniscus injury to the same knee suffered in a week three loss to Detroit. 
 
Kerrigan had a career-high 13.5 sacks last year to go along with five forced fumbles. He is without any doubt, the most important defensive player on the Redskins and he is everything that the Redskins would ideally like every player to be. 
 
Humble, hard-working, clean-cut and a great representative of the organization. 
 
It is for that reason that the Redskins have been in negotiations on a long-term contract for Kerrigan, which is their top priority. He is in the fifth and final year of his original rookie contract he signed in 2011. 
 
It's highly doubtful that this scope will have any impact on those negotiations. There's one person the Redskins MUST secure the services of beyond 2015 and that's Kerrigan. 
 
Last June, Jason Hatcher had to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee and missed several weeks of training camp and team practices before debuting in the third preseason game at Baltimore. 
 
Clearly the timeline is more favorable to the Redskins for Kerrigan than it was for Hatcher in addition to Kerrigan being significantly younger than the 32-year old Hatcher. 
 
This should not be an issue moving forward if Kerrigan and the Redskins take their time and utilize the NFL calendar to their advantage. It is currently nine weeks before the Redskins open up camp in Richmond. 
 
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980

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Could Matt Replace Morris in 2015?
by Chris Russell
May 19, 2015 -- 6:16pm
ESPN 980

Alfred Morris is the Redskins number one running back entering next week's organized team activities. 

He'll very likely, barring an injury, be the Redskins starting running back when the Redskins host the Miami Dolphins in week one at FedExField. 
 
That's not a guarantee in my eyes. Don't think it is possible? Well you're not paying attention. 
 
Remember in 2012 when a sixth-round running back from Florida Atlantic named uhhh, Alfred Morris, wowed the Redskins coaching staff and blew past Roy Helu Jr. (somewhat expected) and Evan Royster (not expected) to start week one in New Orleans? 
 
It's obviously not the same situation, nor the same coaching staff, but that doesn't mean it could not happen. 
 
I would bet against it, but I would bet that at some point this year - it is going to be awfully tempting to ramp up Jones workload and at the very minimum, have him basically split carries or even perhaps have more carries than Morris. 
 
Before I get too far ahead, Jones still has to prove on a consistent basis that he can catch the ball, which he did on Saturday during the Redskins rookie mini-camp. He also has to be able to pick up blitzes, which he appears to be willing and able to do.
 
He has to run hard down-hill like ESPN & ESPN 980's John Keim saw him do on Saturday. In other words he has a long way to go. It will be proven over time. 
 
Perhaps the most important thing he's going to have to do is prove to the coaching staff that he can hold onto the football.  
 
His skill-set is potentially intoxicating. Now he must do it on a consistent basis. 
 
"The thing about Matt is you think of him as a big power-type back, but really Matt has done some things out in space that have been very, very impressive," Gruden told reporters on Saturday. 
 
"Making moves to the second-level, getting to the second-level," Gruden continued. "In the passing game, running some option routes on linebackers. He's got natural hands." 
 
Which leads us back to Morris, who doesn't have great hands. Morris is not a great receiver out of the backfield. He had 17 catches for 155 yards receiving  in 2014. The since departed Roy Helu was particularly good in this area, with 42 receptions for 477 yards. 
 
However, the Redskins were in a quandary. Helu was awful in pass protection. I have no idea what happened to this part of his skill-set, because he was much better earlier in his tenure. So the Redskins were stuck between a rock and a hard-place. 
 
They had a running back who couldn't pick up a blitz well, but was the much better receiver. 
 
They had Morris, the try-hard late-round wonder three years ago that at times had hands of stone.  Nobody else stepped up enough like Chris Thompson or Silas Redd. 
 
If Jones can catch the ball better, pick up blitzes better and hold on to the football better, he could be the one swinging for the fences in the red zone like Alfred Morris has done so many times in the past. 
 
This is not to say that Morris isn't good anymore. He's fine. He's still a very hard worker. He's terrific in the community and very humble. However, he was a sixth-round pick for a reason.
 
He was also a perfect fit in the zone based scheme the Redskins were running under Mike and Kyle Shanahan. Now, he needs to fit in and be better than he was last year in a more power oriented scheme. 
 
Can he do it? Not if he doesn't hit holes harder than he did last year. You may remember ESPN 980's Chris Cooley's criticism of Morris last year. 
 
Among the criticisms that Cooley handed down after a tight win against the Titans, "I will tell you that [Morris] had an opportunity to have 100 yards on the ground, if he reads his keys in the run game and finds the right fits. He missed a lot of plays.”
 
I had been saying this for several weeks before this game and against a relatively stout front, this lack of performance from Morris did not surprise me but Cooley played the game at a high level and his criticism is something I heard in quiet ways from people inside the organization last year. 
 
In other words, Cooley wasn't alone in his assessment. 
 
I have said repeatedly that Morris has gone from 4.8 to 4.6 and all the way down to 4.1 yards per attempt in his three NFL seasons. Sure there are other reasons for that, but those numbers are not going in the right direction for a player one year away from free agency. 
 
Oh and then there's this: As Keim wrote about, and via ESPN 980's Kevin Sheehan - "If the Redskins had traded back with Atlanta (had Dante Fowler been available) and if Brandon Scherff was no longer there when they picked, they would have selected Georgia running back Todd Gurley." 
 
BOOM! I had heard through one source not to rule out something big at running back and that's apparently what it was. 
 
There were two things I thought the Redskins would do in the 2015 draft. I thought they would draft a running back before the end of the 3rd round. Check. I also thought they would take two backs overall. I was wrong on this one but they did sign the very quick footed Trey Williams from Texas A&M as a college free agent. 
 
So I guess that kind of counts, doesn't it? 
 
Either way, the Redskins did not take Jones higher than most expected out of Florida to sit around and do nothing. He's going to be involved early and often. 
 
I would expect he's going to get plenty of carries inside then opponents' 10-yard line, and if he can catch the ball, he'll have plenty of opportunities because Robert Griffin III throws a lot of check-downs and screens, as he did last year when a majority (more than 65%) of his passing yards were in the YAC category. 
 
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980 

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Redskins Rookie Camp Review
by Chris Russell
May 16, 2015 -- 3:05pm

ESPN 980

The Redskins held two practices on Saturday for their rookies and it was the first time the media was able to see the new members of the burgundy-and-gold on the grass. 
 
Coaches and executives were able to see the players on the field Friday and then see how they absorbed and improved from one day to the next. The rookie camp will end on Sunday with a film review session but the Redskins media is only allowed to attend Saturday's double session. 
 
From the PM Session: 
 
It was a shorter practice and I missed a small part of it because the schedule was moved up to avoid torrential down pours. 
 
Jay Gruden is still loud at times, but I think he has some competition. New Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry has quite the energy level and "potty mouth" but new Defensive Backs coach, Perry Fewell, can crank it up even more than Barry if one day is any indication. 
 
Just because they're rookies, you were reminded in the afternoon session that the rookies are not in Kansas or college anymore. This is for real. 
 
Now for the pure football stuff: 
 
I liked how Preston Smith stayed home on a boot and met the quarterback on the backside. As many will remember, that was a problem at times for the Redskins outside linebackers. 
 
Smith says he likes to be in a four-point stance when he knows he's going to be rushing the quarterback. That will be a tendency he has to break to some degree. 
 
WR Colin Lockett from San Diego State hurt his right hamstring pretty good on a catch. He was in a lot of pain right in front of me and his leg was heavily wrapped. 
 
Fewell was particularly hard a couple of try-out kids, Tevaughn Campbell from Regina (Canada) and LeAndre Vallot (Grambling).
 
Defensive coaches were working on footwork in press coverage with these two. They wanted their footwork to match up with what they were seeing. 
 
Linebacker Martrell Spaight from Arkansas bit on some kind of fake, and Joe Barry yelled out to him that it was a "hard lesson to learn." 
 
Jamison Crowder is awesome so far. That's really all I can say. OK I have more. He's super smooth out of his breaks and effortlessly caught a skinny post route in perfect rhythm. 
 
One member of the Redskins organization that watched Friday and Saturday's practices, said "he's caught a lot of balls."  The person did not think it would be an issue when the competition gets upgraded and the veterans come in. 
 
I also saw Crowder look very shifty and comfortable with his punt returns. He's small but he's tough and seems to have very good football IQ.  
 
In between practices, he joined Tim Murray and myself live at Redskins Park on ESPN 980. He's a very well spoken young man. 
 
Running back Matt Jones caught two consecutive passes in team drills. One jumped out in particular as he snatched a ball above his head and helmet with his hands only. Obviously that's the way you want to catch it, but sometimes guys use a jump or their body to help them corral it. Jones at 6'2" didn't need that and he was smooth. It was a running back swing type of pass. 
 
The next play was more traditional and looked to be an option route, but Jones was smooth. 
 
Here's the bottom-line: If Jones is a weapon in the pass game and if he is pretty good in pass protection (which was part of his reputation at Florida), Chris Thompson and Silas Redd could be in some trouble. I would think Thompson more than Redd. 
 
You know who also should be looking over his shoulder a bit? Alfred Morris. 
 
It's early, but mark my words. This regime wants more production than Morris gave even in 2013, never mind 2014. 
 
Trey Williams  from Texas A & M showed a little wiggle on a couple of runs with a nice cut on the second level. 
 
I believe it was Corey Crawford who had a rush that ended with a passing attempt batted up in the air and the ball was intercepted by a teammate behind the line of scrimmage. That was something Barry Cofield used to do really well. It was missing the last few years. 
 
 
From the AM session:
 
First round pick Brandon Scherff was working early in practice with new offensive-line coach, Bill Callahan on proper explosion into his opponent. Callahan was showing Scherff how low he wanted him to get and to explode upwards. Callahan wanted a broad jump type explosion.  Low man wins in the NFL. Callahan knows it. Scherff has to remember it. 
 
Scherff got the best of fellow rookie and 2nd-round pick Preston Smith on consecutive snaps in one-on-one drills. Scherff had a good set and pushed Smith to the ground once. The next rep, Scherff got Smith off-balance to the inside and won the battle. 
 
The third rep that I saw between the two top picks resulted in Smith getting the better of Scherff and in my opinion, drawing a holding call. 
 
Smith lined up in a four-point stance off the right edge in the first team drill rep. I didn't take full note, but I believe it was in nickel. The reason? Redskins coaches called out for base personnel right after the play. That's somewhat significant because it could shed some light on potentially how the Redskins will use Smith. 
 
Fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio from Alabama stood up strong in a one-on-one rep against Corey Crawford, a free-agent signed by Washington out of Clemson. Jay Gruden broke into the drill and called his shot. He loudly wanted to see Kouandjio and Crawford go at it and he got his wish. 
 
Kouandjio did a terrific job on this rep, leading Gruden to yell out "way to answer the bell" when talking about the former member of the Crimson Tide. 
 
3rd-round pick Matt Jones looked faster in person on a couple of reps than I was perhaps expecting. You can see what the Redskins like about him. 
 
The Redskins are adamant about how nobody is touching Alfred Morris' spot this year, and I believe that Morris will be the bell-cow, but Jones can put a lot of pressure on him if he can be a good pass-catcher, solid in pass protection and hits the hole hard. 
 
Others who jumped out were Tyler Larson on one rep in the one-on-one period. He anchored and swallowed up his opponent. 
 
Dyshawn Davis, a college free-agent from Syracuse also showed some impressive raw skills in pass rush, twice against Brandon Scherff. One time, Davis had a nice rip move inside but I didn't see who the offensive lineman was. 
 
Chris Russell- SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980 

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Will Ovechkin Be the Messiah?
by Chris Russell
May 12, 2015 -- 3:11pm
ESPN 980
Late Sunday evening, Alex Ovechkin told reporters huddled around him in the Capitals locker room that history does not matter and the predicted gloom and doom is for all the wrong reasons. 
 
OK he didn't say exactly that, but that was his message. 
 
What he did say was this: “We’re going to come back and win the series. We’re going to play our game, and we’re going to come back and we’re going to play Montreal or Tampa.”
 
Is that a guarantee? It pretty much is, right? It is hard to say it's not. 
 
It's not exactly Mark Messier in 1994 when he predicted the Rangers (ironically enough) would win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in New Jersey against the cross-river rival, Devils. 
 
Messier, better known as "The Messiah" to the hockey community, said "We're going to go in there and win Game 6," with the Rangers down 3-2 in the series and sitting on the verge of another heartbreak. 
 
The backpages of the New York newspapers screamed out the headline WE'LL WIN TONIGHT! 
 

Bold PredictionAll Messier did that night was score a hat trick and deliver on what he promised. The Rangers then won a Game 7 a couple of nights later in double-overtime to send the Garden into complete delirium.

Washington D.C. fans think they are cursed? They have no idea what a curse is. None. Anybody that feeds into this has never spent one day in Cleveland, on the "North Side" of Chicago or been witness to their team going 54 years without raising the holy grail. 
 
You know like the Rangers fans were faced with in that fateful year of 1994. 
 
Which brings us to Wednesday night in Gotham. This is Ovechkin's biggest game in his career. 
 
I have doubt in my mind about  that. There might be bigger to come this year or next, but this is it for now. 
 
It's bigger than Game 7 against the Flyers at Verizon in 2008 to begin the "Rock the Red" era. A loss. It's larger than all of the other Game 7 disappointments like series ending losses to the Penguins in 2009, the Canadiens in 2010, the Rangers in 2012 on the road and 2013 back at home. 
 
It's more important than Game 7 wins against the Rangers as Sergei Federov snapped home the game-winning goal or even a seventh game win in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Boston Bruins in 2013. 
 
It's slightly more important than two weeks ago as the Caps held on for dear life and beat the Islanders at Verizon to advance against the Rangers. 
 
Bottom-line: This game will forever be a part of Ovechkin's legacy and how we view him. Not only because of the previous failures as a team and individually, but because Washington will have blown a 3-1 series lead with by far and away, his best supporting cast. 
 
It's because of that help around him that I feel very strongly that the Capitals will get this done and march onto to the conference finals round with a win. 
 
Nobody can do it alone and nobody expects Ovechkin to do it by himself, but for his sake, he needs to be what he can be often. Dominant. 
 
I don't buy for a second all the gloom-and-doom that Capitals fans are feeling right now about the past. The past does not matter. It never matters. It has no significance in any way, even with this core. 
 
The point is enough of parts have changed and been improved to make it a mute point. 
 
On Tuesday, Trotz was asked (a question that would make my skin crawl) if he had watched past Capitals game 7's.  He answered it exactly the way I would have and he should have. 
"No, and I won't. It has no relevance on this series. Zero. Nothing....I won't waste my time." 
 
Just like the following statistics have absolutely no relevance to this year for the Capitals and Rangers.
 
This would be the fifth time the team I am predicting will win Wednesday night would be on the wrong end of history. This trend has slightly more impact, but once they drop the puck at the Garden, none of it really matters. 
 
Nor does this bad bit of history for the Capitals, with a lot of these numbers coming from this history we mentioned above. Do any of these numbers mean anything in terms of what to expect and the closeness that the game we'll almost surely have? Maybe. 
 
Here's what truly does matter.  Alex Ovechkin has no goals since a brilliant game two score that brought the Caps within a goal before they eventually lost. He was even better in the first game of the series with a goal to get the party started and a brilliant set up to Joel Ward's late game-winner. 
 
Ovechkin also doesn't have an assist since that stunning conclusion to game one in New York. 
 
He does however have 13 shots-on-goal in the last three games and had five hits on Sunday night including pounding Ryan McDonagh into the boards with a vicious but clean hit. 
 
That's what fuels Ovechkin. Hits. I would look for that to be a very big part of his game early on Wednesday night and especially if the Caps need a spark. Barry Trotz knows this. It is something he mentioned to me in February after a couple of months with his talented superstar. 
 
As long as Ovechkin does it legally, this would be a very good sign. For some reason, I think Ovechkin's overall package fuels something really good for the Caps in this game, despite recent history. 
 
The power play simply has to get better for the Caps. Ovechkin only has one goal with the extra-man in 13 post-season games. The Caps had the # 1 power play in the NHL during the regular season. 
 
The unit has been less than stellar to say the least including on a gift call late in Sunday night's home loss. Way too much patience and not enough shots. I would look for the Caps to come out driving hard to the net and pounding Henrik Lundqvist. 
 
The Caps have been guilty of some terrible turnovers in this series. John Carlson in Game 2, Curtis Glencross in game five, Matt Niskanen and several others on Sunday. They have to be better with the puck. That's as simple as I can make it. Turnovers have killed the Caps in big spots during the playoffs. 
 
These are all not so good things for the Caps, but I still like  a team that has to go on the road in Game 7 that has been through a lot of wars. There's a tendency to be too comfortable at home. 
 
I have contended from the start of these playoffs that the reason I felt the Caps would have success was because this was clearly the best overall team they've had with the best coach, depth, defense and goaltending. 
 
I don't think that is a point that can be argued. 
 
There will be one other Capital on the ice Wednesday night that is more important than Ovechkin and that is Braden Holtby. 
 
Holtby wasn't super sharp on Sunday night and maybe that's a good sign. He has a 1.71 goals-against-average (3rd) in the playoffs with a .944 save percentage (2nd). Once again, as he was during the regular season, Holtby is number one in shots against and saves during the playoffs (373-352).
 
Holtby should be a lot better when it is all on the line. 
 
When it's all said and done, every trend and statistic seems to favor the  New York Rangers who I believed would win this series in seven games before it started. 
 
For some reason, maybe fate, perhaps destiny, I have changed my mind when it is very hard to do so.  If I had to guess, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, Nick Backstrom and Karl Alzner are going to be five guys we'll be talking about on Thursday that fueled the march in May. 
 
Caps win 3-2 in a heart stopper! 
 
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980 
 

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LLS: A Great Cause with Deep Redskins Roots
by Chris Russell
May 11, 2015 -- 6:19pm
ESPN 980

Around this time every year and always on a Monday, the Redskins media contingent is allowed to be a part of a very special event to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The host of the event may change every few years and the venue has changed for this year, but the cause is the most important thing and  that never fluctuates. 
 
The "Ryan Kerrigan Leukemia Golf Classic" Presented by Centennial Technologies & OMNITEC Solutions, Inc. is the name of the event and the venue is the always awesome Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, which annually hosts the ESPN 980 True Heroes event to benefit the Purple Heart Foundation. 
 
The last few years, Brian Orakpo hosted the event. Before that it was Jason Campbell and Mark Brunell. Needless to say, Kerrigan should be the host for a long time because he is fully expected to get a new lucrative long-term extension at some point to stay with the Redskins.
 
“It’ll happen as it happens," Kerrigan told ESPN's John Keim and other reporters at the event on Monday. "But of course it’s in the back of your mind because it’s a big deal. It’s a big thing that could happen. Hopefully we get that done.”
 
There is nobody that represents the Washington Redskins on the field and off than Kerrigan. He's a really good person and a terrific football player. He is part of the fabric for a franchise that has struggled to find their true identity on the field. 
 
New Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan backed up those sentiments to a group of reporters, including ESPN 980 after Kerrigan spoke. “Just the fact that we’re in negotiations proves we want to be around us for a long time. I want him to have a second contract and hopefully a third contract with the Redskins," McCloughan told us. "He’s what I look for in a football player. Every day he’s there trying to make himself better.”
 
Kerrigan and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with help from corporate sponsors and the Redskins were able to make the event even bigger this year than in past years because of the commitment to the cause and also because of the  great auction items that you find at an event centered around golf, like a Full Swing Golf Simulator and more. 
 
The dapper new host doesn't hurt that effort. 
 
"I think it's going to be phenomenal," Morris Brown of OMNITEC Solutions, Inc told us this morning. "If you talk about a nice guy who gets it, he gets it. Ryan is the kind of guy I wouldn't mind introducing to my sister." 
 
The event is put together every year locally by Mary Angelo and the staff at the National Capital Area Chapter, which is one of the highest revenue-generating chapters in the nation.
 
Kerrigan, in a statement said "Along with LLS and the local business community, I am ready to tackle blood cancers and help the more than 1.1 million Americans affected by this disease."
 
Also instrumental in this event every year is the Voice of the Redskins, Larry Michael, who serves each year as an Honorary Chairman and is instrumental along with others in rallying the business community and the Redskins organization behind a great cause. 
 
This year's honored patient was Anthony Mewborn. Mewborn was diagnosed back in 2011 and after battling cancer for nearly two years, was able to return to school in 2013. His chemotherapy wrapped up a little over a year ago and he is doing terrific in his recovery. 
 
To help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society year-round, visit their website and please follow them on twitter.
 
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980 
 

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"Redskins Go Hog Wild"
by Chris Russell
May 07, 2015 -- 10:17pm
ESPN 980
Scot McCloughan likes big and nasty football players. He wants bigger and more physical athletes. Guys that will stand up in January and punish people. He likes guys that aren't afraid. 
 
In other words, he likes players that won't have skids in their underwear when playing in front of 80,000 roaring fans. 
 
He has an affinity for players from the SEC, widely regarded as the best football conference in America, year-in and year-out. His first draft proved that at a 50% return ratio. 
 
While McCloughan puts an emphasis on where a player hones his craft, it appears he also has an interest in reaching back into his new organization's glory days and rebuilding the "Hogs." 
 
Most people will look at that in just one way. The offensive line. 
 
And yes, McCloughan has totally and completely moved the Redskins in the direction of big, physical, nasty and powerful young men that will make you feel sore for a week. 
However, maybe, McCloughan is trying to reinvent the "Hogs" by drafting well, "hogs." As in Arkansas Razorback football players. 
 
McCloughan in his first draft in charge of the Redskins selected two and signed another member of Arkansas' 2014 football team under Head Coach Bret Bielema. 
 
Martrell Spaight came in the fifth round, Tevin Mitchel in the sixth and Bray Cook came post draft. 
 
Bielema joined me on Monday night for a wide ranging interview on his rebuilding of the Razorbacks and his three former players turned Redskins. He wasn't shy with praise, but the sense I got was a genuine appreciation. 
 
"There's three things you need to know about Martrell," Bielema said. "First, is he's never been red-shirted, so his best football is in front of him." 
 
"He came out of a junior college program and he came to us - never even started as a junior," Bielema described on Monday night.  "(Martrell) played as a senior and  led the SEC in tackles.  His best football is no doubt in front of him."
 
"Second thing is he's a player with an incredible amount of power in a short amount of time. He doesn't have to take four or five steps to deliver a big blow.  I've seen him take out a running back down with one step," Bielema recalled on ESPN 980. "I've seen him destroy a guard, trying to get up on him."
 
"We had a term here - he knocked out three players in one practice. We called it getting "Spaighted."
 
 
This was my favorite story that the Razorbacks head coach relayed, " I remember during the recruiting process, he (Spaight) was held out of a game in junior college.  His coaches told him he couldn't play. He was mad he was being held out," Bielema explained.
 
"They (Spaight's JUCO coaches) watched film. They're walking out about four hours after the game and they hear some noise out on the practice field," Bielema recalled. "Martrell is out there(on the field). They took away his uniform and his gear, because they knew he would try and suit up for the game.  He had stolen the gear out of his buddy's locker. He dressed out  in full gear and put himself through a three-hour workout because he didn't want to get behind his teammates in a conditioning factor." 
 
 
In the sixth round, McCloughan and the Redskins  took a cornerback that played for Bielema, Tevin Mitchel. 
 
"A guy that came in and played right away. His junior year, when we got here (Bielema left Wisconsin to coach in Fayetteville)  was one that I thought that could get better," Bielema told me about Mitchel. 
 
"We challenged him to do that. I don't know in my coaching career, a head coach for ten years, I don't know if I've seen a player change the value of his name  more in one year than Tevin Mitchel,"  Bielema stated on ESPN 980. "He's got long arms. He's a very, very powerful athlete."
 
Bielema believes the Redskins got a steal in Mitchel who he described as "a guy that maybe a year ago that people targeted and this last year (2014), they didn't want anything to do with him." 
 
My ears perked up as Bielema mentioned where Mitchel improved in his senior season, because of the Redskins needs. "We moved him to nickel, played corner and nickel. He was extremely efficient," Bielema said. 
 
My colleague John Keim also spoke to Bielema about Mitchel for ESPN.com 
 
Oh and the Redskins signed a "Hog" that they hope will contribute to the modern-day "Hogs," in Arkansas offensive lineman, Bray Cook. 
 
"He was one of our team captains. An incredible leader," Bielema said on ESPN 980. "We played him inside and outside, both guard and tackle." 
 
Bielema described Cook as "a kid with great, great upside," who "learned how to put a hat on a hat, use his feet to be able to move people around."  
 
"He kind of played nasty, he's a mean player, nothing dirty," Bielema said, which sounded an awful lot like what Scot McCloughan has told us several times about the players he likes and wants. 
 
"He (Cook) just let's you know 'hey we're here to play,' it's a four-quarter game and your going to feel it tomorrow, and the next day and maybe a couple of days  later as well," Bielema said. "I really like his demeanor. "
 
Bielema also talked about the identity that he believes so deeply in and his connection to the "Hogs" when the Redskins were the envy of the NFL.  
 
Redskins fans might crack a smile about Bielema's words.   It was a perfect way to come full-circle. 
 
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980 

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