Redskins

FAMU head coach Joe Taylor steps down immediately

FAMU head coach Joe Taylor steps down immediately

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor announced Thursday he's stepping down immediately.

Taylor leaves with two games remaining in his fifth season at the school in which was disappointing season for the Rattlers. Defensive coordinator Earl Holmes, a Tallahassee native, will be the acting head coach for Saturday's homecoming game against North Carolina Central and the season finale in Orlando on Nov. 17 against league-leading Bethune-Cookman.

Florida A&M (3-6, 3-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) is out of contention for a MEAC championship.

Taylor, 62, told his players last Saturday of his plans to retire at the end of the season, but subsequently changed his mind to leave immediately and eliminate any distraction to the team in its final two games.

``My life has really been enriched because of this profession,'' said Taylor, who spent 40 uninterrupted years coaching after his playing days at Western Illinois. ``It's the greatest profession in the world.''

One of the most successful coaches in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision, Taylor had experienced only two losing seasons in 25 years before he replaced Rubin Carter as Florida A&M's head coach on Dec. 31, 2007 when he signed a five-year contract at $225,000 per year. Carter was fired in November 2007 after a disappointing 3-8 season in his third year at the school.

Taylor concludes his coaching career with a 233-96-4 record that includes a 35-19 mark in five seasons at FAMU. He came to Florida A&M five years ago after spending 16 years at Hampton (Va.) where his teams were 136-49-1. He had previously also coached at Virginia Union and Howard University.

``You don't retire to look for a job,'' said Taylor, who plans to remain in Tallahassee.

Taylor has written an autobiography that is scheduled to be released at the end of the month and he already has three book tour stops scheduled to promote it.

Holmes, 39, starred at Florida A&M University High School before moving to Florida A&M. A middle linebacker, Holmes was drafted in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He spent five seasons in Pittsburgh, two in Cleveland and three with Detroit as a playe. Holmes then spent two years as a high school coach in Lake Mary before joining Taylor's staff five years ago.

``This season hasn't turned been what we thought it would turn out to be,'' Holmes said Thursday. ``But that's adversity and you've got to play through that. At the end of the day the game must go on.''

Florida A&M athletic director Derek Horne said Holmes would be a strong candidate in the school's coaching search.

``We want to encourage him to go ahead and be a part of the program,'' Horne said.

The new next coach will be the school's ninth since the legendary Jake Gaither retired in 1969. Gaither's teams were 204-36-4 with six National Black College championships in 25 seasons.

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Adrian Peterson's impressive day vs. the Panthers wasn't exactly supposed to happen

Adrian Peterson's impressive day vs. the Panthers wasn't exactly supposed to happen

When you don't hear from someone you wanted to hear from, you typically follow up.

But on Sunday during the Redskins' 23-17 win over the Panthers, Jay Gruden actually didn't follow up with Adrian Peterson about a plan the two first discussed leading up to kickoff.

Everyone associated with burgundy and gold should be OK with that, however, after seeing how things played out.

During his weekly, exclusive interview with JP Finlay on the Redskins Talk podcast, Gruden explained how Peterson's injury situation almost prevented the running back from posting his crucial 17-carry, 97-yard stat line. 

"I talked to him before the game, had a sit-down with him," the head coach said. "I told him I was probably only gonna use him on short-yardage and goal line if that, you know? Because I want him to heal, we have a long season ahead of us." 

Heading into Week 6, Peterson was dealing with shoulder, ankle and knee issues. Plus, he's 33 years old at a position where that number is way more common on a player's jersey than in his bio under "age."

So, Gruden's concern made some sense, especially considering how necessary a productive Peterson has been to the 'Skins' success in 2018. Problem is, the two never connected again, so the coach's pitch count was never executed.

"He says, 'Oh, just let me go early, I'll let you know how I'm doing,'" Gruden recalled. "We let him go early and I never heard from him so I just kept him in there. He played great. He's a pro, he's a stud."

For those of you now wondering if this means you should start ignoring emails from your boss or not text your buddy back and still expect success, let's not get too carried away here. In this instance, a lack of communication worked for the future Hall of Famer, but that doesn't mean it's going to work for you.

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The Redskins releasing Ziggy Hood could mean the return of Stacy McGee

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The Redskins releasing Ziggy Hood could mean the return of Stacy McGee

The Redskins released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood on Tuesday, and in a vacuum, that's not major news. 

Hood has been a strong locker room presence for Washington for the last three seasons. He's played mostly out of position at nose tackle during his time with the Redskins, but he didn't complain and worked hard.

Still, Hood is a 31-year-old defensive lineman and was the last man in the Redskins rotation. 

While the Washington coaches and staff will all have plenty of good things to say about Hood, with the vocal emergence of second-year pro Jonathan Allen, Hood's leadership skills became less valuable.

It's probably not a coincidence, however, that 28-year-old Stacy McGee must come off the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list this week. McGee underwent surgery for a groin injury this offseason and was unable to practice throughout preseason.

In turn, the Redskins placed him on the PUP list, which meant he could not practice or play for the first six weeks of the season. 

Well, check the calendar — it's Week 7.

At 6-foot-3 and 339 lbs., McGee is bigger and younger than Hood. McGee is also carrying a $4.8 million cap hit this season, where Hood counted for $1.7 million.

It's the NFL and it'a a cutthroat business. 

McGee is now eligible to return to practice, and if he's ready, the active roster. If he's not ready, the Redskins have three weeks of practice time to let him continue to work back into shape.

Washington could also send McGee to the injured reserve list (ending his season) or release him. But neither of these options are expected.

Throughout the beginning of the season, McGee has been a fixture at Redskins Park, both in the weight room and on the practice fields. 

Last year, McGee played all 16 games for the Redskins and logged 44 tackles. Other players talked up his ability to absorb double team blocks, freeing up linebackers to make tackles.

Pro Football Focus graded McGee as +2.6 for the 2017 season, where Hood graded out at -26.3.

There are other options as well.

Maybe the Redskins want to give Caleb Brantley more opportunities. The team was high on Brantley going into the 2017 NFL Draft before an off-field accusation caused him to slip on draft boards. Washington signed him during roster cuts after he as released from Cleveland, but he's yet to make a gameday 46 for the Redskins. 

It's also possible the Redskins have identified another player, either a free agent or a practice squad player on another team. 

One free agent that seems wildly unlikely to fill Hood's roster spot: Junior Galette. 

While plenty of Redskins fans want to see Galette return to the Burgundy and Gold, remember, Galette plays outside linebacker and his greatest asset is speed of the edge. Whoever replaces Hood needs to be a big body, serving as a space eater along the defensive line. 

Think of it this way: Galette is a Ferrari. Hood is an F-350.

You don't want an F-350 on the race track, or a Ferrari hauling firewood. 

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