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OPEN THREAD: Should the Redskins do Hard Knocks?


OPEN THREAD: Should the Redskins do Hard Knocks?

NFL fans flock to HBO's Hard Knocks every summer, the inside access look at one team's NFL training camp. The Redskins have never appeared on the show, but that could change in a few months. Maybe.

Due to the rules that surround the NFL's participation many teams around the league are not eligible to be on Hard Knocks. Teams that made the playoffs the previous year or had a coaching change are automatically removed from the possible pool of teams to go on the show. That narrows the list significantly, though neither rule would disqualify the Redskins. That's where things get interesting. 


ESPN Cleveland reported that while the Browns would qualify for the show - and probably make riveting television - the team has requested not to be included as quarterback Johnny Manziel is working back to football after entering rehab for personal problems with alcohol abuse. 

With Cleveland asking out of the show, and reports say the request will be granted, three finalists have emerged: Houston, Buffalo and Washington. That's right: The Redskins training camp in Richmond could be this year's Hard Knocks.

Drama always seems to surround the 'Skins and quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the HBO producers must love the idea of filming offensive sessions between RG3 and head coach Jay Gruden. But word is the Redskins want nothing to do with the show, and HBO says they only want to work with willing partners. Rex Ryan seemed to enjoy the cameras when his Jets were on Hard Knocks a few years ago; with Rex now in charge of Buffalo, maybe a willing partner exists. The Bills would need to reach out to HBO and the NFL to let both parties know of their interest, as Buffalo would not normally qualify for the show with a new head coach. 

Houston doesn't have the sizzle of RG3 or the bombast of Rex, but the Texans' J.J. Watt is a star. The show also works with or without stars. NFL junkies just love the peak behind the curtain.

Should the Redskins let HBO come to Richmond? Will they? Let us know what you think in the comments.  

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 


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A Madden ratings performance adjustor explains what goes into the job that everyone's jealous of

A Madden ratings performance adjustor explains what goes into the job that everyone's jealous of

Even on a field filled with NFL players, experienced coaches and a few celebrities, Clint Oldenburg stood out. 

It wasn’t because of his stature or that he used to play pro football, either.

It was due to his jacket.

A jacket, which led to a photo, which led to a tweet, which led to unexpected Internet fame, all thanks to the four words written on Oldenburg’s back: “Madden Ratings Performance Adjustor.”

Oldenburg was spending Week 9 at FedEx Field, sent by EA Sports to get more information on Adrian Peterson at that afternoon’s Redskins-Falcons game. The future Hall of Famer is in the middle of a comeback season, so Oldenburg was charged with checking in on him.

4.5 million Twitter impressions later, Oldenburg now knows that countless people are supremely jealous of his weekend vocation.

"I wasn’t really engaging on my cell phone during the game, and then when I was catching my cab to the airport after the game I looked at it and said, ‘Holy crap,’” he said in a recent phone interview.

"I was in shock as to what was happening.”

A fifth-round pick of the Patriots in 2007, Oldenburg also had brief stints with the Jets and a few others, including the Redskins. These days, he spends Monday-Friday working to make Madden’s gameplay better.

But he’s also a part of the Ratings Adjustor team, a small group of evaluators who travel to stadiums, observe players and submit their notes to a fellow employee. That primary analyst takes their notes into account and then has the final say on every player’s precious overall rating, which can fluctuate with each Madden update. 

Now, you may find the idea of sending someone to the site of a matchup to do this gig a bit preposterous. But according to Oldenburg, being there in-person does make a major difference.

"The benefits of the sideline really are for pregame,” he explained. “Just seeing how guys are working in pregame, getting a close-up view of their actual athletic skills, their footwork.”

Oldenburg also likes the “better perspective” he gets once the action kicks off. For example, while focusing on Peterson during the Burgundy and Gold’s loss to Atlanta, he felt like No. 26 missed some cutback lanes, something Oldenburg always finds himself paying attention to thanks to his days battling along the line.

Much like the thousands of social media users who shared various reactions about his job, players take an interest in him as well.

While in Landover, kicker Dustin Hopkins found Oldenburg on the sideline and passed along a request: That day, the team was planning on kicking off short as opposed to through the end zone, so Hopkins wanted to make sure his kick power wouldn't be decreased. 

"They wanna come talk about what we’re doing,” Oldenburg said about the athletes he’s tasked with grading. "Information like that is always valuable."

After his playing career wrapped up, Oldenburg jumped into an internship working on the video game that he loved growing up. “Everything took off” after that 10-week program, and he’s been enjoying it ever since.

"I always had to scratch and claw for everything I got,” he said near the end of the call. "I wanted to find a career that I knew I’d be happy doing.”

In the end, he landed in a career that makes him happy. And as one viral tweet showed, plenty of others would be happy in his role too.