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Is time the only solution to the Redskins' rushing woes?


Is time the only solution to the Redskins' rushing woes?

The Redskins are not running the ball well; this is not news to anyone who follows the team. And everybody seems to have an idea of how to fix it.

Some want different plays called. Others want the team to stick with the run even when it not working. There are those who think the solution would be to play Alfred Morris more while those in another camp say Morris should be benched and the ball should be given to Matt Jones.

Jay Gruden has a solution that might be the only one that will work—time. At his press conference today he rattled off all of the inexperience that is at work with the running game.

“We have a center [Josh LeRibeus] who just starting playing,” said Gruden. “We have a right guard [Brandon Scherff] who is a rookie, a right tackle [Morgan Moses] who just started playing. We have a left guard [Spencer Long] who just started playing, this is his second year and really his first year playing left guard. We have a rookie running back [Matt Jones], we have a tight end [Derek Carrier] who got here about five or six weeks ago. And Jordan Reed who is more of a pass catching tight end. We aren't exactly one cohesive unit, a finished product yet. We're working towards that, we're going to get to that.”

LeRibeus, a fourth-year player who logged little playing time as a guard in his first three years, is filling in at center with Kory Lichtensteiger out with a neck injury. Long, a third-round pick last year, has been starting since Week 4 after Shawn Lauvao suffered a broken ankle. Scherff, the team’s top draft pick this year, and Moses, a third-round pick in 2014, were paired on the right side in training camp. Jones was a third-round pick this year. The Redskins acquired Carrier in a trade on August 21, so he has been around for closer to 10 weeks.

Add it up and it makes sense to see that the combination of going with youth along the line and some key injuries have thrown the running game out of whack. But nobody cares about the labor pains; people just want to see the baby. The Redskins had better gain that cohesion soon or their season could be lost. 

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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.