Notes from around the NFC East: Some positive reviews of a couple young Redskins, and some terrible reviews of the replacement officials

Some great stuff from Raf over at CowboysNation, who is at Cowboys training camp:

Today, the offensive line worked extensively on trap plays. These are angle blocked plays which leave a play-side defender unblocked. Either a tackle or an end is shown a clear path at the running back or quarterback; he’s lured into a trap, where a backside guard or tackle will pull down the line and blow him out of the way, creating a nice seam for the back to exploit.

Trap plays are run by lines with more mobile linemen, and traps have not been a big part of recent Cowboys running attacks. In the unit session, Bill Callahan had left guard David Arkin pull right and take out an end. He also drilled a play where right tackle Doug Free pulled inside and took out a defensive tackle. Callahan also showed a third where Arkin pushed a stunting man inside while left tackle Tyron Smith released his end upfield and then led the back into the running lane.

All three plays are practiced against four-man fronts. The plays are designed to exploit hyper-aggressive front fours who think rush first and run second.

Hmmm… “hyper-aggressive front fours who think rush first and run second.”  That definitely sounds like at least one team I know pretty well, and maybe even two.  Plenty more of that kind of work from Raf here.

Cole Beasley quit the Cowboys.  Personal stuff, apparently.  Beasley was an undrafted free agent out of SMU that the Cowboys signed, and was competing for a roster spot at WR, and he would have had a decent shot of making the team, simply because the Cowboys have virtually nothing past Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.  105.3 the Fan in Dallas interviewed Beasley about a month ago, and because he’s a short, white WR, they jokingly compared him to Wes Welker.  Beasley dismissed that comparison, all but saying he’s better than Welker (and he wasn’t kidding).  The full interview is here, but they get to the Welker stuff in the first 30 seconds, and the hosts playfully goofed on him the rest of the way.  I immediately liked him, and his cocky attitude led me to look at some of his college tape, which isn’t half bad.  But alas, it appears we’ll never see whether he’s better than Welker or not.


Is Terrell Thomas actually done for the season or not?  There seems to be some differing opinions among the doctors Thomas has seen.  Whether he is or isn’t done, the bottom line is that all the doctors agree that the ACL that he has torn twice already has been damaged.  I’m not sure you can really trust his health at this point even if the prognosis isn’t as bad as originally thought.  Mike Garafolo of ran down some replacement options:

while the Giants wait for the final verdict on Thomas, they
continue to search for solutions should they learn what they initially feared.

One of them is sliding Rolle down into the slot to cover receivers from the nickel cornerback spot that was to be filled by Thomas. Safeties coach David Merritt said the other day Rolle was quick to accept that job one year after resisting it for much of the season.

“You know, in this league, you have to have an open mind. A ballplayer is a ballplayer, it doesn’t matter what position you’re at,” Rolle said yesterday, validating Merritt’s view of the situation. “If I have to go down there and do it again, then so be it.”

Of course, a few players could make things easier on Rolle and the Giants.

Veteran corners Justin Tryon and Antwaun Molden, linebackers Jacquian Williams and young safety Will Hill have all been used down low covering slot receivers in different packages the past few days.

Then there’s rookie corner Jayron Hosley, a third-round pick who didn’t play inside much at Virginia Tech.

“Very, very little. (I was) on an island,” said Hosley, who had nine interceptions as a sophomore two years ago. “You have a little bit tighter space (inside) than on an island, but you’re definitely going against the quicker guys like Victor (Cruz) who can take you anywhere, spin you in circles and throw you away, so you definitely have to have that quickness, speed and know your position.”

Mike Garafolo has been doing a good job on his training camp reports.  On his latest one, this little tidbit stood out:

More questionable replacement refereeing: RT David Diehl was called for an extremely questionable holding penalty on DE Mathias Kiwanuka. Diehl and RG Chris Snee just looked at one another and then at the official. Even from 50 yards away, I could see the look of bewilderment on their faces.

That seems to be a common theme around the NFL.  On one play at Eagles camp, DeSean Jackson caught a ball near the sidelines, but was out of bounds.  It was clear as day that he did not get both feet in.  I’m not even sure he got one in.  The referee gave him credit for the catch.  I have no idea what he was looking at.  Here’s what ESPN’s AFC South blogger Paul Kuharski had to say about the refs at Jaguars camp:

Not good.  Officiating in the NFL is already not so awesome.  I’m not super-psyched about the possibility that the NFL will continue their pettiness.   Here’s what former VP of officials Mike Pereira had to say:

“My feeling is this: I’ve been through [a lockout] once and I know how hard it is,” he said. … “I really don’t have a horse in this race — I don’t work for the league anymore, I’m not the head of officiating anymore, I’m actually an analyst who likes to watch the football games. And I want a pure football game. I want the best players and I want the best officials.

“You know, we all criticize officials and I’m guilty of that too. But you have the 120 best in the country that have 1,400 years of experience — they’re going to be sitting on the sidelines and not working these games. And to me, it strongly compromises the integrity of the game because the officials with 1,400 years of experience aren’t perfect. They actually make as many as five mistakes per game … it demonstrates how hard it is.

“Now you’re going to get a group of people out there with no experience, and you’ve got such a mix of people — some with barely more than high school experience, you’ve got guys that have been out of the game for years, you’ve got guys that have officiated in the lingerie football league … you’ve got such a mix right now that it’s not good for the game.”

Roger Goodell’s reply:

“Our former VP of officials, Mike Pereira, oversaw replacement officials in 2001,” he said. “And we had several weeks with replacement officials that he oversaw. In fact, as I recall, he was on the field. So we can do it, we’ve done it before, and this time we’ll have close to three months training before doing that, if it’s necessary.”

Sure, the NFL CAN use replacements, the same way I can put my genitals in the toaster if I were so inclined… but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Some positive reviews of ILB Perry Riley down in Ashburn at Redskins camp.  The Redskins need Riley to be a long-term starter at ILB.  London Fletcher isn’t going to be around much longer, and while I liked the Keenan Robinson pick back in April, the Skins have too many other glaring holes (OL, secondary) to fill in the next few seasons if Riley and Robinson don’t pan out.  It would be a major advantage if they didn’t have to worry about fixing the ILB spot.

Positive reviews of Trent Williams are beginning to pile up.  Here’s a feature on Trent by Mike Jones, and a little tidbit by Rich Tandler:

Earlier in the day partial offensive and defensive lines went up against each other in pass rush/protection . Among others, Josh LeRibeus is still struggling with some of the fundamentals of protection, not using his hands to keep the defender off balance. It’s not unusual for rookies to have this issue, they are used to being able to overpower the player lined up in front of them in college.

Trent Williams, on the other hand, has those fundamentals worked out pretty well even though he could overpower a lot of NFL pass rushers. We’re only a little over a week in so it’s very, very early, but he could be in for a big season.

One late addition: I wasn’t going to include anything Eagles-related in this post, but this is just excellent work by Bo Wulf of the Eagles’ Mothership if you have 10 minutes to read up on the battle to be the Eagles’ backup center.

Be sure to follow Blogging the bEast on Twitter.



  1. This thing with the official is obviously about money, it always is.
    Goodell is the owners’ puppet, owners that aren’t of the same breed as old timers : they put the money before the game.

    Hopefully officiating during preseason gets awful enough that people involved realize a few million bucks arent worth screwing NFL games over.

    Most Giants fans seem to be missing the point about Thomas imo. EVEN IF it’s not a full ACL, you can not trust his knee to hold up, you can not build CB depth with him in there, you have to count him out.

    1. That’s a Chris Rock bit, except he says you can push an old man down a flight of stairs. … The toaster is an interesting twist.

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