Fearless Prediction: Giants-Redskins
KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden)
KEYS TO THE GAME: First down is critical for the Giants on
both sides of the ball. Defensively, they want to back Redskins QB
Jason Campbell into long passing situations after watching
Philadelphia average 7.1 yards on first down last Sunday. Campbell
is playing efficiently as the passing game has picked up in the
absence of RB Clinton Portis. Quinton Ganther will start his second
consecutive game. Offensively, the Giants’ pass protection is a
concern with Washington boasting a tandem of double-digit sackers
in Andre Carter and rookie Brian Orakpo. New York averaged just 3.3
yards per carry in a Week 1 victory over Washington, but RB Brandon
Jacobs needs to be given an opportunity to set up play-action.
FAST FACTS: The Giants have had nine different starting
combinations on defense this season. … Campbell has a 92.3 passer
rating with 11 touchdowns in seven games since being benched at
halftime in Week 6.
- C Shaun O’Hara received a $15,000 fine for his role in the
game-ending melee last week against Philadelphia. O’Hara and
Eagles DE Trent Cole engaged in a shoving match that resulted in
Cole being ejected with eight seconds left after he took a swing
at O’Hara’s head. O’Hara said that he will appeal the fine, but
that he might not hear back concerning his appeal until the end
of the season.
- RT Kareem McKenzie (knee) did not practice on Thursday and is
not expected to play on Monday night against Washington. If
McKenzie doesn’t go, William Beatty, who filled in for McKenzie
last week after he left the game, is expected to get his second
- CB Corey Webster (knee) was held out of Thursday’s practice.
Coach Tom Coughlin remained hopeful that Webster was still “day
to day,” but he also didn’t rule out the possibility of moving
Aaron Ross, who last week started at safety, over to cornerback.
- WR Mario Manningham was not at the team’s facility on
Thursday. The second-year receiver was reportedly experiencing
flu-like symptoms, so the team sent him home to rest. He was
expected back to work on Friday.
- DE Mathias Kiwanuka was voted as the winner of the ninth
annual George Young Good Guy Award by the Giants’ chapter of the
Professional Football Writers of America.
The award, named for the late general manager of the
Giants, is given annually to honor a Giants player for his
consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover
the team on a daily basis.
Kiwanuka, in his fourth NFL season, distinguished himself
by being constantly available to the media. He is the second
member of the defensive line to receive the award since its
inception in 2001. DE Justin Tuck won the award in 2007.
- S Kenny Phillips, who was placed on injured reserve after
having knee surgery following Week 2, paid a visit to the Giants’
locker room today. Phillips said he’s feeling “great” but is
still a couple of months away from being cleared to do any
- CB DeAngelo Hall took limited practice on Thursday for the
first time since spraining his right knee on Nov. 22 at Dallas.
- FB Mike Sellers took limited practice on Thursday for the
first time since being hospitalized on Dec. 6 with internal
bleeding in his left thigh.
- DT Albert Haynesworth took limited practice on Thursday after
missing three of the past four games with a sprained left ankle.
- OT Stephon Heyer didn’t practice on Thursday because of a
flare-up in his long-ailing right knee.
- DT Cornelius Griffin was limited on Thursday because of an
- S Kareem Moore was limited on Thursday with an ailing ankle.
- K Graham Gano kicked field goals but not kickoffs during
Thursday’s practice because of a bursa problem in his right foot.
Inside The Camps
The Giants haven’t seen the Washington Redskins since Week 1
of the NFL season, which seems like an eternity considering the
promise each team began the year with. So when these two teams get
together for their Monday night matchup, the Giants’ offense is
going to have its hands full with a defense that is ranked seventh
in the league and is first in the red zone.
“They have always been a very aggressive defensive front,”
said coach Tom Coughlin. “They do a good job of attacking. They are
a solid front, now. The secondary is aggressive; the safeties are
Coughlin was asked how relevant the information from the
first game was as far as helping prepare his offense. He said that
while there was some relevancy, things have changed.
According to Giants quarterback Eli Manning, one big change
is that the Washington defense has jelled.
“They have kind of stayed within the same game plan,” said
Manning. “You have seen some young guys emerge and really play
well. It is not like they are doing a whole lot of things
differently. They don’t change things up much so everybody knows
what they are doing and they are very sound in their defense.”
One guy in particular who has been a difference maker for the
Redskins has been rookie linebacker Brian Orakpo, whom the Redskins
play mostly at strong-side linebacker but who also moves to
defensive end on third down situations.
With the Giants expected to not have right tackle Kareem
McKenzie in the lineup because of a sprained MCL, rookie Will
Beatty will step in and help protect his quarterback. It won’t be
easy, though, as the Redskins’ defense is out to make Manning’s
Manning, however, said it doesn’t matter how many yards he
throws for as long as the Giants find a way to win. And he believes
that they can win this game if they stick to their game plan and
play fundamentally sound football.
“It’s about going out there and playing your best for four
quarters and putting your team in a situation to win games,”
Manning said. “Right now we’ve got a big one coming up against
Washington. I don’t care if I throw for 100 yards or 300 yards. As
long as we win, that is when you are satisfied.”
The Redskins confirmed executive vice president Vinny
In the statement released by the team, Cerrato made some
notable omissions in thanking the club for his time there.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great coaches
such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman Lewis,” Cerrato said.
He cites the defensive coordinator and the offensive
consultant but not embattled Jim Zorn, the coach he and Dan Snyder
hired 23 months ago.
In the newsy part of the statement, Cerrato said that he and
owner Dan Snyder “agreed that the franchise needs someone different
in this position.”
Cerrato has been Snyder’s right-hand man for 10 of the 11
seasons the owner has run the Redskins (save 2001 when Marty
Schottenheimer forced Cerrato out). Washington has made the
playoffs three times, including in 1999 with a team that was put
together by Charley Casserly, Cerrato’s predecessor.
The Redskins are in the midst of their fifth losing season
during Cerrato’s second tenure that lasted not quite eight years.
“Of course, I am disappointed with this year’s results, but I
strongly believe that with outstanding draft picks and encouraging
performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong
foundation for the franchise,” Cerrato said.
Snyder called his buddy “the consummate optimist” and said he
“has always made decisions based on what would be the best for the
Bruce Allen was seemingly destined to become the general
manager of the Washington Redskins, the job he was given on
As a teenager, Allen was nearly tossed from the sideline
during a Redskins game for cursing at the officials, causing his
father, coach George Allen, to deny he knew him to avoid a penalty.
As an adult, Allen built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that
the Redskins victimized for their only playoff victory this decade.
Allen believes passionately in, well, passion, as did his
late father, the Hall of Famer who turned the long-moribund
Redskins into winners in the 1970s.
“The greatest thing is the passion, love what you’re doing,”
said Allen, who ran the Oakland Raiders’ front office from
1995-2003 before spending five seasons with the Bucs. “I worked at
a gas station on Route 7 by Tysons Corner. A car pulls up and it
was (my father). He didn’t like the way I came out of the gas
station. Whatever you’re doing, have a passion for it.”
Asked why he wants to work for Redskins owner Dan Snyder,
Allen said, “I like Dan for his passion.”
Allen sounded just like his father when he talked about the
key to success.
“The principles of football in my mind are simple,” said
Allen, who wore a burgundy and gold tie to his press conference.
“It’s a team. It’s 53 men, an entire staff, everybody in the
building going in the same direction for one common purpose and
that’s to win.”
He wasn’t a big winner with Oakland (77-74 and three playoff
seasons during his nine years) or Tampa Bay (38-44 and two playoff
seasons in five years), but Allen did produce the Raiders’ only
Super Bowl team of the last quarter century and the Buccaneers’
only consecutive winning seasons since 2001-02.
Allen, 54, is credited for fixing the Bucs’ salary-cap woes,
but in doing so he rid the roster of longtime standouts Warren
Sapp, John Lynch and Simeon Rice.
He also traded malcontent Keyshawn Johnson for more
productive fellow receiver Joey Galloway and revived the careers of
receiver Antonio Bryant and defensive end Greg White but gave
quarterback Chris Simms a huge contract, which turned out to be a
And while the Bucs won the NFC South in 2005 and 2007, they
were bounced from the playoffs each time, scoring just 24 points in
home losses to Washington and the New York Giants. Only one of
Allen’s 47 draft picks in Tampa Bay, guard Davin Joseph, has been
chosen for a Pro Bowl. And only one of his 34 free-agent signings,
punter Josh Bidwill, has been similarly honored.
Allen’s first year in Tampa was his worst. He gave big
contracts to such past-their-prime veterans as offensive linemen
Derrick Deese and Todd Steussie and running back Charlie Garner,
and drafted a bunch of busts, headed by first-round receiver
Michael Clayton, who has four touchdowns in six years.
When the Bucs lost their final four games to miss the 2008
playoffs, Allen and coach Jon Gruden, a prime candidate to coach
the Redskins in 2010, were fired.
“Bruce Allen is a great football mind and an even better
person,” said Gruden, now an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night
Football. “He is a leader and a great fit for this job. He’s a big
reason why I had any success in coaching.”
Allen, a player agent before becoming an executive, has used
his year off to visit former opponents around the league.
“Hopefully learning (and) having more experience, we can make
sure we have less mistakes and more correct decisions,” Allen said.
Allen’s track record was better in Oakland, where he was
named NFL Executive of The Year in 2002, when the Raiders capped
three straight AFC West titles with the conference championship.
“He’s a proven winner,” Snyder said. “He has a great passion
for the game, a passion for winning. He’s a great communicator. He
has a tireless work ethic. He works around the clock. It’s an added
bonus that he understands the tradition and heritage of the
On that point, there’s no argument. Allen referred to some
members of his father’s famed “Over The Hill Gang” as “extended
Bubba Tyer, the Redskins’ trainer for 37 years before
retiring after last season, remembers throwing Bruce and his
brother George, the future Virginia governor and senator, out of
the training room for spitting tobacco.
“If he’s as dedicated as his dad (was), as one-dimensional
about winning as his dad (was), we’ll be fine,” Tyer said.
Allen, who was fired along with Gruden after the 2008 season,
was evasive when asked about hiring Gruden or former Denver coach
Mike Shanahan, to replace the embattled Zorn, saying he’ll spend
the final three weeks of this season evalating everything about the
PREDICTION: Redskins 23-19