Redskins Training Camp: Rookie Focus, Evan Spencer

By Darnell Myrick

Richmond, VA., – We are five days into the Washington Redskins Training Camp here in Richmond and players have been going at it for an opportunity to wear the iconic burgundy and gold during the upcoming regular season.

While much of the focus has been on QB Robert Griffin III, LB Ryan Kerrigan, and many other notable Redskin players, rookie wide receiver, Evan Spencer, has been making strides at training camp. The 6’2 receiver was the 187th pick in this year’s NFL draft in the 6th round.

A native of Vernon Hills, Illinois, Spencer was a four year football player at Ohio State University. He played on the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship team. His father, Tim Spencer, played for the San Diego Chargers from 1985-1990 and is the current running backs coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since being with the Redskins, he has spent his time looking up to teammates, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts, because to figure out what he needs to do on a daily basis to become a better player.

“They are pros,” Spencer said. “They come to work, they take of their bodies and when they leave they continue to take care of themselves. For me, its guys like that that I look up to.”

When asked about what he feels the need to improve on, he wants to become a more technical wide receiver.

“Being a rookie, you have to be able to absorb as much as you can and be able to be fast,” Spencer said. “I’m just going to focus on getting in my playbook and being technical with everything I do like snapping down on my routes, getting out of my routes, finding the ball, and catching it.”

In his spare time, he is an avid golfer. Spencer says that he started playing golf when he was much younger, but a year or two after he started playing football.

“Typically, I’ll be somewhere between the high 70’s to mid-80’s,” Spencer said. “I shot a 77 before and that was the best ever shot. Everything I hit was going right towards the hole and I was feeling myself a little bit, but it was fun.”

His Ohio State Buckeyes open their season on Labor Day when they travel to Blacksburg, Virginia to face the Virginia Tech Hokies, who defeated the Buckeyes last year in Columbus. Spencer gave the Buckeyes his vote of confidence as he hopes the Buckeyes get even with the Hokies.

The team is off today, but they will back suited up and ready to go on Wednesday.

Day 2 Redskins Training Camp: All In On Defense

Richmond, Va. — On day 2 of the Washington Redskins Training Camp, the Redskins added a major upgrade to their defense by signing former New Orleans Saints linebacker, Junior Galette just a week after being cut by the Saints. Galette met with the Redskins yesterday and brought him in for a physical and was quickly able to sign him to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum.

Galette has had his share off-the-field issues that likely led to his untimely exile from New Orleans. Galette was charged with domestic violence earlier this year, but the charge has been dropped. A video from 2013 has appeared that shows a man striking a woman with a belt in Miami Beach. Some believe it is Galette, but he has denied being in the video. A suspension could be awaiting Galette as the NFL are currently investigating his off-the-field issues.

“I’m thankful to be here,” Galette said. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity. I just want to move forward and not worry about the past but what’s ahead of me

The 27-year-old linebacker was a team captain with the Saints and had 10 sacks last season.

Washington Redskins Training Camp: Day 1

Washington Redskins Team Huddle at the end of Practice
Washington Redskins Team Huddle at the end of Practice

By Darnell Myrick

RICHMOND, Va. — Today marked the officially opening of the Washington Redskins Training Camp. Hundreds of people flocked to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond for the third consecutive year to see the Redskins start their 2015 campaign. The Redskins are looking to improve from last year after injuries and chemistry issues led them to a last place finish in the NFC East with a record of 4-12. Redskins Head Coach, Jay Gruden, now in his sophomore season, expects his team to work hard to find the top 53 guys for the upcoming season.

“There’s a lot to do, a lot of people to look at, but we feel like we have the talent out there that it should be great competition across the board and also implementing our system,” Gruden said.

During the offseason, the Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as the General Manager. McCloughan has made multiple changes to the Redskins staff since being hired. The Redksins named Joe Barry the Defensive Coordinator, Bill Callahan the Offensive Line coach, and Perry Fewell the Defensive Backs coach. Last season, Callahan was held the same position with the Dallas Cowboys and praised for his efforts as the Cowboys O-Line was viewed widespread around the NFL as the best offensive in the NFL while also responsible for calling plays on offense.

The Skins added CB Chris Culliver, DL Stephen Paea, OT Brandon Scherff, DT Terrance Knighton, DL Ricky Jean-Francois, and S Dashon Goldson this offseason. They will also get veteran CB, DeAngelo Hall, back after missing 13 games last season with torn Achilles.

“He’s a great leader back there and we lost a lot when we lost DeAngelo last year,” Gruden said. “A veteran cornerback of his stature and his experience is a very valuable asset to have.”

Redskins Offensive Tackle, Brandon Scherff, is excited to be a part of the team getting the opportunity to live out a dream of his. Scherff, the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft looks forward to being tested against players like Ryan Kerrigan and many others.

The Redskins also met with former New Orleans Saints Linebacker, Junior Galette, today. Galette was released from the Saints last week. Galette has been under a microscope this offseason due to off-the-field incidents and friction in the locker room. Galette was charged with domestic violence earlier this year, but the charge has been dropped. A video from 2013 has appeared that shows a man striking a woman with a belt in Miami Beach. Some believe it is Galette, but he has denied being in the video. The video is being investigated by the NFL. The former Saints captain signed a four-year, $41 million contract with the Saints in September of 2014. Galette has a combined 22 sacks over the last two seasons (12 in 2013 and 10 in 2014).

“We’re going to get a physical on him and then go from there,” Gruden said. “We’ll get a chance to talk to him.”

Twitter: @IAm_Darnell

Redskins Training Camp: July 29

Washington Redskins Head Coach, Jay Gruden
Washington Redskins Head Coach, Jay Gruden

RICHMOND, Va. — The Burgundy and Gold have made their way to Richmond. For the third consecutive year, the Washington Redskins will be holding their annual training camp at the Bon Secours Training Center starting tomorrow. Redskins Head Coach, Jay Gruden, heads into his second season coaching the Redskins and is looking to turn around the Skins after a 4-12 finish last season.

“Obviously, year one wasn’t good enough,” Gruden said. You know, our standards are a lot higher than what we showed last year. I feel like we are a lot better, no question about it. Watching these players grow and developing young players, it’s a fun process. I feel good about where we are.”

Before the press conference, the Redskins announce that linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan, had signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract with $24.28 million guaranteed. The contract makes the 26-year-old linebacker the 3rd highest-paid linebacker in the league behind Justin Houston and Clay Matthews.

“We’re happy for him,” Gruden said. “I’m happy they got the deal done and he can put it behind him. He can just move forward and do what he’s always does and that’s prepare hard and play hard.”

“When you come into the NFL and get drafted by a certain team, you immediately develop a certain affinity for that team and that organization, that city, and I have certainly feel that way about the Redskins,” Kerrigan said. “And for them to give me this kind of vote of confidence to hopefully finish my career out as a Redskin means the world to me.”
The Redskins also signed CB Chris Culliver, DT Terrance Knighton, DL Stephen Paea, S Dashon Goldson, and DE Ricky Jean-Francois to add more firepower defensively.

“I’m very excited,” Gruden said. “We just got to make sure we mesh as a unit and we play together as a team.”

The Redskins training camp officially starts tomorrow and will last until August 17.

WVCW goes to LAVA Fest

 

WVCW goes to LAVA Fest

This year an airway strip in Suffolk, Va transformed in to a day long party thanks to the magic of LAVA fest. The festival is in its first year of operations and brought a unique approach to the festival concept. Featuring Devil’s Backbone literally everywhere, a totally excellent arcade (stocked with pinball, retro classics and a trippy volcano bar), in addition to a sweet lineup the festival has sown seeds for promising future years. The bands selected to play ranged from radio pop rockers Fitz + the Tantrums, Tokyo Police Club, and Mutemath, to more out there indie rockers Cloud Nothings, KIshi Bashi, and the absolutely phenomenal of Montreal. With such a diverse lineup the festival attracted a wide audience, helping it stay away from the typical overwhelmingly bro populations that seem to hit many festivals these days. The future is exciting and optimistic for LAVA music festival, seeing how they’ve taken such a big step forward with their first season

Fans @ Lava
Fans @ Lava
Cloud Nothings @ Lava
Cloud Nothings @ Lava
Kishi Bashi @ Lava
Kishi Bashi @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava
of Montreal @ Lava

WVCW goes to Shaky Knees!

The first day of Shaky Knees saw an influx of people and some of the festival most sought after acts. The first act of the festival was Surfer Blood premiering songs off their new record “1000 Palms.” The mid afternoon was taken up by other newcomer bands with a mostly pop emphasis like Haerts, Tennis, Halsey, and Zella Day. The night took off with a destroying, crowdsurfing, and utterly weird set by Mac DeMarco, opened for by stoner punks WAVVES. The 6:15 slot proved to be the most conflict spot of the night, and possibly the festival, TV on the Radio, Death From Above 1979, and the Mountain Goats all going on at the same time. Semi locals Mastodon played a thrashing set to a mixture of diehard metalheads, first time festival goers, and Strokes fans who were waiting out the mosh pits for the anticipated headliners. The 8:15 time slot also forced festival goers to make difficult choices between Pixies, Brand New, and crooner James Blake. The biggest draw of Friday was headliners, The Strokes. Giving their first set of the year to a very eager and receptive audience, the band blasted through a career spanning setlist that was both refreshing and familiar. Some major highlights of the show were very rare live performances of “You Talk Way Too Much,” which hadn’t been performed since 2004, and accompaniment by Mac Demarco for the arguably the bands most popular song “Last Nite.” At the end of the set singer Julian Casablancas ran through the crowd high-fiving fans and setting the tone for an exciting and memorable festival. For more live coverage stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram accounts of the weekend.

The second day of Shaky Knees brought a more laid back vibe to the the festival. This didn’t stop the day from starting with high energy rising indie stars like Mariachi el Bronx, Real Estate, and Viet Cong. The peaks of intensity were in the mid afternoon with Irish rockers Flogging Molly, skater boiz FIDLAR, and Atlanta based crowd pleasers The Black Lips. The mellowing began of the day began with a rare, and magical set by weirdo indie rockers Neutral Milk Hotel. Bringing out all of their friends as musicians, and employing unique instrumentation such as euphoniums, fiddled banjos, and the signature singing saws, their show was not one to miss. They also are one of the only acts who did not allow any photography, meaning the lasting impression they gave the audience was the only souvenir they got. Interpol and Built to Spill also brought the classic tunes and kept the crowd rolling along. One of the major highlights of the night was the amazing Wilco. Playing a significantly shorter set than the were used too, every song was a hit bringing out jams like “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “Impossible Germany.” The crowd begged for an encore, but the strict time restraints disabled them from back coming out. ZZ Ward also put on an amazing set, The night closed with a set by folk rockers The Avett Brothers. Drawing a massive crowd of fans and newcomers alike, the band burst through a set of sing-along tunes that had every ones knees, dare I say it, shaking the whole night through.

Day three marked the most psychedelic day of the fest. Starting out with QOTSA off shoot Mini Mansions and RVA rocker Matthew E. White, the beginning of the day proved that even the smaller bands selected for the fest were still prime cuts. Sunday also put up some great singer songwriter bands like Ryan Adams, and the Aimee Mann/ Ted Leo collaboration, The Both. Another nice thing about the final day was the inclusion of jazz-funk staple bands like The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty. Both bands provided a needed change up from the very CMJ friendly line up. That being said many CMJ chart toppers played amazing sets on Sunday, including Best Coast, Dr. Dog, and the ultimate dad, Panda Bear. Rounding off the night were sets from psych stalwarts Spiritualized, Appalachian folk rockers Old Crow Medicine Show, and a crowning comeback set by shoegaze legends Ride. However the major draw for many sunburned fans was headliners Tame Impala. Playing a hits focused setlist, the Aussie psych rockers played favorites like “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” while also displaying tracks off their forthcoming record “Currents,” such as “Disciples” and “Eventually.” After leaving the stage, the band succumbed to an unplanned encore citing “They didn’t expect a festival crowd to be into their music,” playing Lonerism deep cut, “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control.”

The festival was an exciting and diverse experience, filled with amazing bands and a great atmosphere. Pushing itself to become one of the major festival names along the likes of Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Governors Ball, Shaky Knees 2015 was a killer festival thats sure not to disappoint in the coming years.[huge_it_gallery id=”2″]