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Video Department: 'One Shot to Get It Right'

Mike Bracken is in his seventh season with the Redskins and third as head of the team's video department. His responsibilities include overseeing the daily operations of the video room and assisting coaches with game tape and player highlights.

Bracken and his staff edit the video for all the practices and games, producing what are known as "cut-ups" of opposing teams. They create highlights that Redskins coaches use in positional meetings during the NFL season.

During training camp, fans will notice cranes high above the practice fields. Bracken and his crew sit atop those cranes with cameras directed at the action on the field.

"We have one shot to get it right," Bracken said. "They're not going to re-run plays for us so we have to be on our game every play. We have to be perfect every play."

A native of Clifton Heights, Pa., Bracken got his start in the NFL as a video intern with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997. From there, he went coast-to-coast, serving in video departments at the University of Southern California and then the University of South Carolina.

Bracken knows something about the game he tapes every Sunday: he once played defensive back at Lycoming College, in central Pennsylvania.

Traveling with an NFL team is sometimes challenging for members of the team's video department. Right after a game, Bracken says, coaches begin asking for tape of the next week's opponent--even on the plane as the team is returning from a road trip.

"We do most of our work on the plane on the way home, working off of a drive called a field pack," Bracken explains. "That gives the coaches an opportunity to watch the film while on the plane."

Other staff members in the Redskins' video department are Matthew Shea and Tom Long. Their duties also include taping and editing all Redskins games and practices.

A native of Glenwood, Minn., Shea is in his third year with the Redskins. He works closely with the defensive coaching staff. Back in 2003, Shea helped implement the video systems for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they prepared for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXVII.

Long, in his second year with the team, hails from Teaneck, N.J. The University of Maryland grad works closely with Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith.

During games, Shea is usually on the field to supply still images to Redskins coaches. Meantime, Bracken and Long shoot the game from the top of the stadium--Long from the end zone and Bracken from the sideline.

The staff also has an intern in Todd Davis, who first joined the Redskins in 2005. Like Long, Davis also attended the University of Maryland; the duo previously worked together in the Terrapins' video department.

Davis recently returned from a stint in NFL Europe, where he served as assistant video coordinator for the Hamburg Sea Devils in Germany.

"We filmed all of the practices and we filmed all of the games," Davis said. "We made the cut-ups for the coaches who needed them. It was real hands-on experience.

"In a way, we had to get back to the basics because we didn't have the fancy camera equipment that we have here at Redskins Park. We actually used a lot of hand-held video recorders and VCRs."

Davis said he enjoyed the experience of living and working abroad. Like his Redskins Park colleagues, he is eager to begin the 2006 NFL season.

"They embrace American football [in Germany], but it's nothing like being at FedExField," Davis said. "You really feel the fans at FedExField."

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