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Gomes 'cool and calm' vs. Brees and company

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Gomes 'cool and calm' vs. Brees and company

DeJon Gomes, like the rest of the Redskins secondary, was expected to struggle against Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints vaunted air attack.Only he didnt.With the exception of a personal foul in the first quarter and pass interference infraction in the third, it could be argued that Gomes was among the Redskins best players on defense last Sunday. He finished the game tied for team-lead in tackles (4), combined tackles (5) and returned a fourth quarter interception 49 yards deep into Saints territory.Not bad for a second-year professional making just his sixth career NFL start. The 22-year-old strong safety replaced injured veteran Brandon Meriweather (sprained knee) and figures to get the call again Sunday in St. Louis.I thought he did a good job in a lot of areas, but theres room for improvement like everybody, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. I thought the guy stepped in and was cool and calm. Thats kind of his demeanor anyway. He did a nice job in both the running game and the pass game.Gomes afternoon did not get off to the type of start he had envisioned.On the Saints second drive of the game, he was whistled for a late hit on Darren Sproles, putting New Orleans on the Redskins 20-yard line. On the next play, Brees hit Jimmy Graham for the go-ahead touchdown.I guess it could have went either way, Gomes said Thursday. But I have to be smarter than that.It was the lowlight of an afternoon that, for the most part, only got better for Gomes.In the third quarter, he was whistled for pass interference after breaking up a pass deep in Washingtons end. Four plays later, the Saints settled for a field goal.Gomes then made amends for the two penalties with his clutch play in the fourth quarter as the Saints mounted a comeback bid. The home team had trimmed its deficit to 33-25, had the ball again and the Redskins were reeling.But Gomes, in essence, clinched the Redskins victory when he stepped between Brees and Lance Moore on a deep pass near midfield. Gomes snatched the ball, zigzagged across the field and nearly scored before getting shoved out of bounds at the three-yard line.Alfred Morris punched the ball into the end zone next play to put the Redskins ahead 40-25 and the game out of New Orleans reach.Gomes said it was his biggest play since junior college.My high school running back days came out of me, he said with a laugh. I was just trying to get as many yards as I could.Told of Gomes running back comment, Haslett had some fun at the safetys expense.Why didnt he score then? he cracked.

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When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

What do Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis have in common? They're all excellent NFL corners — and they all rank behind Josh Norman when it comes to ratings in Madden 17.

The Bronco (93 overall), the Seahawk (92), the Cardinal (91) and the Jet (91) should be proud of the grades handed to them for the next edition of the legendary video game. It's Norman, though, who's at the top of these top-notch defenders, checking in with a skillset that's good enough for a 94 in the eyes of EA Sports.

"Norman is expected to be a lock down corner for the Redskins this season," reads the description underneath Norman's name in a post ranking the elite cornerbacks that was published Thursday. "He is best in zone with his 97 zone coverage rating, but has the ability to match up in man to man situations with 90 speed and 92 man coverage."

These numbers are subject to change during the course of the season, so if No. 24 has a rough outing or two, he could tumble down a few points and give up the crown to someone else. As it stands now, however, Madden thinks he's the preeminent man at his position. 

And that's something Odell Beckham Jr. can't say.

RELATED: WHY DID SCOT MCCLOUGHAN PUNCH WALL?

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Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

After opening training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that LB Perry Riley has been activated and will practice on Friday.

Riley went out last December with a foot injury and missed the Redskins run to the NFC East title. A six-year veteran, Riley was drafted by the 'Skins in 2010 and emerged as a starter in 2011. Riley struggled somewhat early in the 2015 season, but his play was improving into the second half of the year.

"I expect him to come on and continue his strides," Gruden said of Riley's improved play. 

Coindence or not, Riley's play improved once Will Compton took over at starting linebacker for Keenan Robinson.

"I think it did," Gruden said of Riley playing better paired with Compton. "Maybe it's just the whole entire defense got better as the season went on."

Gruden said that the defense as a whole was becoming more comfortable with new coordinator Joe Barry, and that should only increase this season. 

Some think with a $5 million cap number - and a potential savings of $4 million if he was released - Riley could be subject to a roster squeeze. But after Compton and Mason Foster, Riley is the only inside linebacker with significant NFL experience on the roster compared to Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels and Terence Garvin. 

It will be interesting to watch Riley's return from injury, both to see how he looks, and to watch where he fits with the defense. In nine games last season, Riley grabbed two interceptions and 24 tackles.

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Josh Norman using his physicality to help cure Matt Jones of 'fumble-itis'

Josh Norman using his physicality to help cure Matt Jones of 'fumble-itis'

RICHMOND—Josh Norman was brought to the Redskins to help the defense. But he’s trying to solve one of the potentially biggest problems facing the other side of the ball.

In a part-time role last year, running back Matt Jones fumbled the ball five times, losing four of them. This year Jones is projected to be the full-time running back and if he continues to fumble at the same rate Norman and company will be coming onto the field a lot sooner than they planned on many occasions.

Norman has taken it upon himself to try to fix this. When Jones is carrying the ball Norman makes an effort to knock it out of the back’s arms. It’s become a running competition between the two.

“We crack up all the time because [Jones] knows when he comes to that hole I’m looking for that ball,” said Norman. “I’m punching; I’m looking to get it out of there.”

So far, Jones is doing a good job with ball security, something he’s been working on all offseason.

“He’s holding that thing high and tight and I don’t know if I've got him once yet,” said Norman.

Norman said that his goal is to knock the ball out of Jones’ grasp five times during training camp.

“I’m going to be lurking, trust me, I’m going to try and get it,” he said. “And that makes him better because he knows he’s going to have to hold that thing tight.”