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Panthers seek 'morale boosting' victory

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Panthers seek 'morale boosting' victory

The Redskins are a desperate team entering Sunday’s game.

But so are the Panthers, who, like Robert Griffin III and his teammates, believe they’re better than their record indicates.

There may be some truth to that. At 1-6, Carolina shares the NFL’s worst record with Kansas City and Jacksonville. But the Panthers have dropped their past four contests by a combined 12 points. In any of those games, a first down here or a forced turnover there, and the outcome could have been totally different. 

Last Sunday is a prime exacmple of the Panthers' prowess. They gave the NFC North Division leading Bears all they could handle at Soldier Field before Robbie Gould booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired to lift Chicago to a 23-22 victory.  

“We do need a morale boosting victory,” Carolina Coach Ron Rivera said this week on a conference call with local reporters. “It has been hard. It’s been very hard for a lot of guys because we’ve come so close and it’s been one thing or another. It’s something along the lines of, ‘It’s got to give.’”

Which is how they’re looking at Sunday’s game at FedEx Field.

There's also a sense that second-year quarterback Cam Newton is to break out of his season-long funk at some point. This season, Newton has thrown five touchdowns and rushed for three; last season, he tossed 21 touchdowns and ran for for 14 more.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Newton said, asked if he’s frustrated. “I’ve been learning so much about myself. Has it been humbling? Yes. But I feel as if there’s things I’m getting better at. I just have to keep growing.”

When the teams met in Week 7 last season, Newton directed the Panthers to a 33-20 victory in Charlotte. Carolina snapped a three game losing streak, while the Redskins saw their season-wrecking slide accelerate. It was the second of six straight losses for Washington.

The Redskins' find themselves at a similar crossroads this time. The Panthers, meantime, sense a chance to make good on some opportunities they've let slip. 

“Every time you play is an opportunity to win and that’s how we have to look at it,” Rivera said. "This is an opportunity for us to go out and play well and hopefully get the win."

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Redskins Playbook: QB Sudfeld now on a compressed learning schedule

Redskins Playbook: QB Sudfeld now on a compressed learning schedule

The Redskins hit the practice field today, suddenly finding themselves on a compressed schedule. Their preseason finale against the Bucs has been moved up from Thursday to Wednesday and now the backups who are looking to put on a good showing to stay employed in the NFL, either with the Redskins or on another team, have 24 hours less to prepare.

Here’s what we’re looking for at Redskins Park today:

—The shortened schedule will affect Nate Sudfeld the most. Jay Gruden said that the rookie quarterback will start against the Bucs and play the whole game. Yesterday Sudfeld talked about all of the play changes and other calls he will have to make it at the line of scrimmage. He now has considerably less time to become comfortable with the calls.

—Will Josh Doctson practice? He sent out a tweet last night that made it sound like he was going to be removed from the PUP list. Today might be the day; it’s the last practice for nearly a week and they might want to get him out there, perhaps push his Achilles just a bit, and then give him a few days to recover.

—How about Spencer Long? He picked a bad time to get injured, just when it looked like he might hang on to the starting left guard job. Now Shawn Lauvao steps in and, if he stays healthy, he might not step out. As with Doctson, the timing makes it difficult. With just one practice and the possibility that Sudfeld and the backups will get a lot of the snaps, does Long press to get back today? Or rest today and get ready for preparations for the Steelers next week, even if that creates the risk that he will be preparing with the second team.

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NFL had no choice but to move Redskins vs. Bucs

NFL had no choice but to move Redskins vs. Bucs

Looking at a weather forecast map that has a yet-unnamed tropical depression set to wreak havoc on the Tampa area starting Thursday afternoon, the Bucs organization called an audible. Working with the NFL and the Redskins, they decided to move the preseason game that was schedule to be played on Thursday to Wednesday.

It was really their only choice. A little bad weather doesn’t stop a football game but when things get to the point where the safety of spectators could be in danger and staging the game would tie up police and emergency personnel who would be needed elsewhere you have to make the decision to move it.

Postponing it until Friday was a nonstarter. In addition to the logistics of hotels that may be booked and possible cleanup from the storm going on, NFL teams cut their rosters to 53 by 4 p.m. on Saturday. That would leave the Redskins and Bucs coaches very little time to make their final evaluations.

When the Redskins announced the time change they also noted that their annual Welcome Home Luncheon will be held as scheduled on Wednesday. Although they haven’t yet announced their plans it appears that they will go straight from the event to the airport. They will get off of the plane in Tampa, bus to the stadium, play the game, then get back on the bus to the airport, and head back to Dulles.

This all creates a bit of a disruption to everyone’s schedule but if it’s going to happen, it’s better for it to happen at this time of year. Teams really aren’t in any sort of routine now with preseason games scheduled at varying times during the week. There is minimal concern for playing games too close together since most of the players who will participate in the game tomorrow played sparingly last Friday against the Bills.

MORE REDSKINS: Who has the upper hand at left guard?

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Redskins preseason finale moved to Wednesday due to inclement weather

Redskins preseason finale moved to Wednesday due to inclement weather

The Redskins and Buccaneers are going to wrap up their preseason earlier than the other 30 teams in the NFL, thanks to some inclement weather that's heading toward Tampa Bay.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the matchup between the two NFC squads has been bumped up a day to try and avoid what looks like a lot of precipitation and winds in Florida, courtesy of Tropical Depression Nine

Washington sent out this tweet in response to the news:

"It has become apparent that the most severe weather associated with Tropical Depression Nine will likely make landfall on Thursday," said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford, according to the Bucs' website. "This decision was made by both teams in conjunction with the National Football League and local authorities in an effort to ensure the safety of our fans, players and stadium staff."

The exhibition finale is slated to start at 8 p.m. Redskins Kickoff will air on CSN at 7 p.m., with Redskins Extra following the matchup. 

Get ready for some Hump Day Football.

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