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Penalties a persistent problem for Redskins

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Penalties a persistent problem for Redskins

Asked about the Redskins’ persistent problem with penalties, Chris Cooley didn't dance around the subject Tuesday.

“It’s about focus,” the veteran tight end said without hesitation. “It’s about not overwhelming yourself with what’s going on and being able to focus from play to play.”

The Redskins committed a season-high 13 penalties (for 97 yards) in Sunday’s pivotal 21-13 loss to the Panthers. According to Rich Tandler’s Real Redskins blog, the rash of infractions negated 29 yards of offense as well as three first downs.

“You can practice it, but at the same time we’ve all played football for a long time," Cooley continued. "And it’s about focus.”  

For the season, the Redskins are tied for 30th in penalty yards per game (72.1) and have taken more penalties than anyone else per game (8.3), according to www.teamrankings.com. Last season, they were among the NFL's least penalized teams, getting flagged five times per game.

Coach Mike Shanahan said the dramatic uptick is as confounded as it is concerning.

“We try to practice at game speed all the time,” he said. “And usually when you practice at game speed, usually it carries over to limited penalties. This year for some reason it has not gone like it has in the past for me.”

Against the Panthers, the Redskins were trailing 14-6 in the third quarter when a 14-yard Panthers' punt set them up on their own 40 yard line. But instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, Washington saw the drive stagnate, in part, because of penalties. Fullback Darrel Young was whistled for holding and guard Kory Lichtensteiger was called for ineligible player downfield.

On Carolina's ensuing drive, a pass interference call on cornerback Josh Wilson put the ball at the Redskins' 1-yard line, setting up Cam Newton's game-sealing touchown. 

“I thought it was quite unusual to have that many penalties in [Sunday's] game, especially with the guys that had them," Shanahan said. "At the end of the day, you've got to be more disciplined.”

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Redskins' Josh Norman elected alternate NFLPA rep weeks after criticizing union

Redskins' Josh Norman elected alternate NFLPA rep weeks after criticizing union

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith made a visit to Redskins Park today, and the team elected their union representatives.

Kedric Golston will serve another year as the team's liason to the union. Three alternates were elected as well: Kirk Cousins (an alternate last season), Will Compton and, surprisingly, Josh Norman. 

Norman was critical of Smith and the union in an ESPN piece in August. "[The NFL] is a dictatorship, and [NFLPA director] DeMaurice [Smith] is in cahoots with those guys," he claimed. 

The cornerback's election today marks what would appear to be a turn of events. 

"We always love to have veteran leadership as player representatives, and this team is no different with Kirk and Kedric returning," Smith told CSN Mid-Atlantic. "As for Josh, we love players who are both smart and passionate, and he, as well as the other players, fit that bill."

MORE REDSKINS: Cravens declared NFL Clutch Performer of the Week

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Josh Norman fined for rough play against Giants

Josh Norman fined for rough play against Giants

Nearly a week after the Redskins win over the Giants, news broke that Washington CB Josh Norman has been fined for roughness in the New York victory.

UPDATE: Per ProFootballTalk, the fine was for a fourth quarter hit on Sterling Shepard and being a repeat offender.

For much of the Redskins-Giants game, Norman covered Odell Beckham almost exclusively. Not many moments stand out for being particularly physical save for a play early in the game when Beckham jumped in the end zone. The motion took him above Norman, but rather than letting Beckham come down to the ground, the corner grabbed and carried the receiver for a few yards.

Norman was flagged for roughness on a hit against Giants receiver Sterling Shepard. It's likely that hit triggered the fine. It's also worth pointing out that referees gave Norman a specific warning before the game about rough play, so it's possible being flagged for roughness despite the warning made an impact in the league offices as well. 

There is one other physical moment that stands out from the Giants/Redskins matchup - when Beckham violently swung his helmet at the Giants' kicking net. Beckham got the worst of the altercation though as the net flew back at him and socked him in the face.

Expect many questions about the fine to come.