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Penalties a persistent problem for Redskins


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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Cousins on contract: 'Don't think we really did' get close to a deal

Cousins on contract: 'Don't think we really did' get close to a deal

In his first time speaking out since officially being franchise tagged on July 15, Kirk Cousins confirmed what most who followed his negotiations thought to be true: He and the Redskins weren't exactly on the same page.

"I don't think we really did," the quarterback said on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny show Wednesday when asked if the two sides ever got close to a deal. As he talked more about his contract situation, however, he made it clear that he's harboring no hard feelings against his team despite the fact he didn't receive a new extension.

"I always said going back to the end of last season that I wanted to play where I’m wanted," Cousins explained. "The franchise tag shows that I am wanted. Now, maybe not beyond this year, but I am wanted."

That relaxed outlook is something the 27-year-old has maintained all offseason. He pointed out that a few other players around the league were tagged as well, and thinks it's something that can easily be handled in the future. But don't let Cousins' steady demeanor totally fool you.

He's still going to do whatever he can to show his doubters that he's deserving of a long-term deal — and the massive dollar amount that'll come with it.

"I feel good about having this one season to prove myself and see what I can do," he said. "I do relish the opportunity to prove to people I’m capable of playing well and being here a long time."

The end of that quote makes it sound like Cousins does still envision a future in Washington. His performance in 2016 will go a long way in determining whether that feeling is mutual.


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Those flowers next to Chief Zee's casket are from Santana Moss

Those flowers next to Chief Zee's casket are from Santana Moss

The funeral for Zema Williams, the Redskins superfan better known to thousands as Chief Zee, is being held on Wednesday in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Some photos from the services show that plenty of the team's supporters are attending in order to say goodbye to one of its most dedicated, but another touching picture proves at least one player is thinking of Williams, too.

Santana Moss, who wore the Burgundy and Gold for a decade and posted this tribute to Williams after he died last week, sent along a bouquet of flowers, a photo and a message to the church where the funeral is being held, all of which ended up next to the icon's casket:

"Rest in paradise Chief Zee," the note reads. "With Love, Santana Moss & Family." The accompanying picture is from the famous Redskins-Cowboys game in 2005, where Moss caught two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stun Dallas in their own stadium.


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Redskins' training camp facility walloped by Richmond storm

Redskins' training camp facility walloped by Richmond storm

Redskins training camp hasn't even officially started yet and there's already been some unecessary roughness down in Richmond.

No flags have been thrown, but plenty of other things likely were, thanks to a stretch of nasty weather that ripped through the area on Tuesday night (despite the damage, Scot McCloughan probably appreciated the storm's motor and physicality).

Here are some tweets and photos explaining the situation:

The NFL does tinker with the kicking game quite often these days and may even be considering adjusting the goalposts, but that second picture is a bit extreme. Luckily, it appears things are being handled quickly. 

Speaking of kicking, has anyone seen Dustin Hopkins and made sure he knows those particular goalposts are bent only because of the storm and not because of a rule change? The poor guy may be filling out an application to T.J. Maxx after seeing those things.