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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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Did the Redskins err in trying to make this a "regular" week?

Did the Redskins err in trying to make this a "regular" week?

LONDON—Looking at pictures of the Redskins’ arrival at their downtown hotel made me wonder if the team did the right thing in trying to make the week as close to a “regular” week as possible.

The players were quiet and obviously tired as they arrived. Some people can sleep on a plane, some can’t. It appears that there are more Redskins who can’t. And less than four hours after that video was taken they have to be out on the field practicing to make their final preparations for a game that will be played about 48 hours after those busses pulled up.

It’s not a regular week so trying to pretend that it is amounts to ignoring reality when reality is not convenient. That rarely ends well.  

Some teams head across the pond immediately following their games on Sunday. They get here on Monday and they get a week to get used to the five-hour time difference from the East Coast. By the time Friday rolls around they are ready for a crisp practice and their body clocks are normal when they take the field on Sunday.

Should the Redskins have taken this approach? Would it have been better for them to come here straight from Detroit and do their work here?

Perhaps but there really isn’t any evidence to suggest that a less jet lagged team is necessarily the better team on Sunday. You don’t have to go back any further than last week, in fact, for some anecdotal evidence to the contrary. The Rams came out early the week and the Giants rolled in Friday morning like the Redskins did. Final score, Giants 17, Rams 10.

To be sure, that result may have had more to do with Case Keenum (4 interceptions) being the Rams’ quarterback than it had to do with any sleep patterns.

This week, both teams are working at an equal let lag disadvantage. The Bengals also arrived Friday morning so it should just cancel out.

But if the Redskins have a flat, sluggish performance on Sunday, something they can do for Sunday 1 pm Eastern games in the states, there will be those who question their scheduling for the week. While it may end up being a much-discussed topic it seems unlikely that time zone adjustment will be a factor in the outcome of the game.

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With Matt Jones' status in doubt, Redskins sign Mack Brown to roster

With Matt Jones' status in doubt, Redskins sign Mack Brown to roster

In a move that may signal Matt Jones will be held out of Sunday's game against the Bengals, the Redskins announced Friday they promoted Mack Brown from the practice squad to the active roster.

To make room for Brown, the team waived recently signed safety Josh Evans.

The NFL's preseason rushing leader has yet to play in a regular season contest, but he could get his chance in London on Sunday. If Jones is out — he experienced knee soreness at practice on Wednesday and said he had issues cutting laterally — Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson will likely share the workload in his absence, though Brown demonstrated in the exhibitions he's capable of contributing (he ran for 149 yards in Tampa Bay on September 1).

Like Jones, Brown is a University of Florida product. He's 25 years old and first entered the league in 2015.