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Redskins respect Foles' ability

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Redskins respect Foles' ability

Although Redskins’ defenders don’t know much about Nick Foles, they are sure of this: they can’t afford to let their guard down simply because the Eagles’ rookie will be making his first NFL start on Sunday.

“This kid is in this league for a reason,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “Our coaches coached him in the Senior Bowl and they definitely told us the kid can make every throw. We have to go out there and treat him like the NFL caliber quarterback he is.”

Foles was indeed coached by Mike Shanahan and his staff at the Senior Bowl in January. But they don't have much game film on the 6 foot 6, 243-pound former Arizona signal caller since he was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of this year’s draft. 

They’ve got his two preseason starts and the two-plus quarters he played Sunday after replacing starter Michael Vick, who is not expected to be available after suffered a concussion in the Eagles' 38-23 loss to the Cowboys, their fifth setback in a row.

That's it. 

“That’s what makes it so tough to prepare for a guy like that – you don’t have a lot of film on him,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “He’s a guy that runs their offense very well. You can see that from the preseason games we’ve watched and from the last couple of quarters from Dallas game.”

Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first NFL action. He was also sacked twice.

Kerrigan said he also suspects Eagles Coach Andy Reid will lean on running back LeSean McCoy to take some of the pressure off of Foles. McCoy ranks 10th in rushing yards with 705.

“Their skill players are still the same,” Kerrigan said. “And they have one of the best skill player groups in the NFL. We have a challenge in front of us no matter who is at quarterback.”

Defensive lineman Kedric Golston said the key to containing Foles will be playing “assignment football” as opposed to relying on a scouting report.

“He seems like a kid that is very smart, poised and can make all the throws,” Golston said. “You just go out there and play assignment football. You don’t know what he likes to do. You don’t know what his favorite throw is. You don’t know which receivers he likes. So play fundamental football and allow your technique to take you where you need to be.” 

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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.”