Redskins watch Bengals run away with a win

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Redskins watch Bengals run away with a win

In summary: Earlier this week, Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett lamented his units propensity for surrendering big plays, particularly in the passing game.

On Sunday, the Redskins defensive secondary struggled again in a 38-31 loss to Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and the Bengals.

The defeat, Washingtons second in a row, had veteran cornerback Josh Wilson searching for answers after the unit yielded 300 or more passing yards for the third time in three games this season. In 16 games last season, the unit yielded 300 or more yards only twice.

It was apparent from the opening play of the game that the Bengals planned to exploit Washingtons defensive backs. The visitors struck on passing touchdowns of 73, 59 and 48 yards, the first coming on a trick play to open that game that seemed to catch the Redskins defensive backs unawares.

We have to make plays, Wilson said. They game-plan, too. We have to be able to think. Its very surprising. Were a way better unit than this. We have to step up and take responsibility.

Giving up 38 point is not our M.O., he continued We have to put up some stops and make plays. If I knew the problems, we wouldnt be giving up 38 points.

Wilson got beat in one-on-one coverage when he gambled and missed the ball and Armon Binns in the first quarter. Binns took Daltons pass 48 yards for a touchdown that put the Bengals ahead 14-7.

In the fourth quarter, rookie Richard Crawford bit on a double move and got beat on a 59 hookup between Dalton and Andrew Hawkins that gave Cincinnati the winning margin.

When you get double move, you cant it was a learning experience, said Crawford, who was playing for Cedric Griffin, who left the game with strained hamstring. I apologize to my teammates. That game was kind of on me. It was my fault.

In addition to the scoring passes, the Redskins secondary surrendered plays of 38, 27, 25 and 22, as well.

Injury update: Big plays are a growing concern. So are injuries.

With Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker already done for the season and Brandon Meriweather not yet ready to return, the Redskins will be monitoring injuries to Trent Williams (knee), Evan Royster (knee), Roy Helu (foot or ankle), Griffin and Crezdon Butler(hamstring).

Williams, the starting left tackle and likely the most important player on offense behind Robert Griffin III, was injured in the first quarter. After a stint in the locker room, he played four plays in the third before leaving the game again.

After the game, Williams said he planned to have an MRI on Sunday night. He walked with a limp and sported a heavy brace on his right leg as he exited the stadium.

I dont what it is as of now, Williams said. I havent even looked at the replays. I just felt it give out on me.

I could go left, just had trouble going right, he added. Didnt really want to risk giving up a big quarterback hit.

For updates on the others, click here.

Griffin feeling the heat: Griffin completed 21 of 34 passes for 221 yards and accounted for two scores, one running and another passing. He also led the team in rushing with 85 yards.
And, once again, there were questions about how he is being used and whether all the designed runs will eventually lead to an injury. In addition to being sacked six times and hit 13 times on passing plays, Griffin also rushed the ball a career-high 12 times. In all, he has 32 carries in three games.

One play in particular seemed troubling. On an option in the second quarter, Griffin was hit hard by defensive end Carlos Dunlap, causing Griffin to fumble. Griffin was slow to get off the turf.

Coach Mike Shanahan does not agree.

I think we had 20 designed runs, relative to the option, over the first two games and I think he was contacted four times, Shanahan said. Even though its a designed run, he doesnt always get contacted. Now, if he had those designed runs and he was getting hit quite a bit, obviously you couldnt do that.

Take it to the Banks: One of the few bright spots was the creativity the coaching staff used in deploying Brandon Banks on offense. The pint-sized wide receiver carried the ball three times for 29 yards, including a 21-yarder on an option pitch in the third quarter.

Hes very good at that and thats one of the reasons why we kept him, Shanahan said.

By the numbers: Through the first three games, the Redskins defense has yielded 1,288 total yards.

The 213 yards on the ground Alfred Morris had 78 to go along with Griffins total were the most in a single game since Shanahan took over in 2010.

The 99 points the offense has scored the past three games is the most during a three-game stretch since 2005.

Rob Jacksons interception in the end zone marked only the fifth time in NFL history there has been an interception returned for zero yards for a score.

Quotable: Griffin on getting knocked down early and often. Cincinnatis ends were trying to run at me and get quarterback hits on me. Some teams think if you hit the quarterback enough, theyll stop coming after you. I just want to let everybody know that will never happen.

Redskins announce signing of 14 college free agents

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Redskins announce signing of 14 college free agents

One day after the NFL transaction report revealed 13 of the Redskins’ undrafted free agents, Washington added one more on Friday and confirmed all 14 signings.

The Redskins’ roster now stands at 88. Two spots remain open.

Here is this year’s class of UDFA’s (so far):

T Kevin Bowen; 6 foot 9/330-pounds; East Central (Okla.)

  • Note: The tallest player on the Redskins’ roster by an inch and third heaviest.

S Tevin Carter; 6-1/218; Utah

  • Note: Four interceptions, including one returned for touchdown, the last two seasons.

TE Michael Cooper; 6-5/257; Indiana

  • Note: Caught 17 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns last season.

LB Shiro Davis; 6-3/256; Texas

  • Note: Recorded a combined 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks the last two seasons.

WR Reggie Diggs; 6-4/200; Richmond

  • Note: Totaled a combined 151 receptions, 2,058 yards and 12 touchdowns the last two seasons.

LB Ejiro Ederaine; 6-3/234; Fresno State

  • Note: Recorded 45 tackles for loss and 21 sacks in four years.

T Joe Gore; 6-6/300; Clemson

  • Note: Named third team All ACC last season.

WR Maurice Harris; 6-3/195; California

  • Note: Racked up 553 yards receiving and six touchdowns as a senior.

G Dominick Jackson; 6-6/ 315; Alabama

  • Note: Named second team All-SEC as the Tide’s starting right tackle.

RB Robert Kelley; 6-0/220; Tulane

  • Note: Rushed for 232 yards on 65 attempts last season. Also a pass catching threat.

FB Joe Kerridge; 6-0; 249; Michigan

  • Note: Rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries and hauled in five catches for 33 yards last season.

DE Anthony Lanier; 6-6/265; Alabama A&M

  • Note: Recorded 29 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks in eight games last season.

S Geno Matias-Smith; 6-0/196; Alabama

  • Note: Made 15 starts and ranked third on the team in tackles with 72. Also had an interception.

WR Valdez Showers; 6-0/193; Florida

  • Note: Coverted defensive back and special teams standout.

The Redskins will host rookie minicamp May 13-15 in Ashburn, Va. These 14 players (and perhaps a couple more) will join the team’s seven draft picks and a handful of tryout players for on-and off-field instruction.

After big deals, Redskins' still have plenty of 2017 cap room

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After big deals, Redskins' still have plenty of 2017 cap room

Even after the Redskins signed Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to substantial contracts, the team still has more than adequate salary cap space to sign its other pending free agent, including quarterback Kirk Cousins.

According to www.Overthecap.com after Norman’s extension hit the books and after accounting for Chris Culliver’s release the Redskins had $117.2 million in salary cap dollars committed for 2017.

That does not count them signing their seven draft picks, which will add around $5 million to their 2017 committed money. But there also are some players counting against the cap who are unlikely to be there. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that you can subtract the salaries of Andre Roberts ($4 million), Shawn Lauvao ($4 million), and Kory Lichtensteiger ($3.5 million).

Adding in for the draft picks and subtracting for the veterans, that nets out to the Redskins having $110.7 million in salary cap commitments.

We don’t yet have the details of Reed’s contract so we don’t know how much he will cost against the 2017 cap. It’s a five-year, $50 million extension that actually starts in 2017. Usually the first year of such a deal has a lower cap number and then it grows as the years go on and the cap grows. For example, Norman’s deal averages $15 million per year and the first-year cap hit was only $8 million.

But let’s round up and figure that the 2017 cap hit will be what the average annual value of the contract is, $10 million. It might be a little higher but you’ll see in a moment that a few million dollars is not all that significant. That pushes the 2017 commitment up to $120.7 million.

The NFL salary cap this year is $155.27 million. It’s a very safe bet that the cap will increase in 2017. The increase from 2014 to 2015 was 8.3 percent. If it goes up by the same year-to-year percentage the 2017 cap will be $168 million. It may be a few million more or less but that’s in the ballpark.

Subtracting the $120.7 million that the Redskins are likely to have committed from the $168 million cap, that leaves the Redskins with about $47.3 million in sap space for 2017.

That will be more than adequate space to pay Cousins and others who might be in line for new contracts. The key will be having a salary cap structure similar to those of other successful teams. Besides Norman, if the three veterans mentioned above are released the two highest-priced contracts signed by free agents will be Stephen Paea ($5.8 million cap number) and Ricky Jean Francois ($4 million). And Paea won’t be around for that number if his play doesn’t rise to that level.

As long as Scot McCloughan continues to have productive drafts the Redskins can limit free agent signings to a supplemental way of acquiring talent, not the primary method. The organization will be able to pick and choose the players they want to keep and have a structure with some home-grown talent with large second contracts and perhaps a Norman-like free agent at the top, some moderate deals like the ones that Morgan Moses and Bashaud Breeland are likely to get forming an upper middle class, other role players who are on second contracts and then the more recent draft picks working on their inexpensive rookie deals.

Led by Cousins, Redskins top NFLPA's 'Rising 50' with five players

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Led by Cousins, Redskins top NFLPA's 'Rising 50' with five players

The Redskins boast more players in the NFL Players Association’s ‘Rising 50’ than any other team, the union announced Thursday.

Five Redskins, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, made the cut on the 2016 list. The Rams are second with four players, and the Cardinals, Texans, Jaguars and Seahawks each have three. 

Joining Cousins, who ranks second behind Rams running back Todd Gurley, are All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman (8th), tight end Jordan Reed (24th), running back Matt Jones (35th) and rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson (36th).

Cousins is one of four quarterbacks ranked among the top 10. Norman, meantime, is the highest ranking defensive player, while Doctson is one of 10 players who were selected in this year's draft.

What is the Rising 50? According to the NFLPA, the second annual list identifies "players best positioned to rank among the top-sellers of all officially licensed merchandise and become future retail stars." The union says it takes into account on-field performance, fantasy league popularity and early demand from current sponsors and licensees.

(To be considered for the Rising 50 players must not have appeared in previous NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales quarterly lists. Last year, 11 players from the Rising 50 ascended to the Top 50 Player Sales list during the 2015 season.)

While leading the league in players in the Rising 50 doesn’t guarantee success on the field, it does underscore the fact that second-year GM Scot McCloughan is assembling a group of talented and popular players in Washington.

Here’s the full Rising 50 list:   

  1. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
  2. Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
  3. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
  4. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
  5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
  6. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
  7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
  8. Josh Norman, DB, Washington Redskins
  9. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
  10. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
  11. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
  12. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
  13. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
  14. Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Arizona Cardinals
  15. Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
  16. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
  17. Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos
  18. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
  19. Tyler Lockett, WR/KR, Seattle Seahawks
  20. Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams
  21. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
  22. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
  23. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
  24. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
  25. Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans
  26. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
  27. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns
  29. Patrick Peterson, DB, Arizona Cardinals
  30. Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
  31. Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets
  32. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
  33. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
  34. Buck Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens
  35. Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
  36. Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
  37. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  38. Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
  39. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
  40. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
  41. Tavon Austin, WR/KR, Los Angeles Rams
  42. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
  43. Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
  44. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
  45. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
  46. Malcolm Butler, CB, New England Patriots
  47. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
  48. Myles Jack, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
  49. DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
  50. Blaine Gabbert, QB, San Francisco 49ers