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Replacement refs coming?

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Replacement refs coming?

Just in case anyone out there misses the labor strife that marked the NFLs last off-season, here comes another one, between the league and its officials.

USA Today reported that the NFL likely will start the season with replacement referees, citing a person with knowledge of the negotiations between the league and the NFL Referees Association.

"I will be very surprised if there are not games played with scabs or replacement officials," the source told USA Today.

At issue are proposed changes to the officials pension plan. The NFL contends the refs would end up better off with the new plan. An NFL spokesman said Tuesdays labor talks ended when the union "made a pension proposal that was entirely inconsistent with what they agreed to at the last session with the mediators.''

Under the proposal on the table, the NFL said, first-year officials, who average 78,000 in salary, would make over 165,000 by the last year of the deal in 2018. Remember, officiating isn't a full-time job.

Should fans care? Absolutely.

Because officials in BCS conferences are tied to NFL officials, replacements wouldnt come from their ranks. Instead, they would be from non-BCS leagues, retired referees and indoor football, ESPN.com reported. So the NFL wouldnt even be getting the next highest level of officiating.

Therefore, not only would we see more questionable calls, but there is also the potential impact on player safety, such a huge emphasis by the NFL right now. Officiating is a large component of avoiding the dangerous plays that the league wants to outlaw. Its unreasonable to assume replacement refs would be as capable of policing these actions as the regular refs.

Plus, wouldnt you miss seeing Ed Hochuli show off his biceps?

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Redskins' Cousins both lucky and unlucky vs. Bills

Redskins' Cousins both lucky and unlucky vs. Bills

After playing just seven snaps in the Redskins’ first two preseason games, Kirk Cousins played the entire first half against the Bills and, for the most part, everything went according to plan. But he did have some good luck and he had some bad luck during the 47 snaps that he played.

Some good fortune came before the opening kickoff. The Bills decided to rest five defensive starters as well as some key reserves. Playing Buffalo without the likes of cornerback Stephon Gilmore is an easier task than playing against the Bills at full strength.

The Redskins’ first possession ended with a combination of bad luck and a bad decision by Cousins. He dropped back, looked to his left and then decided to go back to Rashad Ross on the right sideline. Cousins threw late and backup cornerback Corey White made a nice interception on his back.

“If you look at the interception, it was the product of a defensive back making a good play on a tight throw, the ball bounces up in the air and it lands where it lands,” said Cousins. “I don’t know if that’s a product of anything, other than the fact that it’s the way it happened.”

Some drops also happened and those were bad luck for Cousins. When normally sure-handed pass catchers like Jordan Reed and Pierre Garçon drop passes that would have resulted in first downs it just may not be your day.

Jay Gruden mentioned the drops during his postgame press conference. He also talked about the penalties against the Redskins (13 accepted for 104 yards) making drives more difficult. But Cousins and the offense benefitted from some yellow flags at well. Two roughing the passer penalties kept drives alive and a defensive holding call negated what would have been a second Cousins interception.

The Washington offense finally got going thanks to some sloppy tackling (and good running). With the Redskins still scoreless in the second quarter, Cousins threw short passes to DeSean Jackson and Ryan Grant. They both made tacklers miss. Jackson took a pass in the flat and dodged some tackles for 39 yards into Bills territory. Two plays later Cousins threw to Ryan Grant on the left side. The defensive back missed the tackle and Grant ran in to complete the 38-yard touchdown play. On two throws that went a total of maybe 10 yards past the line of scrimmage Cousins got credited for 77 of his 188 passing yards.

The missed tackles were a theme for both teams last night. According to Pro Football Focus the two teams combined to miss a whopping 31 tackles. There were 137 snaps in the game so nearly one play in every four had a missed tackle.

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DeAngelo Hall fights criticism on Twitter over controversial hit vs. Bills

DeAngelo Hall fights criticism on Twitter over controversial hit vs. Bills

DeAngelo Hall's position will be new in 2016, but judging by his performance against the Bills, his aggression will be the same as it's always been. But it was that aggression that drew the ire of some of those who were watching and rooting for Washington's opponent on Friday.

In the first half of the game, the 32-year-old took down Bills tight end Chris Gragg with a strong, low tackle, a play in which Gragg was injured on. Afterward, Bills head coach Rex Ryan revealed Gragg tore his ACL in that sequence and will therefore miss the 2016 season.

As a result of that, many took to Twitter to call Hall a "scumbag" and "dirty," among other things, which caused the defender to respond with this series of tweets:

 

Gragg, meanwhile, had this to say on social media:

Hall is listed at 5-foot-10, 202 pounds, while Gragg is 6-foot-3, 244 pounds, which would explain why the former decided the best course of action was targeting the latter's legs. While Gragg's injury is an unfortunate one, the hit Hall delivered didn't seem particularly out of the ordinary or egregious.

RELATED: GAME RECAP — REDSKINS 21, BILLS 16

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How Robert Kelley took the lead in Redskins backup RB race

How Robert Kelley took the lead in Redskins backup RB race

FEDEX FIELD -- The Redskins got what they wanted in the running game against the Bills on Friday. But perhaps they didn’t get it from the expected source.

It was Robert Kelley, not fellow rookie Keith Marshall, who ran the ball consistently well in the absence of injured starter Matt Jones. Kelly had 12 carries for 51 yards. His longest run was nine yards indicating that he kept on grinding out years and not piling up a lot of them in one or two pops.

“I thought he ran hard,” said head coach Jay Gruden. Protected the football, had a couple of good blitz pickups that I saw. I have to make sure I look at the film and see how he did in protection overall. But for the most part I’m happy with the way he played.”

MORE REDSKINS: RECAPPING WASHINGTON'S WIN OVER BUFFALO

Unfortunately for Marshall, he did not get the time with the with the first offense that he was expected to get. He had one carry for three yards. On that attempt he suffered a sprained elbow and left the game. He did not return.

It’s possible that both Marshall and Kelley will make the 53-man roster as Jones’ backups. But if only one of them makes it, Kelley has to be the one. So far in the preseason he has 22 carries for 99 yards, an average of 4.5 per carry. Marshall has 16 carries for 28 yards, a 1.8-yard average.

Yes, they have been playing with different blockers in front of them and against defenses of varying qualities. But the difference in production is stark and if Jay Gruden meant what he said a few weeks ago when he stated that preseason games matter a lot when it comes to shaping the 53-man roster it’s hard to make any case for Marshall making it over Kelley.