While the bye provided a welcome break for players, Mike Shanahan spent much of the week hunkered down at Redskins Park studying all aspects of his struggling program.
Although he wouldn’t go into detail, or divulge what changes might come as a result of his exhaustive review of the season’s first nine games, the head coach described the sessions as “productive.”
“You look at personnel,” Shanahan said. “You go back and you evaluate the players and you look at your scheme.”
He added: “You take a look at the things you’ve done poorly and you try to correct it. Obviously, I’m not going to go through all the details of the things that we’re going to work on. But it [was] a good, productive week.”
Shanahan said the majority of what he studied during the bye week centered on personnel, particularly reserves who have been pressed into the starting lineup because of injuries and whether adjustments are necessary to accommodate those changes.
“What you do is you really go back and study players,” Shanahan said. “You go back and study the new guys that came in maybe the second, third game of the season. You evaluate their play. A lot of times when you’re looking at schemes, you don’t really get a chance to study these players as much as you’d like to, like you do in the offseason.”
How much Shanahan and Co. actually accomplished, though, could become evident Sunday, when the Redskins (3-6) host the Michael Vick-less Eagles (3-6) in an NFC East contest that amounts to an elimination game for both clubs. The Redskins are 0-4 since 2007 in the week following the bye, according to this post by Rich Tandler on Real Redskins.
“Now, there’s no room for error,” Shanahan acknowledged when asked about his message to the players. “You have to play your best from Philly on.”
NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith made a visit to Redskins Park today, and the team elected their union representatives.
Kedric Golston will serve another year as the team's liason to the union. Three alternates were elected as well: Kirk Cousins (an alternate last season), Will Compton and, surprisingly, Josh Norman.
Norman was critical of Smith and the union in an ESPN piece in August. "[The NFL] is a dictatorship, and [NFLPA director] DeMaurice [Smith] is in cahoots with those guys," he claimed.
The cornerback's election today marks what would appear to be a turn of events.
"We always love to have veteran leadership as player representatives, and this team is no different with Kirk and Kedric returning," Smith told CSN Mid-Atlantic. "As for Josh, we love players who are both smart and passionate, and he, as well as the other players, fit that bill."
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Nearly a week after the Redskins win over the Giants, news broke that Washington CB Josh Norman has been fined for roughness in the New York victory.
UPDATE: Per ProFootballTalk, the fine was for a fourth quarter hit on Sterling Shepard and being a repeat offender.
For much of the Redskins-Giants game, Norman covered Odell Beckham almost exclusively. Not many moments stand out for being particularly physical save for a play early in the game when Beckham jumped in the end zone. The motion took him above Norman, but rather than letting Beckham come down to the ground, the corner grabbed and carried the receiver for a few yards.
Norman was flagged for roughness on a hit against Giants receiver Sterling Shepard. It's likely that hit triggered the fine. It's also worth pointing out that referees gave Norman a specific warning before the game about rough play, so it's possible being flagged for roughness despite the warning made an impact in the league offices as well.
There is one other physical moment that stands out from the Giants/Redskins matchup - when Beckham violently swung his helmet at the Giants' kicking net. Beckham got the worst of the altercation though as the net flew back at him and socked him in the face.
Expect many questions about the fine to come.