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A Redskins-centric look around the NFL—Week 1

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A Redskins-centric look around the NFL—Week 1

Here is a Redskins-centric look around the NFL as Week 1 approaches.

—There are two games today that involve four of the Redskins’ five opponents. The first one is in Philadelphia with the Eagles (Week 6) hosting the Browns (Week 4). The Browns’ quarterback, of course, will forever be linked to the Redskins in terms of what could have been. We will find out early on if Robert Griffin III has improved his ability to make quick decisions. The Browns offensive line is shaky at best and Griffin won’t have much time to think as he stands in the pocket. The longer term concern for the Redskins is the other quarterback in the game, Carson Wentz. If he works out he could be a thorn in the Redskins’ collective sides for years to come. But for today, he’s a rookie out of North Dakota State making his first NFL start and he should have his struggles.

—The other game is of more immediate concern to the Redskins as their next two opponents are facing each other. The Giants (Week 3) go to Dallas (Week 2) and the headline is Dak Prescott’s NFL debut. It’s hard to believe that his performance will live up to all of the Texas-sized hype that his preseason performance has generated but we will see. We do know that some quality control coaches will start to break down film of Prescott just as soon as it’s available. It’s also the debut of Giants coach Ben McAdoo, who was promoted after Tom Coughlin resigned or was fired or whatever actually happened.

—The other team the Redskins face in the first six weeks, the Ravens (Week 5), host Rex Ryan’s Bills today. Baltimore was racked by injuries last year; that has changed some but they still have an extensive injury list including pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. But Joe Flacco is back and while he’s not elite he can get the job done.

—It’s too early to take a look at other games that could affect the Redskins and their playoff chances down the line. Many of the top NFC teams are in interconference play with the Packers playing the Jaguars, the Cardinals hosting the Patriots, and the Seahawks playing the Dolphins.

—It doesn’t look like any former Redskins besides Griffin will play key roles for their teams today, although we will see how that develops as the games unfold.

—I'll finish up with a few picks. I like the Eagles -4 over the Browns, the Raiders +1 over the Saints, and the Cardinals -6 over the banged-up Patriots. Redskins pick in tomorrow's Need to Know post.

This is an open thread to comment on the games of the day. 

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Vernon Davis 'just can't fathom' the NFL's very strict celebration rules

Vernon Davis 'just can't fathom' the NFL's very strict celebration rules

As he proudly demonstrated in a 27-20 win against the Eagles last October, Vernon Davis has a silky jumpshot. Unfortunately, in today's NFL, celebrating by shooting a football like Davis did in the end zone that fall Sunday is prohibited.

The tight end, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and eventually fined more than $12,000 for the move, didn't really get the point of the rule then, and he still doesn't understand it now. And as he told Kalyn Kahler of MMQB, he think it's time for the league to back off their strict stance on celebrations.

"I would just tell guys that when it comes to celebrations, anything is allowed, as long as it isn’t inappropriate," Davis said when asked how he'd change the celebration rules. "Anything that we know is wrong, we shouldn’t do. I think that is the key."

RELATED: THIS REDSKINS RULE PROPOSAL WOULD MAKE KICKOFFS MORE FUN

In Davis' case, he was penalized because of an odd technicality. The NFL doesn't want players using the ball as a prop — which No. 85 did on his jumper — but yet, they allow guys to spike and spin the ball without retribution. That gray area doesn't sit well with him.

"It doesn’t make sense to me at all," he said. "It should be really simple, we should know that we can’t use the ball as a prop for anything. So for them to allow spiking and not allow shooting, I just can’t fathom that."

The 33-year-old hopes that change is near, and he may get it, too, as the competition committee will reevaluate what is and isn't allowed at the upcoming league meetings. But if he and everyone else clamoring for less restrictions are rebuffed, Davis does have a workaround so that when he scores next, he won't get in trouble. 

"I shoot the shot, but without the ball," Davis said. "That’s my go-to now. As long as I don’t have the ball, I’m safe."

MORE REDSKINS: THE TEAM'S RECEIVING CORPS TOWERS OVER PAST GROUPS

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This Redskins rule proposal would make kickoffs more entertaining

This Redskins rule proposal would make kickoffs more entertaining

With his ability to limit opposing team's kickoff returners by consistently producing touchbacks, Dustin Hopkins is a solid weapon for the Redskins in the field position game. 

A rule that Washington is proposing to NFL owners at their upcoming meetings, however, suggests that the Redskins want Hopkins and other strong-legged kickers to become even more of an asset than they already are.

In addition, the rule would also breathe some much needed intrigue into kickoffs, which have been reduced to the second-best time to grab another beer behind a commercial break.

MORE REDSKINS: JEAN-FRANCOIS SIGNS WITH NFC CONTENDER

The proposal is this: If a kicker splits the uprights with his kickoff, then the other team's offense will take the field at the 20-yard line. As things stand now, any touchback — whether it's downed in the end zone, flies out of the back or sails through the middle of the goalposts — is brought out to the 25-yard marker.

A rule this funky isn't likely to pass on its first time through voting. In fact, who knows if it'll ever pass. 

But maybe, just maybe, one day it will, and guys such as Hopkins and Justin Tucker will become a bit more valuable than they are currently. So, if you're ever watching an NFL game and hear the words, "THE KICK IS GOOD!" on a kickoff, you'll know which team to thank.