In summary:When the doors to the visitors locker room swung open following Sundays 31-28 loss,Josh Morganwas seated facing his locker stall, motionless, staring at the ground.Moments earlier, the wide receiver had lost his cool and, as a result, any chance the Redskins had of forcing overtime had been lost as well.Morgan was tackled after catching a pass from Robert Griffin III near the Redskins sideline. As he got up off the turf, Rams cornerbackCortland Finneganshoved him in the facemask. Morgans response was a regrettable one: he flung the ball at Finnegan, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.A 47-yard field goal attempt had just become a 62-yarder, which failed when Billy Cundiffs kick came up well short with 1:18 remaining.Afterward, Morgan said his reaction had been percolating throughout a chippy game that featured a number of post-whistle scrums and plenty of trash talk.You saw the whole game, Morgan said. I got to keep my cool. I never did nothing like that before. It just came to a point where you just get tired of it. I just had to be the bigger person and keep moving.Finnegan added: I didnt say anything to him. The game was chippy all game long. It was just a matter of him making a mistake there and getting them out of field goal range.Morgan was approached by team-leaderLondon Fletchermoments before speaking to reporters.He said things such as the game shouldnt have even been that close, we shouldnt have been in that position, Morgan said. Everybody is going to attack me, you got to be the bigger person and keep moving forward.Morgans gaffe certainly contributed to the defeat, which evened the Redskins record at 1-1. But it wasnt all that was being discussed in the aftermath of the Rams first victory since November 13th2011.Injury update:Defensive endAdam Carrikerinjured his right leg in the first quarter and did not return to the game. He said he'll have an MRI in the morning but did not sound optimistic as he slowly made his way out of the locker room on crutches.I just planted and pushed, and then it was just pain, Carriker said. The MRI will tell us everything we need to know. Well see how it feels and looks tomorrow. It doesnt look that great, but you never know.LinebackerBrian Orakpoappeared to reinjure the left shoulderpectoral muscle that he originally hurt in the regular season finale a season ago. Orakpo twice attempted to return but was forced to leave again. As he hurried out of the locker room, he said he was going to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, who, presumably, was in the building.Josh Wilsonsustained a concussion during a helmet-to-helmet collision with Rams running backDaryl Richardsonin the third quarter. Because the injury was to his head, Wilson was not permitted to speak to media, per NFL rules.CoachMike Shanahanwill likely have further information when he addresses reporters Monday afternoon in Ashburn.Special team struggles:For the second straight week, Sav Rocca had a punt blocked deep in Washingtons territory. Again, it led to an opponents touchdown.I kicked the ball and there was someone there, Rocca said. We just have to make sure that we cover all their guys. I dont know what they did, if they twisted or what.Shanahan added: It was a six-man rush and there was a bit of an overload. One of our guys took off a little too early and they blocked the punt.Coming up short:Cundiffs 62-yard field goal attempt landed in the end zone, significantly short of the uprights. Still, Shanahan said he felt it was worth a try.Well, he can kick it out of the end zone pretty consistently from the 35-yard line, so that means he could kick a 62-yarder if he hits it right, Shanahan said.Losing control:Before Morgans loss of composure, tension had been building on both sidelines after countless shoving matches, tussles and fracases. Although no one came right out and said the replacement referees lost control of the game, it was implied.I dont think anything really needs to be said, Shanahan said of the officiating. If you watch the game, you can see what happened during that game.Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said: I know Mike Shanahan was frustrated at times today and I was frustrated at times today. Again, Ive said the same thing Ive been saying since the preseason: these arent the regular guys. Theyre doing the absolute best they can.First time for everything:Griffin had his first and second career rushing touchdowns. He also had his first interception one play after getting popped hard and high.That wasnt affecting me, said Griffin, who attempted to force a pass to Fred Davis over the middle while off balance. I was just trying to make a play when I shouldnt have tried to make a play. Its just a mistake I cant make.By the numbers:One game after gaining 96 yards on 28 carries (3.4 yards per carry average), rookie running back Alfred Morris was more efficient and decisive in gaining 89 yards on 15 carries (5.6 per). Morris longest run was a 29-yarder in the third quarter.Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. only rushed the ball once apiece.By the numbers, II:DeAngelo Hall had a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss, a fumble recovery and a pass defended.Quotable:Shanahan on his message to the team Monday: You toughen yourself tomorrow. We will be tough on ourselves. I did see some good things during the game but when you lose a game like that its always tough to take.
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.
—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105
Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.
Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016
(originally posted January 28)
As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.
The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.
The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.
The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.
While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.
Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.
The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.
Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.
- Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy.
- Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
- Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.
Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.
See you Tuesday fam pic.twitter.com/NINvMBljUT— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) May 26, 2017
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