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Anatomy of a loss: Redskins lose their cool

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Anatomy of a loss: Redskins lose their cool

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.

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DeSean Jackson wants to play with a great QB, and says Kirk Cousins fits that

DeSean Jackson wants to play with a great QB, and says Kirk Cousins fits that

Like a point guard and a shooter or a pitcher and a catcher, a quarterback and a wide receiver rely on each other. Free-agent-to-be DeSean Jackson understands that, and it's clear that the skill level of the signal caller will factor in to his decision when it's time to sign his next contract this March.

"I would love to play with a great quarterback," he told Adam Schefter in a podcast interview with the reporter. "I think Kirk Cousins is a great quarterback, he's done some great things these past couple of years as far as statistics. If it is another team out there that I'd have to go to or however it goes, we definitely know the business of the NFL. I would love to play with a great quarterback."

As is the case with any other passer and pass catcher, Cousins and Jackson miss on throws, or Cousins will look elsewhere on a certain play and Jackson will throw his hands up, exasperated that he wasn't the QB's target on that down. In the past three seasons, though, and especially the last two, the pair has connected on plenty of deep balls to add an electric element to what used to be a slogging Redskins offense.

But Cousins isn't the only NFC East quarterback the 30-year-old receiver respects.

"Carson Wentz, he came in and had a heck of a year," Jackson said of the Eagles promising young prospect. "He killed it. He showed he can do it, and he has all the intangibles of being a big-time quarterback in this league."

MORE REDSKINS: CRAVENS WILL HELP, BUT 'SKINS MUST DO MORE AT SAFETY

That statement, of course, acted as a perfect transition to Schefter wondering how the ex-Eagle felt about possibly returning to Philadelphia.

"It definitely is a great story and ending, I guess you could say," Jackson said about the idea. "You just kind of think about all that, you started somewhere and maybe you want to finish it. There's a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It all sounds good, but you never really know until the final decision is made."

Going off of those quotes, two conclusions can be made. The first: If the Burgundy and Gold don't re-sign or franchise tag Cousins, Jackson's interest in staying in D.C. would likely take a huge hit. With respect to the other options on the roster, Cousins is the only reputable quarterback on the Redskins, which Jackson said matters to him.

The second, meanwhile, would've been hard to fathom a few years ago: A reunion with the Eagles isn't a stretch at all. Wentz is an up-and-comer under center, and Jackson respects head coach Doug Pederson. 

Later in the interview, Jackson said he can thrive for another four or five years in the league. Whether he can accomplish that isn't the only question; what uniform he'll be wearing as he looks to play into his mid-30s is still up in the air as well.

MORE REDSKINS: UNDER THE RADAR ISSUES THE TEAM MUST MONITOR

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Redskins draft countdown: Washington safety Budda Baker

Redskins draft countdown: Washington safety Budda Baker

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 65 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Budda Baker
Safety
Washington

Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
40-yard dash: TBD

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Tremendously explosive and passionate in his play. Former high school track sprinter with good play speed. Screams off the edge as a blitzer. Always bouncing on balls of his feet just waiting to race to the action on a dead sprint. Plays with smooth backpedal and diagonal shuffle. Has a shiftiness that allows him to mirror change of direction in space . . . Scouts use terms like "winner" and "top notch person" to describe him.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: This doesn’t take a whole lot of explaining. The Redskins have not had a reliable pair of safeties since they lost Sean Taylor 10 years ago. Su’a Cravens is moving into the strong safety spot. A pick line Baker could solidify the position for years to come.

His passion for the game is a big resume enhancer for McCloughan. He wants players who love football and Baker appears to fit that mold.

Baker plays fast, as in fast enough to cover slot receivers when called upon. McCloughan doesn’t much care for 40 times; he will judge a player’s speed off the tape. But it will be interesting to see how Baker runs at the combine.

At Washington, they sent him after the quarterback on occasion and I could see the Redskins doing that as well. Baker had three sacks last season and in a game I watched him play against USC he had two quarterback hurries that led to interceptions by his teammates.

Potential issues: At 5-10, 180 he is on the small side for a safety, at least one that McCloughan might prefer. His size gives him trouble if he must tackle a tight end or a big running back.

His play against the run is inconsistent. At times, he takes bad angles, can’t get off blocks and misses tackles. But at other times he sniffs out a play and makes a tackle in the backfield.  

Baker might grade out to be more of a late first- or early second-round pick. McCloughan will stick to his draft board for the most part and if the value isn’t there in his opinion he could bypass Baker in favor of a higher graded player despite the need. Or perhaps he can execute a trade and end up with Baker with a pick somehwere in the twenties. 

Bottom line: Right now Baker is Mike Mayock’s fourth-ranked safety. Malik Hooker of Ohio State and Jamal Adams of LSU are likely to be gone by the time the 17th pick is on the clock. Jabrill Peppers, Mayock’s No. 3 safety, is too similar to Cravens and many think he might be a better fit on offense. If they want to get a first-round safety it appears that Baker is the guy.

Certainly, Baker’s size will give McCloughan pause. They can bulk him up some but he could have a problem carrying as many as 200 pounds. Not only could he have problems dealing with bigger players, he could deal with injury problems.

In Baker’s NFL.com profile they compare him to former Colts safety Bob Sanders. Every season in which Sanders played more than 10 games he was a first-team All-Pro. Problem was, he only managed to play in double-digit games in two seasons. The Redskins will be wary of the possibility of getting bursts of great play from someone like Baker with some stints on injured reserve.