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Campbell’s little play proves to be huge

Campbell’s little play proves to be huge

With the score tied at 17, the Washington Redskins appeared to have been robbed of a touchdown when a highly questionable holding call negated a Clinton Portis touchdown run. Casey Rabach didn't stay close enough to Jay Ratliff to hold him but #61 drew the flag anyway. After an incompletion it was second and goal at the 16.

The play call was a little delay up the middle with Jason Campbell handing off to Ladell Betts. The two didn't quite connect and the ball squirted out of Betts' arm. Then Campbell made the biggest little play of the game when he alertly snagged the ball out of the air, tucked it in, and ran for six yards to the 10.

Although the Redskins had another touchdown nullified on the next play, Shaun Suisham kicked a field goal to give the Redskins a 20-17 lead, a lead that they would not relinquish.

If Campbell doesn't pluck that ball out of the air it hits the ground and nobody is around except for white-shirted defenders. The Redskins probably don't get those three points in a game they won by two points. Of course, we don't know how the dynamic of the game would have played out had Dallas recovered a fumble to keep the game knotted up at that point. But none of the scenarios I can think of would have been very good for the Redskins.

Campbell is receiving a lot of praise for his poise in the pocket today, for checking down and finding his second and third options on pass plays. Zorn loved how he didn't take chances with the ball and thus went his fourth straight game without an interception. Here he's getting kudos for all of that and for making one, little heads up play that averted a potential disaster.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

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