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How big a concern is Jason Hatcher's knee injury for the Redskins?


How big a concern is Jason Hatcher's knee injury for the Redskins?

The Redskins almost got out of minicamp without a scratch.

For weeks the Redskins went through their offseason program without anything resembling a major injury. They looked around their own division and saw Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee get knocked out for the season with a torn ACL and Giants linebacker John Beason suffer a foot injury that likely will cost him some of training camp and possibly the regular season.

Their luck finally ran out as the offseason drew to a close, although their injury issue doesn’t appear to be as serious as the others around the division. Jason Hatcher will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. He said that he isn’t sure if any one moment caused him to need the surgery, which has been described as a cleanup procedure. He missed minicamp and he is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Training camp opens five weeks from today. Given the timetable, Hatcher could miss a week of camp or he might not miss any at all.

Is this something to be concerned about? Compared to the issues in Dallas, New York, and elsewhere, no. Even if he does miss a week or so of camp you have to figure that a veteran like Hatcher can still do what he needs to do to prepare for the season.

Still, there has to be some degree of apprehension over a veteran who will be 32 next month having an ailing knee two months prior to the start of the season.

Since becoming a starter in Dallas in 2011, Hatcher has been reasonably durable but not an iron man. He missed three games in 2011 due to a calf injury and he was on the injury report as questionable or probable for 11 games last year with neck and shoulder injuries. Hatcher did end up missing one game with injuries last year.

Missed games would be a big issue for the Redskins’ defense. Hatcher was a major part of their offseason plan. They couldn’t find many players that would upgrade their secondary at a price they wanted to pay so they went all in on getting a big pass rush. Hatcher was the key acquisition on defense. He had 11 sacks last year, more than the entire Redskins defensive line has registered in the last two seasons combined (6.5). This is a player who is not easily replaceable.

But let’s hit the brakes here. We are a long way from Hatcher being on an injury report or missing a game. Let’s see how things play out before panicking.

In reality, the fact that this knee issue came to light now could have been a blessing in disguise for Hatcher. If it had come up a week or so into training camp, the four to six week rehab would have threatened his availability for the start of the regular season.

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.