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Jerome Mathis

Jerome Mathis

The Washington Redskins' signing of kick returner and wide receiver Jerome Mathis made a bit of a ripple over the weekend. The former Houston Texan has a Pro Bowl, multiple appearances on injured reserve and a rap sheet on his resume.

The invitation to Hawaii came after the 2005 season when he averaged 28.6 yards per kickoff return and scored two touchdowns. He spent most of the 2006 and 2007 seasons on injured reserve with various foot and leg injuries.

The Texans had the right to retain Mathis but they chose not to offer him a restricted free agent tender. This was due to a pair of arrests in addition to the IR stints. Last December he was charged with neglect when he allowed some pit bulls to escape his property in Houston. That may have been overlooked but in February he was jailed for assault after being accused of attacking his pregnant girlfriend.

She later dropped the charges but, as we know, that doesn't mean that nothing happened.

One area reporter told ProFootballTalk.com that someone like Mathis never would have been allowed in the building, much less signed, if Joe Gibbs was still around.

That's all well and good, but taking the occasional chance on a guy who had a rocky couple of months in his 25-year life isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm all for high character guys, but Gibbs was 30-34 in his second stint back so maybe a hard and fast policy against giving guys a second chance—like he did occasionally in his first, more successful run—isn't such a good idea.

Mathis got a minimum contract with no guaranteed money, so there is little risk involved. Rock Cartwright is a good kickoff returner, but he's not exactly a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball. Mathis is, or at least he is when he can stay on the field.

At 5-11, he certainly isn't the big wide receiver that the team is looking for. In fact, he hasn't played much receiver at all, with only six career catches.

At this point, Mathis appears to be a moderately long shot to make the roster. His best shot will come if Jim Zorn decides to designate a roster spot for a kick returner. That could cost someone who plays a lot of special teams but not much at a regular position a job, someone like Khary Campbell.

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Need to Know: Murphy and Kerrigan a potent sack combo

Need to Know: Murphy and Kerrigan a potent sack combo

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 5, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 6; Panthers @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 19

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (possible concussion/stinger)
Postgame injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals by the numbers

—Kirk Cousins passed for 271 yards. While compiling those yards he moved up six spots in the team’s record book for single season passing yardage. He passed four different quarterbacks in the process and passed Mark Rypien and Joe Theismann twice.

—Cousins also moved past Jason Campbell for sixth on the team’s career passing yards list.

—DeSean Jackson caught a 59-yard pass from Cousins in the third quarter. It was his 35th career reception of 50 yards or longer. Since he entered the league in 2008 no NFL player has more.

—Ryan Kerrigan sacked Carson Palmer in the second quarter, giving him 10 for the season. He now has his second career season with double-digit sacks; he had 13.5 in 2014.

—Trent Murphy recorded a third-quarter sack of Palmer; he now has eight sacks this season. He had a total of six in his first two NFL seasons.

—Dustin Hopkins kicked a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It was the second-longest of his career. He hit a 54-yarder in Atlanta last season.

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]