Last season the Cowboys secondary put the "D" in Dallas, as in the nearly failing letter grade as non-covering corners and mistackling safeties roamed the back line of defensive coordinator's Rob Ryan's unit. Fortunately, for Rex's younger and more rumpled brother, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones saw it that way as well. Rather than make a coaching change, Jones focused on upgrading the defensive back talent, specifically by adding free agent Brandon Carr and trading up for LSU rookie Morris Claiborne. Specifically, the moves madewere to combat their traditional NFC East foes - yes, even the Redskins, although in that case, seems rather begrudgingly so.To be really fair about it, and fair on judgment, we have to look specifically where we had our biggest breakdowns, and weve got to make sure that weve matched up good with the teams that gave us our biggest problems, Jones said. As it turns out, it was the New Yorks, the Philadelphias, and if you will, Washington played a good game against us, too. "So its in our division. So what you saw from us during the offseason, personnel-wise, is matching up."The latest injury news - via CSNphilly - involving Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is one ouch of a story - and likely ends any hope of a 2012 appearance. "According to a league source, Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon again after the Roll-A-Bout he was using malfunctioned. Peters was maneuvering in his kitchen when the device broke, and he fell on his face and re-injured the Achilles."The five-time Pro Bowler needed a second surgery, and his recovery was set back three weeks. He is going to sue the manufacturer of the device."The Eagles signed free agent Demetress Bell to step in as the blindside protector. Good luck with that.Without the five-time Pro Bowler Peters, Michael Vick will once again be running plenty, but out of necessity. On Sunday, the nation honored all the moms out there. On Sunday, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora used the occasion to jab Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. Via his Twitter account, Umenyiora said, "Happy Mothers Day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!"Apparently the pass rusher has not forgotten that last season on Twitter McCoy described him as "Overrated n soft 3rd best d-line on his team honestly." Former LSU safety Chad Jones, drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2010 draft, was expected to help shore up the middle of Big Blue's secondary. Two months after the draft,Jones was involved in a serious automobile accident. Two years into his NFL career, Jones never stepped onto the field. Entering his third season, he is looking for a new team after the Giants releasedJones on Monday following a failed physical. No Laurent Robinson means the Cowboys once again are searching for a third receiver behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. With Kevin Ogletree currently leading the race, the team might need to keep looking. Ben Standigblogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org,follow him on Twitter @BenStandigand catch his musingsat the D.C. Sportalist.
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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Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.
It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.
—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75
The Redskins week that was
How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.
Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.
Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.
For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.
Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.