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Penalties a persistent problem for Redskins

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Penalties a persistent problem for Redskins

Asked about the Redskins’ persistent problem with penalties, Chris Cooley didn't dance around the subject Tuesday.

“It’s about focus,” the veteran tight end said without hesitation. “It’s about not overwhelming yourself with what’s going on and being able to focus from play to play.”

The Redskins committed a season-high 13 penalties (for 97 yards) in Sunday’s pivotal 21-13 loss to the Panthers. According to Rich Tandler’s Real Redskins blog, the rash of infractions negated 29 yards of offense as well as three first downs.

“You can practice it, but at the same time we’ve all played football for a long time," Cooley continued. "And it’s about focus.”  

For the season, the Redskins are tied for 30th in penalty yards per game (72.1) and have taken more penalties than anyone else per game (8.3), according to www.teamrankings.com. Last season, they were among the NFL's least penalized teams, getting flagged five times per game.

Coach Mike Shanahan said the dramatic uptick is as confounded as it is concerning.

“We try to practice at game speed all the time,” he said. “And usually when you practice at game speed, usually it carries over to limited penalties. This year for some reason it has not gone like it has in the past for me.”

Against the Panthers, the Redskins were trailing 14-6 in the third quarter when a 14-yard Panthers' punt set them up on their own 40 yard line. But instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, Washington saw the drive stagnate, in part, because of penalties. Fullback Darrel Young was whistled for holding and guard Kory Lichtensteiger was called for ineligible player downfield.

On Carolina's ensuing drive, a pass interference call on cornerback Josh Wilson put the ball at the Redskins' 1-yard line, setting up Cam Newton's game-sealing touchown. 

“I thought it was quite unusual to have that many penalties in [Sunday's] game, especially with the guys that had them," Shanahan said. "At the end of the day, you've got to be more disciplined.”

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

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.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.

Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon. 

Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker. 

Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base. 

More Redskins: After four teams in five seasons, DJ Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home