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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:How do the Redskins stack up in the NFC East?

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Need to Know:How do the Redskins stack up in the NFC East?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 29, 15 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 59
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 73
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 104

How do the Redskins stack up against the rest of the NFC East?

A few words on the state of the NFC East and how the Redskins stack up to their rivals after all of them had active offseasons. 

Need to Know Monday 05.29.17

Need to Know for Monday, 05.29.17

Posted by Rich Tandler on Monday, May 29, 2017

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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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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