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Putting the Special Back in "Teams"

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Putting the Special Back in "Teams"

Is John Hall in danger of being replaced?

The Redskins made their second veteran free agent signing in three weeks yesterday, adding former Carolina Panther Brian Allen to roster. From Redskins.com: The Redskins continued to add to their depth and special teams with the signing of free agent linebacker Brian Allen, formerly with the Carolina Panthers, on Wednesday.

Allen, 6-0 and 232 pounds, has appeared in 46 regular season and four postseason games during his four-year NFL career, making nine starts. He has amassed 133 tackles (72 solo), one sack and one interception.

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Primarily utilized on special teams, Allen was a member of the Panther's kickoff coverage team that ranked fifth in the NFL in 2003.

Allen will continue his status of being primarily a special teams guy. His signing comes after the acquisition of Buffalo's Pierson Prioleau, a safety in name only, a special teams player by trade.

After the 2004 season ended, Joe Gibbs expressed the need for the Redskins to upgrade their "teams" as he calls the kicking units. They certainly were nothing special about the results from those units last year. Out of the 32 NFL teams the Redskins were 20th in punt return average, 12th in kickoff return average, 26th in punt return defense and 14th in kickoff return defense. That's a mixed bag of the mediocre and the awful.

The Redskins probably aren't done with making adjustments to the "teams". After signing just camp-fodder variety kickers to compete with John Hall the past two seasons, they will have some real competition for Hall, who missed half of last season with an assortment of injuries. Washington signed Jeff Chandler after putting Hall on injured reserve towards the end of last season. Chandler showed enough, including kicking four FG's against the 49ers, including a 49 yarder to warrant a new contract from the Redskins and a chance to battle for the position.

Chandler is five years younger than Hall, who turned 31 on St. Patrick's Day this year. Certainly that's not old for a kicker but add to that the injury issues and Hall's $1.4 million cap hit for 2004 and you have a vulnerable veteran in Hall.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!