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Redskins fall to Giants, 27-23; Fred Davis lost for season

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Redskins fall to Giants, 27-23; Fred Davis lost for season

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ--In summary: Any discussion of Sunday’s heartbreaking 27-23 loss to the Giants must begin with the fact that the Redskins lost so much more than a game at MetLife Stadium.

Tight end Fred Davis – the team’s leading receiver in the absence of No. 1 wide receiver Pierre Garçon – is done for the season after suffering a torn left Achilles’ tendon. 

Davis was running a route in the first quarter when he crumpled to the turf, his lower leg throbbing.

“I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do this year, and I was doing it,” said Davis, who entered the game with 23 catches for 312 yards. “Yardage after catch, making plays, blocking."

Davis said he is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, but Shanahan already has resigned himself to not having one of his offense's most dangerous weapons for the remainder of 2012. The 26-year-old walked out of the visitors’ locker room sporting an immobilizer boot and walking slowly with the assistance of crutches.

Although tight end Logan Paulsen picked up the slack nicely, hauling in a career-high four balls for a team-leading 76 yards, speculation about Chris Cooley being reunited with the Redskins will begin in earnest Monday – if it hasn’t already.

Here are eight additional notes, quotes and observations from East Rutherford, N.J.:

Turning point: The Redskins barely had time to celebrate taking a 23-20 lead with 1:38 left to play, when Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was doing the Salsa in the opposite end zone.

Cruz raced right down the middle of the field, splitting cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Madieu Williams before reeling in a 77-yard bomb from Eli Manning, answering Moss' go-ahead score only three plays earlier.

“He made a play,” Wilson said. “The guy made a play. He didn’t do anything all game. He was not a part of the game until the last play of the game.”

Offensive play of the game: Trailing 20-16 late in the fourth quarter, Griffin authored what could have been the signature comeback of his brief but stellar NFL career. Facing a second-and-six, the rookie signal caller lofted a perfectly-placed, 30-yard pass over Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley and into the hands of Moss for a touchdown that put the Redskins ahead 23-20.

The good times, though, were fleeting.

"I just feel like I lost a fight," Moss said.

Defensive play of the game: Rob Jackson posted his second interception of the season in the fourth quarter – and the timing couldn’t have been better. 

With linebacker London Fletcher on the sideline with a strained hamstring and Griffin having just lost a fumble in Giants’ territory, Jackson got the ball right back. He read Manning perfectly, then stepped between quarterback and wide receiver  Hakeem Nicks. 

Four plays later, Kai Forbath kicked a 45-yard field goal to pull the Redskins to within 20-16. 

Special teams player of the game: Forbath connected from 20, 43 and 45 yards, improving his mark with the Redskins to 4 for 4 since replacing Billy Cundiff two weeks ago.

Quote of the day: Giants defensive end Justin Tuck on Griffin: “I’m pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East. To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache.”

Quote of the day, Part 2: New York Coach Tom Coughlin on Manning: “When his back is up against the wall is when he does his best work.”

Injury report: Fletcher said he hopes to know more on Monday about the hamstring injury he sustained late in the game. 

“I couldn’t get full range of motion,” the defensive captain said. “I wanted to be out there, especially after we took the lead. But I couldn’t go out there and be me. I didn’t want risk further injury or put our team at a disadvantage.”

Fletcher said he suffered the injury while covering a Giants’ receiver.  

Game ball: It goes to Paulsen. The 25-year-old stepped in for Davis and hauled in a career-high four receptions for 76-yards, including a 19-yarder on fourth down that kept alive a key fourth quarter scoring drive. Entering Sunday’s game, Paulsen had never caught more than two passes in a game. 

By the numbers: The Redskins’ four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) were twice as many as they’ve had in a game this season. In fact, they haven’t had that many turnovers since Week 6 vs. Philadelphia last season.

Record book: The Redskins’ season-high 480 yards of total offense marked the team’s highest total since amassing 481 yards against Jacksonville on Oct. 1, 2006, according to the team.

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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft countdown: Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell

Redskins draft countdown: Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 63 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Malik McDowell
Defensive line
Michigan State

Height: 6-6
Weight: 276
40-yard dash: TBD

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Slippery and long. Combination of arm length and flexible torso allow him to slither into gaps and create disruptions for blockers. Freaky combination of size and athleticism. Can overwhelm blockers with pure strength and explosiveness when his feet are right. Strong enough in lower half to play through contact and cause stress in the pocket. Has tremendous amount of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: If you’re reading this, you know that the 2016 Redskins’ defensive line was manned by one pretty good player in Chris Baker and a cast of journeymen and youngsters with some potential but little immediate production. They need to add at least one top-flight D-lineman in the draft and McDowell could be the guy.

If you are spending a top draft pick on a D-lineman you want one who can be an asset against the run and be able to rush the passer. McDowell’s profile fits that job description. He could defend the run as an end in the base 3-4 defense and kick inside to provide pass rush up the middle in nickel situations.

McDowell is generally rated behind Jonathan Allen of Alabama and Caleb Brantley of Florida among interior defensive line prospects. Allen and Brantley are likely to be gone by the time the Redskins pick at No. 17 but McDowell should be there as an option.

Potential issues: His production was inconsistent and his technique needs a lot of work. The fact of the matter is, I can probably copy and paste that sentence into the write up of virtually any defensive lineman in the draft. The college linemen who are NFL prospects are generally just bigger and stronger than the players trying to block him.

A look of some plays in the Spartans’ game against Notre Dame shows McDowell’s inconsistency. At times, he can’t disengage from a single blocker and a few plays later he was able skirt around three blockers and make a tackle for a loss. He also was good at getting push upfield when he rushed the passer but too often the pressure was not in the direction of the quarterback.

McDowell also had some issues with major penalties. He drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag in the Notre Dame game, although the film didn’t show what he did to earn it. Later in the year he was tossed from a game against Indiana, a game his team lost in overtime. Since the ejection came in the second half, he had to sit out the first half of Michigan State’s next game.  

Bottom line: Interviews with his coaches, MSU weight room staff, etc., will be keys in the evaluation of McDowell. If the Redskins try to teach him the proper fundamentals of line play will he absorb it? Will consistency come with maturity (he will be 20 on draft day)?

It seems like a good fit as if McDowell is believed to be coachable he may be the best player available at No. 17 and even if the Redskins manage to retain Chris Baker and sign another veteran or two the position will need an infusion of youth. We will see if it works out

Previously in Redskins draft countdown: