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Ripple effects on Redskins after Jackson suspension

Ripple effects on Redskins after Jackson suspension

On Wednesday the NFL suspended Tanard Jackson for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy for the fourth time. Before moving on to looking at the football side of this, we should note that the implications for Jackson go far beyond football. It’s apparent that he has a major problem and he needs a lot of help.

Although the NFL’s statement called the action an indefinite suspension it seems more likely that it is a lifetime ban. Jackson has already served suspensions of four games and one year when he was with the Bucs and the indefinite suspension after he came to the Redskins. That one ended up being two years. The NFL is unlikely to give him a chance to earn a fifth suspension. Even if the NFL did let him come back at some point it’s hard to imagine a team signing a player with his history.

The Redskins were looking for Jackson to compete for a backup safety job. They don’t necessarily have to go out and sign a safety to replace him before camp starts. They still have eight safeties on the roster including veterans Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, who are expected to start, and 2013 draft picks Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo. It now appears that those four have the inside track on roster spots with Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson also in the mix.

Jackson was reinstated in early May, just before the NFL draft, and the Redskins did not take a safety in that draft, some are looking for cause and effect there. But it seems doubtful that they bypassed safeties due to the presence of Jackson on the roster. There weren’t any safeties they liked earlier in the draft and they had just invested mid- and late-round picks in Thomas and Rambo a year earlier.

The team now has a spot to fill on the 90-man roster. As noted, they have eight safeties after Jackson’s suspension so they are not really in need at the position. They run first, second, and third team in practice so they have enough bodies for that with a couple to spare. They could look to fill a spot on the offensive side, as they are a little tight at tackle, tight end, and fullback.

While the Redskins are certainly disappointed by Jackson’s suspension they probably are not shocked. They had him lining up with the third team. Certainly part of that was making him work his way back up after he was set to be the starter before his suspension just before the 2012 season. But it’s also a sign that you don’t necessarily expect the player to be around in the long haul.

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.