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Big Blue View - All Posts Your place for year-round New York Giants discussion and information

  • Kyler Murray: Cardinals’ rookie quarterback developing ability to anticipate throws
    by Mark Schofield on October 16, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Let’s break down Murray’s passing Two organizations that turned the keys to the franchise over to rookie passers will square off this weekend, as the New York Giants host the Arizona Cardinals. This game will feature two passers drafted in the top ten of last year’s draft, as Daniel Jones squares off with the first overall selection, Kyler Murray. Coming out of the University of Oklahoma, there were various areas scouts identified where Murray would need to show improvement as an NFL passer. Anticipation was one area commonly identified as a trait where Murray would need to grow and develop. From my evaluation, however, I felt that this was an area where Murray was being undersold. I thought his ability as a pocket passer - including throwing with anticipation - was more advanced than he was given credit for. Even with that in place, anticipation throws are still difficult for younger quarterbacks to execute. This is something that Giants fans have seen with Jones over the past few weeks. When you are entering the league it takes time for your mind to speed up to the point where you are getting throws out ahead of the receiver’s break, or you start throwing receivers open in the midst of coverage. Let’s look first at this play from Murray’s Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Very early in the game the Cardinals have a first-and-10 on their own 38-yard line. The offense lines up with Murray in the shotgun and a slot formation to the right and a single receiver split to the left: The Seahawks show the rookie quarterback a two-high safety look prior to the snap of the football. This is the route concept that Kliff Kingsbury calls for his quarterback to execute: The route design in play here is a variation of the Y-Cross concept that is a staple of Air Raid offenses. The primary receiver here is Larry Fitzgerald (11) on the crossing route from right to left, but Murray first will look to the deep curl route along the left sideline. In the standard Y-Cross design, the curl route is instead a vertical route. Seattle spins their defense into a combination coverage here: One of the safeties drops down in a buzz technique, and that helps to take away the crosser to Fitzgerald. There are zone elements underneath as well, in addition to MEG (man everywhere he goes) technique on the boundary to the right. Murray indeed opens to the left here and the curl route. But he comes off that pattern and then looks at the crosser, which is taken away due to a combination of underneath coverage and the buzz safety. By this time, the pressure runs out, and the rookie takes a sack: The issue here that I have with this play is there is a window for Murray to throw the initial read, that curl route to the left. If Murray makes an anticipation throw to the left side, he can get this out and complete this for a decent play. But he is wary of the coverage to the inside and wants to confirm that the receiver breaks open. By the time the wide receiver gets his separation — which would have been present even with an anticipation throw -- Murray has moved on and eventually runs out of time. Now we can examine two plays from Murray’s game against the Atlanta Falcons last week. We can be honest here, friends, and admit that the Falcons’ are struggling defensively this season. Against Atlanta this year opposing passers have completed 71.4 percent of their passes for 1,627 yards and 15 touchdowns, and have posted an Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A) of 9.3. That ANY/A would place “Generic Atlanta Opponent Quarterback” second in the league behind only Patrick Mahomes. That being said, players still need to execute the plays against this defense. Last week Murray showed growth in the anticipation realm. On this third-and-8 play late in the first half, watch the timing and anticipation on this curl route to Fitzgerald: As Murray hits his drop depth he hitches up in the pocket and gets the ball out to the curl route. The ball is coming out right on time and as Fitzgerald is making his cut on the route. The defender closes quickly, but he cannot prevent the Cardinals from moving the chains on this third-and-long. Then there is my favorite throw from Murray from the game, and perhaps his rookie year. With a first-and-10 midway through the third quarter, the Cardinals line up with Murray in the shotgun and Fitzgerald again in the slot, this time on the route. Here is the route concept Arizona calls: The Cardinals run “pout” here, or post/out. The outside receiver runs a post pattern while Fitzgerald runs a deep out route. Atlanta drops into a Cover 3 scheme here: Murray does not hesitate here at all. As soon as he hits his drop depth in the pocket the ball is coming out of his hands, in the direction of Fitzgerald on the out pattern: Here is what I love about this play. Murray confirms that the cornerback is carrying the vertical route over the top, so the QB knows that there is a window to throw the out pattern. But he also needs to be wary of the defender in the flat perhaps poaching this route, so the ball has to come out quickly, and before Fitzgerald gets close to that area of the field. So Murray not only makes an anticipation throw, but he puts this ball in a spot where only Fitzgerald can get it, and prevents the flat defender from breaking on the ball. This is advanced passing from a rookie quarterback. Murray’s growth this season has been slow, but steady. He seems to be improving each week, and as we saw here over just a few weeks there is demonstrated growth in anticipation, a critical trait to playing the position. As we know development at the quarterback position is not linear, but Murray seems to be on a solid track.

  • Giants vs. Cardinals: When the Giants have the ball
    by Ed Valentine on October 16, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Patrick Peterson | Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images Let’s break down the matchup between the Giants’ offense and the Arizona defense What will the matchup look like on Sunday when the New York Giants offense faces the Arizona Cardinals defense? Let’s look at some of the factors that could determine that. Locked and loaded The Giants could have star running back Saquon Barkley leading receiver Evan Engram back in the lineup this weekend. Barkley, the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, has missed three games with a high ankle sprain. Engram, who leads the Giants with 33 receptions and 373 receiving yards, missed Thursday’s game against the New England Patriots with a sprained MCL. Both were listed as full practice participants on Wednesday and seem to be on track to play vs. Arizona. Shurmur indicated that if Barkley plays he doesn’t expect him to be on any type of pitch count. “It’s the middle of October and we’re playing ball, so we’ll just see how that plays out,” Shurmur said. “Players that are deemed healthy, you try to use them to the best of their ability and maximize what they can do to help impact the game.” Barkley, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 after gaining 2,028 total yards fro scrimmage (1,307 rushing, 721 receiving) was averaging 6.4 yards per carry (37 rushes, 237 yards) before being injured. In his absence, Jon Hilliman, Wayne Gallman and Elijhaa Penny combined for 201 yards on 59 carries (3.4 yards per carry). “If a quarterback was going to pick two friends one would be the offensive line and then the other is a running back,” Shurmur said. “The ability to be protected so they can make throws and then a runner you can hand the ball to and gain yards. I think, obviously, Saquon being back — if he is — will be a big boost not only for the quarterback but for our whole team.” Engram is tied for fourth in the league among tight ends in receptions and os is third in receiving yards despite missing a game. Per Inside Edge, Engram is second among tight ends in Yards Per Target (11.2), fourth in Yards After Catch (6.6 per reception), third in Receiving Yards Per Game (74.6) and first in Targets Per Game (9.6). He has, obviously, been both a play maker for the Giants and a huge security blanket for the team’s rookie quarterback. It’s all about the ball Well, at least that is what Pat Shurmur always says. Unfortunately, the Giants have been more cavalier with the football than any team in the NFL through six games. The Giants have a league-worst 15 turnovers — eight interceptions and seven lost fumbles. They are 31st in takeaway/giveaway ratio at -7 (thank you, Miami Dolphins!). Part of the turnover issue is simply the reality of life with a rookie quarterback. In four games, Daniel Jones has thrown six interceptions. Only five quarterbacks, all of whom have attempted more than the 140 passes Jones attempted, have thrown the ball more than the Giants’ rookie. Jones’ interception rate of 4.3 percent is fourth-worst in the league. Jones has also lost three fumbles, making the quarterback responsible for nine of the 15 turnovers. Shurmur was asked last Friday if turnovers were more palatable when they come from a rookie learning the NFL ropes. “I think, regardless of whether you’re in your first year in the league or you’ve been doing it for a very long time, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I think it’s fair to say that some of the things that Daniel’s going through, he’s going through for the first time,” Shurmur said. “... It’s a fine line between being aggressive and putting the ball in harm’s way. I think each play and each time he goes through it, he’ll learn something from it.” Recently-released running back Jon Hilliman fumbled twice in 33 touches. The return of Barkley, who has one fumble in 400 NFL touches should help. Newly-signed running back Buck Allen has just three fumbles in 469 career touches, only one since 2015. Whatever it takes, the Giants need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. They aren’t good enough on defense to give opposing offenses short fields, and aren’t good enough overall to overcome giving away points or missing opportunities by giving the ball away. Dealing with Patrick Peterson The good news for Jones and the Giants is that the Cardinals are the only team in the NFL that has not intercepted a pass this season. The Cardinals are 30th in passing yards allowed (1,687) , 31st passing touchdowns allowed (16) and, per Inside Edge, 31st in the league with a passer rating against of 121.8. The bad news is that three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has 23 interceptions in eight seasons, will be back in the lineup after serving a six-game PED suspension. There is speculation that the Cardinals might deal Peterson prior to the Oct. 29 trade deadline. Unless that happens before Sunday, though, the Giants are going to hav e to handle the player Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph calls the Cardinals “best player” on defense. “He’s a special player, a lockdown corner,” Joseph said. “When you have a guy like Patrick, you don’t have to worry about one side of the field. If they decide to attack Patrick, shame on them, but you can make them attack Patrick by helping the other corner. When you have two young corners, it’s tough to help one and leave one by himself. A guy like Pat P makes it easy to call defenses because he can take away one side of the field.” Just a guess, but Peterson probably gets Golden Tate all over the field on Sunday. “Playing against Patrick in the same division when I was in Seattle, he’s a lock down corner. We expect him to follow if needed, his knowledge of the game is strong. He is one of the most athletic humans I have ever been around, he plays hard. You just have to be aware of where he is, he takes the right chances,” Tate said this week. “The thing you will probably hear me say a lot is it’s never about who we are playing or who they have, it’s always about how we perform when we pay attention to details and what we do. If we go out there and handle our business, it doesn’t matter who we go against.” Last week vs. the New England Patriots Jones and the Giants made the mistake of not respecting All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. He burned them with an interception and five passes defensed. He allowed one reception in six targets for 9 yards. The Giants would be well advised to learn from that and find someone other that Peterson to pick on this time around. Edge pressure EDGE rushers Chandler Jones (4.5) and Terrell Suggs (4.0) have 8.5 of Arizona’s 14 quarterback sacks and nine of the team’s 30 quarterback hits. Left tackle Nate Solder, who has been charged with 3.5 of the 12 sacks the Giants have allowed, and right tackle Mike Remmers (1.0) will be largely responsible for slowing them down. Whatever the reason, the mobile Jones has been sacked on 6.7 percent of his drop backs in four games while Eli Manning was sacked only 2.2 percent of the time in his two games as the starter. With three fumbles to go along with his six interceptions, Jones knows he is going to have to be aware of the Cardinals’ EDGE rushers. “They are good players. I think from my standpoint, I need to be good at stepping up in the pocket and holding onto the ball. I think those things are always important,” Jones said. “They’ve got two good ones, but I’m confident we’ll do a good job. We’ve done a good job this season and I’m confident with our guys to protect. I have to make sure I’m doing my job stepping up and getting time.”

  • Giants’ injury report, 10/16: Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram practice fully
    by Ed Valentine on October 16, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Offensive stars appear on track to play Sunday The clearest sign that Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram will return to action for the New York Giants on Sunday is that both players were listed as full participants in Wednesday’s practice. The Giants face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Coach Pat Shurmur would not commit to either playing, saying only “we’ll see what the week holds.” Barkley has missed three games with a high ankle sprain. Without Barkley and Wayne Gallman (concussion) the Giants rushed for only 64 and 52 yards the past two weeks. Engram leads the Giants with 33 catches and 373 receiving yards. A new name on the Giants’ injury list is cornerback/kick returner Corey Ballentine. He was held out of practice on Wednesday with a concussion. Ballentine has played sparingly on defense, but has averaged 26.3 yards on nine kickoff returns this season. Gallman, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre were all listed as limited in practice. All also are in the concussion protocol.

  • Giants designate CB Sam Beal for return from IR
    by Emily Iannaconi on October 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports The Giants have 21 days to make a decision about adding Beal to the 53-man roster The New York Giants added a new, but familiar face to Wednesday’s practice. Cornerback Sam Beal has been designated for return. The Giants opened a 21-day window today during which he will be able to practice but will not be considered part of the 53-man roster. New York now has three weeks to decide whether to add Beal to the roster or to send him back to the injured reserve list. During that time, Beal will be allowed to continue practicing. The earliest Beal can play is week nine against the Dallas Cowboys. Beal has not been on the practice field since training camp. He was included in the team’s first 53-man roster but was placed on IR with a hamstring injury the next day. For this reason, he is eligible for the designation. If Beal does play against the Cowboys, it would be the first game of his NFL career as he missed all of last year with a shoulder injury. The Giants originally selected him in the third round of the 2018 supplemental draft. While in college at Western Michigan, Beal played as a wide receiver and defensive back. During his two years at the defensive back position, Beal played 24 games, recording 77 tackles, including 53 solo and two interceptions. There is no guarantee that Beal stays healthy in the upcoming week, especially for a player who’s professional career has been dominated by injuries. But a 6-foot-1, 177-pound back could add some much-needed depth for the Giants who currently rank 30 amongst all NFL teams in passing defense, allowing 285 yards per game.

  • NFL power rankings 2019, Week 7: At No. 26, Giants are falling behind
    by Emily Iannaconi on October 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images Here are this week’s power rankings Where are the 2-4 Giants in Week 7 NFL Power Rankings after a loss to the New England Patriots? They have dropped a couple of spots this week, now falling between 25 and 30 in most weekly rankings. Combine the seven rankings we have listed below, and the Giants sit at No. 26 in our aggregated rankings. USA Today – No. 25 Even while severely undermanned, they gave Pats all they could handle for three quarters. One game back, don’t count G-Men out of NFC East race. Yahoo! Sports – No. 27 Daniel Jones had the best possible turnover-filled start a rookie could have against a tough Patriots defense, given he was operating without his top running back, wide receiver and tight end. This team isn’t sniffing the playoffs, but it can play pesky spoiler in the second half of the season. Sporting News – No. 27 Daniel Jones had the best possible turnover-filled start a rookie could have against a tough Patriots defense, given he was operating without his top running back, wide receiver and tight end. This team isn’t sniffing the playoffs, but it can play pesky spoiler in the second half of the season. CBS Sports (Prisco) – No. 25 The injuries have decimated the offense, and that showed up against the Pats. But when you look at the NFC East, they are far from dead. And now they will be getting some of those injured guys back. ESPN – No. 24 The Big Lead – No. 29 Daniel Jones looked as expected against Bill Belichick in Foxboro. There’s a lot of optimism, but in regards to this year, wins will be hard to come by. The Athletic (Lindsay Jones) – No. 25 If only last Thursday’s game in New England had been just three quarters long, we’d be feeling a lot better about Danny Dimes and the Giants. Of course, it wasn’t, and the Giants dismissed all talk of moral victories (a game that was close in the second half, despite being played without the Giants’ top running back, wide receiver and tight end) after losing to the Patriots by 21 points. But the good news for the Giants is that they’ll get those weapons back for Daniel Jones relatively soon, and somehow they’re just one game out of first place in the NFC East.


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Bleeding Green Nation - All Posts Philadelphia Eagles rumors, news, analysis, roster updates, depth charts and more.

  • At least one Eagles player believes Howie Roseman “dropped the ball” by not trading for Jalen Ramsey
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on October 17, 2019 at 2:47 am

    Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports Hmm. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t trade for Jalen Ramsey and at least one player on the team isn’t so happy that the stud cornerback ended up being acquired by the Los Angeles Rams instead. Interesting tidbit from ESPN’s Josina Anderson: #Eagles player to me on Jalen Ramsey going to the #Rams: "We dropped the ball. I don't even want to talk about that (!@#^). Everybody knew what it was going to take to get him. I could've told you that."— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 17, 2019 Hmmmm. Who could it be? Nelson Agholor immediately comes to mind. He is an expert when it comes to dropping the ball, after all. Cheap shot aside, there is some reason to believe the comment may have come from an Eagles wide receiver. We’ve previously documented that Anderson has a close relationship with Alshon Jeffery. You can find proof: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Regardless of who the source is, it doesn’t seem great that an Eagles player is questioning Howie Roseman’s decision-making to a reporter who’s willing to publicly share that information. Now we know at least one player doesn’t really think the organization is doing everything they can to win. This isn’t to suggest the Eagles should make moves just to keep the players happy. Management has to do what they think is best for the team. But that doesn’t mean other voices inside the organization are always on the same page.

  • Week 7 college football standouts
    by Ben Natan on October 17, 2019 at 2:42 am

    Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Week Seven lived up to the expectations of its excellent slate. A handful of exciting games spread across the day with big ranked shootouts, exciting upsets and under-the-radar nail biters. Two high profile teams saw huge victories on Saturday with Oklahoma winning the Red River Rivalry and Wisconsin shutting out yet ANOTHER team this season against Michigan State. These impressive wins were team efforts, but dominant play by top prospects highlighted each victory. To the surprise of no one; The Red River Rivalry turned into a shootout pretty quickly. Oklahoma’s 34-27 victory would not have been possible without a 10 catch, 170 yard and three touchdown effort by CeeDee Lamb. Lamb’s name inversely reflects the damage he does to defenses. Like a wolf in an unsuspecting flock, Lamb cut through the Texas defense like butter all day. starting to think CeeDee Lamb got an infinity stone or something— Max Olson (@max_olson) October 12, 2019 Lincoln Riley and OU with the Flea FlickerLove the Orbit Motion tag with Ceedee Lamb. Power action up front brings the safeties down! Receiver runs a post to clear up the wheel for Lamb. Lots of fun with this Sooners Offense!— Zach Tibbs (@Z_Tibbs) October 15, 2019 Look up “elusiveness” in the dictionary and it will just be CeeDee Lamb breaking ankles in this Texas game. Lamb’s speed is well known, but his shiftiness and ability to create big plays after the catch add to the existing skill of being a deep threat. Lamb has scored ten times this season on 28 catches. Meaning he scores on every third catch, basically, while averaging almost 22 yards a reception. He is a big play machine and he is doing his best to highlight himself in a draft class FULL of extremely good pass catchers. In a slightly different kind of game, Zack Baun continues his dominant senior season for the Badgers. After not being a featured defender for much of his college career, Baun has been a playmaker for Wisconsin. Against Michigan, Baun was ferocious against the run and had a beautiful play where he dropped into coverage and picked off a pass which he ran back for a score. Baun has been a do-it-all highlight reel on the Badgers defense this year. He has rushed the passer to extreme success, been a very good run defender and has now shown excellent instincts in coverage. It will be interesting to see how the NFL views a smaller (around 240 pound) edge defender when he is so athletic and productive. The former high school quarterback and basketball star is the complete package in terms of athleticism, technique and cerebral defensive play. If he continues playing at this level, the NFL would be silly to ignore him.

  • Report: Eagles promote Alex Singleton to active roster
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on October 16, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Not a good sign for Nigel Bradham. The Philadelphia Eagles are promoting practice squad linebacker Alex Singleton to their 53-man roster, according to a report from writer and Bleeding Green Nation alumnus Mike Kaye. The Eagles didn’t need to make a corresponding move since they already had two open roster spots. UPDATE: The Eagles officially confirmed the Singleton promotion and also signed undrafted rookie free agent center Keegan Render to the practice squad. Singleton, a former Canadian Football League standout, flashed both on defense and special teams during the Eagles’ preseason games this year. There was thought he might make the 53 but the Eagles opted to roster undrafted rookie free agent T.J. Edwards instead. The Eagles now have a need for Singleton on the roster since 1) Nigel Bradham is hurt and seems unlikely to play against the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday and 2) the Eagles cut starter Zach Brown earlier this week. The Eagles now have five healthy linebackers for this week’s game: Nathan Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Edwards, Singleton, and Duke Riley. It remains to be seen how playing time shakes out but Gerry and Grugier-Hill figure to see the most snaps, with Gerry making calls as the middle linebacker. Edwards might also seem some playing time. Singleton and Riley seem bound to mostly contribute on special teams. The Eagles still have one open roster spot after signing Singleton. That spot could be used to activate Jalen Mills from reserve/Physically Unable to Perform later this week. Current Eagles practice squad C Keegan Render RB De’Angelo Henderson CB Ajene Harris WR Robert Davis WR Greg Ward QB Kyle Lauletta WR Marcus Green TE Joshua Perkins OG Sua Opeta DT Bruce Hector

  • NFL insider isn’t expecting DeSean Jackson to play in Eagles vs. Cowboys
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on October 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images Great. Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark reported that “there is big hope” DeSean Jackson can play in this week’s Philadelphia Eagles versus Dallas Cowboys game. NFL insider Mike Garafolo doesn’t sound so optimistic about Jackson’s chances, however. Here’s what Garafolo said during a Wednesday evening appearance on NFL Network: “I know there is some hope that he can come back and play for the Cowboys [game]. [Doug] Pederson has not ruled him out. He certainly could play even if he didn’t practice. However, my indications — or indications I have received on this one — is that I’m not expecting to see DeSean Jackson out there. So, another missed game for Jackson, who clearly wants to be 100% and not risk re-injury when he gets out there.” Not good. The Eagles desperately need Jackson — who’s been dealing with an abdomen injury since Week 2 — back on the field. Philadelphia’s offense is clearly lacking a vertical element. They’re also just struggling to get good production out of their wide receivers in general. Look at these pitiful stats from the last three games: Alshon Jeffery: 173 offensive snaps, 19 receptions, 166 yards (8.7 average), 2 TD Nelson Agholor: 173 offensive snaps, 5 receptions, 62 yards (12.4 average), 0 TD, 1 fumble Mack Hollins: 109 offensive snaps, 1 receptions, 13 yards, 0 TD JJ Arcega-Whiteside: 13 offensive snaps, 0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 TD Jackson did not participate in the Eagles’ Wednesday practice. We’ll see if he makes any progress this week and defies Garafolo’s expectations. Hard to have a ton of hope.

  • Eagles Injury Report: Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby return while six Cowboys starters miss practice
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on October 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports News and updates. The Philadelphia Eagles issued their first official injury report on Wednesday in advance of their Week 7 Sunday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys. The big news is that Jalen Mills returned to practice for the first time since he originally injured his foot nearly a year ago on October 28, 2018. Mills told reporters he is aiming to play this Sunday. Even if Mills is able to play, Doug Pederson noted that he’s very likely to be on a pitch count after such a long layoff. Note that Mills isn’t listed on the official injury report since he still hasn’t been activated to the 53-man roster. The Eagles could take him off reserve/Physically Unable to Perform later this week. Seven players did not participate in Wednesday’s practice: Fletcher Cox, DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham, Avonte Maddox, Timmy Jernigan, and Darren Sproles. Cox missed practice due to illness. He should be fine. Jackson was briefly spotted at practice before leaving. Reports indicate “there is big hope” that Jackson can play this week but even if he suits up it’s clear he won’t be 100%. We’ll see if Jackson gets some actual work in on Thursday. Peters was described as “week-to-week” by Pederson so it sounds like the Eagles will be without their starting left tackle for multiple games. 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard will start in Peters’ place. Big test for the rookie blocker this week as he goes up against Robert Quinn, who has five sacks in four games this season. Bradham was described as “day-to-day” by Pederson but his outlook this week doesn’t look so rosy. Bradham was seen limping in the locker room. If Bradham can’t play, the Eagles will be down to Nathan Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, T.J. Edwards, and Duke Riley at linebacker. Alex Singleton could get called up from the practice squad. Maddox is still in the mandatory concussion protocol after taking that brutal shot from Andrew Sendejo in Week 4. He’s not wearing a neck brace anymore, which is a sign of some progress. Prior to practice, Pederson said Tim Jernigan was “close” to returning. Jernigan was then seen warming up with the team, albeit without a helmet on. The original reported timeline for Jernigan’s foot injury was four-to-six weeks. It’s been four weeks. So, perhaps he’ll be back next week or so. As of last week, Darren Sproles was described as “week-to-week” so he’ll miss Sunday’s game and maybe more. One player was limited in practice: Ronald Darby. Darby returned to practice after originally injuring his hamstring in Week 3. Pederson said the Eagles feel comfortable not having Darby on a pitch count if he’s ready to play. Darby could be starting this weekend if he continues to progress nicely through the week. Sidney Jones and Rodney McLeod are not listed on the injury report after previously appearing in last week’s edition. Jones could be relegated to the bench with Darby and/or Mills returning. One would figure Rasul Douglas is ahead of Jones on the depth chart. We’ll learn more abut the team’s injury situation when they put out their second injury report tomorrow afternoon. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (WEDNESDAY) DID NOT PARTICIPATE LB Nigel Bradham (ankle)DT Fletcher Cox (illness)WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen)DT Timmy Jernigan (foot)CB Avonte Maddox (concussion, neck)OT Jason Peters (knee)RB Darren Sproles (quad) LIMITED PARTICIPATION CB Ronald Darby (hamstring) ... DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY REPORT (WEDNESDAY) The Cowboys are dealing with numerous injuries as well. Six noteworthy Cowboys players did not practice on Wednesday: starting wide receiver Amari Cooper, starting slot receiver Randall Cobb, starting cornerback Byron Jones, starting cornerback Anthony Brown, starting left tackle Tyron Smith, and starting right tackle La’el Collins. (Starting center Travis Frederick also didn’t practice but it was just a rest day for him.) Yikes! It sounds like the Cowboys could potentially be without all of those guys. In addition to these players, starting wide receiver Michael Gallup, starting guard Zack Martin, and punter Chris Jones were all limited. The Cowboys will be hoping that some of these key players can make progress this week. Their injury report will be worth monitoring. DID NOT PARTICIPATE CB Anthony Brown (hamstring)WR Randall Cobb (back)OT La’el Collins (knee)WR Amari Cooper (ankle/quad)C Travis Frederick (not injury related)CB Byron Jones (hamstring)OT Tyron Smith (ankle) LIMITED PARTICIPATION DE Dorance Armstrong (neck)WR Michael Gallup (knee)P Chris Jones (back)OG Zack Martin (back/ankle) FULL PARTICIPATION LB Sean Lee (knee)RB Tony Pollard (knee)


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New England Patriots Blog

Big Savings at ProFanGear with Fanatics.comCalling all New England Patriots Fans. Thanks for visiting this news blog site.Shop the newest New England Patriots fan gear at If you are looking for gear click the link to Shop for New England Patriots Gear. I’ve teamed up with Fanatics to connect my readers with the best selection of officially licensed New Orleans Saints fan gear out there. If you purchase through my links, I will earn a commission that will support the work I do on this site. New England Patriots fans bookmark this page and keep up with the latest Patriots news and happenings. Thanks again for visiting.



Pats Pulpit - All Posts Pats Pulpit: A New England Patriots Community

  • The Scho Show Episode #29: Jets talk and Quality Time with Connor Rogers
    by Mark Schofield on October 17, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Tune in! Please click here if you’re visiting via Apple News. On the 29th installment of The Scho Show, Mark Schofield has more thoughts about the New York Jets’ passing game. In particular, Mark walks through the Peel/Rub concept, breaking down how the Jets used it for a big play against the Dallas Cowboys, why they will use it on Monday night and how the New England Patriots might defend it. Then Mark has some thoughts on how Monday night will unfold. During Quality Time, Mark chats with Connor Rogers from Bleacher Report’s Stick to Football podcast. They chat about Jets/Pats, the B/R Tailgate Tour, take listener questions and more. Topics include: Mono Free Sammy D; The Jets’ Defense; LSU vs. Alabama; Joe Burrow: First Round Pick; The B/R Tailgate Tour; Brisket or Pulled Pork, and; Expectations for Monday night. You can listen to the episode here. Also make sure to subscribe to the Pats Pulpit Podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

  • Patriots bring three fullbacks in for free agency workouts
    by Bernd Buchmasser on October 17, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images Related: Patriots bring in five kickers for free agency workouts While the fullback position has gone somewhat out of style in today’s NFL, the New England Patriots still use it extensively as a part of their offensive attack. This season, however, the spot has seen its fair share of turnover: James Develin was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury and is expected to not be reactivated; the same goes for his replacement, Jakob Johnson, who hurt his shoulder in Week 6 against the New York Giants. With both the starting fullback and his stand-in out, the Patriots have a hole to fill. Tight ends Ryan Izzo and Eric Tomlinson are the favorites to step into the fullback role moving forward, but the team has also recently brought in three players for free agency workouts (via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss). Let’s take a closer look at them: FB/TE Orson Charles A fourth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, Orson Charles has seen action at fullback and tight end over the course of his career — one that saw him play for six different teams and appear in a combined 52 games. Charles spent the 2018 season as a fullback with the Cleveland Browns before joining the Denver Broncos in 2019 as a tight end. He failed to make the team, however, and was released during roster cutdowns. The 27-year-old has been on the open market ever since, and was recently drafted for the new XFL. FB Ricky Ortiz After not hearing his name called during the 2017 NFL draft, Ricky Ortiz was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens with whom he spent his entire rookie season. The Ravens parted ways with him the following offseason, however, after he had spent his first year with them on the practice squad. This allowed Ortiz to join the Atlanta Falcons, and he went on to earn his new team’s fullback role: the now-25-year-old appeared in 12 games during the 2018 season as a lead blocker in the running game and a special teamer. FB George Aston George Aston was a teammate of Orson Charles in Denver, but also failed to make the team’s 53-man roster this year: the undrafted rookie out of Pitt was released during roster cutdowns after seeing regular action at fullback during the preseason. His production — he caught two passes for a combined seven yards — compared to veteran Andy Janovich led the team to part ways with him, and he has been on the open market ever since. Aston does bring some raw upside and athleticism to the table, but looks like more of a developmental option.

  • Patriots’ center position in good hands even with David Andrews out for the year
    by Bernd Buchmasser on October 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images Related: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows a fair share of NFL fullbacks ‘aren’t fullbacks’ Ever since he beat out incumbent Bryan Stork in 2016, David Andrews has been the New England Patriots’ undisputed starting center — and one of the best players in the entire NFL at the position. Blood clots were discovered in his lungs during the summer, however, which led to the Patriots placing the 27-year-old on season-ending injured reserve. With Andrews out for the year, the team turned to Ted Karras to fill the void. Karras originally came to New England during Andrews’ first year as the team’s starting center and carved out a role as a versatile and reliable backup along the interior offensive line. While he was clearly the fourth option, the former sixth-round draft pick did start seven games over his first three years in the league. It was therefore not at all surprising to see him named Andrews’ replacement for the 2019 season. “Ted’s been a very dependable player for us for four years,” said head coach Bill Belichick when asked about the 26-year-old during a conference call earlier this week. “A couple years ago when David [Andrews] missed a couple games, Ted stepped in there and played center. He’s played guard for us. Fortunately for us, prior to this year we’ve had Shaq [Mason], David and Joe [Thuney]; and they have been very durable.” New England expected to again enter the regular season with their starting interior offensive line intact, but the late August news of Andrews’ medical situation changed the picture drastically: not only would the team have to incorporate a new left tackle into the lineup — second-year man Isaiah Wynn was pegged to replace free agency departure Trent Brown — but also adjust to a new man in the middle. “With David’s situation, Ted’s had the opportunity to play more and he’s stepped in and played consistently like he really always has for us,” said Belichick. “We’re very fortunate that we have him and have his experience. Ted’s a smart player, he’s strong, he can anchor the middle of the pocket and his communication with his teammates on the offensive line, which is critical for the center position to handle blocking schemes and protections and so forth, has been good.” “He’s obviously grown each week with the experience and the opportunity to continue to work together with his teammates. The consistency and communication definitely improves little by little, but it’s a new challenge each week because each defense is different,” New England’s head coach continued. “The plays we run are a little bit different and what they do is a little bit different, so there’s certainly continuity and carryover.” “But at the same time, there’s a newness and a variety to each week, which presents its own challenges both of personnel matchups and scheme adjustments. He’s done a good job for us, though,” said Belichick. Karras’ tape and numbers certainly agree with the future Hall of Fame coach: while the Patriots have had their fair share of inconsistent play up front, Karras has performed well in his first full-time starting opportunity. Ranked as the twelfth best center in the NFL by advanced analytics website Pro Football Focus, the Illinois product has posted some solid stats as well: Karras has surrendered just five combined pressures over the course of New England’s first six games (one sack, two hits, two hurries) — solid numbers, and reflective of the potential that he has within the Patriots’ offense. All in all, the team can therefore feel good about the center position.

  • Chief Thoughts: The state of the Patriots after Week 6
    by PatrioticChief on October 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Insert something that doesn’t suck. Any week the New England Patriots curb-stomp the New York Giants is a good week. Let’s get started. State of the Game I actually think a healthy Giants offense would have been a legitimate test for this defense. Daniel “Danny Dimes” Jones may not be good, but he is fearless. With better weapons that boldness may have been rewarded. Saquon Barkley is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Evan Engram, Sterling Sheperd and Golden Tate provide three quality receiving targets. Their offense line is not good but far from terrible. Unfortunately, Tate was the only legitimate receiver the Giants had available on Thursday which meant that the matchup left much to be desired. The Patriots offense struggled more than I would have preferred against a defense lacking in talent, but it managed to get the job done. Overall, it was a good win for the team. Any week you create separation with your conference rivals is a good week. State of the Schedule I use a similar tactic to check my bias in politics that I do to check my bias in football. In politics I try ask myself how I would respond if someone I supported did the same thing that someone I did not support was being criticized for. In football I always ask myself how I would respond if a team I did not support did what my team did. It’s great that the defense clobbered the Giants, but how much credit would you give an opposing defense for beating the Patriots if they only had Julian Edelman and no other quality receivers or running backs? I cannot in good faith denigrate the media for anointing the Dallas Cowboys after three weeks against a pancake schedule and not turn that same critique against the Patriots. Basically, I have Cowboy syndrome. I desperately want to believe in the team but I cannot crown them without seeing them perform against better competition. It seems obvious but who you play matters a ton. A team can look like a world-beater one week and get its doors blown off the next against better competition. Heck, it’s the NFL, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be better competition. That analysis should not be interpreted as a lack of faith in the Patriots. I have serious concerns about the offense but I am confident that barring sustained injuries they can get the unit on track by the end of the season. In terms of the defense, I do think the Pittsburgh Steelers presented a quality opponent. The question is not whether the defense is good, the the question is how good. I may be couching my assessment of the team based on the quality of their opponents but I still believe they are the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. I just don’t believe the team in its current form is a world-beater. The distance between where it is and its nearest competitor in the AFC is not as large a gap as the current record indicates. It may be that large by the end of the season though. We will see. State of the Offense Nothing I saw this week fundamentally shifted my view of the offense. The blocking by the running backs and tight ends was unusually poor. Marshall Newhouse continues to be a liability but at least one of the sacks he gave up was also Ryan Izzo’s fault too. James White had his worst game in pass protection in three years. Only the return of Isaiah Wynn can stabilize the left tackle position, but I expect the blocking from the tight ends and running backs to be better next week. Marcus Cannon gave up a single pressure which is a significant improvement over the previous week. The team is going to ride or die with Cannon at right tackle so that was a positive development. As a whole, the O-line was better in pass protection this week. This may change if the team plays better defenses but I would argue that the run blocking is a more significant issue than pass protection through six weeks. That’s actually encouraging because everyone on that offensive line has proven they can be good run blockers and Isiah Wynn was an excellent run blocker in college. With that being said, here are some other notes on the offense: I’m not sure if Benjamin Watson and Eric Tomlinson will help a lot but with the blocking by the tight ends so inconsistent it’s hard to imagine how signing them could hurt. Julian Edelman had an excellent game but I’m pretty sure Tom Brady’s interception was partially due to a miscommunication with the quarterback. I think it’s obvious Edelman and Josh Gordon are playing hurt. Edelman’s toughness in playing through his rib injury is very impressive. I expected the Patriots to designate N’Keal Harry to return and I am glad they did. I wouldn’t say I am bullish on his prospects this season but with so many of New England’s receivers injured I think you have to give your first-round pick a chance to make an impact. I want the Patriots to make a trade for another offensive difference maker. I’m not too concerned about the cost. The AFC is weak, the defense is hot, don’t let this year be another 2006 where the lack of a quality target sinks the season. I know we keep saying it, and I know the Patriots keep winning, but the gravy train will end eventually. I want the team to capitalize on the greatest stretch of team sports in the history of the country. That being said the only offensive player available with enough juice to turn around the offense on his own was cut by this very team. Whoever it trades for — if it even trades for anyone — will not be enough to fix the issues with the offense on their own. This team simply has to scheme and execute better. There is no one I trust more in the NFL to make those adjustments than the Patriots. It was nice seeing Jakobi Meyers getting it done last week but Brady continues to sound so negative about his receivers that I question my own eyes when it comes to his impact. I thought he looked good but I suppose Brady is just like me in that he is less concerned with the Giants’ cornerbacks and more concerned with the corners Meyers will have to beat during a playoff push. State of the Defense Michael Bennett was suspended for an argument based around “philosophical differences” with his position coach. Bennett has always been an outspoken player and the dissatisfaction about his playing time has clearly been growing over the last few weeks. He also had two major issues with the Philadelphia Eagles that played a role in his trade: First, he wanted to be paid more. That’s not surprising as he was outplaying his contract. The Patriots swiftly gave him a raise upon his arrival. The second issue was playing time. Bennett is a starter and he wasn’t playing starter snaps with the Eagles. I respect that decision by the Eagles. They had one of the best defensive lines in the NFL last year and I think the heavy rotation early on in the season could have helped keep Bennett fresh. When they upped his snap count for the final leg of the season he went on a tear and probably had his best consecutive stretch of games in years. That being said, I completely understand why a legitimate starter would want to play starter snaps. With Trey Flowers leaving it seemed like Bennett would get no shortage of snaps in New England and his second problem would be fixed too. That has not been the case. The Patriots signed Jamie Collins, who has been a revelation in his return, and the Patriots switched to a 3-4 front. Bennett is best as a versatile line piece that can be kicked inside to rush in a 4-3 front and his position on the team did become a little awkward with the switch. Still, Bennett was the most talented pass rusher on the roster and I didn’t think it would be difficult for him to find his way unto the field. Unfortunately for him that has not been the case. His snap count has been comparatively minimal. I still think that short of an impact player Bennett provides more value to the team in a reserve/rotational role than he would in a trade. But whatever argument caused his suspension might change that calculus. I’m not sold on the defensive line but the majority of the pressure the Patriots have created has come from their linebackers. If Bill Belichick is happy with that it might make Bennett expendable, even though the D-line isn’t exactly boasting with talented depth. Adam Butler has been better this year but he’s not superior. Shilique Calhoun did flash before his ankle injury, but who knows what he will look like now. Chase Winovich has obviously been a success so far but he’s far from being a consistent playmaker. The Patriots have never been too stingy when it came to suspensions. Remember, they suspended franchise stalwart Wes Welker, albeit, for one drive not one entire game. The Patriots could have cut Bennett and they did not. That means they either still see a place for him on this team or they see him as a worthwhile bargaining chip in a trade. I advocated trading for Bennett quite vigorously and felt vindicated when the Patriots did exactly that. I think even with his new contract he is a potential bargain for the team. I can’t speak to the cause of the argument but I hope whatever it is will not make the relationship unsalvageable. Bennett is still the best pass rusher on the D-line and I suspect New England will need that talent later in the season. If the relationship cannot be saved, however, I hope they are at least able to package him in a way that helps the team bring in an impact player this season. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though. If the Patriots want to move him they will even if the return isn’t good. Just like they did with Collins back in 2016. I don’t have much else to say about the defense. They are good. It will be easier for me to buy into them being elite when they play better competition. Nothing I saw against the Giants meaningfully changed my mind or added to my analysis from last week. State of Trades Jeff Howe is a dependable journalist so it took me by surprise when he reported that there was genuine confidence in the Patriots front office that they could swing a trade for Stefon Diggs last week. It seemed to surprise Howe too because he quickly cast aspersions on the idea. After this weekend, however, I think it’s safe to say there is next to zero chance that the Minnesota Vikings trade Diggs. He was absolutely dominant last week and the Vikings remain very much in contention for the division. I doubt A.J. Green will become available either because the Cincinnati Bengals are an incompetent organization. I do think Tyler Eifert could be had and likely at little to no cost. Eifert is made of glass and has barely managed to make it unto a football field, never mind contribute once he was there. Eifert was a monster in 2015, but Josh Gordon was a monster in 2013. Things change. As great as Eifert’s upside is he is not worth a gamble of anything more than a low draft pick. Green would be worth a more significant gamble, but it would still be a gamble. He hasn’t finished a season healthy in two years. But at least in his case you have more recent proof of talent and the injuries have not been as bad. Emmanuel Sanders remains my favorite trade target in terms of impact and the probability of the trade happening. Unfortunately, back-to-back wins by the Denver Broncos have led many to report that the impending fire sale of the team’s assets has been suspended. It’s a shame because Sanders would be a great fit for the Patriots’ offense and could almost immediately step in as the first or second best receiver on the team. O.J. Howard for a second sure would be nice... Trading Bennett to the Bears would make a lot of sense for Chicago. They just lost Akiem Hicks and Bennett would be a plug-and-play option there. Bennett could provide the interior pass rush they lost with Hicks, but I’m not sure what player they have that would be beneficial to New England. I suppose the team could get draft capital but I’d rather get someone who could contribute now. Beggars cannot be choosers, though. The Atlanta Falcons defense is a dumpster fire right now and could also benefit from Bennett. Dan Quinn was also his coach during the glory years of the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” defense. Someone mentioned Alex Mack in a trade but Atlanta has serious issues with its O-line so that seems very improbable. What about tight end Austin Hooper? Atlanta has several excellent pass catchers already, and Hooper would be a great addition to the offense. However, Quinn is playing for his job so I strongly doubt Hooper would be available. If he were? I’d snap him up in a second. I’m not a big fan of targeting Mohamed Sanu, although I suppose anything could work for the right price. He would be a good fit but I am not sure how much he would really raise the overall talent level of the Patriots’ offense. It also cannot be ignored that Sanu benefits from playing with Julio Jones every week. I’m okay with anything that improves New England’s offense but I’m not gonna break the bank for him. All of my trade targets have been on offense but where could the Patriots get defensive reinforcements? The only place that makes sense would be strong safety or along the defensive line. The Patriot have established starters and plenty of depth everywhere else on the roster. Who would those players be? I honestly don’t have a clue. Sound off in the comments if you want to brainstorm! Final Thoughts I am leaving the analysis below in place for accountability purposes. The night I submitted this column it was reported that the Los Angeles Rams had traded for Jalen Ramsey: Smart trade by the Baltimore Ravens whose excellent defense from last year has struggled. I think they would prefer to sign someone like Michael Bennett, but Marcus Peters will strengthen an already strong secondary. The Ravens offense has performed very well so defensive help is key for them to make a playoff push. I respect the Rams for getting value from someone they know won’t be on the roster next year but they went from a Super Bowl appearance to being multiple games behind in their division. Aqib Talib was also recently injured, so moving on from Peters means that the Los Angeles Rams are down to one above-average slot corner and nobodies on the outside. I don’t follow the Rams closely enough to know this for sure but it appears suspiciously like a team waving the white flag. Apparently the Eagles are aggressively seeking Jalen Ramsey. Great move by Eagles GM Howie Roseman depending on the cost. The Eagles have a good roster but their secondary is abysmal outside of Malcolm Jenkins. I think they can still win their division but they need reinforcements to get it done. It might be a blessing in disguise that the Kansas City Chiefs’ bid for Ramsey failed. That team may not have a great secondary but its the front seven that is sinking their championship aspirations. I’m not sure any team is going to get Ramsey though. Supposedly, the owner has put his foot down. Unless the owner changes his mind it’s just chasing fool’s gold. L.A. trading for Ramsey is a gutsy move. The Rams have to pay Jared Goff huge sums of money starting next year and now they will have to add a record-breaking cornerback contract to that ledger. Oh, and sacrifice two first round picks to do it. A top-heavy team is about to get even more top-heavy. In the Rams’ defense, Ramsey is one of the best in the business, he’s only 24, and the Rams need serious help in their secondary. Not to mention the draft is a complete crap shoot. If the Rams make the playoffs for the next two years it may end up being worth it. On the flip side, the Jacksonville Jaguars are banking on the fact that the a team third in its division will not make a playoff push. L.A. has serious issues with its offensive line and lacks depth across most of the roster. Is Ramsey going to be enough for the Rams to climb out of their hole? We will see. I am a big fan of Sean McVay and Wade Phillips, but they got their work cut out for them. This move might make it easier to climb but it also reduces the margin for error considerably. If the Patriots had a chance for a 24-year-old All-Pro tackle for two first-round picks I would take it, but that’s largely because I know they will be picking no higher than 29th in the draft both years. Something tells me the Jaguars will get at least one pick higher than that. The Cleveland Browns trading Austin Corbett has raised the specter of a Trent Williams trade between the Washington Redskins and the Browns. The trade would make a ton of sense for Cleveland but I’m not convinced moving past Corbett is proof of that happening. Corbett has been terrible and it is more likely that a Rams team desperate for any spark along its offensive line simply paired well with a Browns team looking to get any sort of value on their misfire. John Dorsey is a good talent scout and I strongly doubt Corbett will have his career resurrected in L.A. This is a potentially a nice moment for the Giants, though. There was speculation they would have taken Corbett 34rd overall if the Browns did not snap him up. Will Hernandez has been a very solid pick for them so the Giants should be grateful that one got away. Look, referees have a difficult job and generally bad calls even out over the course of the game. As a result I am generally pro referee when it comes to controversial calls. Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions was not one of those times. The same referee manufactured two phantom face mask calls against the same player. Neither replay gave even the slightest hint, whisper or semblance of a face mask. Both calls came on crucial third downs where Green Bay failed to convert. Without both of those penalties, the Packers almost assuredly lose. I have a pretty simple rule. I can stand one egregious call per a team but two egregious calls in the fourth quarter that directly impact the outcome of the game? Get out with that. I turned my television off and went to bed. I don’t buy into conspiracy theories when it comes to referees fixing games. I do buy into gross incompetence. That was gross incompetence and I repeat my opinion that the league should penalize terrible referees in some fashion. All that being said, I cannot claim to be surprised. The Lions are just that type of franchise. As I said before the game even started: I hope the Lions win but I assume Green Bay will. The Lions are just not allowed to have nice things. It’s gross watching men who defended the rights of American citizens to kneel during the anthem in the NFL turn right around and say that American citizens in the NBA cannot tweet in support of Hong Kong freedom. I wish there was an explanation for it other than tennis shoes sales, but there’s not: it’s about money. That being said, I confess that we are all guilty of this to an extent. I have held my tongue plenty of times when speaking with a professional superior. The benefit of voicing my opposition to their views did not outweigh the potential trouble it would cause me, although I would draw a clear distinction between hundred millionaires seeking to become billionaires and me keeping the lights in my apartment from going out. I would also draw a distinction between people with significant power and a 21-year-old talking to a 67-year-old attorney. So yeah, the stakes and the degrees are different. And that difference matters a lot. But we’re all hypocrites to an extent when it comes to our values. I’ll step off the soap box now.

  • AFC East Report: Week 6
    by Bernd Buchmasser on October 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    T’was a spleendid performance. | Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images Let’s take a look at what happened in the division this week. The NFL’s 2019 regular season is in full swing and the AFC East is slowly shaping up with two teams comfortably at the top, one just yet winning its first game of the season, and the fourth remaining winless at 0-5. Before getting ahead of ourselves, however, let’s find out what happened over the weekend in the latest edition of the AFC East Report. 1. New England Patriots (6-0) Week 6: 35-14 win against the New York Giants, in Foxborough MA Patriots vs Giants recap: New England pulls away late, wins 35-14 Instant analysis from Patriots’ 35-14 win over Giants Patriots vs Giants: Watch the Pats Pulpit Postgame Show live! 6 winners and 4 losers from the Patriots’ 35-14 win over the Giants Injuries force Patriots offense into uncharted territory against Giants The Scho Show Episode #27: A Week 6 Glorious Victory Edition Winning ugly is still winning Patriots vs. Giants: Fan Notes from the Game Patriots vs Giants snap counts: Injuries force New England to adapt on the fly Mini-bye comes at an opportune time for the Patriots Stephon Gilmore shows why he is still the NFL’s high-water mark for cornerbacks Patriots vs Giants advanced stats: New England consistently made Daniel Jones’ life hard Julian Edelman stepping up with Patriots’ questions at wide receiver Pats Pulpit Podcast Episode 163: Patriots defeat the Giants, move to 6-0 atop the AFC Film room: How the Patriots got their second punt block touchdown of the year To watch highlights of the game, click here. 2. Buffalo Bills (4-1) Week 6: Bye Week 7: vs Miami Dolphins Week 8: vs Philadelphia Eagles Week 9: vs Washington Redskins Week 10: at Cleveland Browns The Bills entered their bye week with one of the best records in the AFC — their lone loss came against the Patriots in Week 4 — and will head out of it with a favorable schedule: the team will welcome the winless Dolphins to New Era Field next Sunday before two more home games. While the contest against the Eagles could be a challenge for Sean McDermott’s team, the games against Washington and Cleveland project to be easier affairs. 3. New York Jets (1-4) Week 6: 24-22 win against the Dallas Cowboys, in East Rutherford NJ Heading into their Week 6 matchup with the Cowboys, the Jets’ biggest story was the return of Sam Darnold. The second-year quarterback, who was drafted third overall last spring, was back in the lineup after having missed the previous three games because of mononucleosis. Darnold’s comeback made not just the offense but by extension the entire team better, and helped pave the way for New York’s first victory of the season. While the game did start with an exchange of punts, the Jets’ second offensive possession gave the team its first lead of the day: Darnold and company drove 83 yards in 14 plays — including three third down conversions — to take a 7-0 lead thanks to a 2-yard touchdown run by Le’Veon Bell. The eight-minute drive was arguably the Jets’ best of the season so far, and clear proof that a Darnold-led attack was far more potent than what since-released Luke Falk had to offer. Dallas answered the touchdown by driving to a field goal, before the defenses took center stage again. Neither team was able to do much with the football during the second quarter, with New York’s defense making its first big play of the day with four minutes left in the half: facing a 4th and 2 at their own 7-yard line, the Jets were able to stop a scrambling Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott short of the sticks for a turnover on downs. On the very next play, the home team took advantage. Darnold connected with Robby Anderson on a deep pass, and the wide receiver took it 92 yards for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead. And with 3:34 left in the first half, New York still had plenty of time to add to its lead. The Jets got the football back at the two-minute warning after forcing a three-and-out on the next series, and it took them just six plays and 1:33 to drive 65 yards for their third touchdown of the day. This time, Darnold hit tight end Ryan Griffin from five yards out. And while the Cowboys were able to cut into the deficit thanks to a 62-yard field goal as time expired on the second period, the home team still headed into the locker room at halftime with a convincing 21-6 lead. In the third quarter, however, Dallas slowly continued getting itself back into the contest as the team kicked another field goal to open the second half. Still up 12 points, Darnold made his first big mistake of the day: on a 3rd and 5 deep in Cowboys territory, the former first-round draft pick threw an interception. While the visitors were unable to capitalize on the turnover — they missed a 40-yard field goal try — the momentum continued to shift their way until they came within five points midway through the fourth quarter. At that point, however, the Jets were able to finally respond again. Driving 57 yards in three minutes, New York added a field goal to its total and increased its lead to eight points. This, in turn, forced the Cowboys to go for two after their ensuing touchdown — they failed, thanks to a well-timed blitz by safety Jamal Adams that forced a quick and incomplete throw. And with Dallas failing to recover the ensuing onside kick, the home team was able to celebrate its first win of the year. To watch highlights of the game, click here. 4. Miami Dolphins (0-5) Week 6: 17-16 loss against the Washington Redskins, in Miami Gardens FL Two winless teams entered the arena, but only won of them came away with a victory. And for the ninth time in a row going back all the way to last season, that team was not the Dolphins: while coming close against the now 1-5 Redskins, the club of first-year head coach and former Patriots defensive play caller Brian Flores was unable to make enough plays to finally end its streak of disappointing performances. Early on, the contest was a defensive affair: the first quarter saw zero points, six punts, and only three combined first downs, all of which achieved by the home team. But despite Miami starting slightly better into the game, Washington took the first lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The Dolphins, meanwhile, answered by driving into opposing territory before turning the football over on a Josh Rosen interception. Luckily for the Dolphins, the defense forced a three-and-out that set up a 10-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by a 39-yard field goal. Thanks to Jason Sanders’ kick, the team therefore headed into the locker room at halftime down just four points. That deficit, however, would increase rather quickly: after the offense failed to go anywhere on the opening series of the second half, Washington scored its second touchdown of the day. To make matters worse, Rosen threw his second pick of the day to end the subsequent drive and give the visitors the ball at his team’s own 34-yard line. Eight plays later, Miami was down 14 points with the offense still not showing any signs of life. Following a missed Redskins field goal, Flores therefore made a change: Rosen was benched, and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick inserted into the lineup. The early results were promising. Starting in solid field position after the missed kick, Fitzpatrick led the unit on a nine-play, 55-yard series that ended with a Kalen Ballage touchdown run from one yard out. Momentum seemingly continued to shift towards the home team on the next play a the Dolphins ran and recovered an onside kick. A penalty against them, however, negated the result and forced the team to kick deep after all. After the following four drives all ended with punts, the Dolphins finally were able to generate some offensive rhythm again inside the two-minute warning. Miami quickly marched 75 yards in nine plays to come within one point thanks to a touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to wide receiver DeVante Parker. However, instead of attempting an extra point and playing for overtime, Flores decided to go for the win on with a two-point attempt. Running the same concept the Patriots used in Super Bowl 51 to tie the game against the Atlanta Falcons late in the fourth quarter, Fitzpatrick threw a quick pass to Kenyan Drake. However, the play was terribly executed: the timing was off, the players in front failed to secure their blocks, and Drake dropped the football. And with the Dolphins failing to recover the following onside kick, the team’s fifth game of the season again ended in defeat. To watch highlights of the game, click here.


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  • Saints at Bears Wednesday Injury Report: Jared Cook DNP
    by cajuncommando58 on October 16, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports Five on report today. Not practicing for the Saints were QB Drew Brees (Right Thumb), WR Tre’Quan Smith (Ankle), RB Alvin Kamara (Knee/Ankle), and TE Jared Cook (Ankle). DE Trey Hendrickson (Neck) was limited. Bears DT Akiem Hicks was placed on IR this week. For the Bears LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (Hamstring) and OL Ted Larsen (Knee) were limited. WR Taylor Gabriel (Concussion), DT Bilal Nichols (Hand), and QB Mitchell Trubisky (Left Shoulder) were all full.

  • Saints to sign running back Zach Zenner
    by BobRose on October 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images New Orleans inks a veteran back for depth with Kamara hobbled. According to multiple sources and first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the New Orleans Saints have signed running back Zach Zenner Wednesday afternoon. The signing came after the team had reportedly worked out former Saint back Travaris Cadet. To make room for Zenner, the Saints released linebacker Stephone Anthony. Zenner's signing is to give the team depth at the position, with the status of Alvin Kamara perhaps in doubt with knee and ankle injuries. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports The 28-yr. old Zenner had played all four of his NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions after entering the league undrafted from South Dakota State in 2015. He has appeared in 36 career games, starting 6, with 174 rushing attempts for 685 yards and 8 touchdowns. His most productive rushing season came in 2016, when rushing for 334 yards and 4 scores. Zenner, who is 5'11 224-lbs., also has 27 career receptions for 263 yards. Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images In the event that Kamara is unable to play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, veteran Latavius Murray will move into the starting role, with Dwayne Washington likely to be the number two back. The 29-yr. old Murray has 32 rushes for 138 yards and a touchdown so far this year, while adding 9 catches for 67 yards. He played well in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars with Kamara slowed, and looks to be a big key against the rugged Bears defense this weekend.

  • Saints drop below unbeaten 49ers in this week’s power rankings
    by Chris Dunnells on October 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports Your one stop shop for all major power rankings. Week 7 of the NFL regular season is almost upon us. Here are all of the major outlets’ power rankings. So how do the New Orleans Saints rank? (change from last week’s ranking is in parentheses) ESPN - #2 (+/-) Biggest weakness: Scoring points So far, this hasn’t hurt the Saints because their defense is playing so well. They are a remarkable 4-0 since Drew Brees underwent thumb surgery but rank 25th in the NFL over the past five weeks in both yards per game (311.6) and offensive points per game (17.0). And it won’t get any easier this week at Chicago. It’s not as simple as just pointing to the switch at QB, where Teddy Bridgewater has been more efficient than electrifying. The Saints rank 27th in the league in red zone efficiency over that same span -- and first in offensive penalties. -- Mike Triplett USA Today - #2 (+/-) When you’re getting a shoutout from the Pope — intentional or not — sure seems like you’re in midst of a season that could prove special. CBS - #3 (+/-) Teddy Bridgewater is 4-0 as a starter, which is truly impressive considering the opponents. The defense has really dominated. NFL - #3 (-1) The Saints are now 4-0 since Drew Brees went on the shelf with a thumb injury. The defense once more did the heavy lifting in a 13-6 win over the Jaguars. Said Sean Payton after the game: “I told our defense, if we would’ve played eight quarters today, I don’t think they would have scored a touchdown, honestly.” That’s some serious swagger from the coach, but his confidence is understandable, given New Orleans’ monster efforts week after week on defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s side of the ball. This is all playing out ideally for the Saints, who are winning every week without having to worry about a distracting and potentially chemistry-altering quarterback controversy. Teddy Bridgewater (who’s been fine overall) will go back to No. 2 status when Brees is ready. And when Brees is ready, the Saints could go Full Juggernaut. Bleacher Report - #2 (+/-) Week 6 Result: Won 13-6 at Jacksonville When Drew Brees went down with torn ligaments in his thumb against the Los Angeles Rams, it wasn’t unreasonable to assume the New Orleans Saints were in big trouble. Not many NFL teams can weather the loss of a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer under center. The Saints have played four games since that injury occurred—and haven’t lost once. The Saints have done a fantastic job as a team of rallying around backup Teddy Bridgewater and doing whatever it takes to get a win. Whether it’s the run game, the wide receivers or the defense, just about every position group on the team has improved since Brees got hurt. The original plan in New Orleans was probably just to hold on—try not to fall too far off the pace in the race for at least a wild-card spot and hope Brees’ return would help spur a late surge. But home-field advantage is still on the table, and the Saints don’t necessarily need to rush Brees back until his hand has healed fully. Yahoo - #3 (-1) This might be Sean Payton’s finest season. The Saints have reinvented themselves without Drew Brees and have gone 4-0 without him. And that means Brees is coming back to a very well-rounded team. Sports Illustrated - #3 (-1) New Orleans’ defense saved the day against the Jaguars, continuing a streak of three consecutive games holding their opponent under 300 total yards as the Saints move to 4-0 without Drew Brees. Average Power Ranking Composite: #3 (-1)

  • New Orleans Saints P.J. Williams suspended two games
    by Don Kellum on October 15, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports The NFL announced the suspension for the cornerback stemming from an offseason DWI arrest. New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams has been suspended by the NFL for weeks 7 and 8. Field Yates broke the new on Twitter. Saints CB P.J. Williams - who has started 5 of 6 games in 2019 - has been suspended for the next two weeks of the season, per league source.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 15, 2019 An NFL spokesperson released a statement earlier as well, saying in part, “The suspension begins immediately. Williams will be eligible to return to the Saints’ active roster on Monday, October 28, following the team’s Week 8 game vs. Arizona.” The incident in question occurred in January of this year when Williams was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He would later plead guilty to a reduced charge of reckless operation and was ordered to pay a fine in August. Williams has started as the Nickel cornerback for five of the six games this season, accumulating 18 tackles and a couple pass breakups. This leaves veteran Patrick Robinson and rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as the two primary defensive backs with experience in the slot and could see an increase in snaps over the next two games.

  • Lions vs. Packers: Monday Night Football open thread
    by Wallace Delery on October 15, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports A battle of NFC North rivals caps Week 6 in the NFL. Join us here to discuss the game! The Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions tonight at Lambeau Field. Both teams sit atop the NFC North and the winner will have a firm grip on the division early on in the season. Can Matthew Stafford continue his hot streak against the Pack? Will Aaron Rodgers keep the Pack ahead of the rest in the North? Let’s tune in and find out! Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field - Green Bay, Wisconsin Kickoff - 5:15pm PST / 7:15pm CST / 8:15pm EST Network - ESPN Enjoy the game with the CSC family and join the thread below!


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  • Bill Callahan press conference: “It is winning by any means necessary”
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on October 17, 2019 at 12:35 am

    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports Bill Callahan talks to the media Bill Callahan spoke to the Washington sports media after Wednesday’s practice. Bill Callahan speaks to the media after practice on Wednesday.— billhorgan (@billhorgan2005) October 17, 2019 Opening Statement: “Again, congratulations to the Nationals, wow. Pretty amazing. Our Director of Football Operations Paul Kelly, his son is a bat boy for the Nationals, so it was great to see him on the tube last night celebrating. So that’s pretty awesome, I had to mention that. Getting ready, just starting preparation on the Niners. Had a good day at practice just focusing on all the early-down situations, getting ready for a really talented football team in all phases. They’re pretty good running the football, as you all know they lead the league in completions and rush attempts, number one in the league. Defense is top five in all categories and special teams is solid across the ball, so we have a great challenge this weekend as the Niners come to town.” On RB Chris Thompson’s status: “We’ll know a little bit more about him at the end of the week. He’s down right now at practice today, but we’ll know a little bit more going forward.” On the statuses of RB Derrius Guice and RB Bryce Love: “Just maybe, possibly [RB Derrius] Guice could be released [back to practice] in another week or so, possibly. Then [RB Bryce] Love, we’ll just see where he’s at. He’s still in the rehabilitation process.” On why RB Adrian Peterson and QB Case Keenum were held out of practice: “Definitely just veteran guys, backing them down and just trying to take care of their bodies a little bit better.” On what he’s seen from the pass rush recently: “I thought it was good. I know we focused on it last week and you saw [LB] Montez Sweat, he had some good efforts and good [opportunities] one-on-one in the game. [LB Ryan] Kerrigan did, as well. They didn’t get the production they wanted, but you look at [DT Tim] Settle and [DT Matt] Ioannidis and [DT] Jonathan Allen – I think all of those guys have been doing a really good job. Our interior has provided more push and more production than our outside guys have, so that’s a challenge that we accept. We know we’ve got to get a little more heat on the quarterback. We’re definitely tied into that. Of course, [LB] Ryan Anderson did a pretty good job last week as well just putting heat and pressure on the quarterback.” On whether Thompson needed surgery: “No, just rest.” On how difficult it is to practice without your starting quarterback: “[QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] took all the reps today and it’s invaluable for a backup to take starting reps, especially at the beginning of the week in terms of putting your plan together and laying it out there and making all the adjustments, whether it’s new communication, new formations, handling the shift-motion game. I thought he did a really good job today, so his growth is starting to show in practice and also in his preparation. He’s in earlier, he’s out later, so it’s all coming to fruition. It’s going to take a little time, but it’s good to see him take a major step today in practice.” On how to find success in the running game against a tough 49ers defense: “Every game is different, so how the game unfolds and how we attack the Niners, whether we do it internally or whether we throw a little bit more – it really doesn’t matter to us. We’d like to run it more and if we don’t, as long as we’re making yards and scoring points it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s getting on the board and it is winning by any means necessary. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Of course we want to establish the run and we want to keep that identity just like everybody else around the league, but they’re good, they’re a really good challenge for our football team. They’re solid in every area, in their front, in their backend, their second-level. Their speed, quickness, explosion and pursuit to the ball is one of the best in the league right now, so they’ve done a tremendous job putting that front together. It’s interesting, a couple years ago when they were here you could just see kind of the blueprint of what they were trying to do – now, they’ve added a lot of pieces, they’ve got five first-rounders up front, the backend is tied down pretty well. They’re making plays in the backend, but their front and the way that they pursue to the ball is really impressive. They’ve done a good job, good staff, so it’ll be a great challenge for our team.” On what makes 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s run scheme so effective: “Kyle [Shanahan] knows the running game. He’s well-respected around the league for what he’s accomplished here, in Cleveland, in Atlanta and obviously in San Francisco. He’s really worked hard to establish their identity. It’s a good mixture of their wide zone game – I mean, that’s where it starts, of course they’re going to stretch the ball, they’re going to be a one-cut-runner type of team and then they’re going to mix it all up with their diversionary motions, their jet sweep motions, they add in and implement the gap schemes and the perimeter schemes, so they’re pretty diverse, pretty challenging in that respect. You don’t see a lot of teams have that much diversity in their attack and in their scheme, but they gameplan really well. They change week-to-week and you’ve got to be ready for everything. They’ve got it all.” On what 49ers defensive lineman is the main focus this week: “There are so many different front variations, so we’re preparing for everything. It’s difficult to say that it’s just one rusher because the minute you focus on one rusher obviously there are three more first-rounders on the other side that you have to deal with. We’ve got to have a great protection plan going into this game. Rush control is going to be important, you can see that exhibited by the way the Rams played last week, and other teams and how they’ve played them. It’s no secret that the Niners have got a good rush plan and of course the pressure plan with it is outstanding. How we matchup, that can all vary because they line up in different locations, different spots and then they change those matchups based on what they see. Hard to predict, but we’ll try to prepare for it all.” On getting the running game going on third-and-short situations: “First off, short-yardage situations, third-and-one to-two, they’re always balanced Run-Pass-Option downs. Third down and three-to-four, three-to-five, those are downs where you can mix it somehow, but you really gotta be outstanding to generate a five-yard run on third-and-five against the different types of pressures you can potentially see. It’s not that we’re reluctant on those downs-and-distances, we just have a lot of confidence in [QB] Case [Keenum] and our receivers. It didn’t work out as well down in Miami. I thought we could have done a better job versus the press man that we’ve gotten. We’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and work a little bit harder, be a little bit more diligent in our technique in terms of defeating man coverage and that’s no secret. That’s nothing that anybody doesn’t know in football, whether it’s our staff or their staff or our players, we just gotta do a better job being a little bit more definitive, having more definition in our route running in those situations.” On his expectations are for Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky: “I think he has high standards and he wants to put our kids in good position, our players are in good position in the backend and we’re working hard to tie up and fix possibly a coverage or two, but other than that I thought we played really well down in Miami. Like I mentioned the other day, [CB] Quinton Dunbar played really well, [S] Landon [Collins] played well – NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Those guys played really well in the backend and they continue to get better and if we can complement that back end with a little bit more pressure, hopefully that’ll provide some more opportunities for turnovers and picks.” On whether there was an emphasis placed on blitzing Collins last week: “Yeah there was. We featured his blitz ability and you saw the matchup on the [running] back in the game where he created the sack. So if we could put him in positions where he can get matched up and not have the offensive line slide to him on a pick up, that just enhances our percentages of making a play and being productive. I thought [Defensive Coordinator] Greg [Manusky] did a great job, I thought the staff did a great job preparing the team and creating those opportunities whether it was for [S] Landon [Collins] or the defensive line up front.” On how WR Terry McLaurin’s approach compares to other rookie and veteran wide receivers: “I think pretty similar in terms of… I’m trying to think back on some of the guys. I’ve been around more veteran type receivers [opposed to] some of the younger guys. They’ve been all good, there’s no knock or anything like that and when you make a comparison, it’s hard to judge for me. Just talking about [WR] Terry [McLaurin] individually, I go back to his make-up and his character and what he brings to the team and what he brings by example. When you’re a rookie, you don’t say a lot of things, you’re not always so vocal because you’re just learning, you’re trying to feel your way around in an NFL environment and you’re trying to really learn from the other players. For him to overcome that learning curve and take on a leadership role by example speaks volumes for his play. As he just continues to work diligently and he maintains his focus and shows continual improvement, the sky’s the limit for him. We’re just really happy for him and good to see him have the success he’s had this year and he’s really helped our offensive unit by a large stretch.” On whether Keenum will be on the injury report: “I don’t know. I haven’t seen one yet, I’ll see it when it comes out.” On whether Keenum was held out for rest or if he was held out to give QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. an opportunity to get first-team reps: “Strictly for [QB] Case [Keenum]’s purposes, yes.” On the trade rumors surrounding T Trent Williams and if he wants to see some assets return to the team in a potential deal if Williams decides he will not return: “Well number one, I don’t know anything about that conversation, the first part of your question, I don’t know anything about that, so we’ll see about that, I guess. Number two, I think you’re always looking to improve your roster by any means. Whether you’re acquiring by trade or acquiring it through free agency or obviously guys off the waiver wire, we’re always looking. We’re always trying to turn it and always trying to improve the bottom of the roster and also develop the players we have here on practice squad. [We have] a number of players that are working hard, diligent in terms of upping their stock and getting their chance, just like [DB] Jeremy Reaves did this weekend. That’s really the focus as i’m concerned as a coach, just trying to get the players we have here in-house better and we’re always searching to improve each position by any way we can. I hope that answers your question.”

  • Daily Slop: Redskins ‘more uptempo’ under new coach Bill Callahan; Landon Collins Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week
    by Philip Hughes on October 16, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Redskins 'more uptempo' under new coach Bill Callahan - NFL.comNo one can tell if it will translate to wins, but the winless Washington Redskins have been practicing with more of a spark in the wake of interim coach Bill Callahan taking over for Jay Gruden. Jordan Reed is not alone as preseason NFL concussions were up 44 percent from a year ago | NBC Sports WashingtonJordan Reed was one of the 49 NFL players who suffered a concussion during in 2019 preseason. Bill Callahan might be an old-school running coach, but he knows he needs to adapt against 49ers | NBC Sports WashingtonOddsmakers installed Washington as double-digit underdogs against the 49ers. Bill Callahan looks like he understands the nature of his opponent and that he must adapt his team to best attack San Francisco. Exclusive: JP Finlay sits down with Bill Callahan after the Redskins' first win | NBC Sports WashingtonJP Finlay sits down with Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan to discuss the team's first victory of the season. Redskins stonewalling teams interested in Trent Williams: report - Washington TimesThe Washington Redskins have "stonewalled" teams inquiring about the price it would take to land Williams in a trade, according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. Derrius Guice hopes to return from injured reserve as soon as he's eligible to | NBC Sports WashingtonDerrius Guice has been on I.R. since Week 1 thanks to a knee injury, but on Tuesday, he tweeted about the date he's hoping to make his return and it's a date that's coming soon. Landon Collins Named NFC Defensive Player Of The WeekAfter recording 12 tackles and one sack, Redskins safety Landon Collins has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Adrian Peterson rejuvenates Redskins' run game, but challenges await - NFC East- ESPNWashington views its 33 rushing attempts in its first win of the season as a "positive step" in its quest to establish a strong ground game. Alex Smith has reportedly undergone 17 surgeries on legSmith revealed the number to an audience of medical professionals. NFL trade deadline is 2 weeks away and the Redskins should absolutely be selling | NBC Sports WashingtonWith the NFL trade deadline coming up in two weeks the Redskins front office needs to plant a for sale sign in front of their Ashburn facility. The problem is they might not attract many buyers. It's time to start regarding Quinton Dunbar as a top cornerback in the NFL | NBC Sports WashingtonQuinton Dunbar doesn't get mentioned when talking about the NFL's best cornerbacks, but judging by his play so far this season, that might have to change. Jay Gruden answers questions on the Redskins' culture, Dwayne Haskins and what's next | NBC Sports WashingtonJay Gruden was interviewed on the Dan Le Batard radio show Tuesday, and the ex-Redskins coach took questions about Dwayne Haskins, Washington's culture and what he's been up to lately. Dwayne Haskins welcomes fellow OSU alum, XFL QB Cardale Jones to D.C. | NBC Sports WashingtonThe newest D.C. sports team the XFL Defenders drafted quarterback and former Ohio State Buckeye, Cardale Jones.

  • Skins Stats & Snaps: Redskins @ Dolphins (Offense)
    by James Dorsett on October 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images A look at the stats and snap counts for every offensive player on the Redskins in the team’s Week 6 matchup with the Miami Dolphins Snaps- Bill Callahan and Kevin O’Connell’s offense was on the field for 59 snaps, 58 plays, 13 drives and 27:21 of the game clock against the Miami Dolphins. Yards- Washington was able to gain 311 yards of total offense, which was the fewest yards gained against Miami this season by 68 yards and was 161 yards below the Fins’ average coming into the week (472 YPG). The Skins’ 166 passing yards and 13 first downs were also notably worse than the lowest such totals allowed by Miami this year (241 yards and 24 first downs). Points- Every one of the Dolphins’ previous opponents had also scored 30 or more points against them this year; the Redskins, however, were only able to muster 17 points on Sunday. 3rd & 4th Down- The Redskins faced 11 third downs and failed to convert on more than two of them for the third straight week. Their 2-of-11 effort (18.2%) was especially disappointing since their average yards to go on these plays was a season-low 4.36; six of these 11 plays were of the third-and-short variety (3 yards to go or fewer). This is the major reason the team went three-and-out on half of their non-kneel down drives (6-of-12). The offense’s 23.4% conversion rate on the money down this season ranks 31st in the league, is the 12th worst mark by any team through their first six games and would be the worst third-down success rate in recorded NFL history if it held through the season (data goes back to 1991). Washington didn’t go for it on fourth down once for the third straight week. Red Zone- The Burgundy and Gold O failed to score a touchdown on its only possession in the red zone. Perhaps things would have gone differently if Case Keenum and Adrian Peterson didn’t botch a handoff at the Miami 1-yard line that resulted in a fumble (recovered by Washington). This was the third straight week in which the team has been unable to find the paint after reaching the red area. Washington ranks 29th in number of red-zone trips, 28th in red-zone touchdowns and 21st in red-zone touchdown percentage (50%). Giveaways- The Skins did not turn the ball over for the third time this year. Only four clubs have given the ball away more than Washington this season (11), yet they are also one of just five teams without a turnover in three or more of their games. The nine combined giveaways against the Bears and Giants definitely skew the results. Penalties- The offense was not responsible for committing a single penalty for the first time since Week 5 of last season (at New Orleans). Opponent Perspective- To simply say that the Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL this year would not be doing them justice, because they are actually on pace to be one of the worst teams of all time. Only two teams have posted a worse point differential through their first five games of a season than Miami’s -138 margin (-139 for the 1954 Redskins and -150 for the 1950 Colts). Those numbers go back to 1940, but lack a lot of context. What about DVOA, which goes back to just 1986, but is our best context-focused alternative. Well, the Fins’ -86.4% total DVOA is the worst mark on record through a team’s first five games. Just remember all of this anytime you start to get excited about the Redskins winning this game. And don’t forget their victory literally came by the slimmest of margins. QUARTERBACKS Quarterbacks (3 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Case Keenum * 59 100% Dwayne Haskins 0 0% Colt McCoy Inactive N/A Case Keenum- Keenum’s foot injury and Jay Gruden’s love for Colt McCoy ended up getting Keenum put on the inactive list last week. He returned as the starter against the Dolphins, but put forth a fairly uneven showing. The veteran signal caller completed just 13 of his 25 passes (52%) for 166 yards (6.64 YPA), 7 first downs, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions (99.7 passer rating). Keenum also wasn’t sacked for the first time this season and set 2019 highs with 4 carries (including a kneel-down) and 9 rushing yards. The aforementioned completion percentage represented his sixth-lowest such mark in his career and his worst since Week 1 of the 2016 season (Los Angeles at San Francisco). His yardage and first down figures were his lowest totals in a game he attempted at least 15 passes in since Weeks 13 and 11 of last season, respectively (at Cincinnati and Los Angeles Chargers). Every other QB who has faced the Fins this year gained at least 80 more passing yards and picked up at least 5 more first downs through the air against them than Keenum did. He made four of his 13 longest passes on the year in this game. That’s great, but the problem is that those four throws went for a combined 109 yards and represented just under two-thirds of his yardage on the day (109-of-166 or 65.7%). He averaged 27.3 yards per attempt on them, but only gained 57 yards on his other 21 passes (2.71 YPA). We cannot and should not take anything away from the big throws he made, but it’s also fair to say that there just simply wasn’t any consistency to his play. Case Keenum (Advanced Stats)- You may think I’m being a bit hard on Keenum here, but before you rush to judgement consider that this week he ranked 17th out of 30 quarterbacks in both PFF grade (68.0) and raw QBR (42.9). I think we should expect better from him considering A) those numbers are not adjusted for opponent, and B) he was facing a pass defense that ranks dead last in the league with a historically awful 73.8% DVOA. Other QBs- A week after making his first start of the year, Colt McCoy was declared inactive for the fifth time this season. Haskins, on the other hand, was active but did not play a snap for the fifth time. WIDE RECEIVERS Wide Receivers (6 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Terry McLaurin * 57 97% Paul Richardson 35 59% Trey Quinn 31 53% Kelvin Harmon * 12 20% Steven Sims 5 8% Cam Sims Inactive N/A Terry McLaurin- Terry McLaurin did it again. The rookie wideout carried the Redskins’ passing attack on his back once again with another extremely impressive performance. He led the wideout corps in snaps for the fourth straight game he played in and did so by a margin of 22 snaps. He also led Washington in targets (7), air yards (128), receptions (4), receiving yards (100), receiving first downs (4) and touchdowns (2). No other player on the team had more than 4 targets (3 fewer), 49 air yards (69 fewer), 2 receptions (2 fewer), 24 receiving yards (76 fewer), 2 receiving first downs (2 fewer) or any touchdowns (2 fewer). On the downside, he was the only player on the Redskins with a drop. McLaurin has as many drops this year (4) as the rest of the team does combined. Scary Terry 33-yard touchdown in the third quarter and his 32-yarder from the Washington 1-yard line were the first and second-longest plays of the game. His other score went for 25 yards and was the Skins’ third-longest gain of the day. In all, McLaurin was responsible for the team’s three longest plays of the contest. This has been a trend, as Terry Mac receptions have accounted for nearly half (8-of-17) of the team’s 20-yard plays this season. Speaking of getting a big slice of his team’s passing pie, McLaurin leads the entire NFL with a 52% air yards market share, a number which is seven percentage points higher than the player ranked second in this metric (Stefon Diggs). He leads the team and all rookie wide receivers with 408 receiving yards, 81.6 receiving yards per game, 20 receiving first downs, 618 air yards, 5 receiving touchdowns, 2.28 yards per route run and 83.3 offensive PFF grade. Most of those numbers rank at least inside the top ten at the position, regardless of draft year. Terry McLaurin (Records)- His production against the Dolphins made Terry McLaurin just the second rookie in franchise history to put up 100 receiving yards and score twice in a single game. The other Washington player that accomplished this feat was Charlie Brown and he missed his first year with an injury, so he wasn’t even really a true rookie. Take away the yardage constraint, and Brown, Art Monk, Charley Taylor and Tydus Winans are the only other first-year Redskins with two or more receiving scores in a game. Terry Glenn, Harlon Hill and Earl McCullouch are the only other players on record who have caught at least three passes and gained at least 50 receiving yards in each of their first five career games. Those players either won Rookie of the Year or were named to at least one Pro Bowl in their careers. McLaurin is one of 15 players who scored four or more TDs through the air over the course of their first five games. He also keeps some pretty good company when we combine the yardage and touchdown figures. If Scary Terry can keep up the pace, he will pass Harlon Hill and Randy Moss for the most 50-yard receiving games with a touchdown as a rookie in NFL history (9). In this past 40 years, Anquan Boldin (497), Moss (463) and Stefon Diggs (461) are the only players who gained more receiving yards in their first five games than McLaurin has (408). Check the list out for yourself and you’ll find that almost every player anywhere near the top of it finished their careers with around at least 6,000 receiving yards. Paul Richardson- At least statistically, this might have been the worst game of Paul Richardson’s career. He played on just 35 snaps and received a 59% snap share, his lowest figures in both categories since Week 10 of the 2017 season (Seattle at Arizona). He was targeted four times and didn’t catch a single one of them, with a team-high tying three of those looks coming on third down. Now it’s not as if all of this was his fault, but you could tell that he really didn’t have much separation on any of these plays. This marked the first time he had ever failed to catch a pass when receiving more than targets two targets. P-Rich was also the recipient of a backwards pass that was counted as a rush; he was stopped for no gain on the play. It was just the fourth run of his career. So that’s five touches and not a single yard. Coming into the week, he averaged 55 all-purpose yards per game when receiving five-plus touches (low of 14 yards). Richardson ranks in the bottom-five among all 20-target wideouts in yards per reception (8.15), yards per target (5.43) and yards per route run (0.83), all of which are new career lows, as well. He’s not the only Redskin who can make those claims, though (see next player). Trey Quinn- Quinn and Richardson had very similar games. Quinn also played on a season-low number of snaps (31), was targeted four times and got three looks on third down. The difference was that he caught two of those passes, and while he did gain some yardage on the plays, it wasn’t much. His 8 receiving yards on the day was his lowest career total in a game he was targeted in and/or played more than 8 offensive snaps in. His 50.4 PFF grade for the game was a personal worst, as well. I know I’ve been repeating his efficiency rankings among wide receivers rather frequently, but I think his new rank is worth another update. Trey Quinn now ranks dead last among all 20-target wide receivers in yards per reception (6.75), target (4.22) and route run (0.68). Maybe he will live up to his Mr. Irrelevant moniker, after all. Steven Sims- Steven Sims, who played on what was easily a season high of 31 snaps last week, saw his PT cut down to 5 snaps. Sims gained a single yard on his lone touch, an end-around reverse early in the third quarter. Kelvin Harmon- Harmon’s snap count was bumped up from 5 to 12 and he got his second-highest snap rate of the year (20.3%). He caught his lone target of the game and gained 8 yards on the 2nd-and-10 play. The rookie wideout has caught all six of his targets so far this season and has gained at least 8 yards on four of those plays. Young Guns- There are 24 rookie receivers who have been targeted at least five times this season and a league-high three of them are on the Redskins (McLaurin, Sims and Harmon). Only two other teams have more than one such player (Ravens and Chiefs). Cam Sims- Sims made his 2019 debut and played on offense for the first time in his career last week, but was inactive for this one. TIGHT ENDS Tight Ends (4 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Jeremy Sprinkle * 54 92% Jerome Cunningham * 19 32% Hale Hentges 18 31% Vernon Davis Inactive N/A Jeremy Sprinkle- This was the tenth straight game that Sprinkle started at tight end for the Redskins. He played on 52 snaps and a 92% snap rate, which are career-high numbers that top his previous bests by eight snaps and roughly 12 percentage points. The third-year tight end hauled in two of the three targets thrown his way for a career-high 24 receiving yards and a first down. He has gained more yards in his last three appearances (61) than he had in all of his other 30 career games combined (54). His chain-mover against the Fins was a 19-yarder on a 3rd-and-3 play. It was the Skins’ fifth-longest play of the game, the second-longest play of Sprinkle’s career and the first third-down conversion for him in the pros. In fact, half of Sprinkle’s career third-down targets came in this game alone (2-of-4). Jerome Cunningham- Cunningham started for the fourth time in his career and for the first time since 2015. He played 19 snaps, with the vast majority of those coming on rushing plays. This was the third straight game, dating back to last year, in which he was not targeted. Cunningham injured his knee on the Dolphins’ early fourth-quarter onside kick attempt. He was spotted wearing a brace and using crutches the day after the game. The veteran tight end was placed on IR yesterday. Hale Hentges- The rookie UDFA out of Alabama got his first NFL action this past Sunday when he played 18 snaps against Miami. Like Cunningham, he was not targeted and almost all of his playing time came on running plays. Callahan Hearts Tight Ends- The Redskins used multiple tight-end sets on a season-high 26 snaps. They ran the ball on all but four of those plays. Vernon Davis-Vernon Davis was out with a concussion for the second straight week. This is the fourth documented concussion of his career and his first since 2015. However, this is the first time he has ever missed any games because of a head injury. Missing this many games has certainly not been the norm for VD. He played all 16 contests in seven of his 13 seasons and has only missed a combined total of six games in the last 11 years (0.55 per year). Jordan Reed- I don’t normally talk about guys who aren’t on the active roster in this space, but I feel like I need to touch on Jordan Reed one more time this season. Reed was placed on IR a day before the game and cannot return until Week 14 at the absolute earliest. Let’s be real though, there wouldn’t be any point in bringing him back unless the team was in playoff contention at the time and that just is not going to happen. In all likelihood, this means Reed will miss a full season for the first time in his career and he will set a new personal record with 19 consecutive games missed. On top of that, he will turn 30 just before the start of next season, has now suffered at least seven concussions, it’s been almost two years since he’s gained over 75 yards in a game and cutting him would save the team $8.5M next season and $9M the following year. Reed shouldn’t be with the Redskins next season, or any other team, for that matter. RUNNING BACKS Running Backs (4 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Adrian Peterson * 37 63% Chris Thompson 13 22% Wendell Smallwood 10 17% Ryan Anderson 1 2% Adrian Peterson- Adrian Peterson finally had a productive game in 2019. It just took playing the historically hapless Dolphins to make it happen. AP’s 37 snaps and 63% snap rate were his highest marks in either category since Week 16 of last year (at Tennessee). He got the rock 23 times and rushed for 118 yards (5.13 YPC) and 5 first downs on those plays. This was the 55th career 100-yard day on the ground for the future Hall of Famer. He is now just four more 100-yard games from passing Curtis Martin, Edgerrin James and Jim Brown and moving into sixth-place on the all-time list. The attempt and yardage totals on Sunday represented his best marks since the aforementioned game against the Titans last season. AD gained more rushing yards in this contest than he did in all of his five games between the one in Tennessee and this past week combined (118 to 108). He also hadn’t posted a YPC average that high or picked up that many first downs on the ground since Weeks 13 (at Philadelphia) and 7 (vs. Dallas), respectively. Of his 118 yards, 82 of them came after contact, which gave him a 3.57-yard clip after contact. These are his best numbers since the Tennessee and Philly games that were just discussed. All Day’s totes of 25 and 18 yards were the team’s third and sixth-longest plays of the game and his two longest carries of the year. Prior to this game, no Redskins running back had gained more than 11 yards on a running play. Peterson had 10 rushes of five-plus yards in this game, which accounts for 55.5% of his five-yard gainers in the entire season (10-of-18). To top it all off, he caught both of his targets and picked up first-downs with gains of 13 and 5 yards on the plays, with the former of the two being his longest reception of the year and the latter coming on third down. Peterson’s 18 receiving yards was his highest such total since Week 15 of 2019 (at Jacksonville). His 136 yards from scrimmage in the contest were his most since he dropped a buck fifty-six on the Giants in Week 8 last season. AP earned an 83.4 PFF grade for his efforts, the best grade given to him by the site since all the way back in Week 12 of the 2015 season (Minnesota at Atlanta). Michael Burton- Fullback Michael Burton was signed to the active roster on Tuesday. Burton is a fifth-year pro out of Rutgers who was drafted by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. He spent 2017 and 2018 with the Bears before a brief stint with the Saints this past offseason. He’s played in 55 games, made 11 starts and played on 564 offensive snaps in his career. This move has Bill Callahan and Adrian Peterson written all over it. Chris Thompson- Game script and a turf toe injury limited Chris Thompson to just 13 snaps and a 22% snap rate, which were his lowest playing-time figures in a game he was active in since Week 16 of the 2015 season (at Philadelphia). Thompson had led the team’s running back corps in snaps in each of their last six games dating back to the 2018 finale. CT took his three carries for 12 yards (4.0 YPC) with runs of 0, 4 and 8. He hauled in 2-of-3 targets and gained 4 yards on both receptions (8 total). Two of his looks in the passing game came on third down, with one of those occurring on a third-down from the Dolphins 3-yard line. Thompson had his man beat for what should’ve been a touchdown, but Keenum underthrew the pass and it fell incomplete. Thompson has not scored a touchdown in his last 15 games and up until this week he had picked up a first down and gained over 20 yards from scrimmage in seven straight contests. On a positive note, this was his 29th straight game with a catch, which ties him for the sixth-longest active streak by a running back in the NFL. His turf toe has been described as mild, but he is still in serious danger of missing the upcoming Week 7 tilt with the 49ers. Wendell Smallwood- Smallwood made it onto the field for 10 offensive snaps for the second week in a row. However, his rushing attempt total fell from six to one. He picked up 4 yards on his lone tote of the day. Redskins Rushing- Six Redskins players combined to rush the ball 33 times for 145 yards (4.39 YPC) and 5 first downs. The yardage and first down totals tie the season-high marks set by the team last week against the Patriots. They couldn’t match their 7.2 YPC average from that contest, but they did top four yards per carry for just the second time this year. Their rushes of 25 and 18 yards were the team’s second and third-longest runs of the season. Despite their recent success, the Skins still rank 24th in rushing first-down percentage (31.9%), 25th in rushing yards per game (81.5), 30th in rushing success rate (40%) and 30th in rushing DVOA (-19.2%). OFFENSIVE LINEMEN Offensive Line (9 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Ereck Flowers * 59 100% Donald Penn * 59 100% Chase Roullier * 59 100% Brandon Scherff * 59 100% Morgan Moses * 58 98% Geron Christian 4 7% Tony Bergstrom ST Only 0% Ross Pierschbacher ST Only 0% Wes Martin Inactive N/A Offensive Line (Team)- Not only did none of the Redskins’ O-linemen commit a penalty for the first time this season, the team didn’t give up a single sack for the first time since Week 8 of last season (at New York Giants). The team gave up a season-low 25.9% pressure rate, and not one of the team’s O-linemen were credited with allowing a QB hit, either. Donald Penn- After giving up three sacks and committing three penalties over the course of the last three weeks, Donald Penn did not allow a sack or get flagged once this past Sunday afternoon. However, Penn did surrender a team-high two hurries and was given a team-low 47.6 PFF grade for his performance. Ereck Flowers- For the second time this year, former tackle Ereck Flowers only gave up a single hurry and was penalty-free. He is one of just 13 O-linemen with 200 or more snaps who have yet to allow a QB hit or a sack so far this season. Amazingly, the summertime disaster is turning into a fall success story. Chase Roullier- Chase Roullier returned after missing the last two games with a knee injury. The third-year pivot did not surrender a single QB pressure for the second time in his four appearances on the year. Roullier is the only Washington O-lineman who has played 100 or more snaps this season (7 players) and not committed at least one penalty. He is one of just 27 linemen in the league who can make that claim. Brandon Scherff- Like Roullier, Scherff put forth a flawless statistical showing after being held out for two weeks with a lower body injury. He has posted a PFF grade above 70.0 in all four of his games this season and currently ranks fifth among all offensive guards with an 80.7 rating on the year. Morgan Moses- Morgan Moses had surrendered multiple pressures in each of his last six games and committed a penalty in 60% of his 2019 contests coming into the week. This time around the towering tackle was not charged with a single pressure or infraction. In contrast to Scherff, Moses has yet to post a grade of 65.0 or above and he ranks 57th among all qualifying tackles with a 56.6 rating. Geron Christian- Last year’s third-round pick got work with the offense for the third straight game and for the fourth time in the last five weeks. Christian subbed in for Morgan Moses at right tackle on one snap and played as an extra lineman for three snaps on the offense’s final non-kneel-down drive of the game (4 snaps total); all three of those plays were runs. Other Offensive Linemen- Tony Bergstrom was relegated back to a solely-special-teams role after playing on offense in each of the last four games and starting the last two. Ross Pierschbacher was active for just the second time this season, but just like in his last appearance, he only played on special teams. Wes Martin, who also started in each of the past two weeks, missed the contest with a chest injury. ALL OFFENSIVE PLAYERS All Offensive Players (26 Players) Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap % Ereck Flowers * 59 100% Chris Thompson 13 22% Case Keenum * 59 100% Kelvin Harmon * 12 20% Donald Penn * 59 100% Wendell Smallwood 10 17% Chase Roullier * 59 100% Steven Sims 5 8% Brandon Scherff * 59 100% Geron Christian 4 7% Morgan Moses * 58 98% Ryan Anderson 1 2% Terry McLaurin * 57 97% Dwayne Haskins 0 0% Jeremy Sprinkle * 54 92% Tony Bergstrom ST Only 0% Adrian Peterson * 37 63% Ross Pierschbacher ST Only 0% Paul Richardson 35 59% Vernon Davis Inactive N/A Trey Quinn 31 53% Wes Martin Inactive N/A Jerome Cunningham * 19 32% Colt McCoy Inactive N/A Hale Hentges 18 31% Cam Sims Inactive N/A *All statistics are courtesy of Air Yards, ESPN, Football Outsiders, NBC Sports,, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference,, Sports Info Solutions and The Washington Post*

  • Landon Collins named NFC Defensive Player of the Week
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on October 16, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images The high profile free agent safety is making an impact The National Football League announced today that Washington Redskins safety Landon Collins has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the team’s Week 6 win against the Miami Dolphins. The honor is the fourth of Collins’ career and his first as a member of the Redskins. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Collins finished the Week 6 contest against the Miami Dolphins with: 12 tackles (10 solo), including one for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. Collins finished tied for second in the NFC in total tackles and was tied for first in the NFC in solo tackles. He was one-of-two players to record a forced fumble and multiple passes defensed in Week 6 and was the only player in the NFC to register a sack, a pass defensed and a forced fumble. Collins was one-of-12 players in the NFC this week to register multiple passes defensed, and the forced fumble was the fourth of Collins’ career. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images Through six games this season, Collins has registered 55 tackles (39 solo), including four for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, two passes defensed and one quarterback hit. He has started in all six games this season and has led the team in tackles twice this season. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Collins is the first Redskin this season to receive NFC Player of the Week honors. He entered 2019 having earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors three times in his career. He earned the award in Week 7 and Week 9 of the 2016 season and in Week 11 of the 2017 season as a member of the New York Giants. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

  • The 5 O’Clock Club: Can the Redskins score against the 49ers defense?
    by Bill-in-Bangkok on October 16, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images It’s 5 o’clock somewhere… The 5 o’clock club is published several times per week during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below. ProFootballTalk ran an article this week, titled, Kyle Shanahan: I think our defense is just getting started: The 49ers won four games all of last season, but Sunday’s 20-7 victory over the Rams means they’ve already surpassed that total this season. At 5-0, the 49ers are one of only two undefeated teams in the league and the biggest driver in the last two victories has been the defense. They’ve allowed 10 points and 345 yards while beating the Browns and Rams and head coach Kyle Shanahan thinks things can get even better on that side of the ball. “I’m very happy with how we played,” Shanahan said in his postgame press conference. “We’re 5-0, which is a great thing, but we’re not playing our best ball. We can do a lot of things better than that. It seemed like our defense played at an extremely high level, obviously minus the first drive. We can continue to get better on offense. We can continue to get better on special teams. I also think our defense is just getting started, too.” The Rams opened the game by running seven straight times on a 56-yard touchdown drive, but the 49ers defense dominated the rest of the way and it’s not hard to share Shanahan’s feeling that there will be a lot more highlight reel performances to come from the unit. The Niners defense — described by Shanahan as “just getting started” — is ranked 2nd in the NFL in points allowed at 12.8 points per game. They are nestled between the Patriots (8 ppg) and the Bears (13.8 ppg). The Redskins have been victimized by both of those teams at FedEx Field this year, scoring 15 against the Bears and 7 against the Patriots. Of course, the Niners’ undefeated status, and their strong offensive and defensive rankings come with a caveat. The five teams they have played have a combined record of 9-21, which is a .300 win percentage. Still, San Francisco has played two top-ten offenses (Tampa Bay and LA Rams, ranked 4th & 10th respectively), and the Redskins have a win percentage of just .167 and an offense ranked 30th in the league in points per game. Moving from statistics to the eye test, watching San Francisco play the last game or two, I was pretty impressed by what I saw of their defensive front 7. It’s gonna be hard to run the ball straight at them, and they are likely to put a lot of pressure on Case Keenum, who threw two touchdowns in Miami this week, but who turned the ball over 5 times in his previous complete game against the Bears. I did see the Rams have success on the opening drive this week by using misdirection and cut-back runs, which the Redskins are well-equipped to run with Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood. Furthermore, the Rams hurt themselves on a couple of occasions against SF. They ran a play on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line that was stuffed. It was a great defensive effort, but the Rams had driven the field effectively, and could have take the lead with a field goal. Los Angeles also opened up the second half by fumbling a lateral on a first-down play inside their own 20 yard line, giving San Francisco a short field and an easy touchdown. That’s not intended to minimize the accomplishments of the undefeated 49ers or suggest that they don’t deserve what they’ve accomplished this season; it’s merely taking note of the fact that the Rams gave up some points on the scoreboard themselves. That said, offensively, the Redskins are scoring an average of just 15 points per game. Only the Dolphins and the Jets are worse. Washington has scored 11 touchdowns on the season — 5 of those have been scored by rookie wide receiver, Terry McLaurin, who missed one game due to injury. I’m getting the feeling that the Niners may concentrate their efforts on stopping two players — Scary Terry and Adrian Peterson. If they can do that, the Redskins may not have enough firepower to push the ball downfield. Bottom scoring output relative to schedule1. Dolphins -61.4%2. Jets -35.9%3. Redskins -33.3%4. Titans -31.1%5. Bengals -27.6%6. Bears -19.2%7. Chargers -18.7%8. Cardinals -13.4%9. Saints -13.0%10. Bills -12.2%— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) October 15, 2019 Washington is going to need to minimize penalties, win the turnover battle, and get pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo. Beyond that, Kevin O’Connell is going to have to equal Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling abilities, dialing up a creative offensive scheme at home this week. That’s partly because Kyle Shanahan is likely to arrive at FedEx Field this week with a chip still on his shoulder and wanting to prove a few things. For those who have forgotten the RG3 era, Kyle left the Redskins rather unhappy when his father was fired at the end of the horrendous 3-13 season in 2013. He and Dan Snyder are reportedly not on speaking terms, and Kyle will probably want to show Snyder exactly who has turned out to be the winner, and just who has turned out the loser. Enjoy this win now, because Kyle Shanahan is going to stroll into FedEx next Sunday and give Dan & Bruce the meanest middle finger of all time.— Redskins Realm (@SkinsRealm) October 13, 2019 The Reskins mustered only 17 points against the Dolphins this past Sunday, and have not scored more than 21 points since the Week 1 opener against the Eagles. I’m beginning to wonder if the Redskins offense will be able to score at all against the talented Niners defense. Let’s not even talk about Greg Manusky’s 28th ranked defense trying to stop Kyle Shanahan’s creative and effective 3rd ranked offense. It could be a bloodbath on Sunday.


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Four keys to a Cowboys playoff victory over the Seahawks

by Michael Strawn on January 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Breaking down how the Cowboys can walk out of the playoff game on Saturday with a win. The Cowboys home playoff tilt will soon be upon us (yay!). Let’s look at the keys to a victory for the good guys. Obviously, scoring more points than the opponent is the best and simplest way to victory, but to reach that goal? Well, winning the turnover battle is always a good start, as there’s a strong correlation between that and victory on the scoreboard. But what are the more subtle things Dallas can do to insure the team advances and keep the 2018 season going? Get an early lead We outlined earlier how during the Cowboys’ five game win streak they rarely faced a deficit and played most of those games with a lead. The Cowboys’ formula for success works much more efficiently when the team has a lead; further, the team isn’t well-equipped to come from behind. Thus, the Cowboys are going to need to continue a trend they’ve enjoyed throughout the season: outscoring the opponent in the first quarter. Dallas (15th) and Seattle (12th) rank about the same in points scored in the first quarter of games (4.8 and 4.9 respectively). Dallas, however, is the stingiest team in the NFL at allowing first quarter points, surrendering only 1.5 points per game. Seattle ranks 14th, giving up 4.4 points per game. Just as Dallas wants to “stay ahead of the sticks” (not fall into long down-and-distance situations) they’ll want to “stay ahead of the scoreboard” as well. This will allow them to keep running the ball aggressively, keep the Seattle defense honest and play a balanced offensive game. On defense, a lead allows the Cowboys defensive line to play more aggressively. Perhaps more importantly, data shows that teams playing from behind simply make more turnovers than teams playing in a tie game or with a lead. Win the red zone battle We all know Dallas has not executed well in the red zone. They rank 29th overall, converting only 48% of red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Seattle, by contrast, ranks 8th scoring touchdowns on 65% of RZ opportunities. Defensively, both teams rank in the top seven of the league (Dallas 7th at 51% and Seattle 4th at 49%). In short, Dallas is going to have to flip the script in this area if they want to succeed. There’s three three keys for the team’s success in the red zone: Execute – too often the team simply hasn’t done the simple things. Dropped passes. Penalties. Blown assignments. Precise execution is the simplest means to red zone success. Utilize the tight end – nowhere has Dak Prescott missed Dez Bryant and Jason Witten more than near the goal line. Tight ends become viable targets in the cramped quarters near the goal line. Fortunately both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have been allowed entry into the circle of trust late in the season and give Prescott viable red zone options. Noah Brown also seems like a sneaky option that might prove fruitful in the scoring area. Use Dak Prescott’s legs – no quarterback has more rushing touchdowns the last three seasons than Dak Prescott. He’s a legitimate scoring threat running the ball, especially inside the five-yard line. Dallas hasn’t used him aggressively in such situations but should. The Carolina Panthers make no effort to hide how they use Cam Newton in such situations and it’s been effective for them; Dallas should do the same with Prescott. Win the quarterback battle Speaking of Prescott, he’s simply going to have to be better than Russell Wilson. That’s no easy feat as Wilson has quietly put up his best season, throwing for career-highs in touchdowns, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage and passer rating. He’s also battle-tested, having played in twelve playoff games, winning eight of them. But Wilson will turn the ball over, having thrown eight interceptions in his last seven post-season games. Dak, as we know, has only one playoff game under his belt. But what a game it was. He threw for 300+ yards, three touchdowns and put up a 103 passer rating in the team’s 34-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He also ran for a two-point conversion in a game where he led the team back from an 18-point deficit (only to have the defense come up short in the end). Dak has also proven to raise his game when the stakes are high, compiling an elite passer rating in close games. Saturday night’s outcome could very well come down to which quarterback is able to make a big play out of nothing, something both have proven adept at over their careers. Slow the Seattle rushing game Again, this is easier said than done. But the simplest way to disrupt the Seahawks offensive plan is to slow their league-leading rushing attack. Seattle has averaged 173 yards rushing since week three, when they racked up 113 yards against the Cowboys. Dallas ranks 5th in the league in rushing yards allowed and 4th in yards per carry. The Cowboys must limit the number of explosive runs (those of 10+ yards), something the Seahawks have been able to do against virtually every team. If the Seahawks run for 140+ yards Dallas has almost no shot of winning this game. In fact, the Cowboys defense is likely going to have to limit the Seattle ground game to 110 yards or less, something only one team (Carolina) has done since week two. If Dallas can manage to do at least three of the four above, they should have a high chance of winning and giving Cowboys’ fans only their third playoff victory since 1996. […]

Cowboys vs. Seahawks Wild Card playoff game: How to watch, game time, TV schedule, online streaming, radio

by Dave Halprin on January 4, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Information on the Dallas Cowboys Wild Card playoff game, including the game time, TV channel, how to stream the Cowboys-Seahawks game online, radio, odds, announcers, predictions, and more! NFL playoffs and the Dallas Cowboys – that’s about as good as it gets. This Saturday night the Cowboys will host the Seattle Seahawks in one of the NFC Wild Card games for the right to move on to the Divisional round. Earlier this year, the Cowboys traveled to Seattle and were solidly defeated by the Seahawks 24-13. But as everyone who follows the Cowboys knows, that was a different team. The addition of Amari Cooper, the change of offensive line coach, the growth of the young players on the roster have all helped to transform this team. The defense is playoff-caliber and the offense can now reach that level, just doing it on a consistent basis has been tricky. Last week’s win over the Giants was a confidence boost for Dak Prescott, and revealed Blake Jarwin as a possible weapon in these playoffs. The Cowboys game plan was a little different and turned out to be wildly successful. This week, they get a rested Ezekiel Elliott back on the field. Dallas is riding momentum and has home-field advantage. The Seahawks counter with Russell Wilson who is so tough to contain and a Seahawks team that has improved as the season rolled on. These are two evenly matched squads. The season is on the line Saturday night. What You Need To Know Important links: Cowboys depth chart | Roster Date: Saturday, January 5, 2019 Game time: 8:15 PM EST Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX TV channel: FOX Coverage Map: 506 Sports Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers Radio: 105.3 The Fan | Full listings | Westwood One | SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 82 (Sea), 83 (Dal) | XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Sea), 225 (Dal) Streaming: Fubo | GamePass (audio only during game) | FoxSportsGo Cowboys record: (10-6) Seahawks record: (10-6) Odds: Dallas -1 Prediction: Dallas 23 – Seattle 21 Enemy blog: Field Gulls Twitter: @BloggingTheBoys Facebook: Please Like us! […]

Cowboys news: Why Dallas needs Amari Cooper to be a difference-maker against Seahawks

by Michael Sisemore on January 4, 2019 at 10:00 am

Amari Cooper made a huge impact on the Cowboys season, now they need him to be the difference on Wild Card weekend. Which version of Amari Cooper will face Seahawks on Saturday? – Todd Archer, ESPNAmari Cooper has been a huge difference-maker for the Cowboys but has had a quiet close to the season. Will he heat back up this weekend? The Seahawks play a lot of single-high safety, which creates one-on-one matchups similar to what Cooper faced against the Eagles. “There’s a lot of excitement because there’s a lot of opportunity,” Cooper said. “When teams play two-high, kind of gets more difficult to catch passes over the top and things like that.” The arrival of Cooper in an October trade from the Oakland Raiders helped change the trajectory of the Cowboys’ season. He gave Prescott an outside threat the quarterback did not have in the first seven games. A passing game that was stagnant now had some juice. Amari Cooper was the Cowboys’ missing piece and now they need him more than ever vs. Seattle – Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDayAmari Cooper has turned around the season. The Cowboys deemed the 24-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler their missing piece and worthy of the 2019 first-round draft pick they gave the Oakland Raiders to get him. When the trade was made Oct. 22, the Cowboys were 3-4. The 7-2 finish to the regular season and wild-card playoff game Saturday night against Seattle at AT&T Stadium — another chance for a franchise starved for postseason success — seemed almost fantastical at the time. Amari Cooper hopes to be the difference this time vs Seahawks – Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-TelegramThe last time these two teams met in week three of this season, the Cowboys had no idea who could make plays in the passing game. “They brought me here to make plays,” Amari Cooper said. “I believe I can do that … Very excited to get things rolling.” Cooper was not with the Cowboys when they lost to the Seahawks, 24-13, on Sept. 23 in Seattle. Dak Prescott had his worst game of the season, completing 19 of 34 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a passer rating of 54.5. Tight end Geoff Swaim led the Cowboys with five catches. But most glaring was the lack of weapons Dallas had on the outside. Cole Beasley was the top wideout with three catches for 46 yards. It prompted the trade for Cooper during the bye week that jump-started the passing game. Cooper has 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games with the Cowboys. The yardage was more than all but seven receivers in the league. Flip Side: How will the Seahawks choose to cover Amari Cooper? – Bryan Broaddus, Dallas CowboysThe question for Seattle is how to deal with Cooper. Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper vs. Seattle Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin Amari Cooper is an accomplished route runner while Griffin is one of the best corners in the league when it comes to playing the position. Griffin will test Cooper when it comes to his release off the line. Griffin is a square player that shows the ability to use his hands and feet in order to maintain balance and positioning initially in the route. Where receivers have had some success against Griffin has been at the top of the route. Griffin doesn’t have the power to hang in there when a receiver bullies him. This is how you get separation on him as Allen Hurns did back in week three. Cooper is physical enough to present the same type of issues for Griffin. But where Cooper is different than Hurns is that he can win much earlier in the route, which will put Griffin in chase mode. Cowboys, Seahawks figure to focus on runs of Elliott, Carson – Staff, FOX SportsThe Seahawks travel to Dallas hoping to bring their top-rated run offense on the road but the Cowboys have the league's leading rusher. Two heavyweight ground games set to battle it out for NFC supremacy. Ezekiel Elliott won his second NFL rushing title in three seasons for a Dallas offense that has been defined by the ground game for several years now. Seattle takes the league’s No. 1 rushing offense into a wild-card playoff against the Cowboys on Saturday night, led by Chris Carson, but with more help from others than your average pro backfield . While receiver Amari Cooper’s impact on the Dallas passing game was dramatic following a midseason trade, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson again finished among the NFL leaders in touchdowns passing, both teams figure to try to control the second postseason meeting between these franchises with their running backs. There is a lot at stake for the Cowboys, but these two guys are auditioning for their future – DannyPhantom, Blogging The BoysThe Dallas Cowboys have a lot on the line when they play the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday’s wild card game, but it’s even more important for these two guys to have a strong showing. It’s been a roller-coaster ride when it comes to watching this Cowboys offense. Sometimes they are flying down the field, but then other times they sputter. The performance of Dak Prescott has a big correlation to whether the team wins or loses which seems to make sense – he’s the quarterback. But it matches up pretty tightly with Dak as the Cowboys have won every game where he’s had a passing rating above 100 (8-0). Every game. Simply put, if Prescott can play a good game, the Cowboys just don’t lose. Dak has an impressive 32-16 record over his first three seasons in the league. He’s had a winning record every year since coming into the league. There aren’t a lot of quarterbacks who can say that, but the QB lining up on the other side of the field on Saturday, Russell Wilson, is one of them. What chances do the Dallas Cowboys have of keeping Kris Richard? – Kristi Scales, SportsDaySince Black Monday that saw multiple NFL coaches lose their jobs, Kris Richard has been atop many organizations list. Can Dallas sway him to stay? Following his Wednesday press conference, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked if defensive backs coach Kris Richard had any job interviews lined up this week in advance of the Cowboys’ Wild Card playoff game. Garrett confirmed that, because of the short work week with the game being on Saturday, Richard will not interview this week with teams that have head coaching vacancies. Garrett would not speculate on whether Richard will interview in the week following the Wild Card game. With eight head coaching jobs available, I think it’s going to be tough to keep an up-and-comer like Richard, in spite of the NFL’s so-called turn towards wide open, creative offenses and many team’s desires to hire “the next Sean McVay”. Defense still wins in this league (ask Baltimore and the Cowboys). And Richard is definitely a hot commodity. The folks here inside The Star, particularly his colleagues on the Cowboys’ coaching staff, continually sing his praises. 3 & Out: This Cowboys-Seahawks playoff matchup is about two mentally tough teams – Rob Phillips, Dallas CowboysThe Cowboys and Seahawks are two battle-tested teams that win games despite their deficiencies, it's perfect for the playoffs. You can make the argument that Saturday’s wild-card matchup at AT&T Stadium features the two most playoff-prepared teams in the NFC field. Here’s why: I went through all 32 teams’ schedules, and of the six NFC teams left standing, the Seahawks have played the most games (seven) decided by three points or less. The Cowboys are right behind them with six, including two overtime thrillers – the second-most in the league behind Cleveland (four). Three biggest reasons the Cowboys' defense continued its transition into a team strength this season – Jon Machota, SportsDayThe Cowboys had a Top-10 defense in their last playoff debut in 2016 but were ousted by the Packers. Here’s why this youthful defense is now ready-made for the postseason. The average age of the 11 starters on the Cowboys’ 2016 defense was 26. The average age this year is 24 and ½. One of the areas where the youth has taken over most is at linebacker. Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens were very good in 2016. Lee had a career year. But neither were as athletic as Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys have also gotten noticeably younger in the secondary with Jones and Chidobe Awuzie basically replacing veterans Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr. 2018 Wild Card: Two similar teams collide with Seahawks at Cowboys – Who do you got?, Seahawks.comThe opinions on the outcome between this weekend’s playoff game between the Cowboys and Seahawks are pretty evenly split. Six experts think the Cowboys will win, while five experts pick the Seahawks to win. Field Yates, ESPN NFL Insider: These teams are similar stylistically, as both want to run the football on offense. The Seahawks led the NFL in total rushing yards and rushing attempts, while Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott led all players in rushing yards and rushing attempts. This might prove to be a low-scoring affair, but the difference-maker is the home-field edge; the Cowboys — catalyzed by a young and improving defense — have won seven of eight games at home this season. […]

Cowboys regular-season awards, plus playoff and Kris Richard discussion

by Dave Halprin on January 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

We’re covering multiple Cowboys topics on out latest shows. There so much to talk about concerning the Cowboys that we needed three shows to cover it all. Talkin’ The Star: Let’s Hand Out Some Awards! The Talkin’ The Star crew is back and ready for the playoffs! But before they can break it all down, they must hand out their regular season awards! Make sure you get ready for Wild Card weekend with your favorite dudes. The 75O: How Can The Cowboys Beat The Seahawks? It’s the first episode of The 75O in 2019 and we’re getting ready for a Cowboys playoff game! Check out our latest episode as 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Tony Casillas (@tccasillas) and RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) break down everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s tilt between the Cowboys and Seahawks. There are a few keys to the game for both squads, and we’ve got them all. Let’s get it. OchoLive: Kris Richard Lurkers | Managing Expectations | Left Guard Hopes Whaddup World! The Cowboys will host the Seahawks in the playoffs on Saturday, and it’s going to be quite the treat. Before then, many teams have asked to interview Cowboys secondary coach, and pseudo defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, about potential head coaching opportunities. How possible is it that he leaves? What would it all mean? We get into that and the upcoming showdown with Seattle all on today’s episode. Huzzah! […]

Darren Woodson and Jimmy Johnson left out of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 15 finalists for 2019

by RJ Ochoa on January 4, 2019 at 1:00 am

Two Cowboys legends will not be entering the Hall this year. We’re inching closer and closer to the Super Bowl, the playoffs starting this weekend being the proof, and that means that we’re nearing the announcement of a new Pro Football Hall of Fame class. On Thursday night the Hall announced a list of 15 finalists that the committee will pick from when they decide on the Super Bowl’s eve and Cowboys fans everywhere were hoping that this would be the year for Darren Woodson and/or JimmyJohnson. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Neither Darren Woodson nor Jimmy Johnson were chosen as one of the 15 modern-era finalists. These are the people the Hall prioritized over Woodson and Johnson Altogether there were five defensive backs included in this year’s group of 15: Steve Atwater, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, John Lynch, and Ed Reed. From a coaching standpoint Don Coryell and Tom Flores were on the list. This means that the HOF values all of these players/coaches over Darren Woodson and Jimmy Johnson. That doesn’t bode well. Getting into the HOF is a tricky process. It involves having had one of the more incredible careers in the history of the game, but there’s an element of politics involved as well. Both Johnson and Woodson have gone on to have post-football lives that feature them prominently around the game as analysts, it’s hard to imagine why their accomplishments aren’t enough. Recent Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee Gil Brandt was announced previously as a contributor finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he’s on the ballot regardless. It appears as if he will have a bust in Canton a year’s time from now, but it will indeed be at least another year before we know whether or not Woodson or Johnson will get one of their own. […]


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