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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. streaking Chargers

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. streaking Chargers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 6, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Chargers in Los Angeles.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 2:45

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 4
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 11
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 18

First look at Redskins vs. Chargers

Beware of early schedule opinions: This looked like one of the “easy” games on the Redskins schedule when looking at it before the season started. The Chargers were 4-11 in 2016 and they had to undergo a relocation to Los Angeles. The game looked even more like a “W” on the Redskins’ ledger after they started 0-4. But they have been on a roll since then winning six of eight games with the two losses coming on the road to the division-leading Patriots and Jaguars. Now the game certainly is the toughest of the four remaining for the Redskins and it might be one of the most difficult they have faced all year.

Shadow the hot hand? One of the reasons for the Chargers’ hot streak is the emergence of WR Keenan Allen as not just a good player but a great one. In the last three games, all Chargers wins are by an average of three touchdowns. Allen has 33 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns. He is the first player in NFL history to have at least 10 receptions, 100 yards, and one touchdown in three straight games. The Redskins haven’t had Josh Norman follow a receiver from side to side, but they might want to consider matching their best corner on the 6-2 Allen.

Rivers as good as ever: Philip Rivers has found new life in LA. After leading the league in interceptions two of the last three seasons in San Diego, he has just seven this year. His passer rating is the best it has been since 2013, and after taking no fewer than 30 sacks in any season since 2009, he is on pace to get sacked 17 times this year. He doesn’t have the “rings” that other QBs do but he’s having a Pro Bowl season in a Hall of Fame career.

Double barrel pass rush: The Chargers likely will finish the season with a double-digit sack performance on each side of their defensive front. Joey Bosa is already there with 11.5. Melvin Ingram has 8.5 and will probably get to at least 10 but he hasn’t had one in the Chargers’ last five games. As a team, the Chargers have 35 sacks, fourth in the NFL. The Redskins will need as many front-line offensive linemen playing as possible.

Potpourri: The Chargers are 31st in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up an average of 129.8 yards per game. Then again, the Redskins don’t always take advantage when they go against weak rushing defenses . . . We know that opposing tight ends always steal the Redskins’ lunch money but perhaps they shouldn’t devote too much to stopping Antonio Gates. He appears to be at the end of the line, with just 19 receptions for 179 yards (9.4 yards per) on the season . . . The Chargers have had some kicking problems this year, hitting just 66.7 percent of their field goals.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why


Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why

Devin Hester officially announced his NFL retirement on Tuesday after 11 years as the most feared return specialist in NFL history. 

Hester who spent a majority of his career with the Bears and Falcons finished with 20 return touchdowns, the most in NFL history. His 14 punt return touchdowns is also an NFL record. Hester also returned a missed field goal for an 108-yard touchdown. He became just one of eight men to score a kick return touchdown in the Super Bowl. 

It wasn't just what he did, but how he did it, and that matters. Hester was explosively and entertaining, sometimes taking a route well longer than the official length of his return touchdown. Hester had the combination of speed and quickness you only see once in a generation. 

Devin Hester is worthy of a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why.

Hester is the greatest return specialist in NFL history. But Mitchell is the best return specialist in NFL history.


There's a difference too, between greatest and best. Hester was feared. He was revered. But nobody did it better than Mitchell. Nobody has ever fielded more returns than Mitchell (1,070), and nobody has ever compiled more return yards (19,013) than he. Only Hester has more career return touchdowns than Mitchell (13).

While Hester was boom-or-bust on many of his returns, Mitchell always got yardage. He averaged at least 10 yards per punt return in nine seasons and led the NFL in 1994 with 14.1 yards per punt return. He played in 223 of 224 possible games. Nobody did it better.

Mitchell has still yet to get the call from Canton, Ohio for enshrinement. Mitchell was a nominee for the 2017 class, but did not receive enough votes. But with Hester now officially on the clock for enshrinement, one things become clear: A return specialist will head to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Hester will get his name called, and when he does, it will be because of Mitchell. Nobody did it better than Mitchell. The omission of Mitchell has been a contentious point recently, and if the Hall of Fame has not been able to add Mitchell to their hallowed halls, what would it take?

Devin Hester. That's what.

Hester had to do things pro football world had never seen before. He had to do truly great things. Things that you couldn't do in the Madden video games.

If the Hall of Fame has been reluctant to add Mitchell, only a player like Hester would be able to budge them off their archaic line.

Make no mistake about it: Brian Mitchell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

So does Devin Hester, and when he makes it, he'll have B-Mitch to thank. 





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Jordan Reed's unsatisfying 2017 season has come to an official end

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Jordan Reed's unsatisfying 2017 season has come to an official end

The Redskins made a roster move that many have anticipated for the last few weeks.

The team announced that 2016 Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury, has been placed on injured reserve. That ends a very disappointing season for the five-year veteran.

It seemed that Reed was never fully healthy all year. He was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with a toe injury when he reported to camp in late July. Reed remained on PUP until a week before the start of the regular season, when he was activated.


In six games, Reed’s production was running well below his career averages in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He was averaging just 7.8 yards per catch after averaging 10.5 per reception prior to the season.

It seemed like he was on the verge of breaking out in Week 7 against the Eagles, when he caught eight passes for 64 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. But the following week against the Cowboys he suffered the hamstring injury early in the game and he hasn’t played since.

Reed was close to returning a few weeks ago but he suffered a setback and he just couldn’t get the hamstring healthy enough to play. With the Redskins now officially out of playoff contention, the decision apparently was made to put him on the shelf and start getting him ready for next year.


In other moves announced by the Redskins, they put RB Byron Marshall (hamstring) and LB Chris Carter (broken fibula) on IR. Both were injured during the loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Carter will have surgery and face a long rehab. Perhaps Marshall could return after a few weeks but the Redskins needed to get a third running back on the roster.

That running back is Kapri Bibbs, who has been on the Redskins’ practice squad. Also signed to the active roster were practice squad linebackers Pete Robertson and Otha Peters.

Added to the practice squad were LB Alex McCalister, RB Dare Ogunbowale, and S Orion Stewart.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.