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Redskins blow major opportunity in embarrassing OT loss to Saints


Redskins blow major opportunity in embarrassing OT loss to Saints

NEW ORLEANS —The Washington Redskins were in familiar territory on Sunday, on the road against a red-hot opponent.

The Redskins had been here two weeks ago in Seattle against a Seahawks team that had won four straight.The Redskins won.

In Week 11, the Redskins traveled to New Orleans to take on the Saints, winners of seven games in a row. The Redskins we're two minutes away from a win.

The Redskins did not win.

Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ 34-31 overtime loss to the Saints, focusing on the Redskins’ ability to run the ball on offense and slow down Drew Brees on defense.



Redskins Offense

—After the Redskins got the ball at the Saints 47 following an D.J. Swearinger interception, they got a short, mixed drive for a field goal. Samaje Perine ran twice for six yards (three years up the middle on each carry) and Kirk Cousins passed three times.

— The Redskins got Perine going in their second possession. He got runs of seven and 30 yards to get them into the red zone. The rookie did a good job of breaking some tackles and following blockers on the thirty yarder. The Redskins got into the end zone on a touchdown pass from Cousins to Chris Thompson.

—The Redskins have 83 rushing yards at halftime, usually a good sign for them. Perine has 57, coming up on his career high, but he got only six in the second quarter. It would be good if they could use him to eat some clock on a couple of drives since it looks like the Saints are going to put up some more points.

—The offense has been balanced, 15 rush attempts by running backs and 14 passes.

Redskins' Defense

—Brees threw a sort of desperation pass on third and 18 on the Saints’ first possession. It never had a chance and D.J. Swearinger picked it off right before going out of bounds just on the Saints side of midfield. That set up a Washington field goal.  

—The Redskins were defending Brees well but a third-down incompletion negated a third-down incompletion. Then the defense broke down, allowing a 26-yard pass to Ted Ginn Jr. and a 36-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. 

—These comments are really under special teams. The Redskins had a good drive going into Saints territory but it stalled at around the 35. Then a couple of little things went wrong. First there was a false start that made a 51-yard field goal try into one from 56. Gruden decided to punt and Josh Holsey almost downed it inside the one but his heels were just on the goal line when he caught the ball. The Saints had the ball at the 20 and drove for a field goal to make it 17-13 at halftime.  




Redskins Offense

— We’re back to special teams again, although this time it’s a positive. On fourth and one at the Washington 15, the call was for a fake punt. The snap went to up back Niles Paul, who barreled up the middle for five yards and a first down. That sparked a drive that was composed of some smart passes and a few Perine runs. ON third and seven at the 40, the Saints went Cover Zero and Ryan Grant was wide open for the TD. Cousins delivered it to him despite getting pounded right after he released the ball. The Redskins had an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The fake punt will go down with the plays of the year in they hang on to win.  

— Redskins started a key drive from their own 25 leading by eight with about nine and a half minutes left. Cousins has time, throws a strike down the right sideline for 36 yards to the New Orleans 35. Then Perine ran for nine and 17 yards, setting up first and goal at the nine. That pushed him over 100 yards rushing for the first time in his career. Two plays later Jeremy Sprinkle’s first NFL catch was for a touchdown and the Redskins were up 31-16 with just under six minutes left.

—On third and one at their own 29, the Redskins needed one more first down to be able to kill the clock. They didn’t get it as Perine was hit for a loss. They had to punt the ball back to the Saints, giving Brees and company one last chance.

—The Redskins had 1:08 to try to win it in regulation. Two passes to Crowder picked up 22. Then came the big one, Cousins to Crowder for 19 to put them in log field goal range. But intentional grounding on a mixup make it second and 20 with a 10-second runoff. The Saints first sack of the game knocked the ball out and we go to overtime.

Redskins Defense

— The Redskins almost did the unthinkable. A tackle for a loss and a sack left the saints with third and 22. Brees threw a short pass to Kamara, who slipped some tackles and wasn’t tackled until he was just three yards short of the first down. No harm, the Saints punted. But it was too close.

— Key series for the Redskins after a 24-yard punt return put the Saints at their own 49. The Redskins had done a good job keeping Alvin Kamara under wraps up to that point with just 16 yards on five carries. But he popped one off the right side for 24 yards. That was all the Saints needed to set up a 42-yard field goal to pull within eight at 24-16.

—The Saints got the ball with 1:53 left at their own 12. The Redskins had 88 yards of field to defend. They got an interception on the first play but a hands to the face penalty negated it. They couldn’t get much of a pass rush and two throws got the Saints into Redskins territory. Brees to Fleener for 35 got it into the red zone. On th next play, Alvin Kamara bobbled and then caught a short pass from Brees and rolled in for a touchdown.

—The Saints still needed a two-point conversion to tie it. The got it on a pitch to Kamara. He skirted around the left side to tie the game at 31 with 1:05 left.

—A loss seemed inevitable after the Redskins went three and out in their first possession of overtime. It took just two plays for them to get down to a first and goal.

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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.