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Redskins players and coaches didn't say much about their home field on Thursday

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Redskins players and coaches didn't say much about their home field on Thursday

FedEx Field became a national joke on Thanksgiving night. Well, not the whole stadium, but the actual field. 

The strip of grass inside the hash marks, from end zone to end zone, looked barren. The grass on the sidelines looked pleasantly green, but the turf in the middle of the field, where the bulk of the game gets played, looked terrible. 

It's time to dispel at least one myth: This is not some cost-cutting measure by the Redskins. The team has tried to address the poor field for years, and yet, it keeps happening. The team has tried to resod, install new fields, and additional grass seed. For whatever reason, none of it seems to work.

As has happened many times before, in the second half of Washington's win over the Giants, the turf caused a problem for the home team. 

Kirk Cousins went to make a throw to the sideline, and it looked like his foot stuck in the dirt. That caused him to sail the ball, and in turn led to an interception. That interception got returned for a New York touchdown. That touchdown tied the score, in the fourth quarter. 

So, yeah, Redskins fans were very mad about the field. 

Cousins was able to engineer another TD scoring drive, and the Redskins were able to win the game. That calmed some of the anger about the field, at least from the players and coaches. 

Asked about the field's involvement in his lone interception, Cousins remained diplomatic.

"I just felt rushed because I felt like they were going to get my arm if I didn’t rush it so I kind of came up quick and tried to dump it quickly and the ball was a little high and just ended up very unlucky," the QB said.

Head coach Jay Gruden said even less about the field. 

"I don’t know what happened," Gruden said. "Did somebody trip or something? I didn’t notice that.”

Coaches, and quarterbacks, don't like to offer excuses. And it's pretty clear that the turf wasn't the only factor in Cousins' interception, especially considering running back Byron Marshall had a chance at the pass before it caromed to the Giants defender. 

Still, look at that picture. The field is a problem, like it has been in years past. 

On NBC Sports Washington after the game, former Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss talked about his own struggles at FedEx Field as winter progressed. Moss explained it happened every year, and players knew it was coming. 

Privately, a few Redskins players acknowledged the poor field, and its impact on the game. 

That's not to say fields throughout the country don't deteriorate as fall turns to winter. It's natural, though some stadiums seem to handle the changes in weather better. 

FedEx Field, in the relatively moderate climate of D.C., is not one of them.

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

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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.

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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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USA Today Sports

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.

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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.

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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 Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.