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


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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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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