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Familiar problems haunt Redskins in opening loss

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Familiar problems haunt Redskins in opening loss

The Redskins gave the visiting Miami Dolphins all they could handle in their season opener. But their longtime issues with special teams cost them. Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Dolphins walked out of FedEx Field with a 17-10 victory. 

Key Moments: 

Kirk Cousins threw his first interception of the year in the second quarter, rolling to his right and apparently not seeing cornerback Brent Grimes, who jumped in front for the interception. But the Redskins defense stepped up. A nice tackle by Dashon Goldson on a pass to the sideline set up fourth and one. Lamar Miller tried to get the first down off left tackle but Ryan Kerrigan chased him down from the other side and made the tackle for no gain. The Redskins held on to their 3-0 lead. 

After taking possession at their 12, the Redskins embarked on a magnificent drive, covering 88 yards in 17 plays, chewing up over eight minutes of clock. Cousins capped it with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed to make it 10-0. But with less than two minutes left in the half, the Dolphins offense came to life and marched 80 yards to a three-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills to cut the lead to 10-3 at the half. 

After the Dolphins tied the game at 10 on a field goal, the Redskins went three and out, committing four penalties in the process. Landry took Tress Way’s 54-yard punt and headed up the middle, quickly finding some open spaces. It looked like Way had a bead on him but Landry put on a move and blew past him. That put Miami up 17-10 with 10 minutes left to play.

The Redskins had a chance to respond with their next drive but Brice McCain made a circus interception of a Cousins pass intended for Pierre Garçon. The Dolphins couldn’t get much going and punted back to the Redskins with 5 minutes left to play. 

The Redskins drove down to the Dolphins 20, mostly on the legs of Morris. But a Cousins pass went incomplete on third and seven setting up fourth and seven. Cousins was rushed hard and threw for Reed incomplete. 

Scoring drives: 

First quarter

FG Forbath 45 

Drive 12 plays, 53 yards, 7:21

Key plays: The Alfred Morris ran for 27 yards on 5 carries to keep the drive going. A third down conversion on a pass from Cousins to Jordan Reed kept the drive alive. A Jordan Phillips sack of Cousins in Miami territory stalled the drive and they had to settle for the field goal.

Redskins 3, Dolphins 0

Second quarter

Reed 4 passes from Cousins (Forbath kick)

Drive: 17 plays, 88 yards, 8:49

Key plays: After the defense stopped the Dolphins after the Cousins interception, the Redskins took over at their 12. They embarked on the longest drive they have had since 2012, with both Morris (5 carries 19 yards) and Matt Jones (6-29) picking up good chunks of yardage on the ground. A 22-yard pass from Cousins to Pierre Garçon helped things along. The score came on third and goal, with Reed hauling in the pass in the corner of the end zone.

Redskins 10, Dolphins 7

Stills 3 pass from Tannehill (Franks kick)

Drive 9 plays, 80 yards, 1:22

Key plays: Things got started with a 27-yard pass from Tannehill to Jordan Cameron.  A 15-yard penalty was tacked on to a pass from Tannehill to Greg Jennings, getting the Dolphins into scoring position. 

Redskins 10, Dolphins 7

Fourth quarter

FG Franks 22

Drive 10 plays, 76 yards, 4:21

Key plays: Lamar Miller runs of 13 and 17 yards got things going for the Dolphins. Miami got as close as a first and goal at the three but the defense stiffened. DeAngelo Hall made a tackle for a seven-yard loss from there and a delay of game penalty on third down made it goal to go at the 10. The Dolphins settled for three points.

Redskins 10, Dolphins 10

Landry 69 punt return (Franks kick)

Landry took Tress Way’s 54-yard punt and headed up the middle, quickly finding some open spaces. It looked like Way had a bead on him but Landry put on a move and blew past him. 

Players of the Game: 

Alfred Morris was a huge factor for the Redskins. He carried 25 times for 121 yards and helped the Redskins move the chains. 

On defense, rookie Preston Smith got a sack and strip of Tannehill and, after a wild scramble, he recovered the fumble. 

Injury Update: 

DeSean Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. He did not return.

S Duke Ihenacho left the game with a left wrist injury and went into the locker room. He did not return. 

CB DeAngelo Hall left the game with a rib injury in the second quarter but he returned after halftime. 

OT Morgan Moses left in the third quarter with an eye injury. He did return. 

From the Locker Room: Check back later for later for notes and quotes from the Redskins locker room.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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