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Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-Rams game

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CSN/Bob Youngentob

Five things that aren't being talked about enough from the Redskins-Rams game

In Sunday's Best Buddies Bowl, Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins came out on top versus Sean McVay and his band of former Redskins coaches.

But while you've read and listened to plenty about Ryan Grant's crunchtime catch and Mason Foster's sketchy but effective medical practices, there are some other storylines that are being overlooked.

Here are five things not being talked about enough from Washington's Week 2's win:

1) The Burgundy and Gold again avoided yellow flags

Have you noticed that the table in your TV room isn't dented as much, or your remote control isn't dinged up like it normally is at this stage of the NFL calendar?

That may be because of the Redskins' improved discipline in 2017, which means you aren't slamming things in frustration as often. Washington was penalized just four times in the Coliseum Sunday, moving their season total up to six through two weeks. Only the Dolphins and Bucs have been flagged fewer times, and they've of course played one less contest than the 'Skins.

MORE: SU'A CRAVENS OFFICIALLY WON'T RETURN THIS YEAR

2) Preston Smith answers the call for more production for second straight game

Preston Smith's second sack in 2016 didn't come until Week 10. Thanks to his takedown of Jared Goff on Sunday, Smith has reached that number already in 2017.

The third-year pass rusher is one of the handful of players that, if he shines, can really change the Redskins' fortunes this season. So far, he's wreaking havoc like he should be, and the fact that he's done it two Sundays in a row is particularly exciting because consistency is something he's lacked as a pro thus far.

3) Josh Norman's forced fumble

Probably because it preceded everyone's favorite red zone call — the always reliable fade — Josh Norman's forced fumble is being forgotten about. It shouldn't be.

On LA's first offensive play following Washington's opening TD, Norman jarred the ball loose from Todd Gurley, and Terrell McClain covered it up. And while the subsequent drive ended in a field goal, No. 24's forced turnover gave his offense an extra possession that led to three more points on the board. That's enormous.

4) Montae Nicholson's involvement

Montae Nicholson has flown up the depth chart after being selected in the fourth round this past April, and against the Rams, he appeared on 26 out of 50 snaps on defense. That's after seeing the field only three times on D in Week 1.

Nicholson is aggressive and very gifted physically, but most felt the Redskins grabbed him far too early in the draft. He's making their investment in him look smart, however, and with Su'a Cravens now done for 2017, he'll only be asked to do more.

RELATED: JAY GRUDEN GIVES LENGTHY INJURY UPDATE

5) Some poor examples of tackling by two corners

Not everything was positive in the victory, so not everything in this post can be positive. So let's look at two important misses by Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland.

The two corners, who've both been much better in coverage than they were last season, each whiffed on Gurley in run support, as the running back hurdled them on two separate plays after each went in low and with their heads down. Washington will be facing plenty more talented backs in the coming 14 games, and those backs will continue to expose poor tackling technique.

Breeland, Fuller and others must get better here, instead of half-heartedly trying to take out the opponent's legs.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

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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