Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 21, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Carolina Panthers.
Read and react
A few things I heard around Redskins Park this week and my reaction to them:
DeAngelo Hall was asked if a move to safety would extend his career:
I’m not going to go play safety to try to extend my career, I’m going to play safety to try to be a damn good safety. I’m not in the business to try to tack on years. I can go home and hang with my kids. But I think I could make a difference at safety somewhere. The mentioned it to me and I said, cool, let’s do it.
Two things are interesting here. He’s right about not needing to extend his career, at least not financially. He’s signed a couple of big contracts, and he could spend more time with his kids if he wanted to. But he likes playing. The other part of this quote that drew my attention was the part about making a difference at safety “somewhere”. In 2016 he will be going into the third season of a four-year deal he signed in 2014. His cap number will be $5.1 million and the team could save $3.4 million by releasing him. Hall turned 32 yesterday and he seems to realize that a combination of his age and cap number might make him a cap casualty in the spring. The veteran could be auditioning for a job in 2016.
Trent Williams on Kirk Cousins:
He’s gaining game experience. He’s never been handed the keys to a team and I think that’s a culture change to a person. You go from playing in spots to this team is yours and as well as you play will be as far as we go. He just had to deal with it the first few weeks and now he’s way more comfortable, he’s got his feet wet. He’s just more comfortable in being that guy. I think that’s the difference. It’s not that he’s made throws that he couldn’t make before. He’s always had a talented arm, he’s always been a talented quarterback. Now it’s all about him. The team is his.
Cousins is one of the few starting quarterbacks in the league who is not a team captain, so having the support of the offensive captain is important. This is some solid praise from Williams, who in five and a half seasons has now blocked for six different starting quarterbacks. Cousins now seems to be settled in; during the last seven games we will see if that elevates his play.
Joe Barry on continuing problems with the running game:
“Well, it gets old after a while just for the simple fact that the common theme has been tackling. We missed a big tackle in the hole last week and then, bam, the guy goes 70 yards. It’s obviously addressed every week, it’s preached every week — talking about the tackling. As much as we do from a physical standpoint on Wednesday, that’s our most physical day, we try to tackle, we try to simulate tackles at least. You can’t do any live tackling. It’s just we’ve got to keep preaching it and talking about it.
The subject of tackling is one of those battlegrounds when it comes to debating whether results on the field emanate from coaching or the players themselves. And there really is no answer. On the one hand, players who get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars at the least and tens of millions at most should be able to execute a tackle. The fundamentals are not complex and it’s something every player has been doing since putting on a helmet. But it’s up to the coaches to drill them enough to keep their tackling skills sharp and making sure there are multiple players around the ball so that one player does not have to make the stop. On the 70-yard run by Mark Ingram Barry is referring to, Dashon Goldson missed a tackle near the line, but just getting by that tackle should not have led to a near-TD.
Jay Gruden on holding lively practices:
“A little bit. You know, it’s starting to grow. The effort was great today — had even a couple little skirmishes out there, which is good to see every now and then – but the intensity level is rising. You can see it — the confidence, the intensity, all that — which is good.”
Cousins on the same subject:
I remember my rookie year, several weeks at the end of the year we just had walkthroughs and only one day of the week we had practice. Even when we did, it was more relaxed and we had a seven-game winning streak and won the division. So I’ve seen that work, and I’ve seen having a spirited practice at the end of the season that was very physical and very competitive lead to a win as well.
The higher intensity at practice has been a topic of conversation around Redskins Park this week. According to the players they started to pick up the tempo at practice last week and after they beat the Saints they continued this week. But the opposite approach of short, low-tempo practices in December of 2012 also worked. Going at a high tempo is great but players can tire and it’s harder on their bodies, especially near the end of a long season. A slower tempo can work but it doesn’t come close to game speed so the value is lessened. The bottom line is that practice is important but it’s what you do on Sunday that really matters.
—Today’s schedule: Travel to Charlotte, no media availability
—Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 1; Giants @ Redskins 8; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 16
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