The NFLPAs collusion lawsuit against the NFL could provide some fodder for blog posts during the slow summer months but it seems unlikely that it will succeed. And even if the union does prevail, the Redskins will still be stuck with their salary cap penalty.Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweeted the following yesterday:Here's my current position on the collusion suit: Was there collusion? Absolutely. Is it too late to do anything about it? Absolutely.And that pretty well sums up the players case. The time for the NFLPA to do something about this was back in March, when they were asked to approve the cap sanctions against Washington and Dallas.Or perhaps long before that. Prior to the uncapped 2010 season I had a conversation with an agent who used to work for an NFL team. He said then that teams had been warned about possible consequences for taking advantage of the absence of a salary cap. So this conspiracy to collude as the union calls it was not a deep dark secret. If agents knew about it, the NFLPA knew about it.The union, Cowboys, and Redskins all would have been better served if the NFLPA had refused to go along with the cap sanctions and, if necessary, go with a 2012 cap number that was from five to 10 percent lower than it was the year before. They would have had a virtual slam dunk collusion case and the potential damaged received likely would have dwarfed the one-year reduction in the cap.But they didnt. De Smith decided to avoid short-term pain (perhaps spurred by the fact that he was up for reelection later in March) at the expense of possible long-term gain. The cap hits delivered to the Redskins and Cowboys were just collateral damage.Even if union-friendly judge David Doty does rule in favor of the players, the Redskins are unlikely to recover the lost cap space. That is not something the union asked for in the suit The best that they can hope for is to be exempted from having to pay into a fund for damages since they clearly did not participate in the collusion.
The hype train escalated for Terrelle Pryor as soon as he signed in Washington. Folks looked at his 2016 production - 77 catches for more than 1,000 yards - and immediately saw huge potential paired with Kirk Cousins.
The hype train barely moved when Chris Thompson signed an offseason extension with the Redskins. Despite a breakout season in 2016 - 700 total yards and five touchdowns - most Redskins fans expected similar production from Thompson in 2017.
Once the season started, however, it was obvious both men were on opposite trajectories. In fact, looked at a bit more carefully, it started to show during training camp.
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While fantasy experts predicted monster stats for Pryor, it became clear he and Cousins were not exactly on the same page. Cousins is a precise passer, wanting to know when and where his targets will break off routes and where he can throw the ball to hit an open man. Pryor, for all of his size and physical prowess, is still learning the receiver position, as he played quarterback almost exclusively in his career.
Watching practices under the Richmond sun, it was obvious Josh Doctson was the team's best wideout. Still, the praise and hype mounted for Pryor.
By Week 1, expectations far outpaced reality, and on the first offensive play of the year Pryor could not find a deep pass from Cousins. In the moment it was just one play. In hindsight, it was a microcosm of everything that was to come.
When Jay Gruden announced Pryor would go to injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season on Monday, it almost seemed like a fair way for things to end for all parties. Pryor has talent, and maybe in a system less exacting and more volume oriented (like 2016 in Cleveland) he can accel again. It wasn't going to happen in Washington, and as his playing time and targets dwindled, there was no reason for Pryor to play through ankle pain.
Losing Pryor shouldn't make much of an impact on the final six games of the Redskins season because, well, Pryor didn't make much impact on the first half of the season either.
Losing Thompson is another matter entirely.
The five-year veteran was in the middle of a career year, leading all NFL running backs in receiving yards and likely on his way to being named the Redskins Offensive MVP. It's hard to overstate Thompson's value to this team. He is the best runner, receiver and pass blocker the Redskins had at running back, and one of the few game-breaking talents on the field.
Washington likely needs to run the table, win out their final six, to make the playoffs. Doing that without Terrelle Pryor won't be too difficult.
Doing that without Chris Thompson, that's going to be very difficult.
The 2017 season will be remembered by many as a year where injuries buried the Redskins chances. Early on, Washington looked like a possible contender.
Losing Thompson, and Pryor, tell that story, but in very different ways.
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Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 21, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.
Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 11:45 a.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 9
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 19
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 26
Quantifying the problem with giving up late points:
Anyone who has watched the Redskins this year knows that they have had problems keeping other teams from scoring points late in the first half and at the end of the game. How bad is the problem? Let’s look at the numbers.
The Redskins have given up 266 points on the season. That’s 31st in the NFL. Of those points, 96 have been scored in last three minutes of the first and second halves. Opponents have put up 12 touchdowns, eight one-point conversions, two two-point conversions, and four field goals.
For comparison, the average NFL team has given up around 40 points near the end of each half. Looking at defensive scores allowed only (two of the late touchdowns against Washington were on returns), the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns while no other team has allowed more than seven. The average is 3.96 touchdowns given up late by each team.
You can look at it this way. In the first 27 minutes of each half of their 10 games, the Redskins have given up 170 points, or about .31 points per minute. In the other six minutes of the games, the final three of each half, the Redskins give up 1.6 points per minute played.
How have the Redskins done scoring points late in each half? They have put up five touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 44 points.
How does this affect the big picture? On the season, the Redskins’ net point differential is minus-28. If you take out the late scores, they are at plus-24. It usually works out that the teams that have positive point differentials have winning records and those with negative performances are under .500.
We saw that big picture up close on Sunday. At the end of the first half, it looked like the Redskins were going to get at least a field goal as they had a nice drive going. But the drive stalled, a false start forced them to abandon even a field goal try and the Saints put together a quick drive for a field goal as time in the half ran out. Then, of course, there was the touchdown and tying two-point conversion with just over a minute left in regulation. That’s minus-10 in the last three minutes of a game they lost in overtime.
Tandler on Twitter
After giving up 38 and 34 points the last two weeks, the #Redskins are now 31st in the league in points allowed with 266.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) November 20, 2017
In case you missed it
- Terrelle Pryor's bad year ends in disappointing fashion
- NFL apology nothing but hollow words for Kirk Cousins
- Five Key plays in Redskins vs. Saints
- League admits they got the grounding call wrong
- NFC is pummeling AFC in power rankings
- Redskins vs. Giants on Thanksgiving: How to watch