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Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Live from the press box at FedEx Field

Right now, just about an hour before kickoff, there are more media members in the stadium than fans.

It's right around freezing now and I can vouch for that. As I made my way through the media parking lot to the bus that takes me, the Redskins Band, the beer vendors and the luxury box servers, there were many patches composed of part water and part ice. It made the going a bit tricky.

The field looks like it's in great shape. They either have the greatest groundskeepers in the world or some damn fine painters. Whichever it is, the Steelers should look into borrowing them.

Suisham is nailing field goal tries from 40 with plenty to spare—he just nailed one that went just a few feet below the top of the goal posts as it went through. It seems that he's over that midseason slump he was in. You never know with a kicker, but he looks like he's a keeper.

There was some talk that Sean Springs would miss tonight's game with the back injury he suffered last week—make that four days ago—against the Bills. But he's active and out there warming up in the end zone just in front of me.

One somewhat surprising name on the inactive list is Todd Wade. It looks like Stephon Heyer is going to get yet another opportunity to make the Redskins wonder if they need to keep spending all of this money on Wade. Or on Jon Jansen, for that matter.

Starting next to Heyer will be Randy Thomas, seeing his first action since Week 2. His left arm is in a brace. It will be interesting to see what kind of form he's in. It's not as though Jason Fabini has done a horrible job by any stretch, but you have to think that Thomas is an immediate upgrade, kind of like making a December trade to shore up the O-line.

I've been coming to this stadium since it opened, sitting in the same end zone either in the stands or in the press box. I just found out that this is the West end zone. It's the one to the left as you're watching on TV, in case anyone cares.

After a week off, apparently out of respect for Sean Taylor, the pregame fireworks are back. Hopefully the smoke will clear prior to kickoff.

No surprise, the greatest play in Redskins history, by a vote of some fans, was John Riggins' fourth and one run in Super Bowl XVII.

We have a new press box announcer. I don't know if he's a fill in or if the other guy got the axe. Maybe the old guy finally got the name of the ball carrier and the yardage of the play right on the same play and retired.

First quarter

14:50—The Bears get the ball at the 34 and it feels like a major victory.

13:36—Chicago is operating without a huddle until a third and nine. The huddle apparently was insufficient as the Bears had to burn a timeout.

13:31—Rex throws both low and short of the first down line.

13:24—How did Cartwright miss blocking that punt?

13:00—Portis gains two yards, maintaining his average from last week.

12:33—An unimpressive three and out for the Redskins on their initial series.

12:00—A good punt by Frost, netting 39 as he angled it straight out of bounds. If he can do that all day, we'll take it. In fact, if he can do that for the rest of the year, we'll take it.

11:37—The tackling has not been very solid for the Redskins so far. Adrian Peterson broke a few to get a first down.

10:58—The Bears are huddling up on this series.

10:53—Grossman is down, he took a pretty good smack after firing an incompletion. Leg or knee got bent the wrong way, and there was an audible "ooh" in the press box when it was shown on replay. Rex is limping off.

10:44—The Bears had the screen called against a Redskins blitz and McIntosh got through quickly enough to prevent a cold Brian Griese from completing it. Bears punt down to Washington eight yard line.

10:31—Grossman is out for the rest of the game with a knee injury.

10:00—Skins in no-huddle now.

9:26—No gain for Portis on third and two. Skins will punt from their own 16.

8:45—Hester is influencing field position. 46-yard punt with 16 on the return and the Bears are in Washington territory at the 46.

8:30—Another missed tackle, this time by McIntosh. A loss of one becomes a gain of three.

5:43—Berrian had a step on Springs, but it didn't look like he made much of an effort to drag the second foot in.

5:32—Kedric Golston gets a hand on Gould's 47-yard field goal attempt and gets the block. That keept the Bears off the board and gives the Redskins their best field position of the day.

5:23—Another two-yard gain for Portis.

4:26—Back to back first downs on passes to Portis and Cooley. The no-huddle is rolling.

3:06—It stalls outside of the Red Zone as Cooley is a yard short.

2:36—I spoke too soon about Suisham. He was just well short from 47.

2:00—A third-down sack of Griese by Carter and a gang of others.

0:00—22 yards to ARE and the Skins convert after a sack.

End of first quarter
Redskins 0, Bears 0

15:00—It took nine security guards to subdue and remove some clown who ran onto the field and to where the players were about to snap the ball.

13:45—A great blitz pickup by Portis allows Campbell to Cooley for 22.

12:04—Another Red Zone trip ends with a field goal attempt—it's a miss, wide left. I'll never say another nice thing about Suisham again.

9:26—This time the Chicago screen against the blitz worked for nine. Third and one.

7:11—A sack by M. Washington slows a steady Chicago march. Third and 10. Griese misfires and the Bears punt.

5:01—Campbell goes out after taking a blow to the arm on a scramble. It looks like he's going to go back in, but it's not certain.

3:42—A three and out for the Bears. Griese is awful.

2:49—Campbell is down again, this time the cart is coming out. It's a knee or something very painful in the lower leg. It has season-ending written all over it.

2:49—Chris Cooley is going to the locker room, too. Appears to be an ankle injury.

2:23—Leigh Torrence makes a good play to knock a punt out of bounds at the one.

1:50—Griese scrambled and chose to dive a yard shy of the first down. Of course, we haven't seen Collins in action yet, so we don't yet know who the worst QB on the field is yet.

1:07—Collins gets blindsided and stripped, trashing decent field position for the Redskins. Now the Bears have a shot at getting on the board.

0:24—Interception and big return of 53 yards by Springs. Now the Redskins have a shot from the 21.

Yoder 21 pass from Collins (Suisham kick)
Redskins 7, Bears 0

A nice pass by Collins, who had all kinds of time to throw. Yoder did a nice job of hanging on to the ball as a defender tries to strip it away around the one.

0:04—After getting no interceptions all year, Springs gets two in the half. Both were on passes intended for Hester.

End of fir
st half
Redskins 7, Bears 0

With the injuries, this could be a pyrrhic victory for the Redskins.


Off the top of my head, this is the first time that the Redskins have held the opposition scoreless in the first half. Having a halftime lead, however, is no guarantee of success as we well know.

Campbell is out with a torn patellar tendon.

14:57—I don't know if the Bears think that Rock Cartwright is Hester, but they sure kicked away from him there.

13:02—A great run on a little screen to Portis, as he dodged and weaved for 54 yards on third and two. The dreaded first and goal at the one.

Sellers 1 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 0

11:50—Landry drops a sure pick after it rolled out of the TE's hands.

10:38—An offside call against M. Washington nullifies a third down stop. Third and two from the 21. Then the play clock ran out on the Bears

9:26—A nice catch by Berrian followed by a circus job by Olson has the Bears in scoring range.

7:42—The Bears commit their second false start of the drive, first and 15.

6:56—A false start negates a third and nine stop. Then another delay of game pushes them back five more.

5:59—Torrence makes another play, a good tackle to force a field goal attempt.

FG Gould 30
Redskins 14, Bears 3

The Bears ate up 6:28 to get just three points. If the Redskins don't give them a short field it will be tough for Chicago to catch up.

Of course, I remember typing something similar at this point in the Bills game.

4:33—A three and out, of course, does not help the Redskins' cause in the least. Nor does a punt and penalty that gives the Bears the ball just past midfield.

3:23—The Bears might just have put together a three-play, 48-yard TD drive. A pass to Berrian in the end zone was ruled incomplete but it looks like Chicago may have a good case in its challenge.

Yes, they did.

Berrian 17 pass from Griese (Gould kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 10

3:04—Portis is back in after missing a series with what was announced as a stomach virus. He immediately picks up seven.

1:26—A holding call against Heyer negates a 13-yard completion on first down into Chicago territory. First and 20.

End of third quarter
Redskins 14, Bears 10

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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins draft countdown

Da’Ron Payne

Defensive tackle

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 311
40-yard dash: 4.95

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run.

Lance Zierlein,

How he fits the Redskins: This just in—the Redskins need a nose tackle. Of course, if you’re reading this you know that, and you’ve known it has been the case ever since the Redskins went to the 3-4 defense in 2010.

In very closely related news, they need to play better against the run, too. You probably noticed that they were dead last in the league in rushing defense last year. And that the NFC East has two very strong rushing teams in the Eagles and Cowboys and a Giants team that could well take Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft. If they don’t fix their rushing defense they could literally get run over.

Payne could help them a lot. He can take on double and triple teams and clog up running lanes in the middle. If they try to go around him, he has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt outside runs.

And a defensive lineman taken in the top half of the first round should be able to provide some pass rush pressure. As noted by Zierlein, Payne has the potential to do that. He’ll never be a double-digit sack guy, but if he can kick in four to six per year and get some pressure up the middle, that would be fine.

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs Georgia (national title game)

Like most players, Payne can’t get much in the way of a pass rush when he is double and triple teamed. But when they tried to block him one on one he consistently got pressure. Payne didn’t get many sacks, but he did make a difference. Against Georgia, one pressure resulted in an interception and another forced a third-down incompletion.

Payne is very difficult to move off the spot in the running game, even when the offense tries to do it with two or even three players. Running backs did not get by him on a regular basis. In the second half in particular, Georgia tried to move the ball with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom are likely to get selected in the top 100 in the draft next month. But they kept running into a mass of humanity in the middle of the line with Payne in the middle of it.

He played well during the Tennessee game during the regular season, but he didn’t have a lot of impact. The only time his name was called was when he was hit with a roughing the passer call.

Potential issues: At 311 pounds, Payne may not be the ideal size to fill the chronic hole at nose tackle. It should be noted, however, that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said that the Redskins aren’t necessarily looking for the 350-pound nose tackle and that a relatively smaller player can get the job done. Ziggy Hood played the nose at 305 pounds last year. The Redskins finished last against the run, although that’s not necessarily cause and effect.

Bottom line: The Redskins went 20 years without taking an interior defensive lineman in the first round before taking Jonathan Allen last year. Nobody could legitimately complain if they doubled up on first-round D-linemen after so many years of neglect.

Payne should be there when the 13th pick goes on the clock. Unless the Redskins address the nose tackle spot in free agency Payne will be under strong consideration. The defensive line improved last year with the additions of Allen in the draft, Stacy McGee as a free agent and the second-year emergence of Matt Ioannidis. Payne could be the final piece of what could be a dominant defensive line.

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.