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Redskins have opportunities but fall to Falcons

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Redskins have opportunities but fall to Falcons

The injury toRobert Griffin IIIwasthemajor storyline after Sundays 24-17 loss to the Falcons.Concern No. 2? The state of the teams shaky kicking game.A week after missing his first three field goal attempts before making a job-saving 41-yarder in Tampa,Billy Cundiffwent 1 for 2 at FedEx Field, connecting from 23 and missing from 31.As Cundiff pointed out, the Redskins lost by seven points, not three. But who knows how the game would have turned out had Washington pulled ahead 10-0 in the second quarter? Thats a very makable kick, Cundiff said. I should have made it. Lets just keep it simple: I just missed it. Its my responsibility to make those kicks and it just didnt happen.Cundiff is now 7 for 12 on the season.Asked if he was unfocused or distracted by previous misses, he said. I dont think so. I just think I missed it, to be perfectly honest. I should have.After last weeks struggles, CoachMike Shanahanelected not to audition kickers. Its unclear whether hell do so this week.Im disappointed, especially when its a chip shot there, Shanahan said. I never say anything right after a game. You let 24 hours go by and collect your thoughts and make decisions based on what you think gives you the best chance to win.Cundiff said he wont worry about a decision thats not in his hands.Its not my job to worry, he said. My job is to focus on what I do and thats make kicks. It is frustrating. ...You look at the final score, even if I would have made that field goal, we would have needed four more points.Some other notes, quotes and observations from todays loss:Home (not) sweet home:After Sundays loss the Redskins eight in a row at FedExField the team has now gone almost 13 months between victories on its home turf.The last win, in fact, was a 22-21 win over the Cardinals on Sept. 18, 2011.Its kind of confusing trying to figure out what the common theme is, nose tackle Barry Cofield said. But I dont really see one. Theres been all sorts of different types of games, different types of opponents. Weve played some tough games and played some games where we came out flat. I dont know. All I know is we have to get it figured out. If we dont bounce back quick, well be out of this division race.Teachable moment for RG3?:Lorenzo Alexander said he hopes Griffin realizes the importance of avoiding hits such as the one that knocked him out of the game. Alexander said Griffin should have thrown the ball away instead of trying to make something out of nothing.He was good, Alexander said. Hes coherent and responsive. Obviously, his spirits were down because hes a fighter and wanted to come back out and play. But health comes before anything. He has nothing to prove to us; we know hes a tough guy. Any type of concussion is serious business. Hopefully he learns from it by throwing the ball away and not taking shots like that.By the numbers:Dating back to last weeks game, the Redskins have converted just three of their 20 third downs, including a woeful 1 of 9 against the Falcons.Atlanta, by comparison, was 9 of 17.Play of the game:Ryan Kerrigans second career interception returned for a touchdown.Early in the second quarter, Kerrigan stepped between Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner and leaped and grabbed Ryans attempted. Twenty-eight yards later, Kerrigan was in the end zone and the Redskins had a 7-0 lead.Just looking at Ryans release, Kerrigan said. Trying to make sure I was in the throwing lane. Not too jump too soon, not to jump too late. Fortunately, I timed the jumped well.It was the Redskins third defensive touchdown of the season, marking the most since the team racked up four in 1999.Elite company:Running back Alfred Morris surpassed the 100 yard mark for the second consecutive week, amassing a career-high 115 yards on 18 carries. His 6.4-yard per carry average was the best of his young career.Morris joined Eric Dickerson as the only rookies to rush for at least 75 yards in their teams first five games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.The 500 Club:With two receptions, including a 77-yard touchdown catch, veteran Santana Moss recorded his 500threception with the Redskins. Only Art Monk, Charley Taylor and Gary Clark have as many.Quotable:Alfred Morris: We have work to do and there is always room for improvement. We have the weapons. We have what it takes to be something great. But it all comes down to how bad we want it. After this loss, we have to get back to the drawing board, get back to working hard, probably rearrange some things.

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it