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Redskins notebook: Nine OTA takeaways

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Redskins notebook: Nine OTA takeaways

1) Theabsent-minded head coach: It's all good now according to Mike Shanahan, but last Monday's accidentalcollision at practice with cornerback Brandyn Thompson that knocked the head coach to the ground also knocked him loopy for a time.Those guys didnt think I could take a hit at 59. I proved I can take a hit," Shanahan said during his Thursday post-practice press conference. "I did talk to the team afterward, which was about 10 minutes after I got hit. I do not remember the conversation I had with the team. I really dont. It took me probably about 20 minutes, 25 minutes, to recover because I hit my head pretty good on the turf. I was fine, really, about 20 minutes afterward. I was fine.Shanahan addedthat during his38 yearsroaming practice fields he's been pushedor brushed against a time or two, he's "never taken a shot like that.2) Participation report: I wrote about this here, but those who did not practice on Thursday included Leonard Hankerson (hip), Brian Orakpo (pectoral), Adam Carriker (foot blisters), Steven Bowen (knee), Jonathan Goff (knee) and running back Tim Hightower (knee surgery). Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) participated in individual and unit drills only. Barry Cofield and Tanard Jackson were both absent, but Shanahan said both were excused. During the two weeks of OTAs, Shanahan said, "Weve got 100 attendance. If a guy has missed, its been an excused absence.3) Random RG3 things: The latest sign the kid gets it came when he described his plan for rewarding his offensive lineman during the season. "My familys from New Orleans, Louisiana. I know how to cook beignets. For every no-sack victory, theyll get beignets and I think theyll love those. As for how the rookie is handling the second week of OTAs, I wrote about that over here.4) Safety dance: While there was plenty of mixing and matching with the first and second unit, Reed Doughty continues to primarily work with the reserves. As for the absent but excused Jackson, Shanahan said the original planwas forhim to return today. until it wasn't. "He was going to practice for the first day today, but over the last couple weeks with his shoulder and his legs, he wasnt ready to go. But hes approved to practice and he should be ready for tomorrow or Monday.5) Tight end watch, part one: Regarding Chris Cooley, Shanahan said, Hes been doing fine. No setback with his knee. I think he strained his groin a little bit two days ago, and hes fine today. Theres no swelling on the knee, no setback there. Thats a good sign because hes been working for the last few weeks pretty hard. Thats a positive sign.6) Tight end watch, part two: I'm always fascinated when someone wants to make declarations about player X having a breakout practice, especially this early in the process when nobody is wearing pads. My goal is toneverbe that guy.With that said, one player who did turn some heads was Niles Paulafter flashing his deep threat on multiple plays down field, including a scoring pass from Rex Grossman.In the modern NFL, having tight ends that are built and run like wide receivers isbecoming the norm so any indication that the second-year player can be that type of option is interesting. Seeing how he handles the blocking side of things when the pads do come out is another andarguably more important matter.7) Don't blame the pancake social: Orakpo did some individual and unitwork, but waskept off thefield during 11-on-11 drill because ofhis left pectoral muscle, which he originally injured late last season. "He kind of had it get pushed back a little bit," Shanahan said. "We did an MRI on it, and it was no problem. It was just a little bit sore, probably some scar tissue in there from the surgery. We just kept him out of team drills, but he did all individual drills so he should be fine.8) Offensive line: Another practice, another day talking about Jammal Brown's yoga habits. Fine, the media were the one's asking the questions about it, but they came up after he practiced with the first unit at right tackle. Both the player and head coach continue to believe yoga is indeed helping the flexibility in his surgically repaired let hip. Let's see where we are with this in training camp, which is when Lichtensteiger believes he will be active practice participant. With Lichtensteiger sitting out during team drills, Tyler Polumbuslinedup at left guard with the first unit.9) Brian Banks: Shanahan said he called and spoke with Banks, aformer USC linebacker recruit who had his football career cut short in 2002when he plead no contest to a schoolmate's false accusation of rape at the age of 17. Banks spent his next five years in a jail cell and is now seeking an opportunity in the NFL. One is expected to come next week when he visits Redskins Park for a workout. "I think when somebody goes through the situation that he went through, he deserves an opportunity to try out for somebody," Shanahan said. "This kid deserves a chance."

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Per report, league admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong

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USA TODAY Sports

Per report, league admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

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.

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Need to Know: Five Key plays in Redskins vs. Saints

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Five Key plays in Redskins vs. Saints

NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, November 20, three days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 10
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 20
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 27

Five key plays in Redskins vs Saints

D.J. Swearinger interception in the first quarter—Although the Redskins didn’t fully capitalize on the takeaway in Saints territory—they got a field goal—the play helped the Redskins jump on top in what would be a back-and-forth first half. Swearinger has three interceptions in the last two games.

Fourth and six pass to Vernon Davis for 26 yards—This was the first of two fourth-down gambles Gruden took. This one was from the New Orleans 39. This one paid off in spades as Kirk Cousins found Davis for a first down at the Saints 13. Three plays later Samaje Perine got in from a yard out. That made it 17-10 and the Redskins would not trail again until, well, you know.

False start when lined up for field goal—Things were going great for the Redskins as they had a nice drive going at the end of the half. The advance stalled and they lined up for a 51-yard field goal try. But there was a false start on the play and the Redskins had to punt. Josh Holsey almost downed it inside the one but he shuffled his feet one too many times and he fielded the ball with his heels on the goal line stripe, resulting in a touchback. That gave the Saints the field position they needed to drive for a field goal as time ran out.  

Fourth and one fake punt—The Redskins had just seen Chris Thompson get carted off the field after suffering a broken fibula in his right leg. It was fourth and one at the Washington 15 and they lined up in punt formation. Niles Paul took the direct snap and powered up the middle for five yards. Apparently inspired by the big, uh, courage shown by Jay Gruden on that, the Redskins continued the drive and got into the end zone on a 40-yard pass from Cousins to Ryan Grant. That put the Redskins up 24-13 with 1:44 left in the third.

Third and one Perine for minus-1—I don’t think I need go into much detail here, you know what happened.

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.

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