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Redskins still had their chances after borderline penalty

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Redskins still had their chances after borderline penalty

Did the Redskins lose to the Panthers because they came apart at the seams after ending up on the wrong side of a borderline penalty call?

First of all, let’s look at the call that nullified Chris Culliver’s pick six. The rule is Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7. There was no question that Greg Olsen was a defenseless player as he was “a receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner.”

So, the question was if Culliver was guilty of “forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder.” Looking at the replay several times, it seems to me it’s a matter of how you define the “neck area”. Yes, Culliver did hit him high but it didn’t appear that he made contact with either Olsen’s head or his actual neck. But it was kind of close to the neck so I suppose that could be called. However, it didn’t appear to be the kind of dangerous hit that the rule is designed to prevent.

Unlike some of his teammates, the man who was flagged took it in stride. “Whether you think it’s right, I think it’s right—whoever thinks it’s right or wrong, the ref made his call,” Culliver said. “And we moved to the next play just like we move to the next game.”

The Redskins still had a chance to minimize the damage caused by the penalty. After the penalty was marked off, Carolina had the ball with a first down at the Washington 13. On second down from the 11, Cam Newton scrambled around and then fired for wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery in the back of the end zone. The ball bounced off of Cotchery’s hands. Bashaud Breeland got both hands on a potential interception. But he lost the ball when receiver Devin Funchess came in and hit him. That would have made it a tough interception but it was an opportunity nonetheless.

On third down from the eight the Redskins rush got to Newton but he got the ball off in the direction of Ted Ginn in the right side on the end zone. Rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett lost his balance and fell on the receiver’s feet as he went for the ball. He may or may not have been able to reach it but it was a moot point after the pass interference call.

The Panthers scored two plays later to take a 21-14 lead. Then the Redskins had a chance to respond offensively but two plays into their ensuing possession Matt Jones fumbled after taking a pitchout and Carolina recovered at the Washington 24. Even though it was a short field, the defense had a chance to force a field goal try on third and two but Carolina converted on a pass from Newton to Ginn. Then with another chance to keep them out of the end zone, the Redskins let Olsen get wide open on third and goal at the five. Newton rifled the pass to the tight end for the score. The rout was on.

Did the Redskins get so riled up over the borderline call that they forgot to play football? They were upset but the flag didn’t cause Breeland to lose the handle on the potential interception and it didn’t make Jarrett draw the PI flag and it didn’t make Matt Jones fumble. You could have taken that sequence of plays, stuck it in at almost any point during the Redskins 0-5 skid in games not played at FedEx Field, and you couldn't have told the difference.

While there may be come cause and effect there, to me it just looked like another chapter in the sad saga entitled “On the Road With the 2015 Redskins.”

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198