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Ripple effects on Redskins after Jackson suspension

Ripple effects on Redskins after Jackson suspension

On Wednesday the NFL suspended Tanard Jackson for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy for the fourth time. Before moving on to looking at the football side of this, we should note that the implications for Jackson go far beyond football. It’s apparent that he has a major problem and he needs a lot of help.

Although the NFL’s statement called the action an indefinite suspension it seems more likely that it is a lifetime ban. Jackson has already served suspensions of four games and one year when he was with the Bucs and the indefinite suspension after he came to the Redskins. That one ended up being two years. The NFL is unlikely to give him a chance to earn a fifth suspension. Even if the NFL did let him come back at some point it’s hard to imagine a team signing a player with his history.

The Redskins were looking for Jackson to compete for a backup safety job. They don’t necessarily have to go out and sign a safety to replace him before camp starts. They still have eight safeties on the roster including veterans Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, who are expected to start, and 2013 draft picks Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo. It now appears that those four have the inside track on roster spots with Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson also in the mix.

Jackson was reinstated in early May, just before the NFL draft, and the Redskins did not take a safety in that draft, some are looking for cause and effect there. But it seems doubtful that they bypassed safeties due to the presence of Jackson on the roster. There weren’t any safeties they liked earlier in the draft and they had just invested mid- and late-round picks in Thomas and Rambo a year earlier.

The team now has a spot to fill on the 90-man roster. As noted, they have eight safeties after Jackson’s suspension so they are not really in need at the position. They run first, second, and third team in practice so they have enough bodies for that with a couple to spare. They could look to fill a spot on the offensive side, as they are a little tight at tackle, tight end, and fullback.

While the Redskins are certainly disappointed by Jackson’s suspension they probably are not shocked. They had him lining up with the third team. Certainly part of that was making him work his way back up after he was set to be the starter before his suspension just before the 2012 season. But it’s also a sign that you don’t necessarily expect the player to be around in the long haul.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?


What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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!