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Saturday’s game vs. Bills—first look

Saturday’s game vs. Bills—first look

The Washington Redskins have left behind the glow of Canton and the combined QB rating of 147.2 that Campbell, Collins, Brennan and Devine laid on the Colts' scrubs. They now turn their attention to their Saturday night preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

As you are all sophisticated Redskins fans, you know that teams do not prepare for August games the way that they do for games played in September. There will be no endless film study to determine tendencies or to find a tell in a player's stance. None of the backup quarterbacks will be running around with a scout team imitating Trent Edwards or (shudder) J. P. Losman (that could do permanent damage).

Instead, the Redskins will work on their plays and on their defensive alignments, paying scant attention to how Dick Jauron and his coaching staff do the same.

Part of the game planning is planning who will play and how much. There will be a few variations from what we saw on Sunday but since this really is the second playing of their first preseason game (like the 31 other NFL teams they have four to go), don't expect a whole lot of difference.

It looks like the first team offense is on the same pattern as they were last Sunday. They'll go one series, two if that first one is brief due to either ineffectiveness or, as happened against the Colts, exceptional efficiency (a three-play touchdown drive).

Todd Collins will then take the wheel for the rest of the first half. He hopes he can hold onto it given that he will be protected by an offensive line that is makeshift even by preseason standards. Injuries to Stephon Heyer (knee) and Todd Wade (ankle), the two primary backups at tackle, have forced the patchwork. Forming the wall for Collins with be, from left to right, Chad Reinhardt, Tavares Washington, Justin Geisinger, Jason Fabini, and Devin Clark.

The unit has a combined 145 games of NFL playing experience, all of them belonging to Fabini.

Collins likely will be doing a lot of handing off to Marcus Mason and Rock Cartwright, who again will carry the load all game long at running back.

On the defensive side of the ball, the crowd at FedEx Field should be treated to the sight of Jason Taylor making his Redskins debut. Don't be in line getting a hot dog or beer, however; his workload will consist of about a half a dozen plays. London Fletcher will participate about the same number of snaps.

The biggest difference from the HOF game will be that punter Derrick Frost will get his turn to audition for his job. Durant Brooks handled all of the punting and holding duties against Indy and this is Frosty's game.

Join me for a live blog of Saturday's preseason game. Go here for details.

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

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.