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The Injury Bug Bites

The Injury Bug Bites

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

It figures.

I spent a good chunk of two weeks up at Redskins Park, two weeks that were notable only for their lack of anything remotely resembling news. The biggest buzz in the media room was created by the signing of Ben Emanuel. The Gibbs pressers ran around five minutes rather than the usual ten to fifteen simply because there wasn’t much new to ask him about.

Then I take off for a few days to deliver my son and a minivan full of belongings to college and, boom, a veritable Sunday New York Times worth of news bursts on to the scene. Mostly, it was bad news. One definition of news is that it’s something that makes you say, “Holy crap” when you hear it. This was mostly stuff that made us say “Oh, crap” (or something stronger) when we heard it. Perhaps Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington would be a better place to be reporting on such events than Redskins Park would be.

We’ll start with the development that seems to be most likely to affect a regular-season game, Shawn Springs’ surgery. Springs went going to go to North Carolina after the game in Cincinnati to have some pain in his groin area that just would go away checked out. There was some concern that it was a sports hernia. As it turned out the problem was a minor tear in the muscle that attaches the abdomen to the pubic bone. That certainly sounds painful, and it was to Springs, but it’s better news than the hernia would have been.

The projection of him being out 3-6 weeks is a huge range given the timing of things. At three weeks he would have a full week of practice going into the regular season opener against the Vikings. At six weeks he has missed that game plus the ones in Dallas and Houston.

That leaves Kenny Wright, who had a night to forget against the Bengals, as they starter and Adebola Jimoh as the nickel back. You have to think that Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray can scheme their away around this situation for a week or two so as long as Springs’ rehab isn’t much longer than the long end of the estimates the Redskins should be able to survive.

In search of a backup, the Redskins were able to obtain cornerback Mike Rumph from the 49ers for a ham sandwich.

OK, it’s just plain wrong to refer to Taylor Jacobs as a deli item. He’s a class act and a hard worker and there isn’t a single person who has met him or played with him that won’t be wishing the absolute best for him. The Redskins have been wishing that he would perform for the past three years and he just hasn’t.

Now, to be sure, the Redskins may have gotten a turkey sandwich in return for Jacobs in the form of Rumph. He has to be considered a bigger bust than the player he was traded for. Like Jacobs, he has been ineffective or injured for virtually his entire career and Rumph was a first-round pick and Jacobs was a second rounder.

Rumph was joined on the Redskins roster by another ex-Niner. Linebacker Jeff Posey broke in with San Francisco in 1998 and was signed by Washington after stints with Jacksonville, Houston and, most recently, Buffalo. He’s a pass rush specialist who, at first glance, seems to be a good character guy who will fit right in to the Redskins’ locker room.

He takes the place of Chris Clemons, who in the past several months has sunk as though he had been pushed overboard with a Jersey barrier tied around his neck. After LaVar Arrington was released, Clemons was the early favorite to take his spot as the starting weak side linebacker. That was before the team brought back a trimmed-down Warrick Holdman and tabbed weak side backer Rocky McIntosh with their initial pick in the draft. Clemons was backing up Marcus Washington, who never comes out of the game, before spraining his knee and being waived-injured.

Also placed on that waived-inured list were running back Kerry Carter and safety Ben Emanuel. Carter was receiving an extended look when he cut and blew out two knee ligaments. Ben Emanuel, we hardly knew ye. After signing on Thursday of last week, he got beaten for a touchdown on Sunday, sustaining hamstring and ankle injuries later in the game, and he got the ax on Tuesday. Hope he kept his place in San Francisco and didn’t have his mail forwarded or anything.

To fill out the roster the team signed running back A. J. Harris and offensive lineman Spencer Folau. I can’t tell you much about either one of them, so here are their thumbnails from the Redskins press release:

Harris, 6-1, 230 lbs., appeared in 43 games during his career at Northern Illinois. During his college career, he rushed for 1,687 yards on 342 carries and 12 touchdowns. He also recorded 197 receiving yards on 31 catches. Harris was try-out for the Redskins during their 2006 rookie camp.

Folau, 6-5, 310 lbs., is an eight-year NFL veteran who spent time on the rosters of Baltimore, Miami and most recently, New Orleans. He has appeared in 91 career games with 43 starts.

Folau was waived by the Saints in August 2005 and was out of football for the season. He played college ball at Idaho.

While it’s doubtful that neither of them are more than camp fodder, any offensive lineman who has drawn a check for eight years as Folau has might be considered an upgrade over the current depth.

There was some more buzz created yesterday over Clinton Portis’ injury. Dan Patrick was reporting on his ESPN Radio show that the shoulder injury is more serious than the Redskins are letting on and that Portis is likely to miss the start of the regular season. This ran counter to an earlier report by John Clayton on that very same four-letter network which said that it was likely that Portis would face the Vikings on September 11.

The fact of the matter is that we don’t know yet. Here on WarpathInsiders.com, we used the headline “Gibbs ‘Hopes’ to Have Portis Back for Opener”. The Washington Post and ESPN headline writers said that Portis status was “uncertain.” They all say the same thing—we don’t know yet.

You can run MRI’s and other tests and all you have is an educated guess. This is the instant information age and we want to know right now. But a human body isn’t a machine and it will repair itself on its own schedule.

Besides, Portis shoulder is not going to be completely healed when he goes back on the field. It needs to be improved to the point where it is an acceptable risk to put him back on the field. Add that to the variability of how fast it may get to a point where it is an acceptable risk and you have too much going on to pinpoint just when he might be able to take the field.

Assuming that Ladell Betts himself can stay healthy enough to stay on the field he can do an acceptable job gaining some yardage in Portis’ absence. Where Portis will be missed is in areas like blitz pickups. Portis does the stonewall thing with onrushing defenders while Betts does the matador thing. Like with Springs, the Redskins can scheme around the absence in the short term.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume One: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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