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The Long Knives

The Long Knives

The Long Knives
It wasn’t quite as much fun perusing the Philly area papers to hear their post-mortems on the Eagles game and on their 6-10 season as it was reading the locals moan the fates of the Giants and Cowboys. The Philadelphia writers just didn’t seem to have the edge to their commentary that those in New York and Texas did. Still, they did seem to enjoy kicking them while they were down.

Columnist Mike Sielski had this to say in
A few minutes after Andy Reid assured everyone that yes, the Eagles were in fact attempting to win football games over these last five weeks, the man who coined the most infamous phrase of 21st century Philadelphia sports bent down to talk to one of the architects of this 6-10 disaster.

"Good effort, Mike," Jeffrey Lurie said to Mike McMahon in the Lincoln Financial Field locker room. "Good stuff out there."

So this is what the "gold standard" has been reduced to: the Eagles' owner praising the effort of a backup quarterback of questionable competence. Lurie will have to live with those two words haunting him until the Eagles win the Super Bowl. That is his penance, and it might be a long one. After the Eagles' 31-20 loss to Washington on Sunday, now that this nightmare is over, never in Reid's seven seasons as head coach has a championship felt so far away for this franchise. Never has major change been so necessary
. . . . .

The Eagles - their players, their coaches, their front-office folks - have been quick to pin their problems this season on circumstance, on sports hernias and ankle sprains and blood clots and gunshots and Owens' cancerous effect on his teammates. But the Eagles were a mediocre team - 4-3, coming off a humiliating defeat in Denver - before the injuries started to accumulate, before the Owens situation exploded for the last time. They weren't going back to the Super Bowl, or the postseason, because, put simply, they didn't have the talent to get there. All the excuses were ex post facto.
And there’s this from Phil Sheridan on

As awful as he was, Owens is just one guy. Why were so many of his teammates influenced so much?

The unfortunate answer is that there are a bunch of players on this team who were all too eager to heap as much blame as possible for the Super Bowl loss on Donovan McNabb. A lot of them bought into Owens' slander campaign against the quarterback because it helped cover for their own disappointing performances in that game.

That's the ugly truth a lot of these players need to face during this off-season. And it's an ugly truth Reid is going to have to consider in deciding which players can be part of a winning culture in 2006 and which can't.

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

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Need to Know: If Kirk Cousins leaves, with the Redskins rebuild or retool?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 16, 57 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 49
—NFL Draft (4/26) 100
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 236

Nickel coverage—Five Redskins questions

Taking a look at some of the key questions surrounding the Redskins, sometimes coming up with more questions in the process. Yes, it's going to be that kind of offseason. 

What will the Redskins do at left guard? It would be better for the Redskins to find their left guard in the draft, but assuming that the successor is picked after the second round, they will want someone to start until the rookie is ready. That could be Arie Kouandjio or maybe a veteran free agent.

Can the Redskins make do with what they have at running back? The short answer is no. The running back situation needs attention. It’s hard to picture Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley forming a formidable tandem, or even a very good one. I’m wary of spending a high draft pick on an RB, but the success of the likes of Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette have to be factored into the thinking.

Are the Redskins OK with Zach Brown and Mason Foster at inside linebacker? For the time being they are, assuming that they are able to sign both of the unrestricted free agents, however the Redskins need to continue to build that position. That means continuing to develop Josh Harvey-Clemons to use in nickel situations and spending draft resources there. Even if Brown and Foster are back, the Redskins might be smart to grab Roquan Smith out of Georgia if he’s there in the first round.

If they are without Kirk Cousins, will the Redskins rebuild or retool? This is a key question for the organization. If Cousins leaves, do they just try to plug in the best available/affordable quarterback they can find and roll on with the same basic personnel with which they have hovered around .500 the last three years? Or will the make other changes, perhaps moving on from Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to save cap money for future seasons and give their younger players a chance to establish themselves? The latter might be the better way to go but this organization rarely considers short-term pain for long-term gain.

If Junior Galette leaves, who replaces him? While Galette did not light it up in the sack department, he put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He is likely to leave since he would remain behind Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan on the depth chart if he re-signed in Washington. Can they rely on 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson to take a giant leap in his sophomore season? Will they try to lock up free agent Trent Murphy and hope that he can bounce back from an ACL injury he suffered last August and regain his nine-sack form of 2016? I don’t see how they can rely on Anderson to suddenly provide pressure after recording zero sacks this past year. Whether it’s Murphy or another free agent, someone with a better track record has to be in the picture. If Anderson improves enough to move ahead of that player on the depth chart, so much the better.

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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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?


Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 


Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.