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5 observations from a dispiriting Redskins loss in Dallas

5 observations from a dispiriting Redskins loss in Dallas

The Redskins fell to the Cowboys 31-23 but the final score doesn't tell the whole truth. Washington kept the game close for about 40 minutes, but then an inability to make simple tackles led to three straight Dallas scores.

The loss means a lot, as Dallas is now tied with Washington for first place in the NFC East.

There's plenty to unpack.

1. Starts on the ground: The Cowboys offense centers on star running back Ezekiel Elliott. In a Redskins victory against Dallas last month, the defense limited Elliott to 33 yards, a true triumph. In this game, Elliott could not be stopped. Through the third quarter, he had rushed for nearly 100 yards and was averaging nearly 6 yards-per-carry. When Elliott gets going, the Cowboys get going. 

2. The Trade Worked: Jerry Jones positioned his team without any real talent at wide receiver to start the season. It was a real problem. Then, before the trade deadline, Dallas traded for Amari Cooper, giving up a first-round pick in the process. The trade got lampooned for Dallas giving up too much, but against the Redskins, Cooper was well worth the heavy price.

The former University of Alabama star proved just too slippery for the Redskins secondary and grabbed eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Seriously, look at that stat line: 8/180/2. That's Moss-ian. Cooper opened up the game and forced Washington's defensive game plan to focus on him, which helped Zeke run. 

3. No Turkeys: Coming into the contest, Dallas lost every game they had a turnover. That trend held, as the Cowboys won and didn't have any turnovers. The Redskins, on the other hand, had lots. Colt McCoy threw three interceptions and had a number of other balls that Cowboys players had a chance to grab. More on Colt later.

The Redskins defense has thrived in creating takeaways, and the team could have really used one on Thanksgiving in Dallas. 

4. Higher Highs, Lower Lows: Going from Alex Smith to Colt McCoy was going to be an adjustment for the Redskins offense. Smith was a very reliable, smart player. He rarely made mistakes but he rarely made big plays either. McCoy is very, very different. In just his first start of the year, he connected with Vernon Davis on a 53-yard touchdown.

That play immediately became the Redskins longest pass of the year. But the picks were bad, and if Josh Doctson didn't turn into a safety on one pass, McCoy would have had four INTs. McCoy moves the ball well in the Redskins offense, but at times he also tries things he shouldn't. He also had a fumble on a sack, but the Redskins recovered. 

5. One Piece of Pie: How about a little good news? There was some. Trey Quinn made some big plays and had a really good punt return. Preston Smith had a monster game and the pass rush got good pressure on Dak Prescott. Tress Way just keeps balling. Jordan Reed again went for 60+ yards. For 40 minutes, this looked like a good game for Washington, and plenty of players had a part in it.

Those guys deserve some credit. 

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.

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Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage was the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect

Darnell Savage has been getting a lot of buzz since the Packers traded up to the 21st overall pick to select him in the 2019 NFL Draft, and his teammates are on board.

The Maryland star was one of the draft's biggest risers, and it was well warranted.

The Packers' Instagram account posted a video of Savage Wednesday, and his teammate Davante Adams chimed in.

“The boy gonna be special,” Adams wrote.

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BORN READY. #MondayMotivation #GoPackGo

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“He’s going to be that guy — I can tell," Adams said, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. "We definitely got a steal." “I know we got him early, but I still think that he could have gone even earlier just based on what he’s doing out there. He plays like a vet, he knows how to practice, and he’s smart, man.

Savage will face the Redskins in Week 14 when the Burgundy and Gold head up to Lambeau Field on December 8 for the matchup against the Packers.

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