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5 observations from the Redskins' most embarrassing loss in years

5 observations from the Redskins' most embarrassing loss in years

A thesaurus only contains so many synonyms for awful, but here are a few of them: horrible, terrible, dreadful. Any of those words, or a host of others, well describe the Redskins' play in Sunday's 40-16 loss to the New York Giants. 

The Redskins defense was terrible. The offense was worse, especially in the first half. 

Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns and didn't even play the fourth quarter. Saquon Barkley had nearly 200 yards from scrimmage to go with a touchdown. 

There's nothing positive to point to for the Redskins. Sorry. But there are some real ugly observations:

1. As Advertised:

Mark Sanchez was really bad, but honestly, that was the expectation. He got benched in the game for Josh Johnson, who signed with the team last Tuesday, but not before Sanchez completed six of 14 pass for 38 yards and two interceptions. Oh yeah, his first interception was returned for a touchdown. Nobody really helped Sanchez either; receivers dropped catchable passes and the run game couldn't get going. 

2. Unsolved Mystery:

So many things have gone wrong for the Redskins that it's hard to keep track of them all, but one big factor in the team's demise has been the collapse of the run defense. When the Redskins played the Giants in New York in October, rookie Saquon Barkley rushed for less than 40 rush yards. On Sunday, Barkley had 159 rush yards. In the first half. He busted a 78-yard touchdown run and seemed to get anywhere he wanted on the field. 

3. Flag Day:

The Redskins have a serious problem with penalties. They're among the most penalized teams in the NFL - tied for first on offensive holds and second in false starts coming into the game - and Sunday was no exception. With 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Redskins had been penalized nine times for 90 yards, and a number of false start calls. It was ugly, and it was to be expected. Jay Gruden talked about the problems with cadence throughout the week at practice as the Redskins worked to get used to Mark Sanchez. It didn't get fixed.

4. Proof of Life: 

Don't read this as a silver lining, but Josh Johnson provided a jolt of energy to the Redskins when he entered the game in the second half. He ran for a touchdown and completed a long pass play to Jamison Crowder for a 78-yard TD. He also connected on two two-point conversions. He completed 11 of 16 passes and moved the ball with some efficiency. There should be absolutely no debate that Johnson starts next week in Jacksonville, even with the late fourth quarter interception. 

5. I know you are but what am I?

It seems like the finger pointing on defense is starting to hit a higher level, as Zach Brown got benched to start the first half. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been bad for the Redskins since he arrived in mid-season, and the overall tackling struggles continued against New York. There seems to be an obvious divide between some players in the locker room as well as players and coaches. It's not a good look, and has been a big part in the struggles over the second half of the season. 

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As the NFL heads to the Senior Bowl, what do Redskins need most?

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As the NFL heads to the Senior Bowl, what do Redskins need most?

It's a bit of a weird annual tradition. Almost the entire NFL world descends upon Mobile, Alabama, a small city on the Gulf Coast far away from the big metropolises most teams call home. 

The reason? The Senior Bowl, a showcase of much of the best talent getting ready for the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Like the name suggests, underclassmen can't play in the Senior Bowl, and that means some of the most elite players that will hear their names called in the first round won't be in Mobile. But while much NFL Draft focuses on the first round, the best teams are built by day two and day three draft picks.

Mobile is the best place to find them.

The Redskins' staff heads to Alabama with many more questions than answers. The team has a major need at quarterback and all over the defense. The skill positions could use a boost too. 

Starting with the QBs, there is a lot to watch in Mobile.

Duke's Daniel Jones, West Virginia's Will Grier and Missouri's Drew Lock are probably the headliner's of the cast in Mobile, but don't count out Washington State's Gardner Minshew II. Mark Rypien's nephew, Brett Rypien, won't play in Mobile, but another intriguing name: University of Buffalo's Tyree Jackson. He's 6-foot-7 and raw, but has a cannon of an arm. 

The two biggest QB names - Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray - won't be in Mobile, but that doesn't mean all eyes won't be on the passers. The Redskins need to bring in a young signal caller, and the Senior Bowl has a deep pool to scout. 

Offensively, the team also needs to add interior offensive line players and wideouts. 

On the line, there are guys to like. Wisconsin's Michael Dieter, Oklahoma's Dru Samia and Kansas State's Dalton Risner all project as guards in the NFL. Dieter and Risner are known for a nasty streak, the same thing that got said about Brandon Scherff coming out of Iowa. Samia has great feet for a man his size.

Washington needs to address their long running weakness at left guard, and this should be the draft for that.

At wide receiver, the Redskins could lose Jamison Crowder to free agency. Beyond Crowder, the team simply isn't getting enough production on the edges.

One NFC scout talked about Missouri's Emmanuel Hal as a player with a big opportunity to impress this weekend. Two lesser known prospects to watch: UMass WR Andy Isabella, who has 4.3 speed and could play the slot, and UC Davis WR Keelan Doss, who put up huge numbers the last two seasons. West Virginia's David Sills is another wideout with video game numbers on the college level that will be in Mobile. 

Defensively, the Redskins need help on each level.

Starting up front, Washington likely needs to add another pass rusher and every football team in the universe always needs to add defensive line depth. The Redskins could lose Preston Smith in free agency, and need more speed opposite Ryan Kerrigan on the edge. 

A player to watch: Wyoming OLB Carl Granderson. At 6-foot-5 and 261 lbs, he has all the physical tools to be a menace on the outside. One Midwest scout explained that with Granderson, he could have a tremendous week of practice for NFL scouts, assuming he's locked in and focused.

A lot of buzz centers around Mississippi State's Montez Sweat, a probable first-round pick. He was a star in Starkville. 

Smaller college players like Old Dominion's Oshane Ximines and Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson produced significant sack totals, enough to get them invited to Mobile and compete with the Power 5 school players. This is there opportunity to prove they belong, much like UTSA's Marcus Davenport did last season when the Saints drafted him 14th overall. 

Washington also needs help on the back end.

Their safety situation has significant holes as the team released DJ Swearinger before the final game of the 2018 season and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is set for free agency. 

Two local players of note: Virginia's Juan Thornhill and Maryland's Darnell Savage. Thornhill had six interceptions as a senior and Savage is one of the bigger hitters in the Big Ten. Both need to improve their tackling.

Another semi-local name to watch: Nasir Adderley of Delaware. The young man flies to the football and never stops running. Want a high motor potential special team stud? Adderly could be that guy. 

Much will be learned during the week in Mobile.

The Redskins will send a full cast to scope out the talent and talk with coaches and other scouts. Teams will interview the players, and figure out which targets they want to go deeper on over the coming months of the draft process. The NFL Scouting Combine is only about a month away, and plenty of college pro days after that. 

For Washington, the first steps toward an improved season in 2019 begins this week. 

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Redskins TE Vernon Davis helps send grieving family to Super Bowl LIII

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Redskins TE Vernon Davis helps send grieving family to Super Bowl LIII

Vernon Davis is a charitable guy, and it's one of the reasons he's the Washington Redskins Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. 

His latest gesture is an attempt to bring a little joy to a grieving family after they recently lost their 17-year-old son, who Davis had previously met. The Redskins veteran tight end met the Howey family and their son, Ryan, who was a huge Washington fan and was going through treatment for brain cancer, according to the team.

Sadly not long after Ryan and his family met Davis, he passed away.

"It broke my heart," Davis told TMZ in a video, adding that about a year ago, Ryan was "totally fine" and going to Redskins games. "It was unfortunate he had to deal with that."

And Davis wanted to do what he could for the Howey family and "bring some joy to their spirit," so he gave them two tickets to Super Bowl LIII, and, with the help of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, he was able to get them a third so Ryan's parents and sister could all attend the game together. Davis said is also paying for their flights to Atlanta and hotel as well.

He said after he heard Ryan passed away, he reached out via FaceTime to the Howey family, and, of course, they didn't know what to expect from such a call. And after he told them what he wanted to do, he told TMZ they were crying "tears of joy."

"It was just on my heart," Davis said in his interview with TMZ. "They were the first ones I could think of when it comes to just making them happy, just bringing some joy in their life after all they've had to deal with their son. I just put myself in that situation, you know? I'm just having some compassion here, and I would want the same thing."

The New England Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on Feb. 3.

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