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Adrian Peterson says Redskins are focused on Giants and dismisses idea of 'trap game'

Adrian Peterson says Redskins are focused on Giants and dismisses idea of 'trap game'

Trap game? For these Washington Redskins? 

Adrian Peterson dismissed the notion out of hand when asked if the Redskins game against the struggling New York Giants on Sunday could lead to a letdown for Washington.

"Trap game? We lost to the Colts earlier this year," the veteran running back said on Wednesday. 

Peterson's indignation aside, the Redskins aren't a team that has handled success particularly well. Fans of the Burgundy and Gold can point to depressing defeats at the hands of the Giants each of the past two seasons as evidence of the organization's recent ineptitude against Big Blue. 

Last year, the 'Skins played an awful game in Week 17 in the Meadowlands, giving the Giants one of their three wins on the year. In 2016, the 'Skins laid another stinker, this time in a home Week 17 game against the Giants with a playoff berth on the line. 

Now, the situation again presents itself. 

The Redskins are 4-2 and in first place in the NFC East. The Giants are 1-6 and just traded away two defensive starters for future draft picks. 

If ever there was a recipe for a trap game, this is it.

"It's the NFL, you have to come prepared no matter what the situation is. No matter what the record is," Peterson said. "We're focused, we're locked in."

That's good because dig a little deeper and the records don't indicate the full story. 

The Redskins won their last two games by the narrowest of margins, and could have lost or tied on the final play of each victory. In New York, the last few losses have been equally close, just the Giants were on the wrong end of the ledger. 

"They're a good football team. I mean, turn on the tape," redskins QB Alex Smith said. "I think the bunch of games they’ve been in, had chances to win versus really good football teams."

Washington head coach Jay Gruden might be trying his best Joe Gibbs impression this week, hyping up a bad team, but the Giants do have plenty of talent. Everyone knows about Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, but defensive playmakers like Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins have made big plays against the Redskins in the past.

"We're getting prepared for the Giants and expect a very hard fought game like it always is with the Giants," Gruden said Wednesday. 

It seems the Redskins players and coaches are all saying the right things leading into the matchup in New York. 

That's great, but it won't matter come Sunday afternoon. Gruden's bunch needs to show up ready to play.

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One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

No one will look at the Redskins' quarterback situation and call it superb or even settled, but with a slimmer and more experienced Dwayne Haskins positioned as starter and ex-Panthers signal caller Kyle Allen reuniting with his old staff as depth, fans can at least reasonably hope that things will work out under center in 2020.

NBC Sports analyst Josh Norris, though, doesn't envision a positive outcome for Washington's passers this year. During an interview on the Redskins Talk podcast, he explained why.

First, Norris gave his opinion on Allen. When the Burgundy and Gold initially acquired the former Carolina QB, some asserted that Allen would actually beat out Haskins for the top job. Norris, however, flat out doesn't believe Allen has that kind of talent.

"My lowest moment of 2019 was that two-month span where people tried to make Kyle Allen a starter in the NFL," Norris told Redskins Talk. "It was bogus. It was so ridiculous."

"I understand the production was there and he went on some starting streaks and they won some games," he continued. "But he's at best an NFL backup."

In the end, Norris compared Allen to Colt McCoy. Yes, most rosters need someone like McCoy — hell, he just left the area after a six-year run with the franchise and he's now a Giant, so he's clearly valued — but those kinds of guys aren't the ones coaches want running their offenses for more than a few quarters or so.

Now, here's the part where it gets dispiriting: While Norris doesn't think much of Allen — in addition to the McCoy comparison, Norris labeled Allen inaccurate and too susceptible to pocket pressure — he still expects him to start for team in 2020. That stems from Norris also doubting what Haskins will be able to do in his second season as a pro.

"We still don't know who he is," Norris said of the 2019 first-round pick.

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Yes, Haskins improved as a rookie in a situation that was largely a catastrophe, so it's not crazy to conclude he should continue to ascend now that the organization is more settled. Norris himself acknowledged the growth Haskins made.

However, even with that maturation, as well as Norris' positive feelings about Ron Rivera, Scott Turner and many other aspects of Washington's potential turnaround, the analyst still sees a glaring weakness that'll directly affect Haskins and could contribute to a less-than-stellar campaign for No. 7.

"What is possibly the most important part of quarterback success is offensive line play, and I think it's fair to question the Washington Redskins' offensive line right now, especially the left tackle spot," Norris said.

In the end, Norris anticipates Haskins having issues for a certain number of weeks, Allen stepping in after and the Redskins overall being unhappy with their collective output at QB. 

"We've seen NFL storylines repeat themselves," he said. "A [staff] goes to a new organization and brings a quarterback that may not be starting caliber but understands exactly what they want to do and he ultimately ends up starting a handful of games because of that, because they want to stabilize the situation as much as possible."

How stable does that really sound? The answer, of course, is not at all. 

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Why Cam Newton remains unsigned, according to his former coach Ron Rivera

Why Cam Newton remains unsigned, according to his former coach Ron Rivera

As the calendar turns to June and most NFL teams have settled on the first phase of their roster makeup, one notable name remains on the market. Cam Newton, the former Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2015 league MVP, is still unsigned as the 2020 season fast approaches.

Despite his past success and dual-threat skills, the 31-year-old has not sparked much interest, specifically as a starter, from NFL teams. Why could that be? One person who may have an understanding of the factors contributing to Newton remaining off a roster is Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera and Newton spent nine seasons together as the quarterback-head coach duo for the Carolina Panthers, a run that came to an end following the 2019 campaign. Rivera has a fresh start in Washington, and Newton is looking for the same after being released earlier this year. Barring a major change, it most likely won't come with the Redskins.

However, the head coach still has solid insight on the situation. Based on what Rivera knows about Newton and has seen from him in the past, he believes there is one major factor that has teams hesitant to bring him in: Health.

“I think that’s probably the biggest thing, more than anything else," Rivera said of Newton's injury concerns on Fox Sports' 'Fox Football Now' with Jay Glazer. "You’ve got to know. The foot and the shoulder will be the two biggest concerns everybody has."

As Rivera alluded to, there are question marks surrounding Newton following a 2019 season that saw him only appear in two games. Specifically, consistent shoulder problems have messed with throwing motion will continue to be a concern for any team interested in bringing him on. Nagging foot injuries don't help. 

Time off and surgery have been beneficial to his recovery process, but Rivera understands that it's hard to truly judge a player until you see him in action once again. However, he has heard some rave reviews of Newton's physical shape as of late.

"I will say this, though, from the people that are around him that I know, they’ve all said the same thing to me. They’ve said, ‘Coach, he looks great. He really does,'" Rivera said.

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Rivera added that it isn't just his physical presence that is encouraging, but his mindset as well. Being released from the team he spent his whole career with and took to the Super Bowl, coupled with doubt from others around the NFL, has given Newton a new edge.

"He’s a little bit different. His whole attitude -- he’s got something to prove," Rivera said he's heard.

Rivera's words are encouraging, but only time will tell where Newton ends up and when he'll get another chance to prove himself in the NFL. There is one thing Rivera knows: whenever that opportunity does arise, Newton will make the league remember just how talented he is.

"And I will say this -- the one thing about Cam Newton with an edge for something to prove, don’t ever bet against him.”

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