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Five observations from the Redskins' Monday night flop in New Orleans

Five observations from the Redskins' Monday night flop in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- There was optimism for the Washington Redskins heading into Week 5 with a big Monday night showdown in New Orleans.

Washington did was Washington does on Monday nights and fell to the New Orleans Saints 43-19 and it wasn't even close.

Here are Rich Tandler's observations following the Redskins’ blowout loss to the Saints.

1. No contest

The Redskins weren’t flat when they came out after their bye week, but they didn’t play very smart football, either. The offense went three and out after taking the opening kickoff and then the defense committed some dumb penalties (detailed below), and before you knew it the Saints had a 26-6 lead late in the second quarter. They extended it to 40-13 by the middle of the third quarter. It just wasn’t a contest.

2. A bad day for Peterson and Smith

Alex Smith put up some late stats, but he just couldn’t get things going consistently like he did against the Packers last week. One reason for Smith’s struggles was that the Redskins didn’t develop anything remotely resembling a rushing game. Adrian Peterson had just four carries for six yards. He suffered a hyperextended knee and a combination of that and the lopsided score kept him on the bench for most of the second half.

The Saints came into the game with one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL but they sure got healthy against the Redskins tonight.

3. Dumb defensive mistakes

The Redskins’ defense couldn’t get out of its own way in the early going. The Saints nearly went three and out on their first possession, but a holding call continued the drive, which resulted in a touchdown. The next time Washington was on defense Ryan Kerrigan stopped them with a third-down sack, but a dumb personal foul on Montae Nicholson kept the drive alive. The Saints eventually got a TD following another third-down penalty, a holding call. In all, the Saints got 264 yards of offense and four touchdowns on their first four possessions.

The Saints made it six for six on touchdowns by the time the third quarter was half over. The Redskins need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what happened to a defense that was ranked in the top five in the NFL before the game.

4. Unable to cash in

The Redskins offense had some chances in the first half, but they just couldn’t cash in. A nice drive got them down to the Saints five, but instead of punching it in to take an early lead a sack forced them to try a field goal. A later foray into Saints territory stalled and resulted in another three points. They didn’t get a touchdown until the end of the first half when a Pernell McPhee fumble recovery gave them a short field. At halftime, playing against one of the weakest pass defenses in the league, Alex Smith had completed barely half of his passes (11 of 21) for 131 yards.

It didn’t get much better after halftime. Smith threw a fourth-down interception that the Saints turned into a touchdown to essentially end the competitive phase of the game. The rest of the contest was extended garage time.

5. Where to go from here?

They go back to where the schedule makers say they go, two home games starting Sunday. The Panthers come to town first and then the Cowboys. Tonight, Redskins undid a lot of the good feelings they created by winning two of their first three. They have an opportunity to rebuild those on friendly turf over the next two weeks.

In this game they ran into a buzz saw, with a combination of a wild Monday night atmosphere with the fans ready to explode when Drew Brees broke the NFL all-time NFL record for career passing yards. And Brees obliged them. Early in the fourth quarter he had as many touchdown passes as incompletions (three of each) and he was averaging 13.4 yards per pass attempt. The good news is that they won’t face another QB as good as Brees the rest of the season. The bad news for next week is that they have never beaten Cam Newton.


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Four factors that could prevent Brandon Scherff from signing a big deal with the Redskins

Four factors that could prevent Brandon Scherff from signing a big deal with the Redskins

With less than a week to go until their July 15 deadline, "there isn't much optimism" that the Redskins and Brandon Scherff will be able to nail down a long-term contract, per an ESPN report.

If the two sides can't come together, then Scherff will play out the 2020 season on the franchise tag.

On the surface, there's obvious reasons for both the team and the player to commit to a multi-year agreement.

For the former, the reason is that Scherff is a very useful asset on the offensive line, making him a very useful asset for another very useful asset, Dwayne Haskins.

For the latter, the reason is that Washington is where Scherff wants to spend the rest of his career, which is according to Scherff himself.

If things keep tracking the way they appear to be going, though, then that one-year pact will kick in and some drama will follow after that. 

Here are four factors that could be to blame, should that conclusion come to fruition.

A lack of familiarity 

Thanks to the pandemic, Scherff and Ron Rivera haven't had a chance to really get to know each other as well as they normally would. That matters. 

Rivera is clearly in control of the Burgundy and Gold now, meaning he has a very strong influence on how hard the organization is trying to lock up the 28-year-old. Perhaps there's some uncertainty on his end because he simply isn't that familiar with Scherff. The same could be said for Scherff, too.

The previous regime clearly valued Scherff from the day they selected him fifth overall in the draft. This new one, unfortunately, just hasn't had the opportunity yet to build up the same appreciation.


Uncertainty about 2020

This is another pandemic-related one, and it's something that could be particularly affecting Scherff.

While the NFL clearly plans to go full-speed ahead with its schedule, there's tons of skepticism that they'll actually be able to pull off a season. Just look at how much trouble the other leagues are having, then think about how football — with its large swath of large men and constant contact — may have the most difficult time of all.

Does now seem like the most solid ground for Scherff to sign on the dotted line? When it's still so unclear what 2020 will look like? Not exactly.

Injury history

Factor No. 3 is one that surely is having some impact on the Redskins' viewpoint.

Scherff ended both 2018 and 2019 on injured reserve, due to a torn pec and then elbow and shoulder injuries, respectively. To take it a step further, he's missed 15 contests out of a possible 48 since 2017.

For the team to ink Scherff to a hefty contract, they're going to want to feel confident he'll be on the field to earn it. Right now, that confidence may not be there.


People seem to care about this green stuff, right?

While Scherff would no doubt find security in a potential multi-year deal with the Redskins, he may simply have more interest in just accepting the franchise tag, which will pay him $15 million in 2020. That's a huge number that could be dissuading him from negotiating much.

As for the team, because of things like the staff's newness and the concern for Scherff's health, they may rather see Scherff for an (albeit expensive) season before deciding whether they want him on the roster for the rest of the rebuild.

These back-and-forths are always complicated, but this time around, there seems to be more variables than usual. The NFL is known as a "deadline league," but the above factors could prove to be too much to overcome before the July 15 buzzer.


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Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson over Instagram posts, per Stephen Jackson

Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson over Instagram posts, per Stephen Jackson

A part of a series of statements defending DeSean Jackson following the wide receiver's posting of anti-Semitic comments falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, Stephen Jackson revealed he received a call from the distressed veteran after the incident. 

According to Stephen, DeSean said the Eagles were threatening to release him without an apology. 

"My whole reason for supporting D-Jack was, before I got on Instagram, he called me on the phone and told me that they was threatening to fire him," Jackson said. "But they didn't do that to [Riley] Cooper. And I was like, 'You're right, you shouldn't have to apologize if they didn't make him apologize."

Riley Cooper was caught on video saying the n-word at a concert in 2013, and after the now-retired receiver made his apology, the Eagles fined him an undisclosed amount. He was then re-signed to a five-year extension in 2014, though he'd eventually be released two years later. 


DeSean ultimately apologized, saying his posts were, "definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community."

The Eagles then released a statement condemning their wide receiver's actions, calling the messages he shared, "offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling." They were not clear on what Jackson's punishment would be in their statement. 


This, of course, was not all Jackson said in defense of DeSean. The 14-year NBA veteran claimed Jackson was speaking the truth through the messages he shared.

"He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he's speaking the truth. Right? He's speaking the truth,” Stephen Jackson said. “You know he don't hate nobody, but he's speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others."

Jackson played three seasons with the Redskins from 2014-16 after then Eagles head coach Chip Kelly cut him following the 2013 campaign. He then returned to Philadelphia before the 2019 season by signing a three-year contract with the franchise who drafted him.


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