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Need to Know: Boys will be boys but Redskins-Jets brawl got dangerous

Need to Know: Boys will be boys but Redskins-Jets brawl got dangerous

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Monday, August 13, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

In case you haven’t heard, the Redskins’ offense and Jets’ defense got into a donnybrook during their joint practice on Tuesday. 

Fortunately, nobody was hurt. Well, you say, of course nobody got hurt. They were wearing helmets and shoulder pads. 

But the problem was that the event that precipitated the fight took place on the west sideline of the field at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. That sideline is about 10 yards from the start of the main spectator area at the facility. Only plastic poles and a single strand of rope separate the fans from the field. 

About 90 minutes into practice, hostilities between the two sides flared momentarily, cooled down, and then exploded. The last phase of the fight moved closer and closer to the fans. None of them were wearing helmets and shoulder pads. It eventually spilled past the ropes and a few feet into the spectator area. That was a very dangerous situation as you can see from the fan videos posted in this article

Not all of the fans reacted intelligently. Some stayed near the “action” to get better videos of it on their cameras. Others, as you can hear, wanted to root on the players from the teams they support (there were a lot of Jets fans there). 

What you can’t really see in the cameras is that there is nobody there to break it up. There were NFL referees there in advance of giving the players and media the annual rules presentation, but they weren’t about to jump into it. The coaches were letting the boys be boys, not that they necessarily could have done much anyway. 

And that was the scary part. Had one more angry player decided to stir things up again when they were in the spectator area things could have gotten ugly, as in fans could have been injured. 

They kept on practicing, which seemed to be a questionable move. A couple of snaps later, another melee broke out. This one ended fairly quickly, and it was on the other side of the practice field. Eventually, things calmed down and they got in some quality practice until rain and lightning ended the session perhaps a few minutes early. 

As things turned out, we can talk about how the events of the afternoon perhaps helped bring the team together, as one former Redskin I spoke to suggested. 

But there was a fine line between boys being boys and “competitive football” as Jets instigator Trumaine Johnson said, and an event that gets out of control and innocent people get hurt. 

The fight was like gasoline that was poured all over the place. It’s just fortunate that the match wasn’t lit. 

Jay Gruden and Todd Bowles can’t rely on just good luck when it comes to averting disaster. Both coaches need to get control of their teams. They have the power to fine players for misconduct. The Jaguars just suspended two players for fighting in practice. The Redskins and Jets could take such action. 

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The agenda

Today: Jay Gruden news conference 9:30; Practice with Jets 9:45; players available to the media after practice

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 3 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 19 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 27 days

In case you missed it

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler


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What are reasonable expectations for Colt McCoy? The numbers might surprise you

What are reasonable expectations for Colt McCoy? The numbers might surprise you

After the injury to Alex Smith, the Redskins shifted Colt McCoy to the top of their quarterback depth chart. A fan favorite that put out a good showing in relief against Houston, McCoy knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense inside and out. 

Still, it's been a long time since McCoy got significant playing time. In fact, it's been a long time since McCoy got any playing time. 

Kirk Cousins took every single snap of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Every single one. In 2015, Cousins played the whole year, up until the second half of a Week 17 win in Dallas after the Redskins had already clinched their NFC East title. 

So to get a decent sample size to set expectations for McCoy, travel all the way back to 2014. That season was a dumpster fire for Washington. It was Gruden's first year as head coach and he was trying to figure out what do with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and McCoy. After RG3 got hurt, Cousins got the call, but he eventually got benched in a Week 7 game at home against the Titans. 

McCoy came in and led the Redskins to a 19-17 win. The Redskins trailed 10-6 at halftime, but on just the second snap of the second half, McCoy connected with Pierre Garçon for a 70-yard touchdown. 

He started the next four games for Washington before hurting his neck against the Giants and RG3 returning to the starting role. McCoy hasn't started a game since that season, but the numbers are worth digging into. 

In four starts in 2014, McCoy averaged a little more than 250 yards passing to go with four TDs against three INTs. He completed 71 percent of his passes while averaging more than 8.3 yards-per-attempt.

Washington went 1-3 in McCoy's four starts that year, but remember two things: He brought the Redskins back for a win against the Titans in a game he didn't start, and he didn't finish the second half of his fourth start after injuring his neck. 

Obviously the 2018 Redskins are quite different from the 2014 squad. This year, the 'Skins are in first place of the NFC East and have a real opportunity to host a playoff game, even after losing Smith to injury. 

In 10 starts this season, Smith averaged about 218 yards passing-per-game and completed 62.5 percent of his throws. He threw 10 TDs against five INTs, and averaged 6.6 yards-per-attempt. Washington had a 6-4 record in Smith's 10 starts.

Compare Smith's numbers with McCoy from 2014, and it could be reasonable to believe the offense will move the football a bit more with Colt at QB. Of course, the teams are very different, and much of 2018, the Redskins have been a run-first offense.

The comparison isn't exact, and it shouldn't be viewed as such. Regardless, the numbers exist to provide a baseline for expectations. 

The most memorable game of the 2014 season probably came when McCoy led the Redskins to an improbable win in Dallas on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys were 6-2 and Washington was on their third-string QB. Few thought the Redskins had a chance in that game, but McCoy delivered an accurate performance, completing 25 of 30 passes and a few key runs, and led his team to victory.

On Thursday, McCoy again gets a chance to lead the Redskins into JerryWorld on national television. Dallas has won two games in a row, and while Washington is a game ahead in the standings, oddsmakers have installed the Cowboys as 8-point favorites. 

Looking at McCoy's 2014 numbers to Smith's 2018 numbers, the backup has a chance to outproduce the starter.


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The details on Alex Smith's gruesome injury are even worse than you expected

The details on Alex Smith's gruesome injury are even worse than you expected

When Alex Smith went down in Sunday's loss to the Texans, the injury looked bad. From his reaction and the instant reaction of his teammates and coaches, it became obvious the severity of the situation. 

As soon as the video replays showed Smith's leg bend in the way it wasn't intended, the whole world knew bones were broken. 

Now, though, as details begin to emerge after Smith had successful surgery on the injury, it sounds even worse than it looked. 

On Monday, Jay Gruden explained that Smith faces a recovery time of six to eight months. That timeline puts Smith on pace to return for training camp in 2019, but that also assumes no complications from surgery and a full recovery. Smith will be 35 in May.

The Redskins acquired Smith via trade during the 2018 offseason, and immediately agreed to a contract extension with the quarterback. That deal includes $71 million guaranteed for injury.

In his first season as Redskins starter, Smith was completing 62 percent of his passes for 2,180 yards to go with 10 TDs against five INTs in 10 games before the injury. Smith guided the Redskins to a 6-3 record before leaving the Texans game and eventually landing on the injured reserve list.