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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Panthers

Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 10, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers. 

Talking points

One good thing about a short week after a bad loss is that you must immediately turn your attention to the next game—or you have to try to, anyway. The hangover effect and some other factors as the game against the Panthers come into focus. 

Can't let one loss turn into two

The Redskins’ loss to the Saints dropped the Redskins to 0-6 on Monday nights since the start of the 2015 season. In the games following the previous five losses the Redskins are 3-2, so they have shown some ability to rebound following the Monday night futility. After the drubbing they took against the Saints, it will be even more important for them to bounce back and win a conference home game. 

The Cam factor

The Redskins played at Carolina in Cam Newton’s rookie year. On one play, Brian Orakpo sacked him with a classic blindside hit, the kind of blow that usually ends up with the ball on the ground and with the quarterback shaken up. Not only did Newton hang on to the ball, but he also bounced right back up and returned to the huddle. The first thought that came to mind was 'Man, this guy is going to be trouble to deal with.'

The Redskins are 0-4 against the Panthers since they made Newton the first overall pick of the 2011 draft. It’s not a coincidence. Newton has been sharp against Washington, completing 62 percent of his passes (his career average is 58.8 percent) for 251 yards per game with nine touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 115.4, about 20 points higher than his career rating. He also has averaged 28 rushing yards per game with two rushing touchdowns. 

Inconsistent Panthers

Carolina is 3-1 on the season. Putting those four games under a microscope, you see some of the oddities that you see when looking at the results of most NFL teams at this point in the season. They are the only team who has lost to the 1-4 Falcons, and they are the only team to whom the 4-1 Bengals have lost. Last Sunday, the Panthers blew a fourth-quarter, double-digit lead at home against the Giants, needing a 63-yard Graham Gano field goal at the end to pull out the win. 

The win over the Giants prevented this from being a game between a pair of 2-2 teams. The difference between the teams is that the Panthers have an identity, with Newton and RB Christian McCaffrey on offense and LB Luke Kuechly and DT Kawann Short on defense, while the Redskins are still searching for their brand. The Washington defensive line has the makings of becoming the core of their identity, but it’s too early to make any kind of a firm declaration there.   

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The agenda

Today: Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, open locker room 4:45

Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 4 days; Cowboys @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Giants 18

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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.

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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.

Money

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. 

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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. 

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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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