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Need to Know: Stock up-Stock down for Redskins vs. Saints

Need to Know: Stock up-Stock down for Redskins vs. Saints

NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 9, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers. 

Talking points

The Redskins lost an ugly one to the Saints; here are the players who saw their stock go up and whose went down. 

Stock down—After three weeks as a riser, Alex Smith's stock took a downturn. After solid games against the Cardinals and Packers, he came up small in his duel with Drew Brees. In the competitive phase of the game, meaning the first half, Smith completed barely half of his passes. Yes, the defense didn't really give him a chance to compete. Still, it is fair to expect more. 

Stock up—For the second straight week, Paul Richardson was productive at wide receiver, catching four of the five passes targeted to him for 50 yards. He is proving that he can do more than just go deep. As he develops more versatility his stock will continue to go up. 

Stock down—When Ryan Kerrigan got his first sack of the year it should have been a moment to celebrate. It was a third-down play and the Saints were about to punt. But after the whistle, Montae Nicholson pushed Mark Ingram to the ground and he was correctly flagged for unnecessary roughness. Instead of punting, the Saints stayed on the field and drove for a touchdown to make it 14-3. While Nicholson hasn’t played poorly this season he hasn’t made any big plays either. You don’t want the first time you get noticed on the field to be on a play like that. 

Stock up—Rookie NT Daron Payne got his second sack in as many games and he got another quarterback hit. Payne was part of a defensive line that helped hold a Saints averaging 4.4 yards per rushing attempt to an average of 3.1 yards per carry. 

Stock down—Nobody on the Redskins offensive line played well. Smith was sacked three times and he was harassed a number of other times. Washington averaged just 2.2 yards per rushing attempt. Breakdowns occurred all up and down the line in an overall poor performance. 

The agenda

Today: Jay Gruden conference call 3 p.m.

Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 5 days; Cowboys @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Giants 19

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The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL admits that it failed last year with a botched implementation of its pass interference replay reviews. That will have an impact on any new rules going forward. 

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, told NBC’s Peter King on Friday that the league has learned its lesson: Rules will not be rushed. The NFL will do its best to figure out the real-world consequences before pushing changes that do more harm than good. 

That was clearly the case with the pass interference rule, which was applied so inconsistently last season that the Competition Committee didn’t even forward it for a vote to extend it at an owners’ meeting last month. Upcoming proposed rule changes on onsides kicks and the use of a sky judge – a member of the officiating crew who would be in the press box at a video monitor – are on the table during an NFL owners’ video conference meeting on May 28. 

“We cannot fail this year,” Vincent told King. “We saw, a year ago, when [the pass-interference rule] played out, starting with myself, what we put in place last year . . . Those outcomes were not good for professional football. Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly. The last thing people should be talking about is the way the game is officiated. They [officials] should be faceless objects, managing and facilitating game flow.

“We failed. I’m first in line. I shared that [with league officials]. I failed, as the leader of that department. I failed. We cannot allow that to happen again. What did we learn from that? We’ve got to do our due diligence. You can’t rush and just shove something in there without knowing all the consequences. And we found that out last year, live and in action, publicly.”

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Ron Rivera's first meeting with Redskins: Nick Sundberg, Tress Way share details

Ron Rivera's first meeting with Redskins: Nick Sundberg, Tress Way share details

Ron Rivera spoke to roughly 130 people on Zoom last week — including players, other coaches and support staff — in what was his first truly team-wide meeting with the Redskins.

Rivera's goal that day was to establish the kind of culture he's aiming to build in Washington, and while he clearly would've preferred to lay that foundation in person, he still hoped everyone came away from the meeting with a solid idea of his vision.

Well, according to Tress Way and Nick Sundberg, the coach accomplished that — and much more. 

"I think I ran downstairs and I might’ve tackled my son Beau at two years old," Way told the Redskins Talk podcast during a long interview that also featured Sundberg. "It was like six or seven minutes and it was just intense."

Rivera's voice, Way explained, never became too loud as he addressed multiple levels of the organization. What he lacked in volume, however, he made up for with his message and the conviction he delivered it with, stressing to those in the conference that the Redskins would control their attitude, preparation and effort as long as he was leading the franchise.

"Now everybody knows the standard that is set," Way said. "And I’m telling you, in and out, this dude went through a few slides, there was no ifs, ands or buts. There was no confusion. You could not have misunderstood."

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Sundberg agreed with Way's assessment.

"That is exactly how he comes across in person, too," the longest-tenured Redskin said. "Super nice guy, easy to talk to, you can sit and tell stories and laugh and that sort of thing. But when it comes to talking shop, he’s honest and I appreciate that about him. I want to know exactly what you’re looking for from me and how you want me to do it. If I can’t do it, that’s on me. But at least give me the opportunity to tell me every single thing that’s expected of me."

Rivera will be Sundberg's third full-time coach with the Burgundy and Gold, following Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden. Because the long snapper didn't leave the area until February, he had the chance to interact with Rivera face-to-face in the building. Those run-ins, as well as what Sundberg's seen online, have invigorated him.

"Any time you get new leadership," Sundberg said, "it should motivate you to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Was I a part of the problem or am I part of the solution?’"

In this virtual offseason, the two experienced specialists have actually found themselves acting like rookies at times. While both typically get to every team function early, they're making sure to really stay on top of that now. Way is even doing what he can to spruce up how he looks in front of his laptop.

"Five minutes before that meeting was supposed to start, I logged on, made sure my lighting was good, made sure there was not anything going down on this side," he said.

"He definitely gets that out of people," Sundberg added. "They want to make sure everything is perfect because they don’t want to come off the wrong way."

Rivera's job with the Redskins is going to be a demanding one. Washington is starting this decade on the heels of one of its worst ever, and he's being trusted to right the entire operation. 

Judging by these reviews, though, he's already pulled off one extremely challenging task, and that's holding a smooth Zoom meeting where what was supposed to be communicated was successfully communicated. If he can do that, then the whole winning football games thing should be a breeze.

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