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Need to Know: Tale of the tape — Redskins vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Tale of the tape — Redskins vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 12, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Talking Points

Here is how the Redskins stack up against the Panthers, position by position:

Quarterback
The chances are good that Alex Smith will bounce back after a very disappointing outing against the Saints. His 2018 numbers are almost identical to those of the Panthers’ Cam Newton. Although Smith can run some, Newton’s average of nearly five yards per carry and three TDs give him the edge. 

Slight advantage Panthers

Running Back
This is really a two for one comparison. For the Redskins, Adrian Peterson covers first and second downs and Chris Thompson comes in for passing situations. For Carolina, Christian McCaffrey does it all. No other running back on the team has more than 16 rushing attempts or one reception. McCaffrey may be more effective than either Redskin individually but the combination favors Washington. 

Slight advantage Redskins

Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tight end Greg Olson may play for the Panthers for the first time this year after recovering from a broken foot. Even if he is effective he will be just the third-best TE on the field behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. There are plenty of complaints about the Redskins wide receiver corps, but the Panthers top trio of Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, and Jarius Wright hasn’t been much more productive. 

Advantage Redskins

Offensive line
Panthers center Ryan Kalil has a couple of first-team All-Pro entries on his resume, and even at age 33, he’s a solid center. Right guard Trai Turner has been to the last three Pro Bowls. The rest of the line, with Chris Clark and Taylor Moton at the tackle spots and Greg Van Roten at left guard, is nothing special. The Redskins are better at three of the five spots, giving them the edge here. 

Advantage Redskins

Defensive Front Seven
Here the edge swings back to the Panthers. You have to like how the Redskins’ interior line is coming along but Carolina defensive tackles Kawaan Short and Dontari Poe have been doing it well for a long time. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the business when healthy and he appears to be good to go now. The Redskins have the better edge rushers, assuming Preston Smith gets rolling. Maybe the Washington D-line can make some noise in this game but for now, Carolina is the better unit. 

Advantage Panthers

Secondary
Even after the debacle against Drew Brees and the Saints, the Redskins are still in the top 10 in pass defense DVOA, sitting in tenth at -0.6%. The Panthers are near the bottom of the league at 27th with a DVOA of 23.3% (remember that lower/negative numbers are better in defensive DVOA). Assuming that Josh Norman is able to pull it back together, the Redskins have a solid advantage here. 

Advantage Redskins

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The agenda

Today: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 2:00

Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 2 days; Cowboys @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Giants 16


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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. 

RELATED: REDSKINS MINORITY OWNERS REPORTEDLY COULDN'T GET SNYDER TO SELL

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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