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NFL Storylines after Week 5: A brutal season for kickers continues

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USA Today

NFL Storylines after Week 5: A brutal season for kickers continues

Despite a 24-point loss on Monday Night Football, the Redskins remain in first place in the NFC East.

Is the NFC East the new AFC South? Are the Browns back? Will the Rams or Chiefs shut up Mercury Morris?

Let’s take a look at the top storylines in the NFL after Week 5. 

Biggest Week 5 NFL Storylines

1. Eagles are still hungover

It didn’t seem like the Eagles partied as hard as the Capitals did following their championship but it certainly looks that way after five weeks. Philadelphia is 2-3 and is also need of a running back (Jay Ajayi is out for the season with a torn ACL).

Even with Ajayi on the field, the Eagles struggled to score. Philadelphia has not scored more than 24 points in any of their games. Last season, they scored 24 or more points in 12 games. 

That all being said, the Eagles remain just a ½ game back of the Redskins for first place in the NFC East. 

2. Champagne remains on ice

There is still plenty of time for the 1972 Miami Dolphins to pop some bubbly but through five weeks there is a pair of unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL, the Chiefs and the Rams. 

Handing the keys to Patrick Mahomes has worked out quite well for the Chiefs. Mahomes finally threw an interception in the Chiefs’ win over the Jaguars on Sunday (he actually threw two). Still, a 14-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio is quite solid.

Remember when we thought Jared Goff was bust? Well, he’s not. Goff leads the NFL in passing yards and is a budding superstar. The Rams have an embarrassment of riches on offense and Sean McVay (I know it hurts Redskins fans) can do no wrong orchestrating things on the sidelines.

The surprising part has been the Rams defense has struggled over the past two weeks, allowing to 31 points in Vikings and Seahawks.

3. Everyone is a winner!

Do the 2017 Browns and 2008 Lions celebrate when the final NFL team gets a win? Probably not.

But if they did, they would have celebrated on Sunday because the Arizona Cardinals notched their first win of the season, a 28-18 victory of the 49ers. 

When will the Rams officially clinch the NFC West? L.A. is three games up on 2-3 Seattle. Both Arizona and San Francisco are 1-4.

I think it’s safe to say the Rams are going to win this division.

4. BREAKING NEWS: The Patriots will be fine

Back-to-back losses had the hot takers proclaiming the Patriots were dead.

When are they going to stop doing that? Over the past two weeks, the Patriots destroyed the Dolphins and scored 38 points in a win over the Colts on Thursday night.

Will the Patriots win another Super Bowl this year? I don’t know. But we do have to remember their house remains the nicest in an ugly neighborhood (that's an analogy for the AFC East being bad). 

Another January game in Foxboro seems likely.

5. What happened to Dak Prescott?

It wasn’t that long ago when Dak could do no wrong. After taking over for the injured Tony Romo, Prescott helped lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and a NFC East title. He was selected to go to the Pro Bowl and was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Now, Prescott ranks No. 24 in passing yards and is among the worst in completion percentage (61.8%). 

After the 2016 season, people would have looked at you like you had three heads if you told them that Jared Goff would be better than Prescott.

Dak is not Dallas' only problem. The Cowboys have a lot of issues including a head coach that decided to punt the ball away at the opponent’s 42-yard line in overtime.

This does not look like a team that will win more than five or six games.

6. Kickers. 

It has been an odd season for kickers. Daniel Carlson and Zane Gonzalez both lost their jobs after dreadful performances in Week 2. On Sunday, former Redskins kicker Graham Gano made a game-winning field goal from 63 yards in Carolina! Panthers QB Cam Newton said of his kicker, "A wise man once told me great quarterbacks are only as good as their kicker."

Then there was Packers veteran kicker Mason Crosby. He missed four field goals and an extra point in the Green Bay’s 31-23 loss to the Lions. Crosby became the first kicker to miss four field goals and an extra point in the same game since the Raiders' Cole Ford in 1997, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. As of now, the Packers are going to stick with Crosby.

And who said kicks need to be pretty to be effective…

Week 6 will be here before we now it and it will certainly bring us a whole new slew of storylines. 

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.

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Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

There's a reason the Redskins invested their No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in quarterback Dwayne Haskins: They expect him to be their franchise quarterback of the future.

His former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also believes Haskins has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.

Appearing on the Bow Tie Chronicles Podcast, Meyer praised Haskins, calling him the "most accurate passer I've ever had."

Haskins' numbers from his lone season as the starter at Ohio State support Meyer's claim. He completed 70.0 percent of his passes, which was best in the Big Ten this past season. He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for 4,831 yards, more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. Additionally, Haskins broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, as Haskins tossed 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

Although he only had one season as the Buckeyes starter, it is not unreasonable to say that Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history.  

So, it makes sense that Meyer had only positive things to say about Haskins.

"He's going to be great," Meyer said on the podcast. "He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it."

The Redskins begin training camp on July 25th, and Haskins will be in an open competition with Case Keenum for the starting quarterback position.

NBC Sports Washington's J.P. Finlay noted that during minicamp, Keenum did look like the better option at times. But that does not necessarily mean that Keenum will be the Week 1 starter. Head coach Jay Gruden already announced that Haskins will have the chance to win the job.

There's no secret that Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback very soon. It's a matter of when he becomes the starting QB, not if. How quickly that happens is up to Haskins and his progression.

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