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Redskins schedule Preview: Week 5 at Saints

Redskins schedule Preview: Week 5 at Saints

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, the New Orleans Saints. 

Week 4, October 8 (Monday night football), Mercedes Benz Superdome

2017 Saints: 11-5, first in NFC South 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9.5

Early line: Redskins +7.5

Key additions: TE Benjamin Watson, CB Patrick Robinson, DE Marcus Davenport

Key losses:S Rafael Bush, WR Willie Snead

Notable: QB Drew Brees was slated to be a free agent but he re-signed with the Saints; RB Mark Ingram reportedly will be suspended for the first four games, pending appeal. The game against the Redskins is the fifth of the season for New Orleans so Ingram will be eligible.  

Biggest questions: 

  • How will they survive the loss of Ingram if he loses his appeal? Alvin Kamara was terrific as a rookie, but he didn’t have more than 12 carries in a game and he had single digit carries in 11 games.
  • How much will Davenport, who cost the Saints their No. 1 picks this year and next, help a pass rush that was pretty good without him last year (42 sacks, T-seventh in NFL)?
  • Will Father Time ever catch up with Brees, who is 39?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 17-9; Washington has a 3-2 edge in the last five meetings.

Series notables

The first time: September 24, 1967, Tulane Stadium — Rookie running back Ray McDonald ran for 98 yards and three touchdowns to spur the Redskins to the win. A 40-yard touchdown pass from Sonny Jurgensen to Charley Taylor gave the Redskins a 20-10 halftime, lead and McDonald’s final touchdown run, from 15 yards out, clinched the 30-10 win for Washington.

The last time: November 11, 2017, Mercedes Benz Superdome — You really don’t want the details on this debacle, do you? If you’re into that sort of thing, here’s my account I wrote as the game unfolded

The best time: September 9, 2012, Superdome — Nobody knew quite what to expect out of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III as he made his NFL debut. The answer came late in the first quarter when he found Pierre Garçon on a slant for 88 yards and a touchdown. The rookie was simply spectacular. That could apply both to Griffin, who complete 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two TDs, and running back Alfred Morris, who rolled for 96 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. It all added up to a 40-32 Redskins win. 

The worst time: See “The last time” above.

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Three up, three down
- The draft: Grading the Redskins' draft
- The future: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- The buzz: Redskins part ways with long-time executive

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

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UA Today Sports

Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

The Justice Department charged Clinton Portis and nine other former NFL players with defrauding a health care program for retired players.

The news broke Thursday morning when the Eastern District of Kentucky alleged that the retired players submitted fraudulent claims for medical equipment costing between $40,000-50,000 to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. 

Former Redskins cornerback and first-round pick Carlos Rogers is also charged along with Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt. Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell are also expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Portis' attorney Mark Dycio said of the charges (via The Washington Post): "Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal. He is completely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni."

According to the indictment, the claims filed between June 2017 and December 2018 totaled $3.9 million and the health care plan paid out more than $3.4 million.

Portis played seven years for the Redskins from 2004 to 2010, rushing for nearly 7,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. He remains a fan favorite and currently works for the Redskins Broadcast Network. 

A Redskins spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Stay tuned as this is a developing story. 

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The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

No matter how you break it down — by quarter, by month, by time of day, by location, by whether the opponent has an animal mascot or a human mascot — the numbers show that the Redskins have a really ineffective offense. Currently, they're last in the NFL in points per game and yards per game.

They're bad all the time, honestly.

However, they're downright atrocious when it comes to their opening drives.

In Week 1 against the Eagles, the Redskins scored a touchdown on their opening possession. It was fun. The players had fun. The fans had fun. Everybody had fun.

But since then, they haven't notched a single TD on a first drive. In fact, they haven't converted a field goal, either.

Overall, in their 13 game-opening possessions on the year, Washington has that single end zone trip to go along with a missed kick, seven punts, two fumbles and two interceptions (one of which was taken back for a score).

What's the opposite of coming out hot? The 2019 Redskins' offense.

"I'm tired of the slow starts, our guys are, too," Bill Callahan said Wednesday. "That's the goal of the first drive of the game — try to jump ahead, get ahead, find a way to get on the board early. We haven't succeeded at that." 

The issue is registering with Dwayne Haskins, too. So, what can they possibly do to try to improve?

"Just trying to figure out a way we can move the ball early, not getting behind the chains, finding lanes and getting the ball out fast," the quarterback said. "It helps our defense when we come off fast and move the ball down the field and not put them in a tough scenario with having a short field."

Many have complained about the offense's run-first approach being too predictable under Callahan, and that's something that could be plaguing them at the beginning of their contests. Since he took over as interim coach, for example, the offense has run the ball on their first snap in six-of-eight matchups, including four-out-of-five with Haskins under center.

Of course, this is an area where Jay Gruden struggled as well, but his tendencies weren't as obvious. Plus, and yes, this is minutiae now, he did call two play-action shots in Weeks 2 and 4 that schemed up wide-open receivers that Case Keenum simply missed. He was also in charge for that lone touchdown in Philly.

The most obvious explanation for the problem, however, is one that can explain a lot of things this season: an overall lack of talent. As mentioned at the start of the story, it's not like the offense gets into a rhythm at any point, so their numbers will be underwhelming in any situation or sample.

That said, even with an inexperienced and undermanned group, there should be more production than one TD in 13 chances. Callahan told the media that "we put a lot of thought, focus and concentration" into the early-game plan. Clearly, it's not paying off.

In many ways, the Redskins have fallen behind the rest of the NFL over the past few months. The stats above show that, at least in one way, that's literally very true.  

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