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The Redskins' secondary put together their best game of the season in Josh Norman's absence

The Redskins' secondary put together their best game of the season in Josh Norman's absence

For much of the 2019 season, the Redskins secondary has been bad. Really, really bad. 

DeSean Jackson torched them for 150 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Washington allowed some guy named Devin Smith, who had just 12 NFL catches prior to their Week 2 matchup with Dallas, to get behind the defense for a 51-yard TD. Chicago's Taylor Gabriel scored not once, not twice, but three times (!!!) against the Redskins in Week 3. Sam Darnold threw for a career-high four touchdowns in Week 11. The list keeps getting longer.

Washington came into the season with a new defensive backs coach, the highest-paid safety in NFL history, a former All-Pro cornerback and a couple of young players who were supposed to be on the verge of breaking out. What started with great promise turned into disappointment very quickly.

But finally, the Redskins secondary decided to show up in Week 12, and the unit was a major reason why the Burgundy and Gold came away with their second win of the season and first win at FedEx Field in 13 months.

Fabian Moreau, who started in place of Josh Norman, had the best game of his three-year career. He intercepted Lions' QB Jeff Driskel twice, with the latter coming in the closing seconds to seal the victory.

Driskel finished the day with 207 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.

"You have to take care of the ball," Driskel said. "Taking care of the football, that's first and foremost, which is the quarterback's job and I didn't do that today."

Moreau, a 6-foot cornerback, looked a lot more comfortable playing on the outside rather than in the slot, where he's played the majority of his snaps in 2019. He was quick to give credit to the rest of the defense for his strong individual performance.

"It's all about the other 10 players," Moreau said. "They played their hearts out today."

While the Redskins secondary as a unit has struggled this season, veteran Quinton Dunbar has been one of the few bright spots. The converted wide receiver has quietly put together a Pro Bowl-caliber season, and through 12 weeks, is Pro Football Focus' top-rated cornerback.

"[Quinton Dunbar] is the best cornerback in the league," Moreau said. "I'm just trying to be like him, learning from him."

With the game tied and less than two minutes remaining, Dunbar notched his fourth interception of the season.

The pick gave Washington great field position just shy of midfield. The drive resulted in a Dustin Hopkins 39-yard field goal, which proved to be the eventual game-winner.

"Just trying to make a play for my team in clutch situations," Dunbar said of his interception. "That's pretty much it."

During a team meeting on Saturday night, interim head coach Bill Callahan had a strong message for the team, challenging them to give a better effort than they showed during the Week 11 loss to New York. 

"I definitely knew we were going to [be fired up] today," Dunbar said. "In a team meeting yesterday, Coach Callahan ripped us apart and guys didn't take that too fairly and wanted to come out here and prove they were something he said that they weren't."

The Redskins responded, and it brought them a well-earned victory.

While Dunbar was pleased with how his squad responded to Callahan, he knows the team still has a long way to go. 

"It feels good [getting the win], but I'm not going to get complacent and I'm not going to let the guys get complacent, especially the guys in the defensive back group," he said. "I feel like it's my job to keep the guys on their heels."


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Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants."

That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic, and that they'd consult with local health officials.

This announcement comes two weeks after Packers CEO Mark Murphy had said that any Packers home games this year would include no more than 10,000-12,000 spectators, if any fans were allowed at all.

All other public areas at Lambeau Field, including parking lots, the pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame, will be closed during the home games that have no fans. The Titletown area surrounding Lambeau Field will remain open to the public, but no team-run, game-day activities will be planned.

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Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

As the Washington Football Team continues to ramp things up in training camp, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to officially name the team's starting quarterback.

However, for Team 980 radio host Kevin Sheehan, there's only one direction the team should go at the position.

"If he doesn't start September 13th against the Eagles, it's a major indictment on Dwayne Haskins," Sheehan said Thursday on Washington Talk & Friends.

In the QB room, there's Haskins, a first-round pick from a year ago that many expect to be the eventual starter. But Washington did trade this offseason for Kyle Allen, who has spent the past two seasons under Rivera and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera said that if there was no normal offseason program due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen would have a "leg up" on Haskins entering camp. 

Despite all that has transpired the past several months, Sheehan doesn't want the odd, pandemic-riddled offseason to be an excuse as to why Haskins shouldn't be the team's Week 1 starter.

"I don't care what anybody says about the offseason, minicamps and OTAs missing and Kyle Allen getting traded for, [Haskins] has got to be the guy," Sheehan said. 


Earlier this week, Rivera praised Haskins for how he's handled everything this offseason. He commended the passer for how much of the playbook he's already mastered, albeit that being less than three-quarters of it.

Rivera's ultimate decision for who the team's starter will be isn't just between Haskins and Allen. Besides those two young signal-callers, there's also another QB in the mix: veteran Alex Smith. The 35-year-old is currently on the active PUP list, but has been cleared by his personal doctors to return to football activities.

Smith's journey is remarkable. After nearly losing his leg (and maybe his life) from infections that occurred as a result of the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November of 2018, Smith has worked incredibly hard to return to football. 

Even if Smith does get the clearance from Washington team doctors, Sheehan doesn't envision a scenario where the quarterback takes a meaningful snap for Washington.

"I don't see Alex Smith taking anything other than, if he takes a snap on an NFL field, it'll be ceremonial," Sheehan said. "That's what I'm hoping for, too, but I hope he gets back to where he's cleared and then decides not to play."


When asked why he thinks Rivera has not come out and named Haskins the starter already, Sheehan explained that the second-year passer may benefit from believing he's in a competition.

On his radio show, Sheehan spoke to former Washington cornerback Shawn Springs, who happens to be one of Haskins' biggest mentors. Springs explained to him that Haskins may benefit from not being given the title of QB1 just yet.

"[Springs] really thinks that it's better if Dwayne perceives he's in a competition," Sheehan said. "Maybe Ron recognizes that, too."

While Haskins may not be the starter just yet, plenty of signs point towards the second-year passer being Washington's Week 1 starting quarterback. And that's exactly why Sheehan and many others in the D.C. area believe he is the best direction for the team to go.

"I think he's fearless," Sheehan said of Haskins. "This thing is not above him, it's not too much for him."

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