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Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Three takeaways from Sean Davis' first media session as a Redskin

Like many of the Redskins new free agent signings, safety Sean Davis held an introductory phone call with local media on Wednesday, as any normal press conference will unlikely be happening in the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the call, Davis answered questions about his role with the Redskins will be, what the free agency process was like, and his excitement to be with the Burgundy and Gold, among other topics.

Here are three major takeaways from his conference call.

1. He's completely healthy.

During the first three seasons of his career, Davis was very durable. The safety missed just one game between 2016-2018 while starting in 40 of them.

But during the Steelers Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots, Davis suffered a shoulder injury, one that cost him the rest of his 2019 season. 

Davis was asked very early on during the conference call how his shoulder is currently feeling, and the safety's answer should please many Redskins fans.

"My shoulder’s good," Davis said. "I passed my physical, so I’m feeling strong, feeling great and I’m ready to get back on the football field. My shoulder is doing good."

It's worth wondering if the Steelers would have tried to Davis, should he had been healthy during the final season of his rookie deal. The Redskins jumped on Davis in free agency, signing him to a one-year contract, essentially a prove-it deal for the safety just hours after the new league year began. Should the 26-year-old have a bounce-back season and stay healthy in 2020, he'll set himself up for a nice payday next year.

2. Davis models his game after the late Sean Taylor.

It was a little ironic that Davis was introduced to the local media on April 1, the same day Sean Taylor was born 37 years ago. Davis, who grew up a Redskins fan in Prince George's County, said Taylor had -- and still has -- a major influence on his game.

"He was probably the biggest influence on my football game," Davis said of Taylor. "I’ve been wearing 21 since high school. I had to wear 28 for Pittsburgh my first two years, but once 21 opened up it was a no-brainer I had to jump on it. He was just an awesome player, a huge role model."

Davis won't sport No. 21 in Washington, as that number has been off-limits since Taylor's tragic death in 2007. While the newest Redskins safety will have to choose another number (No. 28 has also not been worn by any Redskins player since Darrell Green), Davis hopes he can have an impact on the field in a way Taylor once did.

"He was just a beast, he was the best and I’ve tried to emulate my game after him," Davis said. "He instilled fear in the receivers, he was doing everything imaginable, so he was really a freak athlete and I just try to do what I’m supposed to do, but also unleash the inner beast in me and play like Sean Taylor. That’s my goal every week I’m out there, play like Sean."

3. Davis has played multiple positions and sees his versatility as a strength.

Davis, like many of the Redskins free agent signings this offseason, has experience playing multiple positions. In Pittsburgh, Davis played both safety positions -- each for a full season as a starter -- and played a little cornerback, too.

"I have played a lot of positions. I just like being on the field, honestly," Davis said. "I feel like I can play any position you really want me to. As long as I’m on the field, I feel like I’m going to make an impact on defense."

The Redskins expect Davis to play free safety, as Landon Collins will play the strong safety role lining up closer to the line of scrimmage. However, Davis and Collins both have experience playing all over the field, allowing the Burgundy and Gold to get creative with their looks next season.

"I’m just looking forward to being the deep guy, being the one that everyone has to depend on," Davis said on playing free safety.

Since Davis moved from strong safety to free safety in 2018, one aspect of his game he's really focused on is making open-field tackles. He'll likely have plenty of opportunities to make those with the Redskins next season.

"Being the last line of defense, open-field tackling – it’s one of the hardest things in football and it’s one thing that I pride myself on," he said. "Each year, I’ve missed less tackles. I’m just looking forward to improving my game each and every year and the best is yet to come."

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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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