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Zach Brown both right and wrong on football violence

Zach Brown both right and wrong on football violence

On Sunday afternoon, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was concussed on a vicious hit from Carolina Panthers linebacker.

It was the latest jarring visual, just a few weeks after Steelers' Ryan Shazier was taken to a hospital after suffering a horrific spinal injury as a result of a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Bengals in Week 13.

The hit on Adams once again launched a cavalcade of debate and discourse on player safety, the NFL's most divisive topic.

Zach Brown, who leads the Redskins in total tackles (127) and has more solo tackles than the next two on the list, is among those who believe there is too much complaining about injuries because big hits are part of the game. Brown missed the Redskins' Week 15 game against the Cardinals due to a list of nagging ailments but did weigh in on the debate regarding player safety.


So, OK. Zach Brown isn't technically wrong. Well, at least technically wrong about the first tweet. Pro football will always have violent collisions and gruesome injuries. Brown is absolutely right. 

But hits and injuries — in general — are not what's being discussed here. It's the reckless and very avoidable collisions that are at the heart of the issue.

This was not Adams' first injury sustained from an unnecessary hit. Bears' linebacker Danny Trevathan was suspended one game for a grizzly helmet-to-helmet hit on Adams in Week 4, which landed Adams in the hospital.

Most fans will agree that an NFL without monstrous hits is a much less fun, and entertaining product. But we can have our weekly dose of organized violence without the hospital visits.

Make no mistake about it: Zach Brown is a ferocious athlete. He's the type of football player who would have been just as successful in the days of wedge blocks and clothesline tackles as he is today. Nobody is telling players like Zach Brown to stop being ferocious. The dialogue is being opened in hopes of getting players to use their head — and not for hits. 

But to many, discourse about safety is a blow to manhood. Any attempt to make the game safer is an attempt to make the players less manly. And that is not the case.


The best tacklers — like Brown — are the ones who grab ahold of their opposition, the players who always aim for the numbers. There are few visuals more disappointing to a football fan than a linebacker or defensive back missing a tackle because they darted forward with their head lowered, like a projectile. The hits that result in embarrassment or a trip to the hospital is the hit that need to be eliminated from the game.

We should not want Zach Brown, or any NFL player, to do their job with less ferocity.

But we should want NFL players to not have to get sent off to the hospital every week.

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 


Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016


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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 



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