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5 observations from Redskins' 42-24 win over Packers

5 observations from Redskins' 42-24 win over Packers

Here are five observations from Redskins 42, Packers 24:

—These Redskins aren’t just tough, they’re talented. Kirk Cousins, their $20 million franchise tagged quarterback is capable tossing deep dimes in on a cold, windy night. Josh Norman, $15 million per year cornerback forced a fumble that let his team seal the game. Two receivers, veteran Pierre Garçon and second-year player Jamison Crowder, caught a few of Cousins deep passes and they each went over 100 yards receiving. Jordan Reed chipped in with some key catches. DeSean Jackson, who hasn’t been heard from much lately, caught a pass for the game’s first touchdown. And Rob Kelley, the undrafted rookie, got his first 100-yard rushing game since high school. Yes, they win by being scrappy but they also win because they have some pretty damn good football players.

—Jay Gruden showed that he has great onio—, well, intestinal fortitude. With the game on the line with just over six minutes left and the Redskins leading by five Gruden decided to go for it on fourth and one at the Washington 41. If they don’t get it, Aaron Rodgers, who had led long Packers touchdown drives on each of his team’s two previous possessions, would have had a short field to work with. Gruden would have opened to door to all manner of criticism. But Cousins got it on a sneak. Three plays later Cousins dropped one of those dimes into Crowder, who was tripped up at the one after a 53-yard gain. Rob Kelley scored on the next play. Gruden said that it was just a half a yard and the he didn’t want to punt into the wind.

—Somehow Garçon has been thought of as the forgotten man on the offense even though he came into the game on pace to catch 75 passes for about 800 yards. But that notion is now exposed as a myth as he hauled in six passes for 116 yards including a 70-yard touchdown. He’s now one reception behind Reed for the team lead and about 45 yards behind team leader Crowder in receiving yards. If he ever really was overlooked he is forgotten no more.

—Kelley keeps on being a difference maker. In three games as the starter he has 321 yards on the ground, a 4.9-yard average per carry, and four touchdowns. Oh, and no fumbles. You keep on thinking that the magic might wear off at some point and early in the game when he was caught for a few negative carries—something he had rarely done even before he became a starter—it looked like it might not be his day. But he recovered from the slow start and clinched the game with a 66-yard run, a gallop that set up his third rushing touchdown of the day. He has a firm grip on the starting job. “It would be tough to get him out of there now,” said Gruden.

—I’m not sure how much of a “jinx” playing in prime time really is for the Redskins. The whole concept reached the point of near absurdity this past week when some younger Redskins players were being asked by the media to analyze the results of games that were played when they were in grade school. I have a feeling that as long as this team continues to improve their record in night games also will get better.

MORE: Cousins to Redskins GM: "How you like me now?"

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Redskins players concerned over COVID but focused on playing football

Redskins players concerned over COVID but focused on playing football

Redskins rookie wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden tested positive for the Coronavirus back in March. He fully recovered and the virus is not expected to impact his 2020 season whatsoever.

That might be the only thing Coronavirus won’t impact though.

NFL fans, and Redskins fans particularly, need to prepare for a weird, if not tumultuous, 2020 season. The NFL is admirably pushing forward with their 2020 season but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more players, coaches and staffers that test positive for COVID-19.

"We fully well expect that we will have positive cases that arise," NFL chief doctor Allen Sills said earlier this month.

"We think that this disease will remain endemic in society," Sills continued, "it shouldn't be a surprise that new positive cases arise."

Inevitability.

That’s the world the NFL will enter, eventually, when players, coaches and full staffs start to reconvene, none of which is unique to the NFL.

Coronavirus is everywhere. That’s the world. The NFL exists in that world.

Fans got to enjoy free agency and the NFL Draft, but those events largely took place in a virtual world. Little human interaction required.

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Actual football, however, requires significant human interaction.

The truth of inevitability is that eventually there will be more positive tests. For some players, that’s not particularly troubling.

“I really don’t have any concerns. I just want to get back to playing,” Redskins safety Landon Collins said last week.

Still, the focus remains on health and safety, for football players and for the country at large.

"First things first, you definitely want to be safe. But as far as moving forward, I mean I have full faith in our medical staff, so I mean, it’s really what they determine and what the NFL determines is safe for us to move forward," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said.

"That’s really all I can think about, it’s just so much for one person to even try to comprehend that it’s not even worth it, you know?"

Allen is right. 

This virus and the international chaos it has created really are incomprehensible. It seems like there are few facts out there but plenty of rumors and noise.

In the football world, however, one thing seems clear. Players want to play.

"I’m definitely hoping to play the season which I think we will," Allen said, "I couldn’t imagine us not playing a season."

In the NFL it seems almost a certainty there will be a season. But with the inevitability of more positive COVID-19 tests, how that season will play out remains a mystery. 

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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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