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6 observations from Redskins' loss to Carolina on Monday night

6 observations from Redskins' loss to Carolina on Monday night

Here are my six observations from the Redskins’ loss to the Panthers:

—Sometimes you think you have everything figured out and then something like this happens. One of the league’s best passing offenses had one of its worst days of the year against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. If Kirk Cousins wasn’t misfiring on what appeared to be easy chances, receivers were dropping is passes. They couldn’t get a rushing game going (29 yards on 13 carries) so they were constantly in third and long. But maybe that didn’t matter much since they couldn’t convert on third and short, either. On the day they were two of 12 in third-down conversions.

—The defense gave up a lot of yards, 438 to be exact, and they by no means had a winning effort. But it should be noted that the offense did them no favors, committing turnovers that gave the Panthers the ball at the Washington 24 and the Washington one. Those turnovers accounted for 10 of the 26 points they gave up. Again, it was by not a good night by the defense but offensive miscues added to the problems.

—Part of the reason the result of this game was so surprising was that last year they got wins when they really needed them. The same in their last playoff run in 2012. They had a chance to make a playoff appearance a near certainty with a struggling team coming into town and they couldn’t get it done. Actually, this game and the Cardinals game were similar. Both teams were struggling but had many of the same players that made them the NFC finalists last year. Against the Redskins, they came through.

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—One bright spot was DeSean Jackson. He made two catches along the sideline that were so incredible that the officials didn’t believe that he caught them. It took Jay Gruden throwing the red flag twice for them to properly be called receptions. He had 111 receiving yards on 7 receptions, none of them for more than 23 yards. Lately he has had an impact but mostly for catching just one deep pass per game. Tonight we got the other side of Jackson and he helped keep the Redskins in the game.

—I don’t think that Jordan Reed should have played last week or this week. His appearance in Philadelphia last week was brief and ineffective. Tonight the Panthers tried to bang him on the injured shoulder and that led to him losing his temper and getting tossed out of the game. It’s great for him to want to play through pain while the team is fighting for the playoffs but maybe they would have been better off with him resting until he can be effective.  

—The Redskins again get the short end of the stick on the schedule. After tonight they have to travel to Chicago to play on Christmas Eve giving them just four days between games. They played on a Sunday night before traveling to Dallas to play on Thanksgiving. It’s true that somebody had to play Monday night before playing on Saturday, which is when most Week 16 games will be played. But did they have to send them on the road on the short week again?

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Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

There has been plenty of speculation as to why new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera decided to hire Scott Turner as offensive coordinator, and now a source tells NBC Sports Washington the answer is simple. 

Turner won the job competition. 

Many expected 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to maintain his position when the team hired Rivera as their new head coach earlier this month. That didn't happen. 

As Rivera moved quickly to assemble his coaching staff, the biggest question seemed to be running the offense and working with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Rivera interviewed O'Connell and Turner for the job, and asked to interview former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. 

Shurmur declined the interview, and at that point, a source explained that Rivera then made his decision to go with Turner over O'Connell. 

So why Turner? 

Both candidates got their first experience calling plays last year after an in-season firing to the head coach. The results weren't great for either coach, but Turner's game plans involved more play action passing than O'Connell. 

Turner's resume working with Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater mattered, as did the plan Turner presented for working with Haskins. 

It's important to note that Rivera had years of experience working with Turner, as well as his father Norv Turner. That mattered too, and one source explained Rivera "believed" in Turner. 

While O'Connell landed in a strong spot as offensive coordinator for the Rams, he won't be calling plays. Coaches don't like giving up control, particularly offensive coaches giving up play calling. For O'Connell, maybe that will change in LA, but it will take time. 

Some Redskins fans have a bad habit of assuming the worst. That maybe Turner got the job because O'Connell passed on it. That's not the case, per multiple sources.

Ron Rivera wanted his guy, and that's why Turner got the job. 

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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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