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Andre Roberts' drops are becoming a concern for Redskins

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Andre Roberts' drops are becoming a concern for Redskins

Andre Roberts’ struggles with dropped passes is becoming a concern for the Redskins after the wide receiver failed to haul in a catchable ball in the red zone Thursday night, Coach Jay Gruden acknowledged.

“I think he’s probably a little down that he’s had some drops,” Gruden said on a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. “He’s had, I think, two or three drops already this season. That’s uncharacteristic of Andre.”

Roberts had one reception (on three targets) for 18 yards in the Redskins’ 32-21 loss to the Giants. The drop came in the fourth quarter as Washington scrambled to get back into a lopsided game. Down 25-6 with about 11 minutes left to play, quarterback Kirk Cousins made an on-target thrown to Roberts, who was crossing the middle of the field near the New York 12-yard line. But Cousins’ pass—on first and 10—slipped through Roberts’ fingers and the drive ended three plays later with a Matt Jones’ fumble at the goal line.   

Jones’ fumbling issues aside, that drive may have turned out differently had Roberts secured the pass and gotten inside the five.

Roberts has been credited with two drops this season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Last year, Roberts reeled in only half of his targets (36 of 72) and dropped a team-worst seven passes, also according to PFF.

“We expect more out of Andre,” Gruden said, “but he has done some good things, especially in the running game. He’s headed up on people, blocking for our backs which is a very important part…There are some good things that he’s done, but obviously he is a wide receiver and wide receivers should not drop that many balls. He’s already had three too many, so that’s something that’ll be addressed and talked about.”

Gruden added: “He’s frustrated but he’s going to work his tail off, he said, and get himself ready for the last 13 games.”

In three games this season, Roberts has five catches on eight targets for 54 yards and three first downs. With DeSean Jackson out with an injury, Roberts’ 154 snaps are second on the Redskins among wide receivers behind Pierre Garcon’s 184.

Roberts has already been replaced as the team's primary returner. And if he doesn’t find a cure for his problem with drops, he may start losing playing time on offense, as well. 

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The Kapri Bibbs touchdown vs. the Cowboys was the very definition of team football

The Kapri Bibbs touchdown vs. the Cowboys was the very definition of team football

The obsession over how football is a team game, and how all 11 guys on the field matter on every single play, can be nauseating at times.

Plenty of things in an NFL contest happen because of one player beating another player. In other instances, it's about a single dude just absolutely screwing everything up all on his own (most often that dude is Blake Bortles).

But on Kapri Bibbs' 23-yard opening-drive touchdown catch vs. the Cowboys in Week 7, a ton of non-ball-carrying Redskins did in fact chip in to help get Bibbs into the end zone. It was one of those plays that just makes you want to scream FOOTBALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

The first two 'Skins who deserve recognition on the score are Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff.

Lauvao, who was returning from injury, leaked out with Scherff and Chase Roullier to serve as Bibbs' personal, giant escorts to the goal line. He then showed excellent awareness to peel back and seal off Dallas D-linemen Antwaun Woods, which ended any hopes of a Cowboy catching Bibbs from behind.

The true hero, though, was Scherff. The human wood chipper got pieces of two opposing linemen before breaking out to the next level, diving and knocking Kavon Frazier out of Bibbs' path. Without Scherff's insane effort, the screen pass doesn't even result in positive yardage, let alone six points.

Here's a still image of the first two, key blocks:

Large Redskins weren't the only ones getting the job done in hand-to-hand combat, however. For a screen to elevate itself from solid play to major chunk play, you need receivers doing work well past the line of scrimmage, too.

Well, this screenshot of Josh Doctson and Brian Quick holding blocks at the sticks definitely qualifies as doing work:

And, lastly, there's the center, Roullier. The man who started the entire sequence with a snap from the 23-yard line eventually found himself at the 12, displacing Byron Jones to ensure that the home team's tailback would finish things dancing instead of getting up from the ground:

To enjoy the full FOOTBALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!-ness of the six-pointer, head to the 23-second mark of this video. Then, take a moment to reflect on all those poor Cowboys who thought they were going to tackle Kapri Bibbs throughout the course of that highlight, because they never really had a chance and that's just so sad for them.

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What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

FEDEX FIELD -- Late in the Redskins win over the Cowboys, when the contest was still very much in question, Alex Smith made an incredibly poor decision. 

It was situational football at its peak. The Redskins had the ball with under 90 seconds left and a three point lead while Dallas had just one timeout left. A first down would end the game, but beyond getting a new set of downs, forcing Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to use his final timeout was the next highest priority. 

Somehow, Smith achieved neither. 

On third-and-9 from his own 36-yard-line, Smith took the snap and worked left on a play-action bootleg. There was room to run for a modest gain, but it seemed obvious Smith would not pick up the first down. 

Only Smith didn't see it that way. 

"I knew a first down would end the game and I did have glimpses of myself getting the first down whatever it took," the quarterback said. 

Instead of getting the first down, Smith got dragged out of bounds by Dallas LB Sean Lee. That stopped the clock for the Cowboys, and allowed Garrett to save his final timeout. 

Barring a turnover, it was the worst possible outcome on the play. 

What makes the situation so strange is that Smith is a very smart player. A 14-year veteran, Smith is known as a guy that won't make mistakes to hurt his team and gives his squad a chance for a win every week. Only late in the game, Smith tried to make the play to go for the win, and made a huge mistake instead. 

"I all of a sudden found myself pretty awkward on the sidelines there and can’t have it," Smith said. "[I] could have obviously cost us the game in hindsight at that point, I think kinda abandon ship and go down there on the sideline.”

The good news for Smith, and for the 4-2 Redskins, is that Cowboys kicker Brett Maher plunked the upright on his game-tying field goal attempt. An attempt that might not have happened if Smith stayed in bounds. 

In the end, it didn't cost the Redskins. 

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