The Redskins wont catch the Saints without their best player when the two teams open their NFL seasons in the Superdome on Sept. 9.Drew Brees is getting paid.The quarterback and the team avoided what could have been an ugly holdout by agreeing to a five-year, 100 million contract. The deal with first reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN and has been confirmed by others.What is eye popping about this deal is that it will pay him 40 million this year in a combination of salary and bonuses. That surpasses the record 37.5 million first-year payout set by the Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata last year.The deal contains 60 million guaranteed over the first three years.The Saints had tagged Brees as their franchise player. There were reports that Brees would not report to camp under the franchise tender and that his holdout might linger into the season.If it went even one game into the season, that would have benefitted the Redskins, who will likely be debuting promising rookie Robert Griffin III. As good as Griffin might be down the road, the presence of one of the games truly elite quarterbacks will be quite an advantage for the home team on Sept. 9.The Saints will be dealing with some adversity even with Brees in the fold. Head coach Sean Peyton was suspended for the entire season due to the teams bounty scandal and interim coach Joe Vitt will also be out for the opener due to his role in that.
As attendance slumps at FedEx Field this season it's become quite clear the Redskins need a new stadium. By all accounts the team is working hard towards that end.
News emerged last week that the Redskins are working with the Trump administration and D.C. government officials to get back to the RFK Stadium site. It's far from a done deal, but there is some progress.
Fans remember RFK fondly, as it was the site of the team's greatest seasons. Every Super Bowl team the Redskins ever fielded called the East Capitol Street stadium home.
Since 1997, however, the Redskins have played at FedEx Field in Maryland, and it appears Governor Larry Hogan doesn't want to lose the team either. Speaking with reporters, Hogan revealed his plans to get a new stadium adjacent to the MGM National Harbor casino in Oxon Hill.
The Washington Post reported that Hogan has begun the process of a potential "land swap" with the federal government. Maryland would surrender lands in the western portion of the state in return for the parcel of land next to the casino to develop a new Redskins stadium.
Nothing is official, but conversations have been ongoing between the Hogan administration and the Department of the Interior. There is one important caveat, however, that Hogan wanted to make clear.
"We are not going to build a billionaire’s stadium, either,” Hogan said. “We have no interest whatsoever, and there have been no discussions, ever, about us spending one penny in construction."
The Redskins' lease at FedEx Field runs through 2027, but sources have told NBC Sports Washington that if the team builds a new stadium in Prince Georges County, those terms could change. The Oxon Cove site would be in Prince Georges County.
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The Redskins average fewer than 20 points-per-game. The Redskins rank 27th in the NFL in yards-per-game. The stats are bad for the Washington offense, and watching the games, it makes sense.
For a Jay Gruden team, it's odd that the Redskins can't move the ball. Even when Alex Smith was healthy at quarterback, the offense still struggled.
Watching the games all season, the offense has often been ugly. On Wednesday, Gruden revealed what he believes to be the root cause for the problems.
"The big thing is we have way, way too many negative runs. Negative runs have been the death, that and penalties, both of those two things have been the curse of this offense and that kills our drives, that kills our momentum, that kills our ability to call plays, keeping everything open in the playbook," Gruden said.
The coach isn't wrong.
The Redskins have 24 false start penalties in 13 games, 2nd in the NFL. The Redskins have 27 offensive holding penalties, the most in the NFL.
Penalties have been a persistent problem all season, as have the negative runs.
Using data from the NFL, the Redskins have 19 negative rushes when they run to the right. That's tied for the worst in the league. The Redskins have another 26 negative runs to the center or left of the offensive line.
Teams can't win when they don't run the football, and the Redskins can't run the football with their current penalty problems and negative plays.
"When you have second and 18, and third and 15, your playbook goes down," Gruden said. "When you're first and 10, second and six and third and two, everything is open and we haven’t had that luxury."
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