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Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders

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Cruz: Redskins not 'legitimate' contenders

Victor Cruz is going from being nice, feel-good story to being someone who is getting to be, well, annoying.

He was an undrafted free agent whose first attempt to make the Giants was lost due to injury. Last year he broke through in spectacular fashion, catching 82 passes for 1536 yards and nine touchdowns and the Giants won the Super Bowl.

But then, he decided that this one season was great enough for him to write a book about it. Then he filmed the soup commercials, which are aggravating no matter who does them (looking at you, Donovan). And now the salsa dance he does after scoring a touchdown has become a “thing” to the point where NBC piped the dance music they play at the stadium into our TV speakers after Cruz scored against the Packers Sunday night.

And now he thinks he is some sort of NFL personnel evaluator.

When New York reporters asked him if the Redskins were legitimate contenders for the playoffs, he said this:

They’re still a couple pieces away from actually being a contender, them being in legitimate talks for playoffs and things like that. They’re still a few pieces away whether it be defensively or wherever they are missing some pieces.

He did go on to say that the Redskins are “in the conversation” for the playoffs but apparently that talk is not “legitimate” in his eyes.

The Redskins, as anyone who watches them can see, are not a team without flaws. They do have some major holes. But Cruz really has no business judging whether or not the Redskins are a complete team. They beat his team twice last year and were within a minute and change of beating them again this year. If they are “a few pieces away” then one might conclude that the Giants are missing a few vital parts as well.

In fact, they are. New York won the Super Bowl last year with a sub-mediocre offensive line and with linebackers and defensive backs who wouldn’t be starters for many other NFL teams. They ranked 27th in yards allowed, 25th in points allowed, and were the only Super Bowl champs ever to be outscored during the regular season. Nobody is saying that they are not “legitimate” champions.

The 2012 Redskins are not the 2011 Giants but they are only one game out of the playoffs and one game behind where New York was after 11 games last year. Again, if the Redskins are not legitimate then you have to wonder if the Giants are.

I’m not sure why Cruz would choose to talk down his team’s upcoming opponent. One can only hope that his words come back to haunt him. Perhaps then he will go back to being the happy, humble guy who was such a great story a year ago.

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.