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Familiar problems haunt Redskins in opening loss

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Familiar problems haunt Redskins in opening loss

The Redskins gave the visiting Miami Dolphins all they could handle in their season opener. But their longtime issues with special teams cost them. Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Dolphins walked out of FedEx Field with a 17-10 victory. 

Key Moments: 

Kirk Cousins threw his first interception of the year in the second quarter, rolling to his right and apparently not seeing cornerback Brent Grimes, who jumped in front for the interception. But the Redskins defense stepped up. A nice tackle by Dashon Goldson on a pass to the sideline set up fourth and one. Lamar Miller tried to get the first down off left tackle but Ryan Kerrigan chased him down from the other side and made the tackle for no gain. The Redskins held on to their 3-0 lead. 

After taking possession at their 12, the Redskins embarked on a magnificent drive, covering 88 yards in 17 plays, chewing up over eight minutes of clock. Cousins capped it with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed to make it 10-0. But with less than two minutes left in the half, the Dolphins offense came to life and marched 80 yards to a three-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills to cut the lead to 10-3 at the half. 

After the Dolphins tied the game at 10 on a field goal, the Redskins went three and out, committing four penalties in the process. Landry took Tress Way’s 54-yard punt and headed up the middle, quickly finding some open spaces. It looked like Way had a bead on him but Landry put on a move and blew past him. That put Miami up 17-10 with 10 minutes left to play.

The Redskins had a chance to respond with their next drive but Brice McCain made a circus interception of a Cousins pass intended for Pierre Garçon. The Dolphins couldn’t get much going and punted back to the Redskins with 5 minutes left to play. 

The Redskins drove down to the Dolphins 20, mostly on the legs of Morris. But a Cousins pass went incomplete on third and seven setting up fourth and seven. Cousins was rushed hard and threw for Reed incomplete. 

Scoring drives: 

First quarter

FG Forbath 45 

Drive 12 plays, 53 yards, 7:21

Key plays: The Alfred Morris ran for 27 yards on 5 carries to keep the drive going. A third down conversion on a pass from Cousins to Jordan Reed kept the drive alive. A Jordan Phillips sack of Cousins in Miami territory stalled the drive and they had to settle for the field goal.

Redskins 3, Dolphins 0

Second quarter

Reed 4 passes from Cousins (Forbath kick)

Drive: 17 plays, 88 yards, 8:49

Key plays: After the defense stopped the Dolphins after the Cousins interception, the Redskins took over at their 12. They embarked on the longest drive they have had since 2012, with both Morris (5 carries 19 yards) and Matt Jones (6-29) picking up good chunks of yardage on the ground. A 22-yard pass from Cousins to Pierre Garçon helped things along. The score came on third and goal, with Reed hauling in the pass in the corner of the end zone.

Redskins 10, Dolphins 7

Stills 3 pass from Tannehill (Franks kick)

Drive 9 plays, 80 yards, 1:22

Key plays: Things got started with a 27-yard pass from Tannehill to Jordan Cameron.  A 15-yard penalty was tacked on to a pass from Tannehill to Greg Jennings, getting the Dolphins into scoring position. 

Redskins 10, Dolphins 7

Fourth quarter

FG Franks 22

Drive 10 plays, 76 yards, 4:21

Key plays: Lamar Miller runs of 13 and 17 yards got things going for the Dolphins. Miami got as close as a first and goal at the three but the defense stiffened. DeAngelo Hall made a tackle for a seven-yard loss from there and a delay of game penalty on third down made it goal to go at the 10. The Dolphins settled for three points.

Redskins 10, Dolphins 10

Landry 69 punt return (Franks kick)

Landry took Tress Way’s 54-yard punt and headed up the middle, quickly finding some open spaces. It looked like Way had a bead on him but Landry put on a move and blew past him. 

Players of the Game: 

Alfred Morris was a huge factor for the Redskins. He carried 25 times for 121 yards and helped the Redskins move the chains. 

On defense, rookie Preston Smith got a sack and strip of Tannehill and, after a wild scramble, he recovered the fumble. 

Injury Update: 

DeSean Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. He did not return.

S Duke Ihenacho left the game with a left wrist injury and went into the locker room. He did not return. 

CB DeAngelo Hall left the game with a rib injury in the second quarter but he returned after halftime. 

OT Morgan Moses left in the third quarter with an eye injury. He did return. 

From the Locker Room: Check back later for later for notes and quotes from the Redskins locker room.

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, defense

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 22, 66 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins player one-liners, defense

A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on defense; the offense was up yesterday

Defensive line

—Even though he played just 159 snaps last year before getting injured, the experience that Jonathan Allen gained in the offseason and training camp last year will help him get off to a strong start this season. 

—​Daron Payne will improve as the season goes on but he should be of some help stopping the run, the team’s most glaring weakness, right off the bat. 

—​Matt Ioannidis could play his way into an early contract extension a year from now, something nobody saw coming a year ago. 

—Last year Anthony Lanier played a little over half a season’s worth of snaps and got 5.0 sacks so I’ll put his over/under for this year at 7.5. 

—I think many fans see “Redskins veteran free agent D-lineman” and associate “bust” but Stacy McGee played pretty well last year. 

—Will Tim Settle be in at nose tackle for the first snap in Week 1?

—The coaches would like to be able to keep Ziggy Hood on the roster, but injuries and other issues could make him a victim of the roster numbers game. 

Inside linebackers

—​Zach Brown struggled a bit before injuries forced him out of the last three games, but he still finished in the top 10 in the NFL in tackles. 

—The team re-signing Mason Foster in late January was a low-key but potentially very impactful move. 

—After getting cut and then returning in November last year, Zach Vigil probably will be employed with the Redskins for all of the 2018 season. 

—It will be interesting to see how much the Redskins try to get out of converted safety Josh Harvey-Clemons as a nickel linebacker this year. 

—The Redskins moved up in the sixth round to draft Shaun Dion Hamilton, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he has a regular role on defense before the season is out. 

Outside linebackers

—All Preston Smith needs to do to hit it big in free agency is add a few sacks to his 2017 total and get a few more takeaways. 

—​Ryan Kerrigan already got paid, he’s a few more good years away from making the Redskins Ring of Fame. 

—I predict that Ryan Anderson gets his first NFL sack in Week 2 against the Colts. 

—You usually think of outside linebackers rotating in when it’s the nickel defense, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pernell McPhee be a regular in short-yardage situations. 

Cornerbacks

—I think Josh Norman will the dancing in the end zone at some this season; he is long overdue to get a pick six (or a pick of any sort for that matter).

—The first time I noticed Quinton Dunbar playing cornerback was when he lined up against Odell Beckham in 2015. 

—The success of the Redskins’ decisions to trade Kendall Fuller and to let Bashaud Breeland leave as a free agent will hinge mostly on how well Fabian Moreau plays in his second year in the NFL.

—Realistically, the Redskins can hope to get 10 or 12 good games out of Orlando Scandrick

—And because Scandrick is unlikely to be healthy for 16 games, the ability of Josh Holsey to step in when needed will be critical. 

—If the Redskins can get a few good punt returns and 75 snaps at nickel corner from Greg Stroman he will be worth the seventh-round pick they used to draft him. 

Safeties

—With a year in the defense under his belt, D.J. Swearinger is a candidate to make his first Pro Bowl. 

—After Jay Gruden compared him to Jordan Reed, there is a lot of pressure on Montae Nicholson to stay on the field and perform well when he is out there. 

—Even though he started eight games last year I think the coaches view Deshazor Everett as more of a special teams guy and situational defender than a safety they want playing 70 snaps a game. 

—​Troy Apke has a lot to learn and it remains to be seen if he can go from being a fast guy to being a fast NFL football player.

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 21
—Training camp starts (7/26) 66
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 80

The Redskins last played a game 142 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 110 days. 

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Trades, misses and mistakes explain the Redskins' dead cap situation

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Trades, misses and mistakes explain the Redskins' dead cap situation

Cut bait. Sunk cost. Under water. 

Whatever the term might be, all industries deploy a certain phrase for wasted money. In the NFL, that term is dead cap, or the salary cap space a team must allocate for a particular player that has been cut or traded. 

In the specific case of the Redskins, the team carries more than $5.2 millon in dead cap space. Where did it come from? Who's to blame? Let's take a look.

Terrell McClain ($3.75M) - The Redskins signed McClain away from the Cowboys early in the 2017 free agency period. The move wasn't quite a disaster, but it wasn't very good. Washington gave McClain a four-year deal worth $21 million, and paid out nearly $7.5 million for the 2017 season. McClain never played well for the Redskins, started just two games and this offseason he agreed to give up a significant chunk of guaranteed money. Without that move from McClain, this cap hit would have been much worse. 

Su'a Cravens ($711k) - The money isn't as big of a loss as the talent. The Redskins selected Cravens in the second round of the 2016 Draft and he showed promise as a rookie while also dealing with injuries. In 2017, however, things fell apart as Cravens dealt with a training camp injury, discussed retiring from football and eventually found himself on the reserved/left squad list for the season. Prior to the 2018 Draft, the Redskins worked a deal to send Cravens to Denver for an additional fifth round pick as well as swapping picks. 

Kendall Fuller ($360k) - A promising young cornerback, the Redskins traded Fuller to Kansas City this offseason as part of a package to acquire QB Alex Smith. Losing Fullers stings — even head coach Jay Gruden admitted that — but Washington had to find a quarterback after the long-discussed Kirk Cousins saga veered toward, and eventually ended in, separation. 

Matt Jones ($150k) - One of the worst Redskins draft picks in the last five years, Washington reached for Jones in the third-round in 2015. As a rookie, Jones looked like a solid contributor, but in the 2016 season he developed a bad fumbling habit and found his way to the bench. From there, things got worse, as Jones ended the season on the inactive list after a squabble about playing special teams. In 2017, Jones was cut. He signed with the Colts, where he played in just five games and was cut earlier this year. This offseason, Jones signed with the Eagles.

Arie Kouandjio ($130K) - This is a weird one. Kouandjio was selected by the Redskins in 2015, and cut by the team in 2017. The dead money comes from that rookie deal. When Washington brought Kouandjio back late in the 2017 season off the Ravens' practice squad, the dead money from the rookie deal remained. Now, Kouandjio is injured and a candidate to start the 2018 season on the PUP list or maybe even the IR. 

Robert Davis ($103k) - Drafted as a sixth-rounder in 2017, Davis did not make the team leaving training camp. Even though he got signed to the practice squad, the dead money tolls from the rookie deal. 

Nate Sudfeld ($69k) - A late-round developmental prospect from the 2016 draft, Sudfeld made the team as a rookie but couldn't survive cuts in 2017. Quickly signed by the Eagles, Sudfeld ended up as the backup quarterback in Philadelphia's improbable Super Bowl run earlier this year. Dead money on the Redskins cap, but a Super Bowl ring in Philly. Strange. 

Tyler Catalina and Kevin Bowen account for about $12,000 in dead cap space as well. 

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