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The Final Countdown: End zone INT costs Redskins in Week 2, and throughout 2016

The Final Countdown: End zone INT costs Redskins in Week 2, and throughout 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 2 worst play of 2016

Cowboys at Redskins Week 2

10:43 left in Q4, Redskins ball at the Dallas 6, 3rd and goal, Redskins leading 23-20

Kirk Cousins pass short middle intended for Pierre Garçon INTERCEPTED by Barry Church at DAL -6. Touchback.

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Tandler: The Redskins were looking to put the Cowboys away and beat their rivals for a third straight time. A touchdown would clinch the game and even a field goal would force the Cowboys to score a touchdown to win. But they got neither. Cousins had time to throw and he spotted Garçon cutting across the back of the end zone. He didn’t see Church, who stepped in front of Garçon and made the interception. Rookie QB Dak Prescott led an 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped by an equally agonizing moment, a game-winning TD run by ex-Redskin Alfred Morris.  

MORE REDSKINS: Free agency to-do list

Finlay: This pick hurt the Redskins in the moment, within minutes the squad dropped to 0-2 and was in a significant hole for the season. The big picture surrounding this Cousins' INT was much worse, as the end zone interception may have been a part of the 'Skins red zone struggles the remainder of the season. Perhaps the throw made Cousins a bit more gun shy the rest of the year, perhaps it didn't but it's undeniable that the Washington offense and their passer got more conservative in the red zone following this game. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Besides the quarterback competition between Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, one of the biggest storylines from Redskins training camp will be whether the team and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff can agree on a contract extension before the start of the 2019 season.

On Monday, a report came out from 106.7 The Fan's Erin Hawksworth that Scherff has been offered multiple contract extensions from the Redskins, but "the two sides are far apart."

Scherff is entering the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie deal and set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end. 

The fifth-year guard will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2019 after the Redskins picked up his fifth-year option a year ago as part of his rookie deal.

Should Scherff hit the open market, he will be a hot commodity. 

He may not receive a contract as big as Cowboys' guard Zack Martin did, but expect him to command close to top-market money. Martin received a six-year, $84 million deal in 2018 with $40 million guaranteed. A contract extension for Scherff could look something like the five-year, $66.5 million deal Jaguars' guard Andrew Norwell signed in 2018. 

Besides tackle Trent Williams, Scherff is without a doubt the most important piece to the Redskins offensive line. With Williams currently holding out, Scherff's presence on the offensive line is even more important.

Scherff missed eight games a season ago with a torn pectoral muscle, and his absence was very visible.

One thing is for certain: if the Redskins are not willing to pay Scherff top-market money, barring something unexpected, he will certainly get it somewhere else. And no Redskins fan wants that.

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Eight months later, Alex Smith has external fixator removed from injured leg

Eight months later, Alex Smith has external fixator removed from injured leg

It's been a long road to recovery for Redskins quarterback Alex Smith after suffering a gruesome leg injury against the Houston Texans last November.

Following the original break, Smith's injury became infected, requiring more surgery and for him to wear an external fixator on his injured leg, a large metal, circular device that ran from his knee down to his foot with metal screws to hold bones in place.

Smith had been wearing the fixator for the past eight months, but on Monday, the brace was finally removed. Smith's wife, Elizabeth, posted on her Instagram account a picture of Smith holding the recently removed metal device.

"The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy," Elizabeth Smith wrote on her Instagram. "Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched."

This is a major step in Smith's recovery process, as he still hopes to play football again.

"That's the plan," Smith said to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay of returning to the field. "I got to conquer some more steps before I get there."

But first, he must learn how to run and change direction again.

Earlier this summer, Smith was seen throwing passes at Redskins OTAs. He most certainly won't play in 2020, and his future on Washington has a lot to do with the success of rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Washington's first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

While Smith won't help the Redskins on the field, don't be surprised if Smith has a positive role in the development of Haskins. A team captain in 2018, many of his teammates have praised Smith of the leadership he displayed a season ago.

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