KANSAS CITY—Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins 29-20 loss to the Chiefs
Too many mistakes—The Redskins just made too many mistakes to beat an undefeated team on the road. A series of penalties on the defense gave the Chiefs offense some life in the third and fourth quarters at critical times. Some dropped passes killed drives. And it may be unfair to call the incompletion at the end of the game a Josh Doctson drop but he could have had it.
Defense could not get off the field—To be clear, the Chiefs were not successful solely due to Redskins mistakes. Alex Smith found Travis Kelce for a number of key plays. After running for just 24 yards in the first half he started to gash the defense as the second half wore on. The mistakes compounded the problem but the defense didn't communicate well with some inexperienced players on the field.
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Kirk Cousins executed clutch drives but some had missed passes Kirk Cousins put up some numbers and he made some huge plays running the ball, especially near the end. You would like to see your franchise quarterback be able to pull out a win on the road like this. And maybe if Doctson holds on to that pass or if the defense commits one or two fewer ill-timed penalties, he does. But he had two big-time clutch drives, the one in the third quarter featuring the long pass to Vernon Davis right after the Chiefs took the lead for the first time and the one that tied the game late. The result is what it is but it’s fair to say that Cousins had them in a position to win.
Injuries lead to mistakes—The Redskins defense had to put some inexperienced players on the field and that is part of what cost them on defense. Nobody is going to send the Redskins a sympathy card for being banged up. Also, none of the injuries appear to be long term issue. Josh Norman's broken rib was the worst and he could be back for the Eagles game in three weeks.
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An improving team—A loss is a loss and this game still goes on the bad side of Washington's ugly Monday ledger. But the way they played in a hostile environment shows that the Redskins are getting better. The offensive line kept Cousins from being sacked, they didn’t have a holding penalty and in the loudest stadium in the NFL they did not get called for a single false start. As noted, the defense made its share of mistakes but they played physical football and held the Chiefs, who ranked third in the NFL in scoring coming into the game, to 23 points. Fans should be encouraged as the team goes into the bye at 2-2.
Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.
Starting Tuesday, all 32 NFL teams will have a chance to asses some of the best talents in the upcoming draft at the NFL Combine. However, one of the better safety prospects available will be noticeably absent in Indianapolis.
University of Alabama safety Deionte Thompson will reportedly not participate in combine activities after having surgery on his wrist Friday to mend a torn ligament, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Rapoport did mention that the injury is not believed to have a serious impact long-term.
Thompson is coming off a junior season at Alabama in which he recorded two interceptions and 78 tackles while earning Consensus All-America honors.
As the draft approaches, the safety is being regarded as one of the better secondary options available for teams. In NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig's latest mock draft, Thompson is projected to go 24th overall to the Oakland Raiders.
Though the projection doesn't have Thompson ending up as a member of the Burgundy and Gold, he is still a realistic option for the Redskins. With a few questions marks in the secondary following the departure of D.J. Swearinger Sr. and the unclear future of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins could very well see Thompson as a viable target at No. 15.
If Thompson's impending recovery time leads to his draft stock falling, there is a slight chance he may even be available in the second round when the Redskins pick at No. 46.
Currently, there is no timetable for his return. Alabama is scheduled to host its Pro Day on March 19, which could be the next time Washington and other teams will get a chance to evaluate Thompson.
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It's a very small consolation, but on Friday, the Redskins finally picked up their compensatory third-round pick for losing Kirk Cousins in free agency last year.
That's not the only new selection they now have in their arsenal for the 2019 NFL Draft, though.
In addition to that third-rounder, Washington also netted a fifth-rounder, a sixth-rounder and a seventh-rounder, too. The four picks is a bit of a surprise, as most expected the Burgundy and Gold would be awarded with only three.
Bruce Allen has explained in the past how the 'Skins value compensatory picks, which teams receive based on the contracts their own free agents sign with new franchises. Last offseason, the Redskins saw Cousins, Ryan Grant, Spencer Long and Trent Murphy all cash in on the open market.
In total, Washington now has nine picks in the upcoming draft, with two each in the third, fifth and seventh rounds. They traded away their fourth-round spot for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Losing homegrown players like Cousins and Co. is certainly not ideal, but by letting those types of guys depart, the Redskins do set themselves up for more swings in April.
That part of the strategy has paid off. The next step? Making those picks count.
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