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Grading the Redskins: Defense does enough in Big D

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Grading the Redskins: Defense does enough in Big D

Defense

Grade vs. Cowboys: B-

Comment: A week after limiting the Eagles to six points, the Redskins’ defense appeared to be on its way to another stellar performance at Cowboys Stadium.

The unit limited Tony Romo and the Cowboys to only three points in the first half, forcing two turnovers that Robert Griffin III and the offense promptly parlayed into a pair of touchdowns. But that strong start unraveled in the second half as Romo led the Cowboys to scores on five of seven possessions, including three touchdowns, to force the Redskins to sweat it out.

The Redskins’ primary issue was a familiar one: big plays. The biggest, of course, was Dez Bryant's 85-yard touchdown in the third quarter that trimmed Dallas’ deficit to 28-13. Cornerback Josh Wilson jammed Bryant off the line, but the powerful wide receiver cut across the field as Romo was flushed from the pocket. Romo fired the ball on the run, and Wilson gambled and dived but missed the ball. After hauling it in, Bryant received a block from Dwayne Harris on safety DeJon Gomes and as he raced untouched into the end zone.

On the Cowboys' first drive of the half, the secondary surrendered a 33-yard pass play to Felix Jones, who shook would-be tacklers Wilson and Madieu Williams for his longest play of the season. The drive ended in a field goal.

In the fourth quarter, Harris found a seam in the Redskins’ soft zone and hauled in a perfectly-placed pass by Romo and took it 36 yards. It was more of a good play by the Cowboys rather than bad coverage by the Redskins, but the result was another touchdown five plays later.

All in all, the Redskins' opportunistic effort (three turnovers, two sacks) proved good enough. But just barely.

There were, however, a couple of injury concerns that bear watching. Linebacker London Fletcher did not play on the Cowboys’ final two series because of a lingering left ankle injury, while his replacement, Keenan Robinson, suffered a pectoral muscle injury. Shanahan said Robinson’s injury could be season-ending; an update should be available Monday.

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Those who are worried about Derrius Guice's character picked up some added evidence when, on Monday night, the Redskins rookie invited a bunch of fans to watch Avengers with him in Ashburn.

Man, what is this guy's deal?

First of all, not everyone likes superheroes. So how did he know that those who joined him actually wanted to see Avengers?  Did he even ask? What if they wanted to see that really successful, really funny, really well-regarded Amy Schumer comedy, instead?

Then, there's the issue of Guice buying tickets and concessions for those who showed up.

Some people enjoy buying movie tickets — which are absolutely reasonably priced these days — and, as far as the concessions, seriously? Candy? Popcorn? He could've at least offered to buy something healthier, like broccoli. All movie theaters have broccoli.  

Thankfully, those who took Guice up on his invitation weren't grateful for the experience at all, which hopefully means this will be the last time he orchestrates a dastardly deed like this one:

At this point, it's a surprise Guice didn't slide even farther down in the draft, like to the 15th round. Unbelievable.

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