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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA—The Redskins went in to face the undefeated, defending champion Patriots and the result was about what everybody expected. Tom Brady was masterful, the Redskins were stymied on offense, and New England remained unscathed in the loss column with a 27-10 win.

The Redskins had plenty of problems of their own making. Receivers dropped at least half a dozen passes. They missed at least that many tackles. A lot of the miscues came in the early going while the Patriots were pulling out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Kirk Cousins’ numbers did not look good. He completed 22 of 40 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Some of it was on him, some of it was on his receivers’ problems with catching the ball. Again, the Redskins could not get their running game going, gaining 37 yards on 15 carries.

Key Play: The key was really a sequence of plays in the first quarter. The Patriots drove for a touchdown on their initial possession and then they recovered a surprise onside kick. They drove into Redskins territory but CB Will Blackmon forced Julian Edelman to fumble and Blackmon himself made the recovery.

The Redskins couldn’t stand the good fortune. On their first play from scrimmage Kirk Cousins fired a pass to Pierre Garçon for what should have been a nice gain. But the ball bounced off of Garçon’s hands and Logan Ryan picked it off, returning it to the Redskins 28. Six plays later LaGarrette Blount powered up the middle for the touchdown. It was 14-0 and the Patriots had established control.

Injury Update:

Chris Baker left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury. He returned to the game shortly after leaving.

LB Keenan Robinson left the game with a stinger in the third quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter.

S Dashon Goldson left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Edelman 8 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick)

Drive: 13 plays, 84 yards, 5:59

Key plays: Two Dion Lews runs for 17 yards for 16 yards got the drive going. On fourth and two from the  Redskins 33, Tom Brady went to Julian Edelman for five yards and a first down. A few plays later Brady went to Edelman in the flat and he dove to get the ball across the goal line.

Patriots 7, Redskins 0 9:01

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Blount 5 run (Gosktowski kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 28 yards, 1:59

Key plays: Right after the Redskins recovered a Patriots fumble, a Kirk Cousins pass bounced off of Pierre Garçon’s hands and was intercepted by Logan Ryan, who returned it to Redskins 28. Brady converted a third and seven with an 11-yard pass to Danny Amendola. A few plays later LaGarrette Blount went up the but for the touchdown.

Patriots 14, Redskins 0

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Second quarter

FG Gostkowski 21

Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 5:03

Key plays:

The Patriots started from their own 42 after the Redskins turned it over on downs. Blount ran twice for six and 10 yards to get into Redskins territory. A few plays later, it was Blount again, going up the middle for 14 yards then Brady went to Rob Gronkowski to set up first and goal at the seven. But an illegal formation penalty set them back and they had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 0

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FG Hopkins 23

Drive: 16 plays, 75 yards, 7:43

Key plays: The Redskins started with possession on their own 20. On third and seven, Cousins went to Garçon for nine yards. A Matt Jones reception and run got them into Patriots territory. Then it was Cousins to Jamison Crowder for 16 yards down to the 30 A few played later on third and one from the 21, Jones went up the middle for two yards and the first down. On third and goal from the Patriots 13, Cousins went to Andre Roberts for eight yards to the five. They had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 3

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Third quarter

FG Gostkowski 20

Drive: 9 plays, 54 yards, 4:28

Key plays: The Patriots got the ball after recovering a Matt Jones fumble at their own 43. On the first play, Blount went up the middle for 13 yards into Redskins territory. A couple of plays later it was Brady to Edelman down to the 18. The moved to a third and goal at the one, but Stephen Paea trapped Blount for a two-yard loss. Gostkowski came in and booted the field goal.

Patriots 20, Redskins 3

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Fourth quarter

Patriots 27, Redskins 3

Key play: Brandon Bolden 18 Yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick)

Patriots 27, Redskins 10

Key play: Jordan Reed 3 Yd pass from Kirk Cousins (Dustin Hopkins Kick)

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 23, 65 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What to look for at OTAs

Redskins OTAs started yesterday. The no-contact drills are the first time during the offseason program that the offense and defense are permitted to line up against each other. The-no pads aspect of it does take off a lot of the edge but the reality is that this will be the closest thing to football we will see until training camp starts in late July. 

Here are some things that I will be looking for during today’s practice.

Who’s in? Jay Gruden told us earlier that we should expect to see some injured key players not participating as they continue to recover from 2017 injuries. Specifically, OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Morgan Moses (ankles), and TE Jordan Reed (hamstring/toe) will only be spectators if they are at Redskins Park at all. Other players who may sit out or participate only in light drills are RB Chris Thompson (leg), and ILB Mason Foster (shoulder). The Redskins have been relatively healthy the past few offseasons so we will see how they deal with the aftermath of the injury scourge that hit the team last year. 

Seven-on-seven—Sure, it’s fun to watch the full team drills with 11 on each side but since blocking and tackling is limited by the rules about contact, there isn’t much to be gleaned from watching an off-tackle run. But when they eliminate the guards, tackles, and interior defensive linemen it’s all passing and then we can watch how well Alex Smith and his receivers are connecting. One thing I’ll keep in mind is that Smith decided not to get the receivers together for a “passing camp” before the offseason activities started. He said that he wanted to get to know the playbook first. Because of that they can be forgiven if they are not quite as sharp as they might be. Also, how natural does Derrius Guice look coming out of the backfield to catch passes? His primary job will be to carry the ball, but if he is a legitimate pass-catching threat, the whole offense will be harder to defend.

Rookies vs. pros—In rookie camp two weeks ago we saw Trey Quinn putting defensive backs on the ground with some moves and Troy Apke showing great makeup speed on some long passes. But those tryout defensive backs and quarterbacks are no longer around. How will Quinn look against veteran Orlando Scandrick or second-year corner Josh Holsey? Will Smith’s ball placement negate Apke’s speed? In the one-on-one pass blocking drills, which emphasize technique over power, can Daron Payne get past Brandon Scherff?

The big guys—With Williams and Moses out, who will line up along the offensive line? Does Payne line up at nose tackle or is he used more as an end with Tim Settle in the middle? Is Ziggy Hood in the middle or will he work outside? How is Phil Taylor looking after a quad injury ended his season in training camp? As noted, the rules make it hard to tell much about linemen before Richmond but we try to glean what we can. 

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

Tandler on Twitter

My reaction to this tweet from the NFL illustrating the changes to the kickoff rules:

Timeline  

Today’s schedule:Redskins OTA practice 11:30; Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, players available coming off the field, after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 20
—Training camp starts (7/26) 65
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 79

The Redskins last played a game 143 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 109 days. 

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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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