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Packers' DB says Reed 'will be a huge challenge for us'


Packers' DB says Reed 'will be a huge challenge for us'

It’s been a while since a tight end has done much damage to the Packers’ pass defense. But they have not faced one quite as good as Jordan Reed lately.

In the latter stages of the season, the Green Bay defense faced the likes of Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph, Arizona's Jermaine Gresham, Oakland's Mychal Rivera, Dallas' Jason Witten, Detroit's Eric Ebron and Chicago's Zach Miller. The most they have given up to a tight end in any one game is 40 yards receiving and they have given up a total of two touchdowns.

"I don't really know the stats, but I feel like other than the few plays here and there, we've done a pretty good job," said slot corner Hyde, who often draws tight ends in coverage, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We take pride in going against these guys.”

That’s a pretty solid list of tight ends with some Pro Bowl appearances sprinkled among them. But none of them approached Reed’s 2014 production of 87 receptions, 952 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Rudolph, Gresham, Rivera, Witten, Ebron, and Miller averaged 43 receptions for 450 yards and three touchdowns.

Reed more resembles the tight ends that the Packers faced earlier in the year. The Bears’ Martellus Bennett had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Green Bay. The Chiefs’ Travis Kelce had six catches for 80 yards and Antonio Gates of the Chargers had nine for 95. Carolina tight end Greg Olsen had 4-66-1 and in their first meeting and in their fist meeting of the year Rudolph went off for 6-106-1.

"He's a talented athlete," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. "He looks like a receiver who's playing the tight end position. So he's definitely a guy to keep an eye on in the pass game. There's going to be some matchups where myself and linebackers will be matched up against him."

Linebackers have had little success trying to cover Reed this year so those are matchups that quarterback Kirk Cousins will be looking for.

"He's fast like a receiver, good hands like a receiver," Hyde said. "He's also a good blocker. It's going to be a huge challenge for us."

The Redskins hope that Reed is more of a challenge than the Packers can handle. 

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden would like clarification on the new helmet rule

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden would like clarification on the new helmet rule

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Tuesday, August 14, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

The NFL officiating crew of Carl Cheffers visited the Redskins facility over the past couple of days to give their annual rules update seminar to the players, coaches, and media. The big topic was, of course, the new rule that prohibits players from leading with their helmets when contacting another player. 

Here is the exact wording of the rule, per the video that was shown to the players, coaches, and media. 

The officiating standards for the Use of Helmet rule are:

  • Lowering the head (not to include bracing for contact)
  • Initiating contact with the helmet to any part of an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area — lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul.
  • Making contact on an opponent (both offense and defense)

Prohibiting players from leading with their helmets in the interest of safety is an admirable goal. Jay Gruden said that he was in favor of it in theory, but he saw issues in the implementation.

"We are in constant dialogue, we have the video, we’ve seen multiple videos and we understand what they’re trying to do, and we respect that,” said Gruden. “We will try to play to the rules, but there still are some gray areas there that I’m concerned about as a coach that can cost you football games and can cost players suspensions and all that. So hopefully those gray areas don’t come up and bite you.”

Gruden was asked to drill down on the “gray areas”. 

"I just think they are the 'bang-bang' type plays,” he said. “You know, the receiver goes up for a pass and the defensive back has a low target and then at the last second the receiver ducks his head; I mean is it targeting or not?”

Gruden said that he hoped that the officials would keep their flags in their pockets if there was any doubt. I asked Cheffers what they would do if it wasn’t clear if a violation had been committed. His response did not answer my question, but it did shed some light on the process that is going on during the preseason.  

“Certainly in preseason we do things differently than we do in the regular season,” he said. “I think what’s going to happen is that we’re going to build a library of plays—stuff that we call, stuff that we don’t call—we’re going to build a library to make a decision when the regular season comes to exactly what they want us to call and exactly what they want us to stay away from. At that point, we’re doing exactly as they direct.”

So, in other words, the enforcement of the rule is a work in progress. I suppose that’s the only way to do it since the rule is fewer than 50 words and the owners voted on it without any real input from the competition committee or anyone else. Some trial and error is called for. 

The problem is, the trial and error won’t end when the season starts. And, last time I checked, a loss due to a mistaken application of the rule would be just as costly in September as it would be in December.

Bureau of statistics

The Redskins were penalized for 733 yards last year; only one team, the Panthers, was penalized fewer yards. 

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The agenda

Today: Jay Gruden news conference 9:30; Practice with Jets 9:45; players available to the media after practice.

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 2 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 18 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 26 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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The Redskins-Terrelle Pryor showdown you wanted to see isn't happening

The Redskins-Terrelle Pryor showdown you wanted to see isn't happening

RICHMOND — Sure, it would've only amounted to a few snaps in a meaningless matchup in August. Regardless, seeing Terrelle Pryor take on the Redskins defense in Thursday's New York-Washington preseason game would've at least added a little spice to the action.

Unfortunately, for Redskins fans (and a few defenders who were ready to give out an elbow or two if need be), Pryor won't be suiting up for the contest at FedEx Field.

"I'm not playing this week," Pryor told reporters after Monday's practice, the second joint session between the two squads.

"My biggest thing was, last year, every time I caught a ball and I got wrapped by my ankle, I re-tweaked it," he said, citing his health as the reason why he's going to miss the game. He also revealed that he broke his ankle back in May, which is why he underwent a procedure on it and missed all of OTAs.

The receiver has been on the field sparingly so far vs. the Burgundy and Gold. Combine that with the fact that he'll now be absent on Thursday, and you end up with a large letdown for what could've been some interesting drama between the wideout and his ex-teammates.

Luckily, the two sides had no trouble finding something else to get upset about.