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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing a win ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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Terry McLaurin expects Scott Turner to increase Washington's offensive tempo in 2020

Terry McLaurin expects Scott Turner to increase Washington's offensive tempo in 2020

On defense, Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio are emphasizing an approach that's heavy on attacking. They want their personnel moving upfield and playing with aggression, something Montez Sweat became just the latest to reference on Thursday.

They aren't the only side of the ball in Washington that's trying to be more assertive, though.

Also on Thursday, Terry McLaurin explained that he thinks the offense will be speeding things up in 2020 as they, too, aim to gain more control of every game.

"I feel like when you’re on offense, you should be dictating the tempo," the star receiver told reporters on Zoom. "You should decide when you guys get up to the line, when you’re snapping the play, when you’re calling audibles and running motions and things like that."

A major instigator of that change, according to McLaurin, will be new offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

"It’s just some things that Turner does a great thing on, that versatility and unpredictability," he said. "I’m really excited to see his style of play calling and how it works."

That type of plan could really aid a unit that's coming off a season where it was the NFL's worst at putting up points and entering a season where expectations aren't much higher. For a bunch that's slated to feature a second-year signal caller and set to surround him with a mostly very young supporting cast, picking up the pace will be useful.

And it's something Turner is already discussing. A lot.

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"I have heard Coach Turner speak numerous occasions on having some tempo in the way we get in the huddle, the way we get the play so the quarterback has enough time to assess what’s going on defensively," McLaurin said.

In evaluating Turner's entire scheme beyond the desire for operating with more speed, McLaurin identified it as a "very concise offense" that doesn't force the players to think too much. If they're not thinking, of course, they can devote more energy to producing. That is what every coach wants to accomplish in their job.

Overall, it wasn't surprising to hear McLaurin bring optimism to his presser with the media, because he's an optimistic person to begin with and August is not the time to touch on the shortcomings of one's team. 

Even so, as McLaurin was describing the mentality that Turner is instilling on his group, it was fun to, just for a moment, consider an outcome where things do click and they do take opponents by surprise.

At the very minimum, he laid out a compelling picture of how it could all come together.

"Just that attack mindset, it starts obviously up front with how we run the ball with Adrian Peterson and the group of guys we have on the offensive line, and then our skill players we have on the outside making plays, and I feel like that really opens up our offense because I feel like you can’t really key in on one thing or the other," he said. 

Having that vision and introducing that vision beginning on September 13 are two very different tasks, but the vision on its own is a promising one. In 2019, Washington was both lifeless and toothless with the ball. In 2020, they should at least improve in one of those areas.

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Report: Seahawks cut CB Kemah Siverand for attempting to sneak woman into team hotel

Report: Seahawks cut CB Kemah Siverand for attempting to sneak woman into team hotel

As NFL training camps open, teams are taking every protective measure to ensure player safety. Extensive testing protocols agreed upon by the NFL and the NFLPA and daily testing until at least September 5 prove safety is the league's number one priority.

But in order for the NFL's plans to work, players have to do their part

On Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks cut rookie cornerback Kemah Siverand after he was caught trying to sneak a female visitor into the team hotel, according to Tom Pelissero. Siverand and the woman, who was wearing Seattle gear in an attempt to disguise herself as a Seahawks player, were both caught on camera.

The Seahawks' quick action shows how serious teams are handling COVID-19 protocols. Head coach Pete Carroll is sending a clear message that actions that put the entire team at risk will not be tolerated.  

Fans got a glimpse of what the NFL's safety protocols were like during Hard Knocks this week. The quick decision to cut Siverand shows that irresponsible action won't be tolerated as the NFL season approaches.

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