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Rating the Redskins: Cornerbacks

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Rating the Redskins: Cornerbacks

New Redskins GM Scot McCloughan aimed to improve nearly every position through the draft or via free agency. How has he done? Over the next couple of weeks, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine and rate each group on the team. The ratings will be based on the quality of the players as compared to the rest of the league and, in particular, the division.

We’ll use a scale of 1 to 10. To receive a 10, a position group would need Pro-Bowl caliber starters and solid backups. A rating of 1 means the starters are aging and ineffective and there are no promising reserves in the pipeline.

We’ve already looked at the defensive lineoffensive line, linebackers, wide receivers, and tight ends. Up this today, we’ve got the cornerbacks.

Starters: Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland.

Reserves: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson and Tevin Mitchel.

Tandler: This unit was a weak link last year. Hall missed the last 13 games with an Achilles injury, Amerson struggled through a sophomore slump, Breeland played well at times and like an unpolished rookie at times, Tracy Porter, who was supposed to be the nickel back, missed most of the season with injuries, and below replacement level players like E. J. Biggers were forced into playing important snaps. The corners should be better in 2015. Culliver came over from the 49ers as a free agent and he is an instant, major upgrade. It appears that Hall’s rehab is going well enough to think that he will be back for Week 1. Breeland will have another offseason of learning under his belt and the word is that the talented Amerson is taking his struggles last year to heart and taking preparation more seriously. This all sounds good but a lot of things sound good in June but then don’t work out when the games start counting. Put me down for cautious optimism that the cornerbacks will be less of a liability this year but I need to see a lot more before believing that they will be a strength. Rating: 4.

El-Bashir: I’m not concerned about Culliver or Breeland. As long as they avoid trouble off the field, I’m confident they’ll deliver on it. Both bring a much-needed edge to the secondary and possess the potential to be a solid duo. I do, however, have concerns about the others. Hall, if healthy, will bring some playmaking ability and veteran calm. But when will he be 100-percent recovered from a twice-torn Achilles? During the first OTA session, when the 31-year-old did some light individual drill work, things seemed to be right on schedule. Hall did less work the next two weeks, however. Maybe it's just part of the plan, as Jay Gruden said. But I'll be curious to see what, if anything, Hall does this week in veteran minicamp. As for Amerson, he’s the No. 3 corner right now and is coming off a sophomore season in which he allowed a league-worst 10 passing touchdowns in his coverage, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Gruden says he’s been “very impressed” with Amerson this offseason, so perhaps he’s in the process of regaining his focus and, more important, his confidence. We’ll see, I guess. It’s too early to say if Mitchel, a sixth round pick this year, will make an immediate impact, or if any of the hopefuls, like Justin Rogers or Trey Wolfe can put pressure on those ahead of them. Let’s be honest here. After the Redskins’ defense surrendered a whopping 35 passing touchdowns—the most in the NFL in 2014—this group probably deserved a rating of 1 or 2. But I’m an optimist, and I think the addition of Culliver (as well as the tutelage of Perry Fewell) will help shore things up a bit. But, like Tandler, I need to see it before I get excited. Rating: 5.

Consensus: 4.5.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

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  and on Instagram @RichTandler

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World's most grueling bicycle race no match for visually impaired Redskins fan

World's most grueling bicycle race no match for visually impaired Redskins fan

Completing a cross-country road trip often rests atop — or near the top — of any adventurer's bucket list.

Completing a cross-country road trip on a tandem bicycle, however, is something only a select few set out to accomplish.

Meet Tina Ament, an Assistant U.S. Attorney and avid Redskins fan from Alexandria, Va. who is attempting to accomplish such feat.

Ament is also blind.

The visually impaired triathlete, who became a Redskins fan at a young age when her military family relocated to Northern Virginia during the Sonny Jurgensen era, has dealt with the adversity since birth, using cycling as a way to reach new heights and spread awareness.

The Alexandria resident is one of four representing Team Sea to See, which is chasing down history as the first blind-stoker team to ever compete in Race Across America's 37-year history.

For those unfamiliar with the race, it is arguably the most grueling cycle race on the planet.

A race that begins in Oceanside, Calif. and finishes at City Dock in Annapolis, Md. spans over 3,000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet and crosses through 12 states. The total distance is 30 percent longer than that of the Tour de France.

The Sea to See team for Race Across America is made up of four, tandem, blind-stoker cycling duos. Pilots guide these two-seaters (pictured below) from the front while blind stokers do the heavy lifting and pedaling from behind. Ament's guide is 38-year-old civil attorney Pamela Ferguson.

The two have been competing together since 2015. 

You may be wondering what Ament's motive is. 

Last month during a podcast recording for NBC Sports Washington, Ament was quick to explain that more than 70 percent of blind Americans are unemployed. 

"All it really takes is for employers, or for anybody out here, to not look at us and see a blind person. But look at us and see a lawyer. Look at us and see a Redskins fan. Look at us and see a capable person who is capable of doing amazing things and all we really need is a shot," she went on to say. 

As the team makes its way through Kansas, weather conditions are as difficult as ever.

Early Wednesday morning, a chunk of hail broke one of the team's RV windows. 

The 29 teams competing have nine days to complete the journey. 

Per Team Sea to Sea's Facebook page, the group has reached the halfway point, as of Wednesday, June 20.

Use Race Across America's Live Tracker to follow along over the course of the next week.  

Photos courtesy of: Tina Ament, Team Sea to See