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Redskins defense bends but does not break vs. Eagles

Redskins defense bends but does not break vs. Eagles

PHILADELPHIA—It’s kind of like a quarterback being called a “game manager”. No defense likes the term “bend but don’t break”.

But that shoe fit the Redskins against the Eagles on Sunday and they will be happy to wear it as it led to a 27-22 win.

The Eagles outgained the Redskins 383 yards to 334. Rookie Carson Wentz was operating the short passing game like a veteran, completing 32 of 46 passes for 314 yards. Ryan Matthews was efficient, running for 60 yards.

RELATED: After near brawl, Eagles fans get vulgar with LB Terence Garvin

But the Eagles got the ball into the end zone against the Redskins just once. The defense had the knack for tightening up at just the right time to force the Eagles to settle for field goals.

Or for nothing.

Philadelphia’s second possession made it all the way down to the three yard line before safety Deshazor Everett, who had played only on special teams until this game, picked off a Wentz pass in the end zone. That marked the first time that the Redskins had stopped a team from scoring a touchdown after it had attained a first and goal since Week 3.

They tightened up in the second half, holding the Eagles to just a field goal (Philly’s touchdown came on an interception return for a touchdown). But it got frightening in the late going after the Redskins scored to take a 27-22 lead with just under two minutes left.

The touchdown was a great moment but the finish by the defense was more like a horror movie sequel; call it Scary Movie IV.

The defense started bend and then bend some more. They gave ground all the way to where the Eagles had a first and 10 at the Washington 14 with about 30 seconds left.

It was the fourth time this year that an opponent has had the ball in Redskins territory in the last two minutes down by more than three points but by less than a touchdown. Previously they had held on against the Ravens and Vikings but they broke and lost against the Lions.

“We have been tested in every area that should be tested in situational football,” defensive end Chris Baker said. “I think this game helped us and let us realize that no matter the situation, if we continue to stick together we can find a way to make the play and win the game.”

This was one of the happy endings. Ryan Kerrigan got a sack and strip of Wentz and Trent Murphy picked it up to secure the win.

“It helps that we’ve had a couple, that they know how to react and how to respond,” said Jay Gruden of the hair-raising finishes. “It’s just guys stepping up and making plays and not blinking. It was great. It was a great game.”

Another 14 yards for the Eagles and would not have been so great as far as Gruden is concerned. But the defense came through when it had to and they will gladly take a road division win however they can get it.

MORE: With free agency coming, Eagles fans were very nice to DeSean Jackson

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The Redskins intend to be ready for 'every scenario' when the 2020 NFL Draft begins

The Redskins intend to be ready for 'every scenario' when the 2020 NFL Draft begins

Kyle Smith began his media session at the Combine Tuesday by thanking Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera for giving him his new role of Vice President of Player Personnel, others in the front office for helping him in the past and even the hosts of the NFL's offseason staple for putting on such a well-run event.

It was an impressive way for the young executive to open up his presser and hinted at how detail-oriented he is. So, it should be no surprise that Smith intends to be beyond prepared for whatever the 2020 NFL Draft may throw at him and his franchise.

"Trade scenarios, we'll talk through all that stuff. That's part of those three, four, five days leading up to the draft. We'll go through every scenario," he told reporters in Indianapolis. "We will go through every scenario of how far back would we go if that scenario came or what if this team called and what do they have available? We'll go through all those scenarios so that draft night, when those opportunities come, we'll be ready to roll."

Every Redskins fan on the planet — as well as Redskins fans on other planets, if they exist (which is something this story won't examine further, sorry) — know that the key decision facing Washington these days is what to do with the No. 2 pick. And while Smith was open with his praise of Chase Young's potential, he made sure to mention that this year's class features plenty of other strong prospects.

As for the kinds of players Smith and Rivera will target, the two leaders are already unified in what they value, according to Smith.

"Sitting down from the very first conversation we had at Mr. Snyder's house, we talked through our process and what we've been doing with the draft and the type of players we've been looking for," he said. "And he talked about his process and... we kind of meshed it together. And we'll move forward together."

In explaining how the Redskins will assemble their draft board — by the way, hardcore fans will love his full breakdown on this episode of the Redskins Talk podcast — Smith explained that he's going to run those meetings. Eventually, Smith and the personnel folks will huddle with the coaches and pass over names of soon-to-be-pros the coaches need to review.

Then, by April, the two staffs will meet once more and finalize everything. Only then will the answer to Washington's major offseason question finally reveal itself, and Young or a couple of other of top selections will join the Redskins.

Regardless of that answer, Smith expects the organization to reach it in a shared fashion.

"It's a collaborative deal," he said. "We believe in our process. We're going to talk through everything... Once the coaches come in in April, we will sit in there and literally go through each thing, each scenario and set it together so everybody's on the same page and everybody's working together."

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Redskins VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith on Dwayne Haskins: 'He needs his time'

Redskins VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith on Dwayne Haskins: 'He needs his time'

Dwayne Haskins knows that the Redskins starting quarterback job will not be given to him; he must earn it. Ron Rivera has made that clear multiple times since taking over as the team's head coach.

Rivera has mentioned he's excited about Haskins' future, too, but the new head coach could also be looking for the second-year quarterback to use this offseason to go above and beyond and truly take command and ownership of the job. Doug Williams, the Redskins senior vice president of development, said as much earlier this week.

Redskins vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith believes thus far, Haskins has done exactly that.

"He's ready to do everything he possibly can," Smith said to local media on Tuesday in Indianapolis, speaking for the first time since being promoted to his current role in January. "The other day he told me he's bringing the guys down to Florida to throw with them and do the things he can do. He's doing all the extra stuff that we expect of him and he's got a bright future."

Working out with teammates at an off-site location during the offseason is not uncommon for NFL players. The league has placed multiple rules and regulations on NFL teams that restrict the amount of hands-on access coaches can have with players. It's up to the players to go about it themselves and coordinate times to work out together.

In addition to reaching out to his wideouts to schedule offseason work, Haskins has remained in the building since the season ended and continued to work on his craft. That's something Smith has noticed.

"He's smiling walking around the building," Smith said. "He's excited, he's energized."

The 22-year-old is still raw when it comes to experience; he only started one year at Ohio State and seven games a year ago as a rookie. Smith recognizes this and believes time will serve Haskins extremely well.

"He also needs his time. He's a young kid, man," Smith said. "He's got the right stuff. He's a good kid, he works hard. We're all excited about Dwayne."

Haskins had more than his fair share of growing pains as a rookie, but the Ohio State product really started to catch his stride towards the end of the season. Through the final six quarters of Haskins' season, he threw for 394 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Haskins' progression towards the end of the 2019 campaign has excited many in the building, Smith included.

"I'm really excited about Dwayne," Smith said. "Obviously, as everybody has seen, he kind of ascended as the season went on. He played in [seven] games, he kept improving. I just had a conversation with him the other day. I'm excited, man."

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