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Redskins picked apart by Newton, Panthers in 44-16 loss

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Redskins picked apart by Newton, Panthers in 44-16 loss

CHARLOTTE—You can say one good thing about Redskins games in 2015—the home crowd almost always leaves happy.

A week after a rousing home win over the Saints to push their record at FedEx Field to 4-1, the Redskins went on the road and got thumped by the Panthers 44-16. The loss dropped them to 0-5 on the road.

The Redskins committed five turnovers, with one Kirk Cousins interception and four lost fumbles. They also couldn’t run the ball, eking out only 14 yards on 11 carries.

Cousins committed two of the fumbles and didn’t have much of a day, going 22 of 30 for 207 yards with one touchdown. Cam Newton, on the other hand, was spectacular, throwing five touchdown passes and taking over when the Panthers needed a play to be made.

The good news for the Redskins is that they have their next two games at home and a win over the Giants next Sunday will pull them into a tie for first place in the NFC East.

Key Play: With the score tied at 14 in the second quarter, the Panthers were driving to take the lead. On first down at the 26, Newton threw to tight end Greg Olsen, who was lined up wide to the left and being covered by Chris Culliver. Culliver arrived a moment after the ball did and he hit Olsen high. The hit knocked the ball out of Olsen’s hands and into those of Culliver. As flags flew, Culliver cruised 75 yards into the end zone. But the flags were for a questionable illegal hit by Culliver and the interception was nullified. The Panthers finished the drive with a touchdown, the first points of a 30-0 blitz that put the game out of reach.  

Injury Update:

RB Alfred Morris left the game in the first quarter with a rib injury. He did not return.

CB Kyshoen Jarrett left the game in the second quarter to be evalued for a concussion. He returned to the game in the second half.

OT  Williams left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.

TE Jordan Reed left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury and he returned.

CB Deshazor Everett left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring strain.

RB Chris Thompson left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Stewart 12 pass from Cousins (Gano kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 31 yards, 1:18

Key plays: The Panthers took possession when Kirk Cousins went deep down the middle and Kurt Coleman picked off his pass, returning it 28 yards to the Redskins 31. Newton completed a pass to Devin Funchess over the middle for 13 yards. Two plays later, Newton flipped a short pass to Stewart, who has open space in front of him and got into the end zone.

Panthers 7, Redskins 0

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Jackson 56 pass from Cousins  (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 71 yards, 1:30

Key plays: This was a quick one. Cousins got it started with a 17-yard dart to Pierre Garçon. Two plays later Jackson got past safety Colin Jones and Cousins’ pass hit him in stride for the touchdown.

Redskins 7, Panthers 7

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Tolbert 3 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 13 pllays, 78 yards, 7:45

Key plays: The Panthers started off in the hole after Ryan Kerrigan sacked Newton for a loss of 12. But Newton threw to Jerricho Cotchery to get a chunk back and then he went to Ted Ginn for seven yards on third and three. Then it was Newton to Devin Funchess for 11, a couple of Jonathan Stewart runs, and Newton to Brenton Bersin for 15 yards got them into the red zone at the 11. Newton rolled out and found Tolbert in front of him and the stocky back powered in for the TD.

Panthers 14, Redskins 7

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Roberts 99 kickoff return (Hopkins kick)

Drive: --

Key plays: Roberts fielded the kickoff at the one, went up the middle, made a would-be tackler miss, and turned on the Jets.

Redskins 14, Panthers 14

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Second quarter

Ginn 2 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 92 yards, 3:57

Key plays: The Panthers started off deep in their own territory at the eight. Two Jonathan Stewart runs got them 15 yards and then Newton found Greg Olsen wide open for 34 yards. A controversial unnecessary roughness penalty negated a Chris Culliver interception for a touchdown. The penalty moved the ball to the 14. Newton threw incomplete on third down but pass interference in the end zone set up first and goal at the one. Two plays later, Newton beat the rush and threw to Ginn, who made a diving catch in the end zone.  

Panthers 21, Redskins 14

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Reed 16 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards, 2:51

Key plays: This one started off with another turnover, a Matt Jones fumble forced by Luke Kuechly and recovered by Thomas Davis at the Carolina 24. After two Stewart runs, Newton converted with a pass to Ginn down to the seven. On third and goal at the five, Olsen beat Jeron Johnson over the middle in the end zone and Newton fired a strike for the score.

Panthers 28, Redskins 14

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FG Gano 42

Drive: 8 plays, 38 yards, 1:54

Key plays: The Panthers stopped a promising drive with a sack and strip of Cousins, recovering the fumble at their own 38. On third and eight at the 40, Newton scrambled for nine yards and the first down. He then went to Ginn for 17 yards, putting them in field goal range.

Panthers 31, Redskins 14

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Third quarter

Olsen 5 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 11 yards, 0:59

Key plays: On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, cornerback Bene Benwikers blitzed and blindsided Cousins, causing a fumble that he recovered at the 11. An offside penalty moved the ball to the six. Two plays later Newton found Devin Funchess, who made a nice catch for the touchdown.

Panthers 38, Redskins 14

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FG Gano 48

Drive: 10 play, 48 yards, 4:43

Key plays: This was like most Panthers drives on the day. Newton got things rolling with a 15-yard pass to Olsen to midfield. Stewart ran for 10 yards and a few plays later Newton scrambled five yards for a first down at the 20. Newton threw incomplete on third and 12 from the 30 and Gano came in for the kick.

Panthers 41, Redskins 14

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Fourth quarter

FG Gano 25

Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 5:50

Key plays: The Redskins committed their fifth turnover of the day to give the Panthers possession at their own 35. After Jordan Reed made a nice catch and appeared to break open for a good gain, Josh Norman stripped the ball and Kuechly recovered for the Panthers. Stewart rumbled for 15 yards into Redskins territory. A few plays later it was third and 13 at midfield and Newton launched one to Funchess, who made a leaping catch at the 15, getting the Panthers into Gano’s range.

Panthers 44, Redskins 14

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Safety Nortman stepped out of end zone

Drive: --

Key plays: The Panters were punting from deep in their own territory and decided to take the safety with 16 seconds left in the game rather than punting the ball.

Panthers 44, Redskins 16

RELATED: Redskins Twitter goes nuts after refs negate Culliver Pick-6

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10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No. 4: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

In a way, the Redskins are quite lucky. Not every team in the NFL has an unequivocal No. 1 corner. Washington has that in Josh Norman

His interception numbers in 2017 did not get the job done, but he still played quite well. Norman got targeted significantly less than the league average, which means NFL quarterbacks actively chose not to mess with former All Pro. 

Still, Norman needs more interceptions than last year. He grabbed none, and he will admit that he must create more turnovers. 

Regardless, Norman is not the Redskins question mark at cornerback. What happens after Norman is the question. 

Washington moved quick this offseason to lock up Quinton Dunbar off restricted free agency. Dunbar has size and range, and has looked quite capable, in spots. He doesn't have a ton of experience, however, and will be asked to start this fall. The team also signed veteran Orlando Scandrick - from the Cowboys - as a likely nickel/slot corner. 

Second-year man Fabian Moreau will be expected to take a significant step forward this fall. The Redskins would like very much to be able to primarily rely on Norman, Moreau and Dunbar while asking less of Scandrick. 

Don't forget Washington lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Fuller got moved to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, and Breeland remains a free agent.

Redskins coaches won't tell the exact truth, but the the team would love for Moreau to emerge opposite Norman and let Dunbar play in the slot. Or maybe let Moreau emerge in the slot, like Fuller did in 2017, and Dunbar opposite Norman. Scandrick hasn't played a full season since 2013, and the 'Skins brass can't expect that in 2018 for the 31-year-old corner. 

Josh Holsey, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman will provide depth at the bottom of the roster. That's two seventh-round picks and a supplemental sixth round pick. While each player provides reasons for optimism, it's hard to think any of the three young players will provide immediate help. They're better focused fighting for a roster spot than a starting spot. 

In 2017, cornerback ranked as a strength for the Redskins. 

In 2018, it's a big question. Elite play from Norman could change much of that equation. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview: Offense

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the offense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. 

Alex Smith

The subheadline here doesn’t need any elaboration. The Redskins gave up a top-100 draft pick, a promising player, and $71 million in guaranteed money to get him. When asked about the timetable for Smith picking up the offense, Jay Gruden said, “He has got to get it down by the first game.”

That first game is seven weeks from today. Of course, the process has already started as Smith appeared to have a solid grasp of things in the offseason practices. There is every reason to think that he will look good in Richmond. 

The question is, how much will the coaches push him? Will they focus on him having success on shorter, easier throws to build his confidence? Or will they call plays that test his ability to throw deep? Last year in Kansas City his ability to hit on long passes helped transform him from being an above-average quarterback to an MVP candidate. The Redskins need him to be effective deep starting Week 1 and training camp needs to be the starting point. 

The running back rotation

This is primarily about Derrius Guice, who is the most anticipated rookie running back in team history. The Redskins were 28th in rushing yards last year and they bring back the same offensive line (although hoping for better health) and three of the same running backs. They are counting on Guice to be the difference maker. 

But Guice can’t do it by himself. Gruden will be wary of overworking his rookie, who has an aggressive running style and who was banged up for a lot of his last year at LSU. He also may give Guice a light load if he struggles in pass protection early on. Chris Thompson’s role is set. Where do Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine line up? Does one or the other take most of the first-team reps when Guice is getting a rest? 

The difference between being the third back and the fourth is big. The fourth back on the depth chart is unlikely to be active most game days. The active back could get five to 10 carries per game.

Who’s at left guard?

Is Shawn Lauvao going to be the left guard? It doesn’t seem logical that they would put all their eggs in Lauvao’s injury-prone and frequently ineffective basket. Will Ty Nsekhe line up there? Do they think that Tyler Catalina or Kyle Kalis can push for the starting job? Is a trade in the offing? 

Jordan Reed’s health

This does not need much explanation if you’ve been paying attention the last several years. It would be both a good sign and a major surprise if he starts camp healthy and doesn’t miss any time due to injuries. If he’s out there, there is no question that he and Smith will quickly develop chemistry. 

Wide receiver depth chart

The stakes at wide receiver are similar to those at running back. The top backup behind the three starters, who could be any of Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick or Try Quinn, will have a regular role in the offense line Ryan Grant had last year. The fifth guy will rarely play, the player who has the sixth spot will rarely play, and the seventh won’t have a job. 

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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Apparently, some teams are worried that their players are playing too much of the video game Fortnite. No, seriously.

Timeline 

Happy birthday to Redskins running back Quinton Dunbar, who was born on this date in 1992.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 4
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 18
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 41

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 49 days. 

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