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Redskins return to work after self scouting, game planning


Redskins return to work after self scouting, game planning

The Redskins will get back to work today after their bye week. The players have been off since last Tuesday but the coaches worked until Friday.

Jay Gruden said that they planned to spend a couple of days doing some early game planning for their game against the Patriots this Sunday and then do some self scouting to see if they have some tendencies that they need to break.

“I think what we’re going to do in the bye week is self-evaluate,” Gruden said last week. “The coaches, we’re going to do a lot of self-scout, what we’re doing, personnel packages, where we can improve our football team, what areas we need to improve the most on, whether it’s third-down conversions, red zone, our first-down play calling, our red-zone defense, our third-down defense, all that stuff.”

What kind of tendencies did they look at? They’re not going to tell us, of course. But perhaps they are looking at their run-pass ratio on first down. In their first six games they ran on first down 53 percent of the time. Against the Bucs they ran on 42 percent of their first-down plays. To be sure, they had to pass a lot more in the last game because they fell behind 24-0. But they might examine it to see if passing more on first down is a formula that will work.

They also might look at their formations on first down. They have lined up with one running back on 142 of their 177 first and ten plays. Should they vary that more and use a fullback more on first and ten? Or perhaps throw in a wrinkle and go with five wide receivers?

As far as game planning for the Patriots, they face a tall task in trying to devise a plan that will beat Tom Brady and company, the consensus best team in the league. In general terms, the offense will need to run the ball and/or control it with the short passing game to keep Brady off of the field. Defensively, they will have to make sure tackles after catches and try to find some way to keep Rob Gronkowski from running over and through them.

All of that is easier said than done. It’s pretty much what all seven of the Patriots’ victims this year have wanted to do but the efforts have been futile. New England has outscored its opposition by 116 points, an average of nearly 17 per game.

The biggest challenge for the Redskins may be mental. The Patriots are like Tiger Woods in his prime. They seem to have the opposition intimidated, knowing that if they make one mistake Brady will make them pay for it. And playing while you’re afraid to make a mistake is the perfect setup to make a ton of errors. If the Redskins are going to stay competitive, they need to not be afraid to try to win. 

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban


Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams has been suspended three games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a ban he will serve while on injured reserve because of lingering issues from offseason surgery for a broken right foot.

The league said Thursday the suspension will be in effect Sunday when the Cowboys visit Washington. After Dallas’ open week and a home game against Tennessee, the final game of the ban will be Nov. 11 at Philadelphia.

But Williams will miss at least three more games after that while on injured reserve. His first possible game is Dec. 9 at home against the Eagles.

Williams was arrested in May on a charge of public intoxication in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, where team headquarters is located. The case was dismissed after Williams completed a state-mandated alcohol awareness education course.

Williams was ineffective before being placed on IR, as he mustered just two catches for 18 total yards over the Cowboys first two games. Dallas will also be without wide receiver Tavon Austin on Sunday when they face the Washington Redskins. Austin is suffering from a groin injury, and expected to be out multiple weeks.

NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux contributed to this story.


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Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt


Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

Luke Kuechly was just trying to make a tackle.

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the Carolina star dove to wrap up Adrian Peterson and, like many, many, many before him, failed to bring the RB down.

Unfortunately for Kuechly, something else happened on the play that is going to help it live on much longer than your routine defensive mistake.

That something, of course, is that Peterson's cleat came off in the collision and lodged itself in Kuechly's facemask. And the uniqueness of that is why Peterson is now selling T-shirts commemorating it:

"I thought it was pretty cool," Peterson said Thursday in the 'Skins' locker room when asked why he felt moved to create the shirts, of which there are three to choose from on his site. "My kids got a big kick out of it. Obviously, the Internet did as well."

No. 26 has carried the ball 2,651 times in his career but said he's never had an attempt go like that one that involved his footwear and Kuechly's headgear.

However, because he's a legend, Peterson was able to deal with the lost shoe and still go on to pick up a nice chunk of yards as well as a first down.

"As I'm breaking free and I feel my shoe coming off, the only thing on my mind is, 'OK, let me make sure I plant my foot in a way where I don't slip,'" he explained. "That was the only thing I was focusing on on that play."

Will Kuechly get a shirt, though? After all, without him, they wouldn't exist in the first place.

"I might send him one," Peterson said.

What's lower: the odds of Kuechly wearing that shirt should Peterson ever send it along or the odds of another shoe finding its way into the linebacker's facemask? 

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