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Redskins season ends after 35-18 home loss to Packers

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Redskins season ends after 35-18 home loss to Packers

The Redskins’ 2015 season came to an end at FedEx Field today as they lost to the Packers 35-18 in a wild card round playoff game.

The Redskins jumped out to an 11-0 lead on a safety, a field goal, and a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Jordan Reed. But then Aaron Rodgers heated up and Green Bay scored on five straight possessions in the second, third, and fourth quarters and it was more than the Redskins could overcome.

The defense wore down under the relentless Packers no-huddle attack. They only sacked Rodgers once after he had been sacked 14 times in the previous two games.

On offense, the Redskins were unable to establish a consistent ground attack and while Cousins wasn’t way off, he was not as sharp as he had been while leading the Redskins to four straight victories to close out the season.

The Redskins finished the regular season at 9-7 they won the NFC East title. But they extended their skid without a playoff win to 10 years and they are still looking for their first home playoff win since after the 1999 season.

Key play: The Redskins were leading 11-7 in the second quarter and were driving in Packers territory. But the drive came to an abrupt end when Kirk Cousins was sacked and stripped of the ball by Packers lineman Mike Neal, who also recovered the fumble. The ensuing drive resulted in a Packers field goal, and what had been a back-and-forth affair swung to the Packers’ advantage.

Injury Update:

G Spencer Long left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. He returned to the game in the second half.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Safety Rodgers sacked in the end zone by Smith

Drive: --

Key plays: The Packers started deep in their own territory after a punt and a penalty. After a false start penalty, Preston Smith sacked Rogers in the end end zone for the two points.

Redskins 2, Packers 0

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FG Hopkins 25

Drive: 10 plays, 48 yards, 5L36

Key plays: The Redskins started in good field position after the free kick. A 16-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith got them into Packers territory. Alfred Morris ran twice for another first down and then it was Cousins to Jordan Reed for 11 yards to the 15. On the next play, Cousins threw to DeSean Jackson, who was streaking across the middle. He went out of bounds just short of the goal line. Two runs and an incomplete pass left the Redskins needing to settle for three.

Redskins 5, Packers 0

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Second quarter

Reed 24 pass from Cousins (kick failed)

Drive: 7 plays, 64 yards, 3:22

Key plays: This drive got started when Jordan Reed made a stunning one-handed grab of a Cousins pass a rolled for 20 yards to convert a third and three. Then it was Cousins to Pierre Garçon for 13 yards. On third and 11 from the 24, Reed got behind the defense and Cousins found him in the end zone for the TD. The conversion attempt bounced off of the right upright.

Redskins 11, Packers 0

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Cobb 12 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:58

Key plays: The Packers went no-huddle and got the drive jump-started with a 34-yard Rodgers pass over the middle to James Jones. A Randall Cobb run set up a first down at the 12. On second down from there, Rodgers took advantage of a free play with too many men on the field on the defense and fired a touchdown pass to Cobb in the end zone.

Redskins 11, Packers 7

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FG Crosby 43

Drive: 8 plays, 30 yards, 3:11

Key plays: This drive started with a takeaway, a sack and strip of Cousins with Mike Neal recovering the fumble. Rodgers went to Cobb for 18 yards into Redskins territory at the 43. On third and two from the 25, Quinton Dunbar knocked down Rodgers’ pass to force the Mason Crosby field goal.

Redskins 11, Packers 10

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Adams 10 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 60 yards, 1:54

Key plays: The Packers started at their own 40 with no timeouts and hustled in for a score. A Rodgers to James Starks pass got them into Redskins territory at the 49. On third and two at the 30, Rodgers went to Davante Adams for 20 yards to set up first and goal at the 10. On second down from there, Rodgers found Adams wide open in the end zone for the touchdown with 28 seconds left in the first half.

Packers 17, Redskins 11

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Third quarter

Cousins 3 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 73 yards, 5:19

Key plays: The Redskins took the second half kickoff and got some points on the board. It started with Cousins throwing to Garçon for 21 yards and then Alfred Morris went up the middle for 19 yards to the Packers 33. The Redskins went for it on fourth and one at the 24 and Cousins rolled and flipped a pass to Jordan Reed, who battled down for a first and goal at the seven. On third and goal from the three, the receiver spread the field and Cousins ran the QB draw right up the middle for an easy touchdown.

Redskins 18, Packers 17

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Starks 4 run (Crosby kick)

Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:29

Key plays: The Packers answered the Redskins’ third-quarter score with one of their own. Eddie Lacy mae two big plays. First he converted a fourth and one with an 11-yard run and on the next play he cut across the grain for 30 yards down to the Redskins four. Then James Starks took a handoff, went around right end, and make it into the end zone.

Packers 24, Redskins 18

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Fourth quarter

Abbrederis Starks 2 run (Rodgers pass to

Drive: 10 plays, 76 yards, 5:39

Key plays: The Packers expanded their lead to two scores with a drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters. A pass from Rodgers to Randall Cobb was good for 15 yards to midfield then James Starks ran for 11. A few plays later it was Starks again for 22 yards down for a first and goal at the two. On the next play, Eddie Lacy ran up the middle of a tiring Redskins defense into the end zone. The two-point conversion put the Packers up by two touchdowns.

Packers 32, Redskins 18

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FG Crosby 29

Drive: 4 plays, 6 yards, 0:19

Key plays: The Packers took over on downs at their own 15 after sacking Kirk Cousins. They played it conservatively, running three times and then sending in Crosby

Packers 35, Redskins 18

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5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

5 questions facing the Redskins as the Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins QB battle begins

The Redskins have a quarterback battle. Repeat, the Redskins have a quarterback battle. This is not a drill. It is an open competition. 

When the team gathers in Ashburn on Monday for offseason training activities, it will be the first time that veteran passer Case Keenum and first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins will be on the field at the same time. Incumbent backup QB Colt McCoy should be present as well, but not active as he works back from multiple leg surgeries this offseason. 

The team has plenty of questions for the 2019 season, and the answers will start coming as early as this week. No question is bigger than the signal caller though.

  1. QB Battle - Every major factor in the Redskins organization has been clear that Haskins will get a chance to compete for the starting job. That means every throw between Keenum, the presumed starter after the 'Skins traded for him in February, and the Ohio State rookie will be over analyzed. If McCoy was healthy, he would have a jump start in the competition because he knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense. McCoy isn't healthy though, and that means more reps and work for Keenum and Haskins. This battle will be ongoing throughout the summer, but on Monday with the media present, it will be very interesting to see what player gets more work with the first-team offense.
  2. Who's still hurt - Speaking of the first-team offense, a number of players will be working back from offseason surgery. Will Paul Richardson be out there? Trent Williams? How healthy is Jordan Reed, and what about Derrius Guice? Brandon Scherff? There are a lot  of questions, and some of them will be answered simply by seeing guys run around. Second-year wideouts Cam Sims and Trey Quinn both finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve; will they be ready to go? There are a lot of people to watch out for. 
  3. STARTING DEFENSE (LATIMER VOICE*) - Landon Collins was the prize of free agency, and Monday he will be on the field barking directions at teammates. How will he fit in with Josh Norman, and how does Quinton Dunbar look? When Dunbar went down with a leg nerve injury last season, the Washington defense fell apart. If he is all the way back would be big news for Greg Manusky's defense. There's also Reuben Foster. This will be the first time for the media to see Foster on the field in a Redskins uniform after his controversial acquisition last November. Presumably Foster will answer questions after the OTA session, stay tuned for that.
  4. Camp is over for the rookies - Beyond Haskins, the Redskins have nine other draft picks taking part in OTAs. The rookies went through their own private minicamp last week, but this will be quite different. Rookie minicamp is about letting the new players get acclimated to the new facility and team; OTAs are about real work. Will Montez Sweat take the field with the Redskins first-team defense? What about the two rookie receivers in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon? There will be hiccups for the rookies, that's inevitable, but now is the time to prove they belong. With all the injuries on the offensive line, Wes Martin has the inside track on a starting job. 
  5. Absent, but not hurt - Never forget that OTAs are voluntary for players, and usually a handful of guys don't show up. That will likely happen tomorrow and some fans might react negatively. Don't be one of them. 

* If you don't get that reference, go watch The Program. 

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How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

How did the Redskins end up as the favorites to be featured on Hard Knocks?

There's a solid formula to land on the HBO series Hard Knocks, and a rookie quarterback can play a big role. Last year, HBO picked the Cleveland Browns, and much of that was to showcase No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. Three years ago, HBO did the same thing with the Rams and Jared Goff. 

This year, the No. 1 overall pick landed on a team that can't be shown on Hard Knocks, as Kyler Murray will play for new coach Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona. Teams with coaching changes are ineligible for the show, as are teams that made the playoffs the previous season. 

Well, the Redskins didn't make the playoffs last year and didn't make a coaching change. What other QBs were taken in the first round?

The New York Giants took Daniel Jones with the sixth pick, and the Redskins took Dwayne Haskins at 15. 

Hmmm.

For years, the idea of the Redskins on Hard Knocks seemed far fetched. Team president Bruce Allen is not particularly fond of the media or inside access for television cameras. Allen comes by that honestly, his father Hall of Fame coach George Allen liked to practice in complete secrecy. Like father, like son. And as much as HBO and the NFL can force a team to do Hard Knocks, if the team doesn't want to be a part of it, the access can be very limited. 

So, has that changed? Maybe. 

Oddsmakers have established the Redskins as the betting favorite to land on the show, with the Oakland Raiders and the Giants just behind them. Both the 'Skins and Giants have rookie QBs, but the reception around each rookie has been quite different. While generally, Washington fans are very excited about Haskins, the New York crowd seems non-pleased with Jones. 

The NFL rarely does things that upset the Giants, and in an offseason of turmoil for Big Blue, it's hard to see the team wanting the increased scrutiny of the documentary show. Between trading Odell Beckham, drafting Jones at six, and a series of odd quotes about Eli Manning's future, New York GM Dave Gettleman has become a national punch line. It seems highly unlikely Giants ownership wants their GM on national television, especially in an unguarded format like Hard Knocks, and usually, when Giants ownership wants something, they get their way. How many cold weather cities have hosted an outdoor Super Bowl again?

There's also the Raiders. 

Jon Gruden would be a star because he already is a star. The team traded for Antonio Brown, who is also a star. The Raiders would make great television.

But wouldn't they rather go on Hard Knocks next season when the team moves to Las Vegas? How glitzy is that? There won't be a coaching change — Gruden is armed with a 10-year contract — and the team should be better as their three first-round draft picks will have a year of experience. The Raiders on Hard Knocks in 2020 seems like a slam dunk. 

The Lions and 49ers are also options, but less appealing. Detroit is a perennial also-ran, and San Francisco lacks sizzle. 

So back to the Redskins. 

The team would be appealing for HBO. Washington has a huge fan base across the country, and the television network is already familiar with the team's Richmond training camp setup. In 2015, HBO chronicled the Houston Texans' training camp, and that included a trip to Richmond for joint practices. Everybody remembers that trip. 

But if the Redskins didn't want Hard Knocks before, why is this time different? Oddsmakers think things have changed, and digging in, maybe they're right.

By all accounts, the 'Skins had an excellent 2019 NFL Draft. They added their quarterback of the future in Haskins, and aggressively traded back into the first round to grab Montez Sweat, a potential beast of a pass rusher. The team also signed Landon Collins this offseason to an $84 million contract, and have pieces in place for a Top 10 defense. Offensively, Adrian Peterson is going into the Hall of Fame and second-year RB Derrius Guice should return from a knee injury to push for carries. 

Maybe, just maybe, the Redskins are willing to let HBO inside their walls because they want to brag a little bit. 

In the weeks after the draft, Allen did appearances on ESPN's First Take along with a host of national radio interviews. Stephen A. Smith interviewing Bruce Allen was wildly unexpected, and it corresponds to a noticeable increase in accessibility with the Redskins front office boss. Allen has conducted more media availabilities this offseason than he had in the previous two years combined. 

For all the talk of dysfunction that gets thrown around at Redskins Park, the reality is quite different. At least on the football side. The team did fire a number of high ranking business executives late last year after employing them for less than a season. That was an ugly scene.

On the field, however, things have been fairly steady for years. The team is aggressively mediocre in the Jay Gruden era, which is more stable than the franchise has been for the last 25 years. And Gruden would be hysterical on Hard Knocks, along with Rob Ryan and Jim Tomsula. 

Maybe going on Hard Knocks will change the perception around the team that owner Dan Snyder calls all the shots. Maybe going on Hard Knocks will get fans excited for the Haskins era, and get those fans to buy tickets. FedEx Field was noticeably empty last year. Maybe none of it happens too. 

Despite being the betting favorite, it is far from certain the Redskins land on Hard Knocks later this summer. But there are reasons to believe maybe this could be the year. 

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