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Redskins turning to technology to try to cure Jones' fumbling issues

Redskins turning to technology to try to cure Jones' fumbling issues

The Redskins are turning to technology in order to improve Matt Jones’ ball security.

After he lost four fumbles in just 163 touches last year as a rookie, it became obvious that the issue needed special attention.

“Fundamentally, we drill him,” Jay Gruden said last week. “We’ve got a special ball for him, we’ve got all kinds of things that help him out, mainly focus on the ball not just when he’s in contact or in the line of scrimmage, but outside of contact where he had a lot of trouble last year.”

The “special ball” has sensors in it that will detect if the runner is putting sufficient pressure on key point of the ball as he carries it. There is one at each point of the ball. If the runner is handling the ball properly in a crowd there should be pressure on one end from his hand holding it and on the other end with that point tucked into the crook of the elbow. If the ball is fully secured it also should be pressure along the sides from the forearm and from the rib cage.

If there is pressure on all of the key points, the ball is silent. But if there grip loosens an warning signal goes off and the coach can stop the play to examine the grip and see where correction needs to be made.

It’s a useful tool but we won’t really know what results it will bring until the put the pads on in July. As Gruden pointed out, you can’t tell much while they are in shorts and helmets. “If he’s putting the ball down now, we have problems,” Gruden said with a smile.

But they are doing what they can do at this point. They are going to want him to handle the ball a lot more this year and a proportional increase in fumbles would put a crimp in those plans.

Gruden seems confident that he can get it done. "He's working hard at it, he'll get it corrected,” he said. We will see.

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NFL announces fineable violations for 'High Risk COVID-19 conduct' including night clubs

NFL announces fineable violations for 'High Risk COVID-19 conduct' including night clubs

If the NFL is going to pull off a season during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most important factors will be players, coaches and staff remaining diligent when it comes to how they handle themselves outside the facility. One wrong choice could lead to an outbreak in the locker room.

In order to try and keep that scenario from playing out, the league has shared a list of fineable violations related to COVID-19 conduct for the 2020 season. The activities mentioned in a memo sent to teams are considered high risk.

The updated list of offenses includes attending a nightclub, bar, house gathering or sporting event in which the player does not have protective equipment and/or is in a situation where there are more than 10 people and social distancing is not possible. As NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero noted, a church is not considered to be an area of high risk that could result in a penalty.

Should a player break one of these rules, they could be subjected to a fine of one week's salary, or they could be suspended without pay for a maximum of four weeks. Pelissero also reported that non-player employees of the team such as coaches and medical staff could be given similar punishments.

RELATED: WASHINGTON LB JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS OPTS OUT OF SEASON

Major League Baseball is currently dealing with outbreaks on multiple teams, including a situation with the St. Louis Cardinals in which it was reported that some players had left the team hotel to go to a casino. Clearly, the NFL is trying to make sure that idea is never considered by its players. 

In the week-plus since training camp began, the league has already seen numerous positives pop up across the league, as players are being sent to the COVID-19 reserve list on the daily. At the same time, a population of the players has opted out of the season amid concerns about their health and safety. Any others considering a similar course of action will have until Thursday, August 6, to do so.

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Report: NFL sets Thursday as last day for players to opt out of 2020 season

Report: NFL sets Thursday as last day for players to opt out of 2020 season

The NFL has officially decided on an opt-out date for the 2020 season.

All players across the league will have to make their final decision on whether to play or not in 2020 by 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Thus far, over 40 players have opted out of the 2020 season. While the NFL has yet to see any major stars decide to forego football this fall, notable names such as C.J. Mosley, Damien Williams and Michael Pierce have all decided not to play.

RELATED: JACK DEL RIO KEEPS OPINION OF PLAYERS OPTING OUT TO HIMSELF

On Monday, the Washington Football Team announced that linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons is opting out, becoming the team's second player to do so. Defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, who was deemed high-risk to play in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, announced he would skip the 2020 season last week.

In Baltimore, the Ravens have seen two players opt out so far: De'Anthony Thomas and Andre Smith.

The NFL is not the only league to see its players decide to skip the season due to the virus. Several NBA players chose not to travel to Orlando for the season's resumption, while the MLB is still seeing players opt-out two weeks into its season.

With the NFL's opt-out deadline less than four days away, it's likely more will join the nearly 40 different players that have decided to pass on the season.

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