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Who on the Redskins drops too many passes?

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Who on the Redskins drops too many passes?

Sometimes when I mention an offensive skill player in a post, someone in the comments writes about the problems that player has with drops. Sometimes these comments have a basis in fact. Almost as often, though, the fan is remembering one particular play at a particular moment and that sticks in his or her mind, giving an impression that the player may not deserve.

So who on the 2014 Redskins deserves the label of being drop prone? Two players stand out in a negative way when it comes to hanging on to passes. The dubious distinction of having the most drops on the team went to Andre Roberts with eight. Only five NFL players had more drops than Roberts; Steve Smith of the Ravens, the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas, and the Panthers’ Kelvin Benjamin led the NFL with 10 each.

It needs to be noted, however that all of the receivers who dropped more passes than Roberts did were targeted a minimum of 98 times. Roberts had only 73 targets. Doing the math, he dropped the ball on 11.0 percent of the times he was targeted. A total of 122 players were targeted 55 or more times last year. Only Roberts had a double-digit drop percentage.

The other Redskins player who had legitimate problems holding on to the ball last year was running back Alfred Morris. He was targeted 26 times and he had six drops. That drop percentage of 23.1 percent was the worst among NFL players who were targeted at least once per game.

Is there a small sample size bias with Morris? Perhaps. In his previous two NFL seasons he had three drops in 28 targets, 10.7 percent. If you roll up his three seasons he has eight drops in 54 targets, 16.7 percent. That’s still well within “butterfingers” territory.

On the other end of the scale for the Redskins was Pierre Garçon. He was targeted 105 times and did not drop a pass. Only the Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders was targeted more often (141) and also had zero drops.

The second most sure handed Redskins receiver was Jordan Reed. He had just one drop on 65 targets. DeSean Jackson was pretty good at holding on to the ball with three drops on 95 targets. Tight end Niles Paul also had three drops but he was targeted only 52 times.

Looking at players who are no longer on the roster, Roy Helu had 2 drops in 47 targets and Santana Moss had one in ten targets. Leonard Hankerson was active for a few games but did not have a pass thrown his way.

Logan Paulsen dropped two of 16 targets. Chris Thompson (7 targets), Darrel Young (14), Ryan Grant (15), and Silas Redd (10) were not charged with any drops. 

MORE REDSKINS: What should we expect from the Redskins' running game this year?

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Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

There are a lot of questions stemming from Reuben Foster's injury at Redskins OTAs, which looks to be a season-ending one.

Where does Foster, whose career has really yet to take off due to other injuries as well as numerous off-field troubles, go from here? What are Washington's options at inside linebacker now, since they were counting on him to produce?

And then there's this: How does Foster missing this year affect his contract with the 'Skins?

The answer, according to salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, is not much.

"When a contract tolls, that means basically the pause button is pushed and whatever you were supposed to make in 2019 carries over to 2020. That's not the case for Reuben Foster," Halsell said Tuesday while on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"Reuben Foster will earn his $1.29 million salary regardless of if he plays this season or not. While he'll probably spend his entire season on injured reserve, he'll make his $1.29 million in 2019."

Essentially, everything proceeds as normal. And that in and of itself is a decent setback for the organization.

One of the reasons the Redskins dealt with the controversy and backlash when they claimed Foster last November was because they were adding a first-round talent on his rookie contract. The team was hoping they could secure two years of elite play out of him at a bargain price, and then potentially exercise the fifth-year option on him to keep him in D.C. through 2021.

Now, however, they're losing one of those precious seasons and will have to make that decision on his fifth-year option next offseason without any tape or experience to really base that decision on. That's an important choice, and one that will carry significant financial implications as well.

"The fifth-year option for the 2021 season will be pretty expensive," Halsell said. "The long and short of it is it's going to be a lucrative dollar amount and given his injury history, his current injury, you would think that when they have to make that decision by the 2020 Draft, they will decline that option."

Haslell's right. The likelihood of the Burgundy and Gold committing big money to a guy with literally one rep in their uniform — and it's not like he was proven for the 49ers, as a linebacker or as a person, either — feels unbelievably slim. 

Yet — and now we're looking pretty far down the line — if he is able to return from this injury and contribute in 2020, the franchise could still look to keep him beyond that. There's a ton of time between now and then, but it's certainly possible.

"Theoretically, even though you don't have the fifth-year option for 2021, you can work on a contract extension for Reuben Foster assuming he comes back to full health," Haslell explained.

Still, not only does the injury hurt the player as well as the unit the player was going to start on, but it limits the team's potential payoff from claiming the player. The situation, from every angle, is an unfortunate one. 

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NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

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USA TODAY Sports Imahes

NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

NEW YORK -- The NFL and the players' union have two new agreements to address player health in the areas of pain management/prescription medications, and behavior well-being.

The joint agreements, announced Monday, are designed to lead to advancement and understanding of dealing with pain and to improve potential treatments. The league and union also will add to programs already established in education, prevention, and overall behavioral health throughout the league.

"I was hired two years ago and when I was hired I was asked about areas of concern," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's medical chief. "And I said these were two areas I saw from my knowledge of someone taking care of athletes for over two decades. I felt a real need there."

"We've been working together with the players' union to come up with something that would work proactively for both. We have the same goal, to take care of the whole player and in a holistic way, and to focus on prevention."

Among the stipulations in the pain management area will be formation of a committee of medical experts appointed by the league and union that will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies in pain management and the use of prescription medication by players. The committee also will conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.

That committee will receive periodic reports from a newly developed prescription drug monitoring program that will monitor all prescriptions issued to NFL players by club physicians and unaffiliated physicians.

Each NFL club must appoint and pay for a pain management specialist before next season.

All this builds on the programs in place.

"We've had an electronically submitted health record for each club in place for a number of years," Sills said. "Medical providers enter the prescriptions they have given to the players. Periodically, our medical advisory committee and the NFL Physicians Society would issue white paper guidelines around strategies. The important change here is obviously it creates a committee tasked with overseeing our educational efforts -- the best practices around pain management."

All 32 teams now must retain by the start of training camp a behavioral health team clinician focused on supporting players' emotional and mental health and well-being. The old bromide of "toughing it out" when someone has such issues has long been discarded, Sills said.

"This is not novel to the NFL or to sports," Sills added. "It applies across all levels of society at all age groups and walks of life, and we know these are issues we need to address."

While the NFL and NFLPA have had previous joint programs in these health areas, Sills and NFLPA President Eric Winston note these initiatives are a major step forward in medical care.

"These agreements are positive developments for our membership as they will provide new and important resources to help players and their families," Winston said. "Our union has always advocated for advancements in health and safety and we think this work with the NFL is another important step to improve care for NFL players."

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