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Will the Redskins sleep on the struggling Panthers? Not if they listen to Jay Gruden

Will the Redskins sleep on the struggling Panthers? Not if they listen to Jay Gruden

At 5-8 and blown out in two of their last three games, the Carolina Panthers are struggling to close out the 2016 season. At 7-5-1 and caught in a dogfight for a Wild Card spot, the Redskins most likely need to win all three of their remaining games to get in the playoffs.

Add that up and it would seem Washington should come out with much more incentive to win next Monday night, but for 'Skins coach Jay Gruden, his team is not looking past the Panthers.

"It is a huge game for us, again," Gruden said. "Carolina is the defending NFC Champions with obviously Cam Newton, awesome players, so we got a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a great challenge for us."

Gruden's response came after a question that asked about his plans to prepare for the Panthers and take advantage of the extra work day considering the Skins play Monday instead of Sunday. With a number of injuries on both sides of the ball, Gruden said he hopes his players get their needed rest, but in no way will his or his team's focus venture from Carolina next Monday night.

"We understand that we’re right in the mix [for the Wild Card]. We do know that, but we also know that one slip up and you’ll be a game-and-a-half, possibly, back. It’s just up to us to take care of what we can take care of – that’s Carolina right now," the coach said.

Remember, Gruden was livid with his team after a loss in Arizona two weeks ago. In that game, Gruden said afterward that he did not like the energy his squad played with early in the game, and there was some talk if the Redskins approached the Cardinals game with the right focus.

In a lot of ways, the Panthers and Cardinals are in the middle of similar lost seasons. The two teams met in the NFC Championship game last year and both were predicted as possible Super Bowl teams this season. 

Washington traveled to Arizona after a long week - they played the Cowboys on Thanskgiving the week before - giving them an additional few days of rest. While playing the Panthers on Monday is not identical, it is again an abnormal week for the players.

Gruden seemed adamant that his team will not lose perspective. Lose to the Panthers, and it's very likely the Redskins playoff hopes are over. Sometimes with long weeks, coaches will look ahead to the next opponent to get a leg up on scouting and game plans. That won't be the case this week.

"We’re going to focus on Carolina. [Week 16 in] Chicago doesn’t matter right now," Gruden said. "We’ve got to put all of our eggs in Carolina’s basket right now and do the best we can."

Last year the Redskins went on a late-season win streak and landed in the playoffs. Sounds like the coach wants to pull it off again. 

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Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Asante Samuel got hit Fourth of July fireworks started early Saturday morning with a negative tweet about NFL Hall-of-Famer Darrell Green.

The former Pro Bowler with the Patriots and the Eagles had a fine 11-year NFL career. He is a Super Bowl champion himself. But his out-of-nowhere tweets about Green, one of the NFL’s all-time great corners, were just…weird. 

Green was a dominant player on two Super Bowl champions, a seven-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1991. He was one of the fastest players in the league, a fearsome punt returner when necessary in playoff games and an all-around great player. Even other players from Samuel’s era were confused, including former Redskins safety Will Blackmon.

That's a pretty accurate description of the differences between Samuel's era and the way the game was played when Green was at his peak. Maybe he stuck around too long and maybe he wasn't close to the player he'd once been by the late 90s and early 2000s.

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But peak Darrell Green was an unquestioned Hall-of-Fame player. Teams didn't throw at him for a reason. When they did, they paid for it. Samuel got a little aggressive for a guy who might have cost the Pats an extra Super Bowl. 

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Tony Dungy, himself a great player and a Super Bowl champion as a player AND a coach, clapped back at Samuel for his ignorance of NFL history. 

That about says it all. 

For his part, Samuel doubled down responding to some tweets but by the afternoon he was starting to see the light. Sort of. 

 

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Ron Rivera reportedly hopes the Redskins can change their name before the 2020 season starts

Ron Rivera reportedly hopes the Redskins can change their name before the 2020 season starts

One day after his team announced they'd be launching a "thorough review" of its name, Ron Rivera told the Washington Post "it would be awesome" if the Redskins could complete the change before the 2020 season.

In fact, Rivera already has a few favorite ideas that he and Dan Snyder have tossed around in their recent, extensive discussions about the topic, though he wouldn't disclose them yet.

"We came up with a couple of names — two of them I really like," Rivera told Les Carpenter on Saturday.

In Washington's Friday statement, Rivera said, “This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”

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While talking with Carpenter, Rivera further explained that a new name must be respectful to both of those groups. 

"We want to do this in a positive way," Rivera said.

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It feels like more progress has been made toward a possible change in the past few days than the past handful of years.

Snyder, who once proclaimed his organization would "NEVER" make a switch, is clearly softening his stance now. That shift comes as outside pressure has really mounted from every direction since Thursday.

According to the Post, the owner and his new coach have really focused on going to a new name over the last month, with Rivera hoping to end the process soon.

"My eyes are wide open," Rivera said to Carpenter.

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