A season-saving win....lots of good, bad, and more.
1. RG3. His best overall game since pre-injury last year. I know that many don't like it but the offense is obviously a much better unit when he's a part of the run game. He had more read-option keepers than he's ever had in a game. He took some unnecessary risks and corresponding hits on some of those runs but he played the game like it was do or die. I'm sure there are many different opinions on that. He's still struggling at times as a passer but he makes up for some of those mistakes with his ability to make "off-schedule" plays as a runner or passer. He was clutch all day. When they had to have a drive to answer Chicago, he led several including the game-winning drive where he went 5-7 for 58 yards (1 drop by Moss) and two huge 3rd-down throws to Garcon (on the run towards the sideline) and Reed.
2. Jordan Reed. We've seen his potential in glimpses through the first five games but today was his breakout moment. He's a big target and he gets open. His hands are solid and he makes yards after the catch. Nine catches on nine targets for 134 yards including four on third-downs was a huge difference in the game.
3. Morris and Helu. Both backs made plays and the mixture of both in the game plan makes the Skins harder to defend. Still amazing how many yards Morris gets when it appears there's nothing there. Helu did the same on a few carries. Helu is a nice red-zone option because of his versatility as a runner or pass receiver.
4. 1st-half defense. They held the Bears to 46 yards on six drives and scored another touchdown on the Orakpo pick 6. By the way, nice play by Reed Doughty on that play. The D's performance in the first half should've led to a bigger lead at halftime but bad Special Teams and an RG3 pick helped Chicago to 17 points.
5. Trent Williams. I thought he was clearly the best of the offensive lineman on a day when the rest of the O-line allowed a ton of penetration.
6. Hurry-up. They used it several times and were effective each time. It really helped the running game in particular and seemed to set up big bootleg plays.
7. Luck. They got lucky for the first time this year. Let's count....1) Reed may have fumbled on the early catch where he got hurt....Skins did a nice job of going hurry-up and snapping the ball before the Bears could challenge. 2) Morgan's fumbled kickoff was thankfully recovered by Niles Paul. 3) The TD pass to Robinson should've never been thrown and should've been picked off by Tillman 4) The Gould missed FG was a close-call that went Skins' way. 5) Bears' onsides kick penalty could've gone either way, it went Skins' way. 6) Matt Forte seemed to get out-of-bounds on the next-to-last play of the game but the ref rolled the clock forcing the Bears to call their final timeout. The next play was sack/end of game.
1. Special Teams. Another bad performance overall. There were a few good plays including the Gumbs hit on kickoff coverage but there were a ton of rough ones. In addition to Hester's 81-yard punt return (which was punted well), Josh Morgan's decision not to field a punt at the 12 cost them 11 yards and ultimately 3 points. On the flip side, he fielded another punt at his own 5...wrong decision on that one too. Additionally, he fumbled a kickoff return. Bad day for Morgan on Sp Teams. They almost got caught on a surprise onsides kick but a questionable penalty bailed them out. The Redskins currently rank in the bottom 3 in the league on kickoff coverage, punt coverage, kickoff returns, and punt returns. The good news, no missed field goals and no blocked punts.
2. RG3 took too many unnecessary hits on runs. This was a guy playing like he did last year and not worrying about things like sliding or getting out-of-bounds. I love him in the run-game because it makes this offense so much better but he didn't need to take as many hits as he did today.
3. Drops. At least 4 drops by my count including 2 by Moss, 1 by Hankerson, and 1 by Garcon. May have been more.
4. 2nd-half defense. It allowed 313 yards, 21 first downs, and 24 points in 30 minutes. McCown's running ability against man-coverage in particular led to some big plays that Cutler may or may not have given them. The Bears have a ton of weapons and guys like Marshall, Jeffery, Forte, and Bennett made a ton of plays.
5. Some of the play calling. It's hard to criticize the play calling when the offense scored 38 pts and rolled up 499 yards but I didn't like the 3rd and 3 QB rollout to Robert's left....a play that resulted in a big loss. Additionally, I hated the 2nd and 12 reverse call to Robinson that lost another 11 yards in the 2nd quarter. That was a drive where they had decent field position and a 17-10 lead and they came out with that play. That drive should've been a spot to take control of the game early and they tricked their way out of that opportunity. Additionally, I hated the 2nd and 12 reverse call to Robinson that lost another 11 yards in the 2nd quarter. That was a drive where they had decent field position and a 17-10 lead and they came out with that play. That drive should've been a spot to take control of the game early and they tricked their way out of that opportunity.
6. Clock management....again. A terrible timeout by Mike Shanahan with 1:03 left in the game could've easily cost them the game. It's really troubling to watch because the goal for the Redskins during that final drive should've been touchdown and as little time left for the Bears when they got the ball back. That timeout on a 1st and 10 at the Chicago 19 resulted in the Bears having more time on the clock after the Skins touchdown and an additional timeout that they wouldn't have otherwise had. It made no sense especially when you consider that the Skins were in hurry-up mode already and they had plenty of time. More than a minute left is plenty. Less than 40 is when you start thinking timeout in that situation. The other thing is that if for some reason they had missed a game-tying FG, they wouldn't have been able to get the ball back with two timeouts. With 3, they could've forced a punt and had time to try and tie it again.
1. Merriweather on the verge of a fine and possible suspension after two 15-yard penalties.
2. Skins ran more read-option QB keepers than ever before. RG3 took a lot of risks on runs attempting to get extra yards which led to some hits.
3. Skins ran one triple-option play in the 2nd quarter. It's the first one of those since the Cincinnati game last year.
4. I was surprised that Bears took a knee at the end of the first half. The ball was at the 35 with 20 seconds left. That's 2 completions for FG range. Gould has great range even though he would've been kicking into the wind.
5. The 15-yard late hit on Orakpo was questionable.
6. The Replay-review of Hankerson catch and run on the sideline was correct call.
There is no game that has any less significance than the annual Pro Bowl. There is perhaps no individual honor that means more in a given season than a Pro Bowl nod, especially when selected to the original AFC or NFC roster.
For the Washington Redskins, nine wins and a possible NFC East Championship brought with it three Pro Bowl selections to the original roster and two more alternate selections. A possibility of 5 Redskins players could be in Honolulu, a week before the Super Bowl -- unless they are in New Orleans, preparing to play the biggest game of their lives.
Robert Griffin III, Lorenzo Alexander, and Trent Williams all earned Pro Bowl selections for the first time in their career. London Fletcher and Alfred Morris were selected as alternates.
For Griffin III, he joins Dan Marino as the only two rookie quarterbacks to be named to the original Pro Bowl rosters in year number one, according to Randall Liu of the NFL.
Alexander became the first Redskins player as a special teamer to make the Pro Bowl, since the red snapper - Ethan Albright in 2007. Alexander leads the NFL according to STATS, LLC with 19 special teams tackles, but the Redskins coaching staff has him credited with 29. Either way, you get the point. He's a stud.
Williams, who was suspended for the final four games last year, due to a violation of the NFL substance-abuse program was the team's # 4 overall pick in 2010 and the first selection of the Mike Shanahan era.
Only Ryan Kerrigan of the three first round picks the club has made in the Shanahan-Allen regime has not made a Pro Bowl yet, and he just set a career high for sacks with 8.5, and was simply dominant on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Griffin and Williams were chosen by management, but Alexander was retained. He was undrafted and bounced around before finding a home in Washington, and could have been discarded by a new staff that had no allegiance to him, except for one key guy who was retained in special teams coordinator, Danny Smith.
Instead, Alexander, became a part of the foundation poured down by Mike Shanahan when he arrived in Washington. Alexander was an unrestricted free agent in 2010, when the current regime inked him to a three year deal.
"I'm very humbled by everybody voting me in." Alexander thanked Smith, and several of his teammates for helping him get the nod, pointing out "obviously it's not a one man show."
For the "One Man Gang," he understands what it could mean moving forward. Alexander said via tele-conference on Wednesday night, "even more so than Pro Bowls, you want to be able to make it to the playoffs and go deep into the playoffs, and that's our main goal."
As mentioned, Alexander is a free agent once again this year, "hopefully that works out for me. Ultimately, I want to be here. I love this community, and the organization has always supported me."
Williams, is an athletic freak, who plays perhaps the most important position on the field (outside of quarterback) at the left tackle spot. He's the first Redskins offensive lineman to be selected since Chris Samuels was chosen in 2008.
Williams was voted a co-captain this year, despite his suspension to end the 2011 campaign which fortified his value. He is the kingpin to an offensive line group that has helped the Redskins lead the NFL in rushing for much of the year, as they are still number one at 162.3 yards per game and a group that has yielded 32 sacks in 15 games.
"Those guys make me better and likewise. This award that I'm receiving is a unit award, because I couldn't do it without them," Williams said via tele-conference on Wednesday night.
Griffin, was not available to comment via phone to reporters, but tweeted "Players, Coaches, Fans and most of all My Teammates, I could say so much more but will keep it simple & say Thank You."
Griffin becomes the sixth rookie quarterback in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl overall, but shares the distinction above with Dan Marino. He's also the first offensive rookie from the Redskins to be selected since Larry Brown in 1969.
The only snubs that you can really make a gripe about are Morris, who has only rushed for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns as opposed to San Francisco's Frank Gore who has a combined 1,359 yards and 8 touchdowns. Morris is an alternate selection and might get to play if Adrian Peterson bypasses the event.
Will Montgomery got a hard snub as Jeff Saturday of the Green Bay Packers made it over the Redskins rugged center. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Montgomery grades out as a + 21.0 overall on the year, including a + 2.8 in Philly on Sunday with a grade 2 MCL.
Saturday, who was benched recently, has a negative 5.0 cumulative grade on the season. He led the fan voting, which counts for 33.3% of the vote for the initial rosters. The other offensive center named? Seattle's Max Unger, who graded out just below Montgomery.
According to (@PFF), John Sullivan of the Vikings was an even bigger snub at a +28.0 to lead all centers. Of course, it helps to have Adrian Peterson as your running back.
As for right guard Chris Chester, he fell behind the three offensive guard selections for the NFC (Jahri Evans, Chris Snee, Mike Iupati) according to Pro Football Focus.
Just for the record, I have no issue with London Fletcher only being named an alternate. He clearly did not deserve to be in the same group as Patrick Willis and especially NaVorro Bowman.
Some have tried to make a case for Kai Forbath. Please people - he didn't even play in the first 5 games of the season. No offense, he's been terrific but you can't even make a reasonable argument.
Lorenzo Alexander, Robert Griffin III and Trent Williams all earn first career Pro Bowl nods
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The National Football League announced today that linebacker/special teamer Lorenzo Alexander, quarterback Robert Griffin III and tackle Trent Williams have all been selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl. The annual contest of the AFC and NFC's best will take place Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
In addition, linebacker London Fletcher and running back Alfred Morris were selected as alternates.
Alexander, 29, is in his third season as Washington’s special teams captain. The two-time team recipient for Walter Payton Man of the Year has played eight different positions in six NFL seasons, but has earned acclaim as one of the top special teams players in the NFL. This season, Alexander has been credited by coaches with a team-high 29 special teams tackles. His 19 special teams tackles as credited by STATS, LLC are the most in the NFL.
Alexander is the first Redskin since long snapper Ethan Albright (2007) selected to the Pro Bowl on the basis of special teams play.
The Redskins selected Griffin III, 22, with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft last April, and despite being inactive in Week 15, Griffin III has completed 249-of-375 passes (66.4 percent) for 3,100 yards with 20 touchdowns, only five interceptions and a passer rating of 104.1. Griffin III already holds at least a share of team rookie records for passing attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, and is on pace to set team rookie records for completion percentage and passer rating. In addition, he has rushed 114 times for 752 yards with six rushing touchdowns this season, all three of which are team records for a quarterback. His 6.6 yards per carry average leads the NFL among players with at least 100 rushing attempts.
Griffin III is the first rookie quarterback selected to the Pro Bowl in Redskins history. Prior to 2012, only six rookie quarterbacks in NFL history had been named to the Pro Bowl. He is the first offensive rookie for the Redskins to be selected to the Pro Bowl since running back Larry Brown in 1969. Griffin III is the first Redskin quarterback of any experience level to earn a Pro Bowl selection since Brad Johnson following the 1999 season. His selection is the 21st by a Redskins quarterback, joining Johnson, Gus Frerotte (1996), Mark Rypien (1989, 91), Jay Schroeder (1986), Joe Theismann (1982-83), Billy Kilmer (1972), Sonny Jurgensen (1964, 66-67, 69), Norm Snead (1963), Eddie LeBaron (1955, 57-58), Al Dorow (1956), Harry Gilmer (1950, 52) and Sammy Baugh (1951).
Williams, 24, is in his second season as an offensive captain for the Redskins. The first player drafted during Mike Shanahan’s tenure in Washington, Williams has blossomed into one of the league’s elite left tackles in his first three seasons since being selected No. 4 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Williams anchors an offensive line that has helped the Redskins average a league-high 162.3 rushing yards per game this season. He has helped rookie running back Alfred Morris shatter team rookie rushing records, as well as bring Morris to within 104 yards of breaking the Redskins’ single-season rushing record. Despite fighting several significant injuries throughout the season, Williams is one start on Sunday away from having started all 16 games in a season for the first time in his career.
Williams becomes the first Redskins offensive lineman selected to the Pro Bowl since Chris Samuels in 2008. With Williams’ first Pro Bowl selection and Samuels’ six career selections, the Redskins’ last seven Pro Bowl offensive linemen have all been left tackles. Williams’ selection is the 14th by a Redskins offensive tackle since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, joining Samuels (2001-02, 05-08), Jim Lachey (1990-91), Mark May (1988) and Joe Jacoby (1983-86).
With the Redskins’ selections this year, the team has had at least one Pro Bowl player for 19 straight seasons. The only year Washington has not had a Pro Bowler in team history was 1993. Shanahan has now coached players responsible for 73 Pro Bowl selections during his tenure as an NFL head coach. Shanahan has had at least one player selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his 19 seasons at the helm.
Training camp is such a crazy time of the year, and now that it is over for 2012 (thank god), I will have more of a chance to write and bring you inside Redskins Park, as a compliment to what we do on ESPN 980 AM, and 94.3/92.7 FM.
Looking back over the last few weeks, it's easy to see what players have stood out and which players have not really jumped off the eye ball chart just yet, keeping in mind the Redskins have only played one meaningless preseason game, and have only had two-and-a-half weeks of practice...
To start, with some detail - here are five players that have made an impact in my eyes in practice, and in the Buffalo game.
1. Aldrick Robinson - Robinson in his 2nd year, was on the 53-man roster for a couple of games at the end of last year, but did not get to make a contribution. He has out-run defensive backs on routes and regularly has been the most dynamic player because of his natural speed.
A couple of examples : Tuesday, during practice - Robinson hooked up again with Kirk Cousins and beat Travon Bellamy and David Jones. In Saturday's non-pads practice, Robinson blew past Jones on a long hookup from Cousins again, who rolled to his right. Keep in mind, if Robinson wants to make roster, he'll have to beat much better corners than Bellamy and Jones, but still he has been probably the most individually impressive player in camp. In Buffalo, Robinson had a late ten yard catch on a comeback route that was thrown right to him. I would love for the Redskins to dial some long balls up this week, targeted for Robinson by letting him go and get it, instead of Brandon Banks.
Robinson is much less tentative this year, than he was in 2011, with his route-running. He's admitted this, and it was natural with the lockout lasting until late July of last year, that Robinson would have been hurt the most, as a raw late round pick.
2. Pierre Garcon - I don't care how tall the dude is listed at (6'0", 212) -- but he looks in pads like he's about 6'4" 225 with great speed, good hands and so far excellent route running. He also plays with a chip/nasty streak and is willing to stir it up and lower the boom after a play.
Really, all you need to see is the Buffalo scoring drive to see why the Redskins wanted him, and paid him a lot of money. Garcon, drove over a Bills DB, and got up and talked a little smack to a couple of other defenders. He ran routes and both sides of the field, one a deeper comeback route, good for 20, 18 and the 20-yard TD on 3rd-and-3 with the bubble screen.
Garcon, made a move into space, patiently allowing his blocks to set up by Trent Williams and Santana Moss, then exploded into the end zone with a flip. He got up and celebrated by pointing to the back of his uniform (presumably his name). I didn't love some of the antics, because they can easily draw a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in a real game, but so far I love Garcon's enthusiasm.
Going back to his size issue, maybe I am overrating this, but he just plays and looks bigger. He should have had a fourth catch on the sideline intermediate out on the first series last week, a catch that in a regular season game almost definetly would have been challenged, as Garcon went off his feet a bit and did the toe drag.
In practice, Garcon has not come up/down with a couple of long pass attempts to start practice from Robert Griffin III, but has hauled in just about everything else.
On Tuesday, Garcon caught a beautiful pass from Griffin, over his shoulder on a sideline route, with perfect execution. Garcon, made a gesture (that will likely get him in trouble) to Madieu Williams after beating him on the route.
3. Lorenzo Alexander - From his insane new physique, to constantly re-inventing himself - the "One Man Gang" does it all. He had Robert Griffin III's first interception two weeks ago, and had a pick on Monday, off the hand of Chris Cooley and from the arm of Kirk Cousins. Alexander, makes perhaps his greatest impact on special teams as the captain of that unit - but the bottom line is this - there is not much that Zo doesn't do well.
4. Trent Williams - Up until last Thursday, Williams was the most dominating player in the 2012 camp. Williams, sprung the key block to allow Garcon to score the game's only touchdown, but hurt his upper foot/lower ankle area. Williams was out of practice Saturday, in a walking boot Sunday, limited to individual work Monday and returned to perform about half of the team work reps on Tuesday.
5. Bryan Kehl/Chris Wilson - Kehl has been terrific since his wife gave birth to the couples first child less than two weeks ago. He should have had a interception last Thursday, but finished with 6 tackles and a sack. Kehl has had many other moments, including stripping Chris Cooley of a fumble near the goalline and returning it almost all the way to the other end zone.
Wilson, after over a year away from the Redskins, has flashed very good speed and at times has made plays that make you wonder what the Redskins did not see in him. Wilson had a terrific tackle last week on a wide goalline toss, right in front of where I was standing. He has routinely gone around or pressured the QB from the LOLB spot, no matter who has been at RT.
Trent Williams is entering year number three of his NFL career. It goes without saying, this is a career defining season. While it would be wrong to say it is a 'make or break' campaign, you have to figure that Williams is going to be in the major chateau bow-wow with the Redskins and the fan base if his play doesn't take a big leap forward.
Nevermind, if he makes another mistake, and violates the NFL substance-abuse program. As everyone knows, he is just one bad decision away from a year-long suspension.
While I believe that Williams has matured significantly over the last two years, from the time he was selected # 4 overall as the first ever draft pick of the Mike Shanahan - Bruce Allen regime -- the bottom-line is it is up to Williams to prove it, again and again. He did become a leader on a team that was mostly void of leadership last season, but more is required.
His play has been up-and-down at times. He has missed two games in each year, due to legitimate injury. His lack of quality performance, could not have been more glaring than in Week 1 last year, when Jason Pierre-Paul lit up Williams regularly.
His ability to dominate? Clearly, the Seattle game, the offensive line's highlight moment. Trent started that day off barking, and kept the good fight throughout, but came dangerously close to putting his team in a bad position. He seemed to embrace a leadership role as the season wore on, especially with injuries to Kory Lichtensteiger and Jammal Brown's off-and-on health.
For what it is worth, the Redskins are 1-3, in games that Williams misses due to injury. They were an additional 1-3 during his suspension, oddly enough winning against Pierre-Paul and the Giants, with Willie Smith at left tackle.
No matter how you slice it -- Williams ability to dominate, is a huge key as the Redskins try to take a leap forward. It is likely that most of the time, Robert Griffin III will roll and run on a design to the right side, but Williams ability to control the backside defenders, will be huge along with the obvious need for blind side protection in 5 and 7-step drops.
A key question that I have been asked frequently this off-season and last, is what can or should the Redskins do with Trent's contract?
His 2012 cap number is 13.98 million, which includes an 11 million dollar base salary, a 1 million dollar workout bonus, and a 1.98 M pro-rated portion of his original signing bonus, per league sources.
Williams had to actually return a miniscule portion of his signing bonus, a total of $117 thousand, because of his four-game suspension. The 117 thousand fine or return of his signing bonus was based on a formula that the league uses, and the Redskins actually received a very small 19,600 salary cap credit for each cap year moving forward over the remainder of the deal.
Moving forward, and specifically in 2013, Williams cap figure drops from the somewhat obscene 13.98 million to 7.98 million, a year-to-year cap figure savings of six million dollars. The smaller cap hit, is a combination of a 5 million dollar base salary, plus a 1 million dollar workout bonus, along with a pro-rated bonus figure of another 1.98 million.
The dropoff is a significant and interesting one, because the Redskins will be subjected to a final year penalty of about 17.6 million in cap space, per the NFL ruling.
In 2014, Williams cap figure bumps back up to 10.98 million. An increase by three million, but still a drop-off from the 2012 current figure. Williams is due to make 7.25 million in base salary, and obtain a 1.75 million workout bonus. Once again, Williams counts for a 1.98 million proration of the salary cap.
In 2015, Williams currently is scheduled to climb the ladder once again on the cap scale, to a figure of 13.73 million, per league sources. Williams would count 10.25 million in base salary, along with a 2 million dollar workout bonus, and a prorated portion of his signing bonus, which is less in year six of the deal.
So basically in review, Williams cap numbers as of today, look like this against the Redskins salary cap, assuming there is no re-structuring by the club. 2012 - 13.98 Million; 2013 - 7.98 million, 2014 - 10.98 million, 2015 - 13.73 million.
Williams has already earned a pay-out of 20.75 million in 'prior cash' according to league sources. That means over the final four years of the current deal, Williams is still due a 'new cash' payout of 39.25 million dollars, assuming the contract is completed. As part of the original terms of the rookie contract, Williams is guaranteed 11 million of the 12 million in the current league year, which is in the form of a guaranteed base. In 2013, Williams is guaranteed 5 million dollars in his base salary. The only exceptions would be if he is suspended, in which case the Redskins would be given a cap rebate.
The good news (for the Redskins) is that in 2014 and 2015, 9 million in the first year and 12.25 million is not guaranteed. Theoretically, the Redskins could get out of the contract with very little cap impact (just the amortized cap hit) after the 2013 season (two more years) with a low impact moving forward. Of course, the larger picture issue with that would show a colossal failure on Williams and the Redskins part to have the number four overall pick in the first draft of the new regime, be out of burgundy and gold.
The more important and pertinent question is this. Should the Redskins re-structure Trent's deal to provide relief now, and shift more burden towards next year or possibly 2014/2015?
My fairly educated guess is they already have approached Williams, although I don't know that for sure. A source close to the situation only said "At this time, no comment." Read into that, anyway you want - but if nothing was happening, a simple no would have been accepted.
In talking to one source, a likely scenario would be to convert some of Williams base from 2012 (guaranteed anyway) to bonus (which would allow that money to be divided by 4), because his 8 million 2013 (next year) cap number is "pretty manageable," according to the source. That would certainly put pressure on the 2014 & 2015 caps, though. However, the Redskins do not currently HAVE to do anything.
With the roughly 7 million they have currently under the cap, they will use between 4.5 - 5.0 million of that salary cap money in 2012 on new contracts for Robert Griffin III and 3rd round pick Josh LeRibeus. Griffin III is expected to count for about 3.9 million, with LeRibeus counting for about 800,000.
That would leave the Redskins with somewhere between 1.5 - 2.3 million based on certain variables, but to say 2 million is a fair statement. You can go forward with that, however, if a key season ending injury occurs during training camp and you need to go out and sign a proven veteran, for example, a Kareem McKenzie at offensive tackle, the squeeze will be in full effect.
Sure, there are other contracts that can be cut or re-structured or ripped up, and new ones created -- but it would appear that the situation the Redskins have the most leverage with is Williams. Should they? It would make sense, for both sides at least from this viewpoint. Williams can show the Redskins that he is committed to helping the team on-and-off the field, here and now.
Phillip Daniels was let go by the Washington Redskins after the lockout ended, and as free agency and a compressed training camp was about to begin last summer.
Daniels, while hoping to get a chance to play again in the NFL -- got a chance to spend some more time with his family, and to support his son, DaVaris, who last year was a red-shirt wide receiver at Notre Dame, while also thinking about the short and long term future.
Part of that thought process -- What would he do or like to do if no team really wanted him to play OR even if a team did, Daniels knew that opportunity would not last forever.
With that, Daniels knew he wasn't walking away from the game of football and figured he should start pursuing his second career, even if it cost him an opportunity to be at every Notre Dame game this season.
On ESPN 980 & the "Sports Reporters" last night - Daniels talked about his new position as Director of Player Development for the Washington Redskins and said he was pushed to take the job by DaVaris, who is expected to be a strong replacement for Michael Floyd.
"I spoke with him about it. He knows that coaching, this is something I wanted to do for a long time. He actually told me 'go-ahead,' get your feet wet, get in the door. The good thing about Notre Dame, they're on TV every week.... He's fine. I've raised him the right way to be strong and go out and do his job. He'll be fine without me."
In his new position, Daniels will be responsible for dealing with the players in an expanded role of the normal duties associated with the job. Daniels said, "I'll be working with the players, just to make sure they got everything they need. Also assisting the coaches in everything they might need. The main thing, is just helping this team get to where we need to be. Hopefully, go out and win a Super Bowl."
Daniels, sources told ESPN 980, will be directly responsible for helping Trent Williams and Fred Davis and other players that might be having problems with the challenges of being an athlete, and balancing the temptations that exist when you have a ton of free time and a lot of money.
"No I haven't talked to them. Both of those guys (Davis and Williams), I know they made a mistake. I know both of those guys are good guys. I think both of those guys are great players. We need them on this team."
Daniels will be on the field at practices during training camp and at other times, in a structure set up by Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan, so that he can get the start on his coaching career, without having to put in the hours that a typical coach does.
Daniels feels his experience will help him in this all encompassing position, "On-and-off the field. Playing 15 years, you see a lot, you learn a lot."
Bobby Crumpler, who previously served in this role, without the expanded duties that Daniels will be taking on, is expected to be assigned elsewhere in the organization, according to a team source.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) If a team is truly led by its captains, it's not hard to see why the Washington Redskins have already clinched another losing season.
Left tackle Trent Williams missed Sunday's 34-27 loss to the New England Patriots because he was serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The other offensive captain, receiver Santana Moss, was whistled for a crucial penalty late in the game and pulled out the tired loser's lament: "I guess we've got to play against a team and the ref."
Linebacker London Fletcher, a defensive co-captain, let the refs have it when he was called for a personal foul, although his tirade was somewhat excusable because it appeared to be a legal hit. Special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander was his usual steady self, the only one of the five captains not involved in some sort of controversy.
That leaves cornerback DeAngelo Hall, the other defensive captain, who had an especially trying day. Hall gave up on a play, standing and watching from a few yards away while Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was breaking tackles along the sideline for a 49-yard gain that set up a touchdown in the first quarter.
Then, in the third quarter, after he was called for defensive holding, Hall picked up the official's flag and gave it a disrespectful toss - drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call that gave New England 20 yards in penalties on one play.
"Especially when guys are in a leadership role, I think we understand that you have to keep your cool, regardless if you like a call or don't like a call," coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. "That's your job - to handle yourself in a professional manner. And more importantly not put your team in a hole with a 15-yard penalty. So those are things I talk about with our football team, and if you make too many of those mistakes, eventually you're not with us."
The Gronkowski play was also far from exemplary. Hall said after the game he thought the tight end had stepped out of bounds, but that wasn't the case: There was still plenty of green between the tight end and the sideline when he dragged two other Redskins pursuers past a standing-still Hall.
"That was disappointing, because one of the things DeAngelo usually does is finish," Shanahan said. "A lot of corners don't like to tackle. He's one of the more physical guys in the league. I know he was embarrassed by it, as well as our whole football team."
Monday was a quiet day at Redskins Park. The Redskins (4-9) have clinched another losing season and will have to dig deep to keep themselves motivated over the final three weeks. Neither Hall nor Moss nor Fletcher made an appearance in the locker room during the period it was open to reporters.
"I'm excited about what the defense can do," said safety Reed Doughty, giving a blanket assessment of the state of things. "But at the end of the day, we're judged by wins."
Shanahan touched on the notable moments from Sunday's game, including the offensive pass interference call that got Moss so incensed. Moss caught what appeared to be a 5-yard touchdown pass that might have sent the game to overtime with 1:09 to play, but he was called for pushing off on receiver-turned-cornerback Julian Edelman.
"I agree with the call," Shanahan said. "You can't extend your arms. I'm not sure how many times you're going to call offensive pass interference, but anytime there is an extension of the arms, it's a proper call."
The penalty on Fletcher gets the opposite review. Shanahan on Sunday said he thought the call was "horrible," and the coach stood by that comment Monday. Fletcher was whistled for a blow to the head to Tom Brady after the New England quarterback waited too long to start a slide after a scramble. Replays show Fletcher made a clean hit, his arm hitting Brady in the midsection - nowhere near the helmet.
Shanahan said he doesn't expect Fletcher to the additional punishment from the league office that usually accompanies an illegal helmet hit.
"Anytime you draw a personal foul, there's always a fine involved," Shanahan said. "What they'll probably do is look at that and say, `Hey, that's just a mis-call.' That's what I would guess."
Notes: The Redskins played again with a patchwork offensive line after RT Jammal Brown hurt his right groin during pregame warmups. Shanahan said he's not sure when Brown will return, and that Tyler Polumbus will get another start if Brown can't play Sunday against the New York Giants. ... The coach said Willie Smith and Sean Locklear will continue to share first-team snaps at left tackle during practice, filling in for Williams. ... Shanahan is still seeking clarification from the league as to whether Williams and TE Fred Davis can be at Redskins Park during their suspensions. As of now, they're being asked to stay away. "It's not perfectly clear right now," the coach said. ... The Redskins' turnover margin has dropped to minus-14, last in the NFL.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) No sugarcoating from Mike Shanahan, not when he's been let down like this.
The Washington Redskins coach said Wednesday he's disappointed "big time" in suspended playersFred Davis and Trent Williams and that both will have to prove themselves in order to be a part of the team's future.
Tight end Davis and left tackle Williams - the team's leader in receptions and the offense's marquee lineman - began the day by apologizing at a team meeting. Both were suspended Tuesday without pay for four games - the rest of the regular season - by the NFL for repeated violations of the league's substance abuse policy.
"You're talking about accountability," Shanahan said, "people being there through thick and thin. And when you don't do that, there's not really anything you can say except `I screwed up.' And they were men enough today to stand in front of the team and say, `Hey, I did screw up, and we promise it won't happen again.'
"Now we will find out in the future if they're true to their word."
It's one thing to be caught once, but Davis and Williams are multiple offenders who had previously been fined by the NFL, ordered to undergo counseling and received a good talking-to from a coach who puts a premium on discipline. Not only will the struggling offense for a 4-8 team have to find way to make do without the pair for the balance of the season, but the Redskins will also have to plan around the fact that each will likely be suspended for a year if there's another positive test.
"Am I disappointed in them? Big time, yeah," Shanahan said. "Because they affect not only themselves but this organization and their teammates. That's a bad decision, and they know they put us in a heck of a position."
Williams was Shanahan's first draft pick with the Redskins, the No. 4 overall selection a year ago, and it's likely he will get another chance at redemption if only because he's has four years remaining on a six-year, $60 million contract. Davis' status is murky because he's due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He's played well - 59 catches for 796 yards - but his value on the open market has just plummeted.
"Any contract that anybody would sign somebody to, knowing that with one failed test they could be gone just like that," said Shanahan, snapping his fingers, "they're going to protect themselves in the contract, and it'll be based on performance and based on going down the straight and narrow."
Shanahan said he is seeking clarification as to whether Davis and Williams will be allowed to be at the Redskins Park facility throughout their suspensions under the terms of the league's new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. Neither player has spoken publicity since the punishments have been announced, and neither was in the locker room Wednesday during the period when it was open to reporters.
"They feel bad enough," quarterback Rex Grossman said. "It's a tough situation, and they know they made a mistake. They know they have to pay some pretty harsh consequences."
One consequence for the Redskins is that they will have their sixth different starting offensive line in nine weeks when they host the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Shanahan said Sean Locklear, a veteran who is more of a natural right tackle, and undrafted rookie Willie Smith, who has yet to play in an NFL game, are rotating snaps at left tackle in practice to determine who will start.
As for tight end, Chris Cooley is already done for the season with a knee injury, so Logan Paulsen has completed a move from third-string to starter. Dominique Byrd, who was signed by the Redskins on Oct. 26 and released on Nov. 8, was re-signed Wednesday to fill out the depth chart.
"It's going to be a different combination of guys playing the line this week," right tackle Jammal Brown said. "You wouldn't want this to happen throughout the year, all the change-ups, but that is how this season kind of fell."
Notes: In addition to Byrd's re-signing, NT Chris Baker was signed from the practice squad. T Cole Pemberton was signed to the practice squad. ... With construction of the practice bubble well behind schedule, the team had to practice at a remote indoor facility Wednesday because of heavy rains.
WASHINGTON (AP) The NFL has announced the four-game suspensions for Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The league said Tuesday that both are suspended without pay and will be eligible to return to Washington's active roster on Jan. 2 - the day after the final regular season game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The suspensions had been expected. A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday that Davis and Williams were expecting to be penalized after failing multiple drug tests. The person spoke anonymously because of the confidential nature of the league's drug testing policy.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) It was apparently too much to ask. The Washington Redskins just can't seem to get through a season without a major off-the-field distraction.
Players and coaches waited Monday for the NFL to formally announce that two of Washington's top offensive players - tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams - will be suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, a blow to coach Mike Shanahan's hopes to build a team with a reputation for high-character players.
"It's just something else that's kind of added to the Redskins drama," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.
Shanahan said he expected to hear something from the league office "within the next 24 hours" about Davis and Williams. He otherwise danced around many questions about the topic, citing NFL confidentially rules.
Davis and Williams are expected to be suspended for the Redskins' remaining four games, two people with familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.
One of the people told the AP that Davis and Williams were among 11 who failed drug tests during a lockout-related grace period negotiated between the NFL and the players' union. The other nine players' cases were dismissed because they were first-time offenders; Davis and Williams each has tested positive more than once, the person told the AP.
"It is disappointing," Alexander said, "because everybody's aware of the rules and how the NFL carries out the drug policy."
Shanahan said Davis and Williams reported as usual to the training facility Monday and were watching film, presumably of Sunday's 34-19 loss to the New York Jets. Neither player appeared in the locker room during the period it was open to reporters.
Near their corner lockers was a reminder of how hard it is for a player to ignore the league's drug policy. A notice written on bright green paper attached to long snapper Nick Sundberg's locker read: "You have been randomly selected by the NFL drug testing program's medical adviser to complete a urine doping test today." The word "today" was underlined.
"It'll be tough. It's two guys that we count on a lot in the offense," receiver Jabar Gaffney said. "It would be hard to replace those guys, but we have to."
The suspensions would have major ramifications for each player as well as the team. Davis was becoming the offense's most reliable playmaker with 59 catches for 796 yards - both team-highs. The 2008 second-round draft pick is due to become a free agent at the end of the season. This mistake will undoubtedly cost him millions because another positive test could cause him to be suspended for one year, a chance many teams - including the Redskins - might not want to take.
Tight end was Washington's strongest position entering the season, but Chris Cooley is done for the year with a left knee injury. Logan Paulsen has worked his way up from third string by default and will likely start the upcoming game against the New England Patriots.
Williams is an especially troubling case for Shanahan because the No. 4 overall pick in 2010 was the first player drafted by the coach in Washington. Williams is very mobile for an offensive lineman, but he's had growing pains adjusting to the NFL game and has yet to come close to the multi-Pro Bowl level one expects from a player chosen with such a lofty pick.
"They're both great guys," Alexander said. "Obviously this is going to create a different perception of them off the field. But I know these guys intimately, being in here every day with them. Both guys I love dearly, great teammates, and they go out there bust their butt every time they're on the field."
The Redskins (4-8) have lost seven of eight, but at least up to now they had appeared relatively well-behaved. Players were happy to report early in the season that they were becoming a boring team, a sharp contrast to the Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth distractions of 2010 and the many other sagas of recent years. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall's occasional outbursts and a highly criticized defamation suit filed by owner Dan Snyder were among the few bits of extra static in 2011.
While Shanahan wouldn't discuss the details concerning Davis or Williams, the coach reiterated his focus on finding and keeping high-character talent.
"We know to put your best football team together you need talented players," Shanahan said. "You also need players with high character. You can get to the playoffs with a lot of talented players, but to get to the Super Bowl, to be the top organization, you've got to have character.
"We'll make mistakes along the way, and it doesn't mean that we're going to just drop somebody because they make a mistake. But we're going to make sure they're made of the right stuff."
AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP