Kirk Cousins and his primary new receiver both flopped during the Washington Redskins' 2017 season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on Sunday. Sadly, the pair had plenty of company during what was a shaky performance from the Burgundy and Gold in losing 30-17 to an NFC East rival.
Cousins and hands-of-stone wideout Terrelle Pryor Sr. weren't helped by an offensive line that was no match for Philadelphia's impressive array of pass-rushers. The continued absence of a running game not sufficiently strengthened this offseason also served to hamstring the Redskins offense.
Based on Week 1, it could be a long year for Washington's offense. It may be longer still for a Redskins defense worked over in the second half by young Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and his receivers.
Incoherent planning from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, coupled with an inability to finish plays in key moments, wasted some fine individual performances, particularly from newcomers Zach Brown and Terrell McClain.
Read on to find out who are the winners and losers for the Redskins after a disappointing start to the new season.
Winner: Terrell McClain
The Redskins invested heavily in fortifying their defensive line this offseason, so they should be pleased with Terrell McClain's efforts on Sunday.
McClain arrived from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency with a reputation as a disruptive interior D-lineman who is a force against the run. He justified his billing with some solid and perhaps unseen work against the Eagles.
Two plays from the first quarter helped showcase what McClain can bring. The first was a stop for a loss on Wendell Smallwood. McClain made the play thanks to his strength and technique. He began by deftly sliding down the line to take on pulling left tackle Jason Peters.
Staying on the outside of Peters' inside shoulder, McClain was in a great position to shed the block. He did so after slamming into Peters and standing the tackle up, forcing Smallwood to slow down.
McClain then went low to split the gap and knife into the backfield to drop Smallwood for a short loss.
This was a heady play all about recognition and execution. McClain read an outside run and didn't let himself get reach-blocked on the edge. He was too strong for Peters and quick enough to halt Smallwood before he built up speed on the outside.
Later in the quarter, McClain did the unfashionable but essential work to set up a key stop on 3rd-and-short. Zach Brown made the play, taking down LeGarrette Blount to force the Eagles to punt, but the stop owed everything to McClain.
Specifically, the play was created by McClain's ability to hold a double-team. He held up both the tackle and guard to create a clear lane for Brown to exploit and attack downhill.
Linemen controlling multiple blockers so linebackers can make the plays is how the 3-4 is supposed to work.
McClain looked every inch the two-gap monster he's paid to be. His regular-season debut with the Redskins was a far cry from the struggles the 29-year-old experienced during preseason, per Nora Princiotti of the Washington Times.
Instead, this formidable showing only strengthens the belief McClain should replace Ziggy Hood as Washington's starting nose tackle.
SASKATOON — Jenson Stoshak has caught virtually everything thrown his way since joining the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He did the same thing at Florida Atlantic University — and he has the YouTube video to prove it.
In 2015, Stoshak became an Internet sensation (Click here to watch!) when he caught passes while doing three backflips, one after another. He snared the first pass with his right hand, the second with his left hand (while still holding the first ball in his right hand) and the third with both hands (after tossing away the first two balls).
“That was around the time when everyone was trying to do backflip stuff,” the 23-year-old product of Jacksonville, Fla., said after the Roughriders’ training-camp session Monday at the University of Saskatchewan’s Griffiths Stadium.
“One day after practice at FAU, me and a couple of my buddies were like, ‘Hey, y’all want to try to make (ESPN’s) SportsCenter?’ I was like, ‘Sure, why not?’ So we went to the backup practice facility (and tried).
“(The successful attempt) wasn’t a first-time thing; a lot of people think it was. I did a bunch of them. It was something just to mess around with and it ended up blowing up bigger than I thought it would.”
Stoshak estimated he did “about 20 backflips that day” and was ready to give up before the successful try.
The 6-foot-0, 200-pound receiver doesn’t have a background in gymnastics and admitted he was scared to do backflips before a friend took him to the beach one day to learn. The rest is history.
Stoshak may have landed the backflips, but it’s unlikely the video helped him land a job in pro football.
“I don’t think coaches really care if you can catch a backflip ball or not,” he said with a chuckle. “It was just something fun to do and it ended up getting out bigger than I thought it would.”
Stoshak spent four seasons at Florida Atlantic, recording 131 receptions for 1,881 yards and six touchdowns in 43 games with the Owls. He wasn’t selected in the 2016 NFL draft, but signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers.
His time with the Panthers was brief — he didn’t get further than their rookie camp — so he was without a job until the Roughriders called.
In April, Stoshak went to a play-in day staged by the team for free agents in Vero Beach, Fla. His performance there earned him a contract and an invitation to the Roughriders’ mini-camp that same week. His showing there earned him a spot in Saskatchewan’s training camp.
Roughriders head coach-GM Chris Jones said Stoshak’s route-running stood out on play-in day, as did his hands. Both of those skills have been evident throughout training camp as well.
“He does nothing but win (when going up against defensive backs),” Jones said. “When you look at him, he’s not the prototypical guy that we look for. He got to us simply by playing his way.
“He came to play-in day and everywhere we’ve ever tried him out and put him under the gun, he has performed. We have to take notice of a guy who continually wins against our DBs.”
That’s all Stoshak can ask for.
“It feels good to be recognized for your hard work; anyone would say that,” he said when told of Jones’ comments. “At the end of the day, whatever you put on film is who you are. Hopefully I put together some good stuff for everybody.”
During Florida Atlantic’s pro day, Stoshak ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, pumped out 21 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press and had a 33-inch vertical jump.
At the Roughriders’ mini-camp, he consistently got open against man-to-man defenders and found the holes in zone coverages — and he may have dropped as many as two passes over the three-day event.
Getting into Saskatchewan’s playbook at that camp has helped him during training camp, too. Plays that are being installed in Saskatoon were ones that Stoshak and his fellow mini-campers learned in Florida, so that group is slightly ahead of the game.
Stoshak also appears to have moved ahead of other receivers on the depth chart. He has been practising with the No. 1 offence of late — and he stayed there Monday even though one of last season’s starters, Ricky Collins Jr., returned from injury. Collins was moved to the defensive backfield, in part because of injuries to other DBs.
During Saskatchewan’s mock game Saturday, Stoshak tied for the team lead with four receptions and led the receiving corps with 78 yards and 34 yards after the catch.
And, no, he did not snag any of those passes while doing backflips.
“I’m pleased with what I’ve done,” Stoshak said. “I know I’m a good player. I’m not a very cocky player. I’m just confident in what I do and I just put my nose to the grindstone and keep going.”
Kevin Snead is not a big-time receiver from a college football powerhouse. In fact, he totaled only six receptions in two seasons while playing wide receiver for Carson-Newman, a Division II program in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
This past week, however, Snead found himself on the same practice field as Brandon Marshall, Eli Manning and some of the most pedigreed players in the game as he participated in the Giants’ OTA practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
“It’s just an amazing feeling being out there,” said Snead, who was dubbed “The Fastest Man in College Football” by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association last year.
Snead caught the attention of a lot of NFL clubs when he ran a hand-timed 4.22 40-yard dash — which ties the NFL Scouting Combine record set by now-Bengals wideout Jon Ross this year — at Tennessee’s pro day before the draft. Snead also had a vertical jump of 37.5 inches and a broad jump of 10-11 at the pro day. He had been on the team’s radar even before that as longtime Giants scout Jeremiah Davis, who has roots in Tennessee, brought him to their attention.
So a week before OTAs, the Giants decided to squeeze the sprinter on to their 90-man roster. After their first OTA session, it became clear that Snead is a project, albeit an intriguing one.
“He’s fast enough, but he’s got a long way to go,” coach Ben McAdoo said when asked if the track star could make the transition. “When it’s clean and he’s confident, he catches the ball well. When it’s not and he’s learning, it’s hard for him to catch the ball. He’s a project.”
That may be so, but Snead has fought his way through adversity before. He attended junior college in Arizona and spent a year at Eastern Michigan before landing a track scholarship to Carson-Newman. Though he also played football for the school, it was as an All-American sprinter when he really excelled.
“He’s not one of those spindly little track guys. He has some muscle mass,” said Carson-Newman track coach David Needs, who also has served as an assistant on the school’s football team. “There was some talk of him turning professional in track, but to be honest, football is really his first love.”
Snead grew up playing football in Virginia and went to Mesa Community College to play the sport. Needs said his catches at Carson-Newman were limited by the fact that he had some nagging injuries his senior year and wasn’t completely healthy until late in the season.
It’s one thing, however, to play Division II ball and quite another to line up next to some of the best football players in the world, even if you are one of the fastest people on the field.
“It’s definitely a learning curve for me coming from a small school and stepping it up to the NFL,” Snead said. “Right now, I’m just trying to adjust to the speed of things and basically trying to learn a playbook. It’s a big change, and I try to make the most of my opportunities. I love football and I’m thankful just to be here.”
The Redskins have signed defensive lineman Terrell McClain on the second day of free agency. McClain is coming off a career year in 2016, recording 40 tackles along with 2.5 sacks.
The Washington Redskins will have a new big body on the defensive line, as the team announced on Friday the signing of defensive lineman Terrell McClain.
McClain, 28, is a six-year veteran who has played for the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and, most recently, the Dallas Cowboys.
For his career, the 6-foot-2, 302 pounder has collected 90 tackles (58 solo) along with eight tackles for loss, three fumbles forced and two fumbles recovered.
He originally entered the NFL as a third-round pick out of South Florida for the Panthers.
During his rookie season in 2011, McClain started all 12 games he appeared in, collecting 19 tackles along with a sack.
He made his professional debut on Sept. 11, 2011, recoding a tackle against the Arizona Cardinals. In Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings, McClain recorded his first career sack.
McClain was released by the Panthers on Sept. 26, 2012, before being signed by the New England Patriots.
He appeared in just one game with the Patriots in 2012 before spending three more games that season with the Texans.
In 2013, McClain signed with the Cowboys. During his debut season in Dallas, McClain appeared in all 16 regular season games, recording 10 tackles.
McClain would record 19 tackles in 13 games during the 2014 season along with a sack.
In 2016, the Tampa, Fla., native set career highs in tackles (40) and sacks (2.5). McClain would record a career-high 1.5 sacks in a 28-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.
McClain joins a defensive line that will now be guided by veteran position coach Jim Tomsula. While Chris Baker’s future in Washington is uncertain at this time, McClain will play alongside a group that includes Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier and Matt Ioannidis among others.
Imposing Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu is scheduled to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Melifonwu is regarded as a rising draft prospect who is expected to go in the first round and many teams like him at cornerback because of his 6-4, 224-pound size, 4.40 speed and fluid movement at drills in the NFL scouting combine.
He played cornerback in the prestigious Senior Bowl all-star game and did well.
He met with the AFC South champion Texans at the Senior Bowl along with 14 other teams.
At the NFL scouting combine, Melifonwu had formal meetings with the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.
He had 44-inch vertical leap. Melifonwu also registered an 11-9 broad jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.
Melifonwu's ascent as a draft prospect is reminiscent of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones going in the first round after a strong workout circuit and playing at Connecticut.
He has a March 22 campus Pro Day workout at Connecticut that's expected to be widely attended by NFL personnel.
Melifonwu had 118 tackles last season and four interceptions. A four-year starter, Melifonwu had six interceptions over the past two seasons and cut down on his penalties.
Joe Kiemen4 days ago Follow @kiemenjoe
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions to become the NFC North Champions. Riding the stellar play of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers overcame their 4-6 record and enter the playoffs as the NFL’s hottest team. Will Geronimo Allison continue his strong play in the playoffs? If so, how will it affect the wide receiver corps next year?In week 17, rookie wide receiver, Geronimo Allison picked a perfect time to set a career high in receiving yardage. Most importantly, each of his 4 catches and 91 yards played a major role on scoring drives.
One of these plays was significant but easily overlooked. With only 23 seconds left before halftime, the Packers faced a 14-7 deficit. Instead of taking a knee and heading to the locker room, McCarthy went against the status quo and came out throwing. This was even more surprising after a delay of game penalty on first down.
Lining up from the slot, Geronimo Allision showed tremendous chemistry with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback rolled to his right. After bullying his way through early contact, Allison read Rodgers’ eyes and found a gaping hole in the coverage.
The 39-yard reception led to a Mason Crosby field goal as the first half ended. Before Allison’s catch, Detroit was in firm control of the momentum. Given the way the Green Bay defense had played, the Lions 14-7 lead was a potential problem.
In the 4th quarter, Allison once again offered timely production with a 31-yard reception and drive capping 10-yard touchdown. What stood out most was the receiver’s connection with Rodgers after a play breaks down.
Allison’s awareness and length provide’s Rodgers with a big-bodied target he can trust. This will certainly lead to additional opportunities down the road.
The physical attributes and chemistry with Aaron Rodgers have led some to suggest that Allison could replace teammate Randall Cobb. Indeed, Cobb’s injuries, lackluster production, and large contract have given this argument legs.
Entering the third year of his four-year deal, Cobb’s cap hit is set to increase from $9.15 million to $12.75 million in 2017-18. If Ted Thompson were to get out from this commitment, he could use the money to re-sign current players or find help in the secondary.
However, this would be a mistake. Instead of looking to replace to offensive weapons, Thompson should always be seeking to add more. With fans already restless that Green Bay has only one Super Bowl victory with Aaron Rodgers, departing with a versatile playmaker would be a mistake.
NEXT: Rodgers Steals The MVPHaving already shown he has a knack for the big play, Geronimo Allison is making noise in Green Bay. While Mike McCarthy always preaches the importance of competition in training camp, Randall Cobb’s 2017-18 roster status should not in jeopardy. A receiving corps of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison and a potential draft pick will make the unit one of the league’s best.