NFC East: Derrick Frost
I guess we should've seen the letdown coming. After a remarkable four-game winning streak, which included division road wins over the Cowboys and Eagles, the Redskins lost to the winless Rams at home.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Washington (4-2) is the first team in NFL history to play its first five games without an offensive turnover. But that came crashing down in the first half Sunday, when the Redskins had two turnovers. The back-breaking turnover came late in the half when Redskins guard Pete Kendall plucked a deflected pass out of the air and then was stripped. The Rams returned the fumble for a touchdown to take a 10-7 halftime lead.
The play energized a team that seemed destined for a 0-5 record. Clinton Portis was able to gash the Rams defense, but the Redskins didn't take the lead until late in the fourth quarter.
Everything Jim Zorn has touched has turned to gold lately, but on Sunday, the Redskins looked like a team that was emotionally spent. Still, they had a chance to hang onto a 17-16 lead late in the game. Rams quarterback Marc Bulger found rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery for a 43-yard gain on third-and-13 from the St. Louis 41-yard line. Avery, one of the fastest players in the draft, somehow was in one-on-one coverage with nickel cornerback Leigh Torrence.
Former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown nailed a 49-yard field goal to win the game and help the Rams improve to 1-4. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell wasn't awful, but he couldn't make enough plays to give the Redskins some cushion in the first half.
The good news for the Redskins is that they will host the Browns next Sunday and then travel to Detroit. There's still a great chance this team is 6-2 at the midway point, and I think most Redskins fans would've taken that at the first of the season.
I'm sure the Redskins are re-thinking their decision to go with rookie punter Durant Brooks over veteran Derrick Frost. Brooks had two pathetic punts Sunday, and that helped set up the offensively challenged Rams.
It's not wise to panic after one loss -- but the Redskins definitely made life a little tougher on themselves.
Both the NFL Network and the Washington Post are reporting that Redskins punter Derrick Frost has been released. Frost and rookie Durant Brooks out of Georgia Tech have been battling for the job throughout training camp. It appeared that Frost had the edge because of better numbers and his experience holding for kicker Shaun Suisham.
Brooks won the Ray Guy Award last year at Georgia Tech, and definitely has an explosive leg. I don't think he'll have a huge margin for error, though.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- Corey Masisak of the Washington Times has a story on how starting safety Reed Doughty has dealt with hearing loss since he was a child. He can't hear the defensive backs changing calls, so he has to rely on hand signals.
"Toward the end of the year last year, they were playing as well as any safety tandem in the league," safeties coach Steve Jackson said of LaRon Landry and Doughty. "The fortunate part is in the meeting room they are used to communicating with each other, so it's not like they don't see each other or talk to each other or communicate. ... One guy likes to talk and the other guy likes to listen. Fortunately, the one guy who likes to listen (Landry) is the one with the best hearing."
- Our hearts go out to the Redskins, who are mourning the loss of another loved one today. Longtime offensive line coach Joe Bugel and his wife Brenda lost their 36-year-old daughter Holly to bone cancer Thursday. This is an organization that has literally spent the past year grieving. Former head coach Joe Gibbs immediately reached out to Bugel:
"Everybody is so close," Gibbs said. "At this time of the year, Coach Bugel is probably spending more time with the football team than he does with his own family, and so it's like family, you have two families . . . . The thing that you have there is that you get real comfort from all that are around you who care about you."
- Breaking news: Veteran punter Derrick Frost could send rookie Durant Brooks packing with a strong performance Saturday.
- The Redskins are experiencing a linebacker shortage.
- Mike Wise of the Post has a column on the losses of Holly Bugel and Gene Upshaw.