NFC East: dezmon briscoe

Cowboys sign WR Dezmon Briscoe

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
5:15
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys signed wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe on Monday, bringing the total receivers on the 90-man roster to 11.

To make room on the roster the team released defensive tackle Chris Whaley.

Briscoe, a Dallas native, had not played in a regular-season game since 2012. He has been with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.

Of his 43 career catches, 35 came in 2011 with the Buccaneers when he finished with 387 yards and six touchdowns. He was on injured reserve last year with the Redskins.

The Cowboys like to bring a high number of receivers to camp because of the amount of running required at the position and do not want to tax the group as a whole

Robert Griffin III practice report

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
10:46
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Here are some notes and observations after Robert Griffin III's practice Monday.
  • Griffin was rather honest about what he thought of the Redskins' plan, how he didn't always understand why they were taking it slower than he'd like and why, if he was feeling good, the Redskins couldn't deviate -- or alter -- the original plan. But Griffin is not a doctor, or a coach, and the team discovered last season it could not go by what he says he's feeling. Coach Mike Shanahan did not want to bring Griffin back too soon; any sort of setback in camp would have led to second guessing of, and by, Shanahan. So they've taken it slow. If Griffin plays in the opener, the Redskins would have taken it smart,too.
  • Griffin completed 15 of 17 passes in the 7-on-7 portion, though he did show more accuracy downfield, something he had not always done in previous sessions. He had his usual share of shorter passes, but Griffin had a couple excellent throws.
  • On his first throw, Griffin connected with tight end Fred Davis down the seam, a good hard delivery. Griffin followed that with a perfectly placed pass over the top of linebacker Brian Orakpo to receiver Pierre Garcon, about 15 yards out along the sideline. A nice touch. Griffin later hit Davis and Garcon in stride along the sideline.
  • Of his two incompletions, one was a crossing route that was a bit out in front of receiver Aldrick Robinson and the ball skipped off an outstretched hand. The other was a low ball to receiver Dezmon Briscoe. On that play, Griffin looked left and then threw back to the right where Briscoe was covered by DeAngelo Hall. Had Griffin not thrown it low, Hall would have had a pick-six, but the quarterback has a knack for delivering passes away from pressure and that's what he did here. It was a harmless incompletion.
  • Griffin said going through an ACL injury and subsequent return at Baylor prepared him for what he's going through now, with intense interest in his return. The Redskins limit access to him to once a week, which helps Griffin. But the stories persist with or without his comments. He's learned to tune out the endless stream of commentators and pundits who say what he should, or shouldn't, do. "Everyone will have a different opinion, but in the NFL that opinion gets heard more," Griffin said. "I don't listen to it."
  • Griffin also said at this point in his recovery in college he was already back practicing in full. "It's no difference now," he said. "It takes time to heal. It's been a lot of time healing, at least in my mind."

Breakfast links: Busy day under way

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
8:00
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Yes, it's roster cut day -- the day on which teams must reduce their rosters to 53 players by 9 p.m. ET. It's a day of cuts and trades and lots of activity, and we'll keep you posted on all of it as best we can here on the NFC East blog. Heck, it's already started with a trade in Dallas. See? Links:

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have acquired offensive lineman Ryan Cook from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Cook can play center, which is key. He's played tackle and guard as well (he started at left tackle for the Vikings in 2008), but center is the position at which the Cowboys consider themselves the thinnest. My guess is he's being brought in to be a backup, but you never know. If Bill Callahan saw something he really liked, it's not as though there aren't starting Cowboys linemen who could be replaced if they struggle early. Cook was slated to be a backup in Miami and is scheduled to make $1 million this year, so that's why they traded him.

Fifth-round wide receiver Danny Coale and linebacker Adrian Hamilton were among the Cowboys cuts. When the Cowboys picked Coale, some had hoped he'd work his way into that No. 3 wide receiver mix. But he got hurt, and the other guys played well, and it didn't work out for him.

New York Giants

The Giants think left tackle Will Beatty could be ready to start the season opener Wednesday against the Cowboys. I guess that would be good, but are we sure? Beatty wasn't exactly Jonathan Ogden over there last year to begin with, and he's barely practiced because of a back problem he's had since May. So even if he does play, it's hard to say how good the Giants should feel about his chances to perform the way they need him to and get through the whole game.

The NFL changed its injured reserve rule Thursday, which means teams can now designate one player as a short-term IR guy and bring him back after eight weeks if he's healthy. It seems likely that cornerback Terrell Thomas would be that guy for the Giants as they pare down their roster tonight.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said another 8-8 record would not be good enough for Andy Reid to return as coach in 2013. People are going to hold Lurie to that, though obviously his hope and that of Eagles fans is that they will not have to. Reid has finished better than 8-8 in nine of his 13 seasons as Eagles head coach.

Trent Edwards will learn today whether he's done enough in preseason to beat out Mike Kafka for the lone backup quarterback spot in question. If it's to be based on preseason performance, there's little question he has. But how much of a break do they give Kafka for the injury that kept him from participating in a competition no one even expected to happen?

Washington Redskins

Wide receiver is one of the places at which the Redskins have some tough decisions to make tonight. Guys like Anthony Armstrong, Dezmon Briscoe and Brandon Banks are very much on the bubble.

I do expect the Redskins to keep all four of the running backs who are candidates to start the Sept. 9 season opener in New Orleans because... well, they're all candidates to start the season opener in New Orleans. The Redskins like all four backs, and each comes with question marks, and right now the best plan is to keep all four for depth and see what shakes out.
I'm all out of witty introductions. The preseason games have broken my spirit. We have one more to go and then no more until 2013. And six days from tonight, the Giants and Cowboys will play for real. Six days, people. Six. We're going to make it. I promise. One link at a time. Well, okay, eight links at a time. Anyway, point is, links.

Dallas Cowboys

Doctors continue to monitor the lacerated spleen of Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, and while things are looking good, he doesn't appear to be out of the woods just yet. (By the way, Calvin Watkins is calling that thing a "slightly lacerated" spleen in this story. I'm thinking a "slightly" lacerated spleen can only be a spleen that isn't yours.) Anyway, no decision yet on Witten for Wednesday's regular-season opener. I can't imagine he plays, right? It's a spleen, not a hamstring. And they have 11 days between Games 1 and 2. I'd have to say sit out. But again, not my spleen, so we'll see.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins has been cleared to practice. Per league rules, he can't do so until Saturday. This news broke late Wednesday night and people were asking if I thought Jenkins could play in Wednesday's opener. How is that even a consideration? If he practices Saturday, Sunday and Monday and the team flies to New Jersey on Tuesday, that would give him a grand total of three practices. Since December. I'd be happy with Week 2 if I were you guys. Plus, setbacks and all.

New York Giants

Hakeem Nicks came out of Wednesday night's preseason finale feeling fine and 100 percent ready to go for next Wednesday. Which is all the Giants wanted to have happen with Nicks this week. It was his first game action since he broke his foot in the spring, and he seemed fine.

The way a couple of their back-of-the-roster guys have played in the preseason, the Giants are facing tougher decisions than they expected to face at defensive end, Mike Garafolo writes. Those final roster cuts are due by 9 pm ET on Friday, so the decisions will be made today or tomorrow, no matter how tough they may be.

Philadelphia Eagles

That backup quarterbacks Nick Foles and Trent Edwards have both been ascendant this preseason is no coincidence, given their relationship. Tim McManus has an interesting story about the way in which Foles and Edwards have helped each other this preseason. They could both make the team over Mike Kafka, who entered the preseason as Michael Vick's backup but has been out with a broken hand.

And it appears second-year man Chas Henry has won the punter competition in Philadelphia over former Cowboys punter Mat McBriar. This comes as a surprise and makes me think McBriar isn't fully healthy. Les Bowen thinks it might be because he isn't a great holder on field goals. I'd probably go with Les on this one, but let's see if McBriar gets a look somewhere else. If not, don't rule out that health thing.

Washington Redskins

When I want instant Redskins analysis -- and lots of it -- I click on John Keim. John's intrigued by Dezmon Briscoe, unconvinced on Brandon Banks and was really, really impressed with the technique Richard Crawford showed on his interception. And much, much more.

If you went to Wednesday's game, you didn't get to see Robert Griffin III play quarterback. But if you got there early enough, you got to see him kick some field goals in pregame warmups. I mean, it's not leaping tall buildings in a single bound. More like Roy Hobbs showing off his pitching arm that one time as he was running in from the outfield after New York Knights batting practice, but not exactly. Still, kind of a cool little thing.
The Washington Redskins play their final preseason game of 2012 at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While most, if not all, of the Redskins' starters are expected to sit out the game, here's a look at what I'll be watching ...

Most closely: The secondary. It was rough out there in the first two games, and then Tanard Jackson put on a show in the third and made you think maybe they have something at safety. I imagine we'll see some of DeJon Gomes at safety and some of Richard Crawford at cornerback, especially now that he's being given a great role in the wake of the Kevin Barnes trade. Tonight could offer a look at some of the depth at these key positions.

On the other side of the ball: The fight for the final wide receiver spots on the roster gets interesting with final cuts looming Friday. It could be a big night for guys like Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe and Anthony Armstrong. Lots of people ask about Banks, and it's hard to see what he could do at this point to get on the roster. But I guess you never know.

If I think of it: The young offensive linemen remain interesting as the Redskins look for some long-term answers along the line. ... Lots of eyes will be on new kicker Billy Cundiff, just signed Tuesday to replace Graham Gano. Based on the reaction I saw, some people liked Gano and some hated him. Both groups should be interested to see how Cundiff fares.

Observation deck: Colts-Redskins

August, 25, 2012
8/25/12
7:20
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The story of the day in the NFL preseason was the game between the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts. The Redskins won the exhibition game 30-17, but that obviously wasn't what made it a story. This was the showdown between the top two picks in this year's draft -- quarterbacks Andrew Luck of the Colts and Robert Griffin of the Redskins. And the pair put on a fun show.

Griffin was 11-for-17 for 74 yards and a touchdown. He missed on three deep throws down the field, but at least one appeared to be the fault of his wide receiver, and he showed quite a bit otherwise. On the four-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, Griffin moved out to the right side extremely quickly, showing his speed and preventing the Indianapolis defense from reacting in time to do anything about it. Griffin continues to show poise and confidence and doesn't get rattled when things don't go exactly as planned. Those are key qualities that, along with his talent and athleticism, bode well for his ability to handle NFL life in his rookie season and beyond.

Luck was 14-for-23 for 151 yards and a beautiful 31-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. His test was tougher, since the Redskins' defense played better in this game than the Colts' defense did and he faced intense pressure on nearly every play, but he looked very good. Neither rookie quarterback showed anything to make his team feel any less excited about its future.

Here's what else I saw from the Redskins in this game:
  • The Redskins' defense is going to be about pressure up front. The defensive line and linebackers look very active and aggressive, even with Brian Orakpo out with an injury, and they did a very good job of disrupting things for Luck and for the Colts' run game in the backfield. When the Redskins drop a lot of guys into coverage, as they did on the Colts' final drive of the first half, their weaknesses are exposed. And when the quarterback avoids the rush, as Luck did on his touchdown throw, the Redskins could have problems downfield. On that play, safety Madieu Williams was in single coverage on the wide receiver, and it was a mismatch.
  • That said, safety Tanard Jackson looked excellent. Starting in place of an injured Brandon Meriweather at strong safety, Jackson looked good in run support, made some nice tackles and knocked away the Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. Jackson could beat out Williams for the starting free safety spot. He's a favorite of secondary coach Raheem Morris from their time together in Tampa Bay, and his issues have all been off-the-field, not on. A couple of secondary players made good plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, including cornerback Josh Wilson and safety DeJon Gomes. The issues are down the field, not up front.
  • Rob Jackson was the starting outside linebacker in place of Orakpo, but Chris Wilson quickly replaced him and had a great game that included a third-quarter sack of Chandler Harnish for a safety.
  • On offense, rookie Alfred Morris got the start at running back again and looked very good. He carried the ball 14 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. He's exactly the kind of runner Mike Shanahan likes -- he makes one cut and gets up the field -- but he's also got some nice moves once up the field and that forward body lean you've heard so much about that helps him pick up extra yards. He needs to improve in pass protection before the Redskins feel great about him, but he looked good throwing blocks in Saturday's game, and it's clear that's a matter of reps and not ability or willingness. Tim Hightower is still the coaches' preferred starter at running back, and he looked lively as he got 28 yards on five carries in his first game action since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last October. But they're bringing Hightower back slowly, and with Roy Helu and Evan Royster both nursing injuries, the chances are improving that Morris will be the starter for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener in New Orleans. I still expect each of those four to start at some point this year, assuming they all get/stay healthy.
  • Brandon Banks was returning kicks again in the second half, but it cannot be a good sign for Banks' roster chances that Niles Paul returned kickoffs and Moss returned punts in the first half. Banks was told he'd have to make the team as a wide receiver, not just a return man, and it does not appear as though he's done that, so they're probably looking at other return options to see what they have.
  • The Redskins' offensive line did a very good job in the run game, and we've seen it look worse in pass protection, though the Colts did have success early with an interior pass rush against Will Montgomery and backup left guard Maurice Hurt. That might get better once Kory Lichtensteiger is back healthy, but it's something to watch. For what it's worth, Griffin seems to handle the rush well. Doesn't get flustered when forced out of the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield, etc.
  • Josh Morgan looked better than Leonard Hankerson, who had a bad drop and slowed down for some reason on a deep throw from Griffin that fell incomplete. I think the coaches would like to line up with Hankerson and Pierre Garcon as their starting wide receivers, but Morgan could surpass Hankerson if he stays healthy and keeps making plays.
  • You'll laugh, but Rex Grossman looked good, especially when he threw it to Dezmon Briscoe (who's making a late push for a roster spot himself). Grossman finished the game 8-for-8 for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the backup defense of one of the league's worst teams. Somebody asked me on Twitter if the Redskins might cut Grossman and just go with rookies Griffin and Kirk Cousins at quarterback, but why? Grossman knows the offense, can help the rookies learn it, and when he's not throwing interceptions he runs it quite well. He's the perfect backup for the 2012 Redskins.

Observation deck: Redskins-Bears

August, 19, 2012
8/19/12
12:48
AM ET
As much as everybody tries to read meaning into the on-field results of preseason games, the only thing that truly matters to the teams is getting through them healthy. For that reason, the Washington Redskins' 33-31 exhibition loss to the Bears in Chicago on Saturday night was a painful one. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and strong safety Brandon Meriweather both left the game in the first quarter with injuries -- Meriweather to his knee, Orakpo to the same pectoral muscle he tore last year. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that both would have MRIs on Sunday, and obviously when you lose two defensive starters you have to be concerned. Inside linebacker London Fletcher also was a late scratch from the starting lineup Saturday, and Shanahan didn't say much about Fletcher when asked postgame.

So it was a troubling night for the Redskins because of what was happening on the trainer's table, not so much because of what was happening on the field. Remember, we absolutely cannot make long-term predictions based on these games. We don't know what we're watching. Some teams game-plan for opponents in preseason, other teams don't. Much of the decisive action comes against third-teamers that won't see the field all year. All we can do is evaluate one night's performance for what it is, and to that end ...

1. Robert Griffin III is still learning. And this is fine, of course. It is to be expected. The hype around the Redskins' rookie quarterback has been intense and exciting, but on occasion it can seem to ignore the important fact that Griffin is a rookie who must learn and get used to the challenges of the NFL game. In the preseason opener last week in Buffalo, the Redskins worked hard to protect Griffin, limiting his throws and his reads to the quickest possible, and he looked very good. He makes smart decisions and displays the kind of poise and leadership you want to see from your franchise quarterback. But the Bears' Cover 2 made things more challenging for Griffin on Saturday, as did Chicago's Julius Peppers-led pass rush, and Griffin looked shakier in Game 2. He was 5-for-8 for 49 yards, was sacked three times and fumbled on one of those sacks. Fred Davis missed a block on the fumble snap, and rookie running back Alfred Morris admitted to reporters after the game that he'd failed to pick up the blitz, but Griffin also needed to protect the ball better while running from the pressure. In general, he looked like a rookie who needs to show more composure against the rush. And again, at this stage in his career, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

2. The secondary looked like a mess. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a field day from the start. He found big Brandon Marshall up the right sideline for 41 yards after Marshall blew past Cedric Griffin. It looked as though cornerback DeAngelo Hall was playing free safety on that play, perhaps as part of this weird plan to convince Hall he can be used the way Green Bay uses Charles Woodson. It didn't work. Later, Marshall caught a 20-yarder on Josh Wilson. This time, Meriweather was providing the safety help but overshot the tackle. Orakpo got hurt in coverage on Devin Hester, and I still can't figure out what he was doing so deep. Alshon Jeffery had a big catch a little bit later on, and it looked like he had linebackers in coverage as well. I understand the safeties are new and they're moving the cornerbacks around a lot, but the Redskins' coverages Saturday did not look cohesive while the first-teamers were on the field. I thought Madieu Williams showed some good things, including an open-field tackle of Earl Bennett.

3. Brandon Banks showed something as a returner, with a 91-yard punt return, and Aldrick Robinson flashed his incredible speed as a receiver, bursting into another gear on his 49-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Weird thing is, Robinson doesn't show much as a returner and Banks hasn't shown enough as a receiver. If you could combine them, you'd have something. But the Redskins might not be able to keep both.

4. Morris got the start at running back over Evan Royster with Tim Hightower and Roy Helu hurt. Early on, Morris showed why Shanahan likes him. He makes one cut and then gets upfield quickly, which is essential for success in Shanahan's zone-blocking run game. He also has that good forward body lean, which helps him pick up yards after contact. The sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic had 34 yards on 10 carries. Royster was the third-down back even when Morris was in the game, and he had 20 yards on two carries. Tristan Davis had 10 carries late but did little with them and isn't likely to be a factor when this running back mess gets sorted out. Morris is a factor, right now.

5. Kirk Cousins. Yes, he looked great. He was a stunning 18-for-23 for 264 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including one to newly converted tight end Niles Paul, the one to Robinson and one to Dezmon Briscoe. The Redskins like Cousins a lot. But no, as anyone who's really paying attention knows, there's no quarterback controversy in Washington and there's not about to be one. The Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to get Griffin. They did not do that for Cousins. Their plan for Cousins is to develop him as a backup and, ideally, trade him for something of value down the road the way Andy Reid and the Eagles did with Kevin Kolb. Preseason performances like this one can only help with that latter goal. But remember, the performance was against backup defensive players. Cousins never saw Peppers.

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