Sep 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) lines up under center Washington Football Team center Chase Roullier (73) against the Los Angeles Chargers at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WFT backed vs. Giants despite Super Bowl odds lengthening

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury has impacted the Washington Football Team’s season-long odds, but bettors clearly have confidence in backup Taylor Heinicke leading the offense against the New York Giants on Thursday.

The WFT opened as 3.0-point favorites at BetMGM but the line has moved to 3.5 points hours before the game with 66 percent of the money and 58 percent of the spread-line bets supporting Washington. The line is the same at DraftKings, with the WFT backed by 69 percent of the money and 68 percent of the bets.

The overall action at BetMGM has been split, with the Giants’ +160 moneyline moving to +150 and the team backed by 62 percent of the money and 69 percent of the bets. However, Washington’s -165 moneyline is still drawing 51 percent of the money and 56 percent of the bets at DraftKings.

Heinicke, 28, was thrust into the starting job with Fitzpatrick expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks with a hip injury. Heinicke will be making his second career regular-season start as the NFC East rivals each seek their first win of the young season.

“I think our guys will rally around him,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said of Heinicke this week. “He plays a little bit like his hair’s on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.

“He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”

Heinicke replaced Fitzpatrick during Washington’s 20-16 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown while rushing three times for 17 yards.

“I went in there and said a couple of words that I probably shouldn’t say right now about these Giants,” Heinicke said after Tuesday’s practice. “Hopefully it got the guys fired up and ready to play for Thursday.”

While Washington is favored this week, Fitzpatrick’s lengthy absence has impacted the team’s futures.

The team’s Super Bowl odds climbed from +5000 to +7000 at FanDuel, from +5000 to +6600 at PointsBet and from +5000 to +6000 at BetRivers the day after Fitzpatrick was placed on injured reserve this week.

Washington saw its NFC Championship odds lengthen from +2200 to +2500 at PointsBet and from +2500 to +2800 at BetRivers, where the team’s NFC East title odds moved from +190 to +275.

“The shifts are likely a combination of standard market reaction to Week 1 results, as well as what figures to be a slight downgrade at quarterback from Fitzpatrick to Taylor Heinicke,” BetRivers sportsbook manager Zach Schlouch told Field Level Media.

New York looks to rebound after being whipped 27-13 by the visiting Denver Broncos in its season opener.

Running back Saquon Barkley had just 26 rushing yards on 10 carries in his return from ACL surgery, and his availability for Thursday’s game remains questionable.

“I don’t think the schedule is ideal for coming back off a major knee injury to have two games back-to-back, but that’s what it is,” said Barkley, who was limited in practice on Tuesday. “That’s what’s in front of me and that’s the challenge I have to face.”

With tight end Evan Engram (calf) ruled out of the game, the 40.5-point Over/Under at BetMGM has seen 55 percent of the money and 52 percent of the bets placed on the Under.

The Giants have defeated Washington five straight times, the last four with quarterback Daniel Jones as the starter.

The third-year pro passed for 267 yards and one score and also rushed for a touchdown against the Broncos. However, he also lost a fumble that led to a Denver field goal.

“Turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they’re big plays,” said Jones, whose 30 fumbles and 18 fumbles lost are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2019. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) is helped off the field after being inured against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Herbert leads Chargers past Washington

Making his first start in a season opener on Sunday, Justin Herbert picked up where he left off last year for the Los Angeles Chargers.

The second-year pro completed 31 of 47 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown pass, leading Los Angeles to a 20-16 victory against the host Washington Football Team in Landover, Md.

Herbert’s favorite target was Keenan Allen, who finished with nine catches for 100 yards. Mike Williams added eight receptions for 82 receiving yards and a score. Jared Cook had five receptions for 56 yards.

Herbert did throw a costly interception near the end zone with his team driving in the second quarter, picked off by William Jackson III.

But L.A.’s defense had Herbert’s back on the next play. Kyzir White forced Washington running back Antonio Gibson to fumble at his own 3-yard line, which Chargers linebacker Keith Murray Jr. recovered.

Three plays later, Herbert hit Williams for a 3-yard touchdown, giving L.A. the lead for good, 20-16 with 11:21 left in the contest. The Chargers salted the game away on the final drive, running out the clock and giving Brandon Staley his first NFL victory in his head coaching debut.

Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa recorded four combined tackles and a sack, but also drew two personal fouls for roughing the passer.

Gibson rushed 20 times for 90 yards to lead Washington, which lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a right hip injury in the first half.

The 38-year-old signal caller had to leave the game midway through the second quarter when he was hit by L.A. edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu while trying to throw the football into the flat.

Fitzpatrick got up limping on the play and had to go back down to the turf, where he was attended to by the team’s training staff. He appeared to move OK on the sideline afterward but gave way to backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Fitzpatrick completed 3 of 6 passes for 13 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions before the injury.

The Chargers also lost a key player to injury in safety Nasir Adderley (shoulder). Alohi Gilman replaced Adderley, who did not return.

Down 10-6 when he entered the game, Heinicke rallied Washington.

He led his team on an eight-play, 81-yard scoring drive to start the second half, capped by an 11-yard touchdown to Logan Thomas. The score gave Washington a 16-13 advantage, its first lead of the game with 11:20 left in the third quarter.

Heinicke finished 11-of-15 passing for 122 yards.

However, Dustin Hopkins missed a 51-yard field goal wide left that would have extended Washington’s lead early in the fourth quarter, allowing Herbert to engineer the winning drive later in the fourth.

–Field Level Media

Aug 20, 2020; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; The helmet of Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (not pictured) rests on a cooler next to a trashcan with the retired Washington Redskins logo on day twenty-three of training camp at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Football Team could become permanent name

Washington Football Team might not be just a short-term name for the NFC East franchise.

Team president Jason Wright said Tuesday it is possible that Washington Football Team could become the permanent name of the franchise.

The name will be in place in 2021 for the second straight season and is under consideration for the permanent label as more and more fans give approval of the name.

“There are a set of folks that have warmed to the Washington Football Team,” Wright told ESPN of the input that has been received. “Some of the things that are emerging from that are the Washington Football Team has something that ties deeply to our history. It feels like that isn’t jettisoning all the things we have been in the past, whereas something that’s completely new might feel that way.

“It’s important for a substantial part of our fan base to feel that this is a continuation of something vs. a complete reset, something brand new.”

Washington dropped the controversial name “Redskins” last July. Native American groups have long complained about the racist term.

The franchise began using the Redskins nickname in 1933, when it was based in Boston and previously called the Braves. Team owner George Preston Marshall moved the club to Washington in 1937.

Owner Daniel Snyder once vowed to never change the name before making the decision last summer. Wright said Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, isn’t closely involved in the current process.

“The pressure is felt from the fan base to us,” Wright said. “Dan feels it. I feel it. Our entire team feels it. This fan base deserves something that is thoughtful, that has taken their input into consideration very deeply.”

Wright said the team is also accepting ideas on a logo. The franchise is expected to keep its burgundy and gold color scheme regardless of what logo is selected.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) is congratulated by offensive guard Brandon Scherff (75) after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Least of these: WFT, Cowboys fight for first in East

Cynics call it the NFC Least.

But Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team carries a feast of a prize: the winner will own first place in the ragtag division for at least a few days.

Yep, the winner of a game matching two 3-7 teams sits atop this heap of mediocrity. And while a 4-7 first place team might get more than its share of scorn, they’re also in line for a playoff spot with five games remaining.

So for veterans like Washington defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, this is a chance to show younger teammates what it’s like to prepare for – and maybe win – a big game.

“As weird as that is to say at 3-7, we’re still very much in it,” Kerrigan said after practice on Monday. “Hopefully, we can make it happen down the stretch here.”

Washington appears to have a sunny future for the first time in a while.

New coach Ron Rivera can boast of a solid defensive line, one that has shown it can protect a lead. Once Washington took the lead in the third quarter Sunday against Cincinnati, the line notched four sacks in a 20-9 decision.

Washington has found a running game with rookie Antonio Gibson, a wide receiver at Memphis who has a team-high 530 rushing yards. Last week, he went for 94 against Cincinnati, including his eighth touchdown of the year. Terry McLaurin is on a pace for close to 100 catches, and veteran quarterback Alex Smith scored his first win in more than two years on Sunday. In his first 24 games, McLaurin has the numbers of a No. 1 receiver no matter the offense. His 1,790 receiving yards to date are 12th most all-time through 24 games and ahead of the likes of Jerry Rice (1,757).

“If you systematically run the ball and grind the clock and control it, you can control the tempo,” Rivera said. “If you’re shutting down the run and you get pressure on the quarterback, you’re allowing the defensive backs to make plays. There are different ways to win.”

Consistency? McLaurin nails it. He has 11 games with 80-plus receiving yards despite a revolving door at quarterback in his two seasons.

Cornerback play has been a concern for Dallas, and the Cowboys’ pass rush is not exactly consistent.

Dallas erased two fourth-quarter deficits and won 31-28 at Minnesota on Sunday. Andy Dalton’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz with 1:37 left in the game helped Dallas snap a four-game losing streak.

It was Dalton’s first game since Oct. 25, when Washington linebacker Jon Bostic knocked him out of a 25-3 loss in the third quarter with a late hit to the helmet as Dalton slid to end a scramble. A battle with COVID-19 kept Dalton on the sidelines as Dallas continued to cycle through third and fourth-string quarterbacks with little success.

A Cowboys offense that shriveled up and died when Dak Prescott ended his season with a frightening leg injury in Week 5 finally displayed its trademark balance with almost 400 total yards. Their four touchdowns were twice as many as they produced in the prior four games.

“Everything’s in front of us. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done up to this point,” Dalton said. “It’s all about these next seven games.”

One recurring problem Dallas must confront on a short week is a lack of healthy bodies at cornerback. Starter Anthony Brown (ribs) left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter, and rookie starter Trevon Diggs (foot) is on injured reserve.

Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that Brown would give it a shot at practice on Tuesday, but isn’t sure if he’ll be ready to go. The Cowboys dug deep into their depth chart Sunday to activate Rashard Robinson for his first game of the year in Diggs’ place.

The Cowboys did not practice Tuesday after head strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul was rushed to the hospital suddenly Tuesday morning at the age of 54. Paul’s family said he was undergoing treatment Tuesday morning, denying a report from Sports Illustrated stating Paul had died.

–Field Level Media

Oct 4, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Giants head coach Joe Judge (center) watches game action against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Giants seek elusive first win vs. visiting Washington

The New York Giants will try to earn their first win of the season when they host the Washington Football Team on Sunday afternoon in East Rutherford, N.J.

New York (0-5) is off to a miserable start and enters Week 6 as one of only three winless teams. The others are the New York Jets, who share a stadium with the Giants, and the Atlanta Falcons, who fired coach Dan Quinn.

Three of the Giants’ losses have come by single digits, including a 37-34 road setback last week against the Dallas Cowboys. First-year head coach Joe Judge said he is encouraged by his team’s progress.

“That’s all that really matters, to be honest with you, the progress that we’re making right now,” Judge said after his team’s latest loss. “The record will come in time. Obviously, we’re not happy about the losses, that’s not what we do here. But I’ve seen a lot of progress on all fronts and all units. We have to keep making consistent progress to keep being a better team as the year goes.”

Washington (1-4) also is looking for signs of improvement after dropping its last four games. The club’s trajectory is pointing downward after a 30-10 loss last week against the Los Angeles Rams, which marked the most lopsided defeat of the season.

Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins was benched heading into last week in favor of backup Kyle Allen. Allen completed 9 of 13 passes for 74 yards and rushed for a touchdown before he was injured on a scramble, which created an opportunity for Alex Smith to take the field for the first time since a gruesome leg injury in 2018.

Washington is expected to turn back to Allen against the Giants after he reportedly was cleared by doctors to return. This would be his 15th career start, including 13 with the Carolina Panthers over the previous two seasons.

Haskins was not on the sidelines last week because of an unspecified illness, and he was not at practice Wednesday as Washington prepared for the Giants. Head coach Ron Rivera said the team is following proper protocols.

“We’re not keeping him out of the building, just so everybody knows,” Rivera said. “What we’ve done is, he’s come in, he’s seen the doctors, he’s taken his test and he’s gone home.”

New York will stick with second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, who has shown flashes of potential but enters the week with only two touchdowns compared with five interceptions on the season. His 70.6 passer rating is down from his rookie season, when he posted an 87.7 rating.

Neither team ranks well in total offense. The Giants are third-to-last in the league with 282.4 yards per game, while Washington is dead last with 263.0 yards per contest.

In terms of total defense, New York ranks No. 8 in the league with 343.0 yards allowed per game. Washington checks in at No. 15 with 356.4 yards allowed on average.

New York is 0-2 at home this season. Washington is 0-2 on the road.

–Field Level Media

Redskins: "Gruden anticipates RGIII being the starter going into the 2015 season."

In an odd move, the Washington Redskins’ Twitter account posted this:


What’s odd about that? When was the last time you heard anyone name a starter in as shaky a QB situation as there seems to be in Washington before Free Agency even starts?
Whenever things like this “leak”, I’m always left questioning the motivation. In this case, this is either the start of what Greg Gabriel calls, “The Lying Season”, or they are really over assuring us. My bet is on the former, as there would be no reason why you would officially marry yourself to a starter with all the possibilities ahead of you. They are setting the market, trying to prop RGIII up as unattainable, and hoping to get a nice price for him.
Follow me on Twitter @erikoehler

Bruce Allen: RG3 was put 'on the spot' a year ago

<p> As they say, hindsight is 20/20.</p> <p> And if Redskins president Bruce Allen could do it over again, they'd have second thoughts of trotting quarterback Robert Griffin III onto the field for last year's season-opener.</p> <p> Allen told radio station ESPN 950, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch, that Griffin <a href="http://www.timesdispatch.com/redskins-xtra/redskins-president-griffin-faced-impossible-task-last-year/article_a2bccdac-1675-11e4-94f7-001a4bcf6878.html">wasn't ready to play last year, though the organization made the decision to do so anyway</a>.</p> <p> “What you saw last year was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football,” Allen said. “It’s impossible to ask a player to perform well during the regular season if you haven’t practiced. Last year at this time, he was still rehabbing his knee, and he wasn’t allowed to practice or work in team drills.</p> <p> “We put him on the spot by trying to do that. And this year he’s had a full offseason, his knee is 100 percent, knock on wood, and he’s had all (the practices), and that’s how you get ready to play a football season.”</p> <p> Griffin had a horrible sophomore slump in 2013 after a tremendous rookie season the year prior. When he's healthy, he has potential to be among the league's best. If Griffin's knee is 100 percent, as Allen says, there's no reason to think he can't get back to the level he was at two years ago.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/jasonhbutt">@JasonHButt</a></p>

Pierre Garçon tweaks hamstring in practice

<p> Redskins receiver Pierre Garçon isn't taking any chances.</p> <p> After tweaking his hamstring early in Monday's training camp practice, Garçon elected to sit the remainder of the session out. Given the nature of hamstring injuries, that was probably the right call.</p> <p> “Just being smart,” Garçon said, <a href="http://www.csnwashington.com/redskinsblog/pierre-gar%C3%A7on-injured-during-redskins-training-camp">via CSNWashington.com</a>. “There’s no real need to keep playing through it right now, early in the season. Just got to be smart and get it healed up.”</p> <p> The website notes that Garçon caught a pass during a drill and then grabbed his right hamstring. It doesn't appear to be too serious, though it won't be surprising to see him sit out for a few practices. Reinjuring hamstrings are always a concern since they can sometimes feel healed only to become aggravated once again.</p> <p> There's plenty of time for Garçon to heal up. If there's ever time to injure a hamstring, the beginning of training camp would be it.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/jasonhbutt">@JasonHButt</a></p>

Redskins cut ties with Brandon Jenkins

<p> Jay Gruden and the Redskins aren't putting up with less than 100 percent effort.</p> <p> Therefore, the organization decided to waive 2013 fifth-round draft pick Brandon Jenkins. <a href="http://www.csnwashington.com/redskinsblog/redskins-waive-2013-fifth-round-pick">According to CSNWashington.com</a>, Jenkins went through the motions during position drills in on Sunday, which led to his release hours later.</p> <p> Jenkins, 6-2 and 252 pounds, has the size and potential to make a name for himself in the NFL but hasn't seemed to possess the motor to do so yet. The former Florida State product had just one tackle in 2013 and barely saw any playing time over the latter half of the season.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/jasonhbutt">@JasonHButt</a></p>