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The Week That Was: Can the NFL protect players from themselves?

Aug 25, 2013, 6:40 AM EDT

Fletcher-INT-Ravens

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 25, four days before the Redskins finish up their preseason against the Bucs.

That Was The Week That Was

—Yeah, it’s dumb for the NFL to fine RG3 $10,000 for wearing an “Operation Patience” T-shirt during warmups before last Monday night’s preseason game. But here’s the thing—if the league doesn’t control what players wear on the field you could see all kinds of shirts with all kinds of messages out there. There could be ads, personal statements, political statements, slogans of highly questionable taste, and the like. The NFL just needs to have a zero-tolerance policy over non-conforming apparel. The players have plenty of time during the week to express themselves.

—The story of London Fletcher’s concussion and him talking about getting his “bell run” has led some to talk about what more the NFL can do to convince players to take head injuries more seriously. But it’s possible that the league has done nearly all it can do. You can’t do much to protect players who don’t want to protect themselves. If you are designing a cruise ship, you can only make the railing around the deck so high. If passengers are determined to climb on it and play around or jump in the ocean there isn’t much you can do. All you can do is take reasonable precautions, i. e. build a railing that prevents anyone from accidentally going overboard, and hope for the best from there.

—I’m not sure that Chris Thompson was ever on the bubble, not even after he fumbled for the second time in two games in the third quarter. But if he was, a pair of events moved him off of it and into the “nearly safe” category. The first was the knee injury that knocked Richard Crawford, who was set to be the team’s top punt returner, out for the season. The second was Thompson’s own 31-yard punt return later in the game. Problem created then problem solved.

—It was good to see Roy Helu Jr. running strong, picking up 70 yards on 13 carries. It was not good to see him still in the game carrying the ball in the third quarter. I’m not sure the “injury prone” label fits him—he didn’t miss a game due to injury in four years at Nebraska—but there’s no sense in tempting fate when he’s obviously ready to play

—Nick Barnett made his Redskins debut after the defensive starters exited the game in the second quarter. If you blinked you missed it; the veteran played just 16 snaps and registered one tackle. Still, he is likely to be on the 53-man roster as experience counts at inside linebacker.

—NFL teams have to cut down to a maximum of 75 players by 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Although we might hear about one or two cuts prior to that time, look to hear about the Redskins’ cuts right near the deadline. Mike Shanahan will sometimes wait until after practice on the cut down date ends before going in and submitting the waiver requests to the league.

In case you missed it

Here are links to all 37 Redskins posts from the past week from here and CSNwashington.com.

Sunday 08.18

Monday 08.19

Tuesday 08.20

Wednesday 08.21

Thursday 08.22

Friday 08.23

Saturday 08.24

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