Redskins

Foster and Johnson give Texans balanced attack

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Foster and Johnson give Texans balanced attack

HOUSTON (AP) Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is thankful every day to be working for the Texans.

He's in charge of a unit that has both the AFC's leading receiver and leading rusher in Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. Johnson has 1,360 yards receiving, Foster 1,313 yards rushing.

``It makes the defense defend a lot,'' Dennison said. ``They put an extra guy down in the box to stop the run, we think we have the people to throw it well and a quarterback that distributes it well. They play back, we think we can do enough offensively running the ball ... that we can find some holes.''

Foster and Johnson give the Texans a balanced attack they believe will be critical as they move closer to the playoffs. A win on Sunday against the Vikings will give the AFC South champion Texans (12-2) both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Johnson has bounced back from an injury-plagued season where he had a career-low 492 yards receiving. He believes Houston's success in the passing game comes as a byproduct of its dominant running game.

``When (coach Gary Kubiak) brought in this style of offense, whenever the run game is going, it just opens up everything else,'' Johnson said. ``I think that's the biggest thing for us is just getting our run game going. When we do that, we tend to win a lot of games.''

Kubiak doesn't like it when he has to rely too much on one dimension of his offense. He loved the way the Texans played in Sunday's win over the Colts when they had 178 yards rushing and 239 yards passing.

``We want to be balanced,'' Kubiak said. ``When we're doing those type of things, we're usually staying on the field and helping our defense.''

While Johnson credited the running game led by Johnson for the success of the passing game, Foster said Johnson has helped make things easier for him. He said having Johnson healthy has allowed them to use play-action with much more success.

``Dre has been hurt the last couple years so we kind of missed that,'' Foster said. ``But you see exactly how dangerous he could be when he's healthy ... he's going to continue to put up big performances for us because that's what he does.''

Houston's running game ranks fifth in the league and is averaging 141.9 yards. The passing game piles up an average of 244.8 yards to give the Texans the NFL's sixth-most potent offense.

Left tackle Duane Brown has enjoyed watching what the pair has been able to do this season, and says when they're both playing this well it makes things difficult for defenses.

``Teams are puzzled,'' Brown said. ``They don't know who to stop, if they want to put eight in the box (or) if they want to double-team Dre. It's so much that you have to focus on. It opens up things for them as well as for our other weapons on offense.''

Johnson has played with a chip on his shoulder this season after critics questioned whether the 31-year-old could still be a dominant receiver after his tough season in 2011.

``I think a lot of people wrote me off,'' Johnson said. ``I'm not going to say any names. I think a lot of people just wrote me off with saying that I had lost a step and this and that. But I knew what I needed to do to get myself back to feeling the way I'm feeling now.''

His 1,360 yards receiving are already the third-most in his career and his 14 receptions for 273 yards on Nov. 18 against Jacksonville were both career highs. With just seven receptions he'll become the fifth receiver in NFL history to reach 100 catches in four seasons.

With 140 yards receiving he would become the third player in league history to have at least three seasons with 1,500 yards receiving, joining Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

Quarterback Matt Schaub isn't surprised that Johnson is having such a productive season as a 10-year veteran - but he is impressed.

``He just continues to go out there and produce,'' Schaub said. ``When we need a big game from him he always seems to be there to do it. It doesn't surprise me. It's great to know that I can be a part of it.''

NOTES: Kubiak said LB Brooks Reed, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, looked good in practice Thursday and should play on Sunday. ... Houston released RB Jonathan Grimes on Thursday.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.