Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.
Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 10
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 35
Jonathan Allen’s absence
The Redskins defensive line has been one of the most improved positions on the team. Now they have a large hole to fill in that unit.
Jonathan Allen’s Lisfranc injury will require surgery and that means he will be sidelined for the rest of the season. He likely will go on injured reserve sometime this week.
The team’s first-round draft pick had been playing very well. He has helped to provide the Redskins with pass rush up the middle, an important element that has been missing from the defense. The 17th overall pick had a sack, three QB hits and 10 hurries.
What will the Redskins do in Allen’s absence? The first thing they’ll do is take consolation in the fact that they still have Matt Ioannidis to give them some inside pass rush. The second-year player rebounded from a 2016 season where he played sparingly and is providing consistent pass rush pressure between the tackles. He has 3.5 sacks and 16 pressures.
But Ioannidis can’t do it alone. He and Allen each benefitted from the presence of the other one. And edge rushers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have both been helped by the attention the other teams had to pay to the pass pressure threat from the interior.
With Allen gone, who will take his place?
That question has a few different answers. When Allen goes on injured reserve, a lineman will be signed to take his place. That could be rookie Brandon Banks, who has been on the practice squad all year. They could bring up A.J. Francis, who has been around on the practice squad for a couple of years but he has not been with a team since he was release in Redskins’ cut to 53 on September 2.
They also could find a veteran who is not currently working or sign a player off of another team’s practice squad. The Redskins tried out 16 players on Tuesday and the only defensive lineman among them was Owa Odighizuwa, who played in 18 games for the Giants in 2015-2016.
But whoever takes the roster spot likely will be inactive most of the time. Anthony Lanier, the second-year defensive end who has been on the team this year but has not been active for a game, will be active on Monday night. He is a pass-rush specialist and it seems likely that he will get most of Allen’s snaps in nickel situations.
In base defense, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain will rotate in more frequently. It’s not as though they have been sitting on the bench this season. While the rotation has favored Allen and Ioannidis, McClain and McGee have played 131 snaps this year. Ziggy Hood has 155, Ioannidis 170 and Allen 159.
McClain and McGee are OK defending the run so there won’t be a huge drop off there. The spotlight will be on Lanier, who played in just four games last year before an injury ended his season, to continue to get push up the middle with Ioannidis.
He will get his chance on Monday as the Redskins take on the Eagles. In the season opener, the Redskins were able to get pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz (22 pressures on 41 pass dropbacks) but they weren’t often able to bring him down. We will see if Lanier can get to him a time or two and finish the job.
Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.
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