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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up the rest of the season

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up the rest of the season

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 10, five days before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day  

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 13
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 19
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 26

Five Redskins who must play better the rest of the season

QB Kirk Cousins—While he seems to be rounding into form, he needs to be a lot better if the Redskins are going to get on a roll. He hasn’t been doing  whole lot wrong but he has to do a lot more right, like get the team into the end zone at the end of the Chiefs and Eagles games, given his $24 million cap hit.

WR Terrelle Pryor—I don’t think that much explanation is needed here. He has had every chance—he has been targeted 24 times, nobody else on the team more than 19—but he still is inconsistent. It’s still early in the season but if the Redskins are going to get what they want from him and if he is going to get a star-level contract next year, things need to start clicking soon.

G Brandon Scherff—The third-year player hasn’t been bad, although his six QB hurries allowed are the most on the team. In fact, his run blocking has been solid. But Scherff needs to continue to improve on his Pro Bowl performance of last year. This isn’t just a matter of justifying being the fifth overall pick in the draft, although that is not inconsequential. He has the sixth highest cap hit on the team right now. After this year the team will have to decide if it wants to give him the fifth-year option, which would come at a price tag in the vicinity of $12 million for the 2019 season. Scherff needs to be very, very good to justify that.

OLB Junior Galette—Being on this list doesn’t necessarily mean that the player’s performance has been disappointing or has fallen below expectations. I think Galette’s slow start (0.5 sacks, 2 hits) was to be expected after missing two seasons. But over the next few games, the team needs for him to pick up the pace and regain at least some of the double-digit sack productivity he had his last two seasons with the Saints. Having a third pass rushing option beyond Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan would be a big boost to the defense.

CB Bashaud Breeland—Although he needs to play better, Breeland in particular hasn’t been a major problem. But the cornerbacks as a group have only one interception on the season, Kendall Fuller’s pick against the Raiders. They need more. Breeland needs to get two or three in the next 12 games and Josh Norman needs at least that many. The corners are too good to have one combined pick a quarter of the way through the season.

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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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.

The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.

OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.

OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.

MORE: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM A DISCOURAGING LOSS

The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.

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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Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:

The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.

They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.

MORE: REDSKINS OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE MVP FOR PHILLY GAME

Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.

The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.

There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.

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.