Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins will work through Jamison Crowder's return issues

crowder_tackled_vs_eagles_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Redskins will work through Jamison Crowder's return issues

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 26, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 10
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 28

State of the Redskins, Week 8

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 8 of the NFL season.

Top three storylines:

Walking wounded—It’s gotten worse since this was a top storyline last week (and the week before). Trent Williams is barely hanging on with his knee injury, three other offensive line starters are dealing with injuries, Jonathan Allen is out for the season, and Preston Smith could miss the coming game. The good news is that it looks like Josh Norman is ready to go.  

Pryor demoted—Terrelle Pryor has been a disappointment. Other than a play here and there he has had almost zero impact. That’s not what the Redskins were hoping for when they signed him in the offseason. He went from playing an average of 53 snaps in the first five games to 30 against the Eagles. It looks like they will give Josh Doctson an extended chance to make something happen now.  

Punt return problems—Jamison Crowder is having problems with punt returns. Most importantly, he has now put the ball on the ground three times. Two muffs earlier this season were recovered by the other team. On Monday, it was good fortune that a fumble after he was hit was recovered by the Redskins. And when he holds on to the ball he averages just 5.8 yards per return, 21st among the 24 players with enough attempts to qualify. Gruden said on Tuesday that they don’t really have anybody else to return punts. Apparently, all they can do is hope Crowder puts his problems behind him.  

Record: 3-3, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-2
vs. NFC: 2-2
vs. AFC: 1-1
Home: 2-1
Away: 1-2

Rankings  and changes from Week 7

Offense (yards/game): 369.2 (8th, -1 from Week 6)
Defense (yards/game): 325.2 (12th, no change)
Points for: 141 (11th, +3)
Points against: 147 (25th, -6)

Passer rating offense:  107.2 (3rd, no change)
Opp passer rating: 88.9 (16th, -7)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (18th, -1)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.0 (17th, No change)
Third down conversions: 39.5% (17th, -5)
Opp. Third-down conversions: 41.8% (24th, -4)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 15.2% (9th, -3)
Playoff chances per FO: 39.2%, -12.5 percentage points from last week

Trending in the right direction: Well, nothing, really. The passing game is keeping things afloat on offense as the passer rating is staying even and as Kirk Cousins keeps on throwing for 300 yards every week. But the numbers are empty if they can’t run and their average yards per rush attempt has tumbled from the top 10 to below average.

Trending in the wrong direction: Carson Wentz and the Eagles put a dent in just about every defensive category. And a Redskins team that was second overall in DVOA just a few weeks ago is now trending out of the top 10.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

foles.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

 

Quick Links

What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

usatsi_10558417.jpg

What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!