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Week 9 Redskins vs. Seahawks Preview: Recent history suggests trouble in Seattle


Week 9 Redskins vs. Seahawks Preview: Recent history suggests trouble in Seattle

After losing two straight contests, the Redskins will limp into Century Link Field on Sunday afternoon in Seattle in desperate need of a win. Getting that victory will be very tough.

The Seahawks have won their last four games and own a 5-2 record on the season. Russell Wilson ranks sixth in the NFL with more than 2,000 passing yards on the season, and Seattle is fresh off a 41-38 shootout win over the Texans last weekend. 

For Washington, the vibe is quite different.

The Redskins are incredibly beat up and injuries will be a big part of the game plan for Jay Gruden's team.

There is plenty to watch about this matchup, but here are three of the biggest stories:


Not What You Think:

For much of the Pete Carroll era in Seattle, the Seahawks have been stout up front against the run.

That hasn't been the case this season, as the Seahawks rank 20th in the NFL in yards-per-game allowed on the ground. When the Redskins played their best this season, the team ran the ball. A lot. In consecutive wins against the Rams and Raiders earlier this season, the Redskins ran the ball more than 30 times. In their losses, Redskins running backs have not combined for more than 20 carries in any of the four games.

Even behind an injured offensive line, Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson should get the ball early and often. Running the ball well gives Gruden's team their best chance at winning, and keeps the dynamic Seattle offense off the field.

Use Your Strength:

Seattle's offense is pretty one-dimensional. Wilson carries the group with his arm as their pass offense ranks third in the NFL in yards.

The run game, however, is terrible.

They rank 21st in the NFL in rush yards and gained only 33 yards on the ground last week in the win over Houston. Not having Matt Ioannidis or Jonathan Allen this week, the Redskins will be susceptible to a good run game, but luckily, Seattle doesn't have it. That means the 'Skins secondary needs to be prepared and deliver for the defense. D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller and Josh Norman will all be leaned on to win this one. 

Go For 3:

Redskins fans know well that the team has struggled to get off the field on third down. This week could be big trouble.

Wilson makes a living scrambling around, extending plays, and picking up key first downs. Seattle's offense ranks 6th in the NFL in converting third downs. Washington's defense ranks 23rd in the NFL in stopping third down conversions. The numbers certainly tilt in the Seahawks favor, and Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky must prepare to attack  onthird downs. 

"I think you’ve got to be cautious of your pass lanes and trying to make sure you’re in those pass lanes as a defensive lineman," he said. "And then, from a back end, you’ve got to plaster the receivers because he does a great job keeping his eyes up the field and letting the ball loose and he has a great arm to get the ball down the field. Overall, we’ve got to make sure we harass him in the pocket."

News & Notes

  • The Redskins have scored points on their first possession in six straight games. 
  • On the flip side, the Redskins defense has only allowed one score on opening drives all season.
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (442).
  • Kirk Cousins is first in the NFC and third in the NFL in passer rating (103.3) .
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (75).
  • Vernon Davis is first in the NFL and the NFC in average yards per reception (18.4).

Want more? Listen to the #RedskinsTalk podcast!

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it