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In '99, Redskins saw a new QB make a big difference

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In '99, Redskins saw a new QB make a big difference

Wise veteran Santana Moss is trying to tamp down the expectations for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. He told ESPN 980, One thing I want everyone to understand that he comes here with the big hope of turning everything around. We are all hoping that. We all want that, but I dont want that pressure on him as if he has to be the one.The thing is, in a quarterback league, Griffin does have to the the one. Yes, the rest of the team needs to play better around him but Griffin is going to have to play well if the Redskins are to reach their goal of making the playoffs on a regular basis and making a Super Bowl run from time to time.We have seen what improved quarterback play can do for a Redskins team. The 1998 Redskins got off to an 0-7 start on their way to a 6-10 record that nearly cost Norv Turner his job. Trent Green started 14 games at quarterback and Gus Frerotte started two. They combined to complete 53.8 percent of their passes for 3724 yards (6.6 yardsattempt).Green left as a free agent and Frerotte was let go so the Redskins traded for Brad Johnson. Working primarily with receivers Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell, the same guys who where lining up for Green and Frerotte, Johnson started all 16 games and completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 4005 yards (7.7 yardsattempt).The defense went from bad in 98 (24th in yards allowed) to worse in 99 (30th). And the Redskins improved to 10-6, won the division, and hosted a playoff game.To be sure, Johnson was not the only change on offense. There were some new faces on the offensive line but it is not as though a bus pulled up to Redskins Park and dropped off the 1991 Hogs. Rookie Jon Jansen replaced Shar Pourdanesh at right tackle and veteran journeyman Andy Heck came in at left tackle. Fourth-year running back Stephen Davis had a breakout season with 1405 yards, a marked improvement over the 1242 yards that Davis, Skip Hicks, and Terry Allen combined to gain on the ground in 1998.The Redskins did not build on their 1999 success. In 2000 Johnson was first injured and then in a funk about his contract sutiation. He left as a free agent in 2001. But for that one seasons Johnson clearly was the difference maker.Can Griffin make such a difference in 2012 and turn the Redskins around into a team that wins double digit games? Its a tall order for a rookie but he doesnt have to be an elite performer to beat the numbers the QBs put up last year.Despite Moss wishes, the pressure will be on RG3 this year and we will see how well he responds.

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Need to Know: The week that was—Allen injury, why not the Redskins?

Need to Know: The week that was—Allen injury, why not the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 21, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference, open locker room, after practice approx. 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 8
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 15
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 33

Injuries of note:
Not practicing
: OT Trent Williams (knee), S D.J. Swearinger (rest)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
It was a little surprising not to see Swearinger out there but he has a lingering hamstring injury and they figured he could use day of rest more than the day of practice. Jay Gruden said that both Norman and Breeland did more on Friday than they did on Thursday.

The Redskins week that was

Here is a look at some of the top posts and hot topics from this week at NBCSportsWashington.com and at RealRedskins.com.

Bad News For Jonathan Allen—A few of the site’s stop posts this week were about Allen’s Lisfranc injury (here's one about how the Redskins will try to fill the void). We went from him being out three or four weeks to him being out for the season to injured reserve with the possibility that he can return after eight weeks. I thought all along that three or four weeks was a very aggressive timetable for return from a Lisfranc. And it would be just short of a miracle for him to return before the end of the season. I think the best that fans can hope for is for Allen to bounce back from his Lisfranc like Morgan Moses did from his. Morgan suffered his in December of 2014 and he became the starting right tackle in next year in training camp. He has played at a high level and he hasn’t missed a game since.

In a muddled NFC, why not the Redskins?  With Aaron Rodgers sidelined and everyone in the NFC looking vulnerable, the Redskins could have a chance to make a deep playoff run this year. The key word is could and they will have to do some things right, starting with beating the Eagles on Sunday. Even a loss in Philly wouldn’t be fatal for their chances. Take a look at the post and see if you agree with me.

Hopkins to IR, Redskins sign Nick Rose—Allen wasn’t the only Redskins player to go in injured reserve this week. Dustin Hopkins suffered a hip injury that is going to take six to eight weeks to rehab so he hit IR. We will see if he comes back, which he could do in Week 15 against the Cardinals. That will depend on his health and on how well replacement kicker Nick Rose is performing.

5 overlooked stories from the Redskins-49ers game—There was plenty of (justified) pre-game hand wringing over Josh Norman being inactive for the 49ers game. But it turned out that replacement Quinton Dunbar played well. The Niners tried to get to him—he was targeted 14 times—but held up well. Check out some details on Dunbar’s play and four other things that weren’t talked about enough.

Week 7 stats, trends, and storylines—The Redskins are still banged up going into this game. While they have been able avoid major injuries since the season started with the exceptions of Allen and Hopkins, they have had enough nagging type injuries to hamper the team’s effectiveness, especially on defense. Take a look at other storylines and see how the Redskins are trending in key statistical categories.

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.

Take a look at what happened on Friday at Redskins Park with this Twitter moment.

Tandler on Twitter

From the locker room

In case you missed it

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

After five straight defeats, the Eagles decided enough was enough and beat the Redskins on their home field in Week 1. In a bizarre turn of scheduling, Washington will face Philadelphia for the second time this season before playing any other NFC East opponent. 

For the Redskins, that means the time for a win is now. Behind the arm of Carson Wentz, the Eagles have streaked out to a 5-1 record, not to mention 2-0 in the division. Jay Gruden's squad sits at 3-2 and 0-1 in the division. Another loss to the Eagles, even though it's still early in the year, would put a major dent in the Redskins hopes of a NFC East title. 

"It’s a big game. The NFC East, they’re in the lead. They’re 5-1 and we’re 3-2. I mean, just do the math," Gruden explained this week. "If you look at 3-3 and 6-1 and we’ve lost twice to them, that’s a big difference. 4-2 and 5-2 and we’re right there in the thick of things as far as the NFC East is concerned."

MORE: TEN TIMES PHILADELPHIA FANS WERE THE WORST

The coach knows the stakes. Redskins fans certainly do, too. All the coverage starts at 7:30 on NBC Sports Washington with Redskins Kickoff, and here are three storylines to watch for the game:

  1. Blount force - In the Week 1 loss to Philadelphia, the Redskins defense did a fine job of stopping the Eagles rush attack. Zach Brown and the 'Skins held Philly to just 58 yards rushing. In that game, LeGarrette Blount rushed 14 times for only 46 yards, averaging less than 3.5 yards-per-carry. Well, Blount and the Eagles run game looks mighty different now. In their last four games, Blount is averaging more than 6 yards-per-carry and posted more than 330 yards. Known for his strength between the tackles, Blount will present a problem for the Burgundy and Gold playing their first game without rookie star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. The challenge will be real, and D-coordinator Greg Manusky knows it: "He does a great job of making people miss at the hole, in the hole. So we have got to make sure we get in his face and be able to get him down. He is a big-body guy." 
  2. No wiggle room - For the most part, the Redskins defense did a solid job against Carson Wentz in the first matchup against the Eagles. Unfortunately, with a mobile QB like the 6-foot-5, 240 lb. Wentz, a few broken plays can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the game. Think back to early in Week 1, the Redskins forced Wentz from the pocket and as he scrambled, he kept his eyes downfield and connected with WR Nelson Agholor for a long touchdown. On that play, two different 'Skins defenders nearly brought Wentz down in the backfield. But they didn't. And the 'Skins secondary did a good job in coverage for more than eight seconds. In that ninth second, however, Wentz struck. He's been doing it each game since, as he's emerged as an NFL MVP candidate with more than 1,300 pass yards to go with 13 TDs against just 3 INTs through six games. His ability to escape trouble must be incredibly frustrating for defenders, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson explained his passer's skill, saying, "He is strong in the pocket and usually the first guy, an arm-tackle guy, can’t bring him down. He usually sheds that block and can escape."
  3. 8 or more - Throughout the 2016 season, the Redskins frustrated their fans by getting out to slow starts. In 2017, the opposite has been true. In four straight games, Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins offense have scored a first quarter touchdown and taken early leads. In the second half, however, the offense has stagnated. While the Redskins average about 23 points-per-game, the team is only scoring about 8 points-per-game in the second half. Against a Philly team capable of scoring every time they touch the ball, Washington will likely have to score more in the second half to get a victory.

News & Notes

  • This will mark the Redskins 70th game on Monday Night Football, and their ninth MNF matchup against Philadelphia.
  • Kirk Cousins enters the game 3rd in NFL history in completion percentage (65.9) among players with at least 1,500 career attempts.
  • With 100 yards receiving, Chris Thompson could break a tie with Dick James, Craig McEwen and Larry Brown (two each) for the most career 100-yard receiving games by a Redskins running back in records dating back to 1960.
  • A win would snap a four game losing streak on Monday Night Football for the Redskins and give the Redskins their first Monday win since a 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Oct. 27, 2014.
  • The Redskins rank first in the NFL and the NFC in fewest penalty yards (204).

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