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Even though they scored, the Redskins' first-team offense again had issues vs. Packers

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Even though they scored, the Redskins' first-team offense again had issues vs. Packers

LANDOVER, Md. — Much of the past eight days in the DMV have been devoted to discussion about how the Redskins' first-team would follow up a discouraging debut vs. the Ravens in their first exhibition game.

On Saturday, folks got their answer: The second showing was actually worse than the opening one, for the most part.

Kirk Cousins and the rest of the starters went three-and-out in their first three drives vs. the Packers at FedEx Field, which meant that the unit was unable to generate a first down on any of their first five possessions of the preseason.

The second three-and-out was particularly noteworthy, because it came after Washington recovered a muffed punt on Green Bay's 16-yard line. Cousins couldn't connect on throws to Robert Kelley, Vernon Davis or Terrelle Pryor, which led to a Dustin Hopkins field goal.

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It felt a lot like what happened regularly in 2016, a year in which the Redskins often turned the red zone into the three-point zone.

On their fourth trip onto the field, the first-teamers were aided by a Packers penalty that extended their time with the ball, but ultimately, Kelley was stuffed on a fourth-and-1. It was another night in which Bill Callahan's offensive line had trouble opening up running lanes against the opposing defensive line.

Hoping for some semblance of momentum, Jay Gruden sent the group out for two more attempts, this time while working against the Packers' backups. Finally, in a two-minute drill right before the half, Cousins started to warm up.

Passes to Vernon Davis and Josh Doctson pushed the ball near the goal line, and on another fourth down, the quarterback threw a fastball to Jamison Crowder for a four-yard score. It was about as important as a touchdown gets in August.

With that being said, it was yet another unsatisfactory performance for the unit that should be 'Skins' strength. Cousins' final line — 14 for 23, 144 yards and the TD — is decent, but the meat of those stats came against second-stringers. Kelley, meanwhile, rushed nine times for a measly nine yards. 

If not for that Crowder catch, the Washington area would be in a full-blown panic about the lack of production from the offensive starters. Even with it, however, there's still much to question about the way the bunch is playing, and Week 1 of the regular season is only getting closer.

MORE: REDSKINS-PACKERS LIVE BLOG

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Where's Galette, Cousins' future

NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 18, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: AM walkthrough and then travel to New Orleans. No media availability.

Days until:

—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 6
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 13
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 23

Quick Redskins news hits

C Spencer Long tried to play last week and he couldn’t make it more than a dozen snaps before sitting down for the rest of the day. He is out against the Seahawks tomorrow.

With Brian Quick and Ryan Grant questionable with concussions and Terrelle Pryor out with an ankle injury, the Redskins are down to three healthy wide receivers. While Quick and Grant might play, the depth chart could have Doctson, Crowder, and Harris on it.

The Redskins week that was

2 reasons Redskins didn't trade Terrelle Pryor—If you want to know why the deal with the Browns didn’t happen, follow the money. Between his signing bonus and the half of the year’s salary, the Redskins have already paid $4.5 million. Although he hasn’t been nearly as productive as they hoped he would be, there was no point in letting him go to save $1.5 million unless they got a second-day draft pick, or maybe a fourth, in return. See that Jay Gruden said that he didn’t hear of the proposed trade, talks must not have become too serious.

Remember Junior Galette? The Redskins don't seem to—As with Pryor, everyone is waiting for Galette to break out. But unlike Pryor, he’s not an expensive unproductive player. He’s making the veteran minimum. Against the Vikings, he played just 19 snaps. Perhaps a return to New Orleans for a game against his old team will spark a sack or two.

Recent comments from Cousins may hint at future in D.C.—Cousins has been big on making statements about the long-term future with the Redskins (read the post for specifics). That doesn’t mean that it’s a lock that he stays in town. But it should give some pause to those who believe that it is a lock that he will be in another uniform when 2018 or, at the latest, 2019 rolls around. He has never been inclined to go to the highest bidder and if the Redskins make a competitive offer that delivers what he wants he could well stick around.

How the Vikings scored 21 unanswered points against the Redskins—The 21-0 run in about seven minutes of game time that the Vikings used to make a competitive game at FedEx Field a rout was a combination of good offense by the Vikings and bad defense and offense by the Redskins. They couldn’t cover Adam Thielen on either drive. Cousins threw an interception off of his back foot and that set up the middle of the three touchdowns. If the Redskins end the season a game out of a playoff spot that seven-minute stretch will be one of the big reasons why they failed to make it.

Player one-liners, defense— Usually, the offensive edition of the player one-liners tends to be the most popular but this week it was the defense that drew the most interest. The defensive player I’m going to keep an eye on the most in the last seven games is rookie safety Montae Nicholson. He has the speed and hard hitting ability that the secondary needs. When asked what will happen when Nicholson is healthy, Jay Gruden said without hesitation that he is the starter. Nicholson’s health will be important for the defense down the stretch. DeAngelo Hall is better suited to a part-time role at this stage of his career.

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 getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

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Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.