Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 13, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Rams in Los Angeles
Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 11
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 19
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 46
First look at Redskins vs. Rams
—For the second time in three years, an 0-1 Redskins team coming off a deflating season-opening loss faces a 1-0 Rams team riding high after a big win. In 2015, the Redskins lost to the Dolphins in Week 1 while the then St. Louis Rams stunned the defending NFC champion Seahawks with a 34-31 overtime win. As it turned out the Week 1 momentum meant nothing. The Redskins never trailed and rolled up 182 yards rushing in a 24-10 win.
—Rams RB Todd Gurley did not play in that 2015 game. The then-rookie did not make his debut until Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. Despite the late start, he rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns that year. But he had a sophomore slump last year. He gained a respectable 885 yards but it took him 278 attempts to get there, a putrid 3.2 yards per attempt. And although the Rams romped in the opener Gurley again struggled with 19 carries for 40 yards, a 2.1 per-carry average. Here is what NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger said of his play that game:
He has no vision...I watched all 18 of his carries yesterday. No jump cuts; no special qualities— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 12, 2017
And that was against the Colts, who were 30th in rushing defense in the NFL last year, giving up 4.7 yards per carry. Gurley clearly has talent and the Redskins don’t want to be the team against whom he gets it together.
—Aaron Donald does not need to prove himself. The defensive tackle has been first-team All-Pro each of the last two years. But he held out for a new contract all year until reporting on Saturday. Donald did not play in Week 1 and the Rams can extend their roster exemption for him at least through the Redskins game. But coach Sean McVay is saying that he wants to get Donald on the field on Sunday. As of now, the plans are for him to play and the extent of his time "is going to be predicated on how he feels going out to practice and getting involved," said McVay. This could be some gamesmanship on McVay’s part but don’t be shocked to see Donald in there on Sunday if only on a limited basis.
—McVay, of course, is the Redskins’ former offensive coordinator. I’m not sure how much that fact will mean in terms of the outcome. He knows a lot of the players and what makes them tick and what makes them uncomfortable. He also knows Jay Gruden’s offensive philosophy inside and out. On the other hand, Gruden and his assistant coaches know what McVay likes to do as well, so there may not be much of an advantage either way. Gruden summed it up pretty well. “It’ll be a great challenge,” he said. “We have a good idea of what he likes to do, but you just don’t know when he’s going to do it.”
Tandler on Twitter
I tweeted that Jonathan Allen led all Redskins rookies, and all defensive linemen, in snaps played against the Eagles promting this question:
Very solid. 4 tackles, I QB hit, 2 hurries. Good pressure for a 3-4 DL.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) September 12, 2017
In case you missed it
- Is practice really the issue with Doctson?
- Allen leads Redskins rookies in snaps vs. Eagles
- Week 1 NFL power rankings
- Former Redskins DL released by Packers
- 2017 Redskins Must-Follow Twitter List
- O-line and running game needs improvement in Week 2 for Sports Junkies
- Last look at Redskins vs. Eagles