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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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

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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

For whatever reason, a vocal subset of Redskins fans do not want quarterback Kirk Cousins to return in 2018. That group got an ugly reality check on Sunday.

Cousins' performance was not particularly great (18 of 26 for 196 yards and two TDs), but on the other side of the football came an actually bad performance. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 41 times for the Cardinals, completing just 16 passes, and the Arizona offense did not score a single touchdown. In fact, with Gabbert at the helm, Arizona hasn't scored a TD in two weeks. 

The debate about Cousins no longer seems to be about his ability. It's clear he's an NFL starting caliber quarterback. That can't be argued.

The debate about Cousins comes from his value. He will undoubtedly be overpaid in the coming offseason, whether that's on a $34 million franchise tag or a lucrative long-term deal. 

Cousins is not the best passer in the NFL, but for a brief period of time, it seems likely he will be the highest paid passer in the NFL. 

That's not Cousins fault. Market economics dictate that; for those that are upset, take it up with 18th century author Adam Smith. 

Back to Gabbert.

Some Redskins fans suggest the team could get much of Cousins production at a fraction of the price if they went with a less costly QB option in 2018. That might be true, but it's also a significant gamble. 

Washington backup QB Colt McCoy is better than Gabbert, and would be a better option. Lots of QBs are better than Gabbert. The larger point goes to disprove the theory that there isn't risk in letting somebody like Cousins walk. 

RELATED: REDSKINS MAKE MOST OF 'MEANINGLESS' GAME

Names will pop up about potential replacements for Cousins, guys that would carry a much lesser price tag, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor are two that pop to mind. 

Those options might be reasonable, but neither Dalton or Taylor are as good as Cousins. Look at the stats from the last three years, since Cousins was named starter. They just aren't.

And, if Cousins again chooses not to enter into long-term negotiations with the Redskins, the organization should look at drafting a passer. The team needs to look at its long-term future, that's only fair. 

The notion, however, that any QB out there could come in and help the Redskins needs to be dispelled. 

Gabbert disproved that by himself on Sunday.  

Want more Redskins? 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!

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The Redskins make the most out of their 'meaningless' mid-December game

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The Redskins make the most out of their 'meaningless' mid-December game

The Redskins got a win over a team with a quarterback who has no business being in the NFL. They had to sweat it out through four last-minute plays from the edge of the red zone. Washington also had to survive three bad special teams plays and a sluggish offensive performance.

The state of the team is such that the OK performance represented a major improvement for the Redskins. They had lost their previous two games by a combined score of 68-27, never having a lead in either game. Against the Cardinals, they took the lead on their second offensive play and never relinquished it.

This is where the Redskins are, after going through a horrid rash of injuries (Trent Williams and Zach Brown, perhaps their best players on each side of the ball, were out yesterday) and losing “coulda, shoulda” games against the Chiefs and Saints.

The Redskins got something more out of yesterday’s win. They found a couple of players who might be able to help them out in 2018. Among them are one player who has been around a while and another who just arrived in Ashburn a few weeks ago.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

The relative old timer is defensive end Anthony Lanier. He has been with the team since making the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Lanier has spent more time on the inactive list and on injured reserve than he has playing. Going into yesterday’s game, he had three sacks, one pass defensed and no forced fumbles in 12 career games.

Against the Cardinals, Lanier had two sacks, he batted down three passes and forced a fumble. His first sack and the fumble were important because it set up the Redskins to take an early lead, something they needed after having been non-competitive in their last two games.

“Anthony Lanier showed up in a big way early,” said Jay Gruden. “Made a sack-fumble, had another sack and batted a couple more balls. It was great to hear Anthony Lanier’s name over the intercom a few times and see how far he has come along from a young rookie free agent. He is getting better and better. The sky is the limit for him.”

If you want to throw some cold water on Lanier’s performance, you can argue that the Cardinals had a weak offensive line before losing two starters in their previous game. Go right ahead. Still, it looks like Lanier, Matt Ioannidis, and a healthy Jonathan Allen could be the core of a solid defensive front next year.

You can’t say that the Cardinals’ defense is weak; going into the game they were No. 5 in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. It’s harder to dismiss the performance of running back Kapri Bibbs.

Unlike Lanier, who contributed throughout the game, most of Bibbs’ shining moments came in one drive. He has only been around for a few weeks, having signed to be on the practice squad on November 24 and getting elevated to the 53-man roster on December 12. All he had to do was learn the complex third-down back role, after injuries to Chris Thompson and Byron Marshall left the team scrambling.

Bibbs isn’t new to the league. He played in 13 games for the Broncos in 2015-2016 before they let him go. So he knows his way around a bit and that has helped him.  

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

His big moment came early in the second quarter when he took a screen pass from Kirk Cousins, saw a lot of green grass and large men in burgundy jerseys, and dashed in for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 14-3 lead. At the time, it looked like the rout might be on. As it was, the score gave the Redskins enough of a working margin to hold the Cardinals at bay.

“Kapri [took] advantage of the opportunities that he got,” said Gruden. “He ran a great screen pass, weaved his way through traffic and got a touchdown. Drew another holding call on another screen pass, and had a couple of other catches for us that were quite significant. So happy for Kapri. Glad he got his opportunity and took advantage of it.”

Bibbs could stay around after this year. Thompson will be back from his broken fibula to reclaim the third-down job. But this year showed that it is worth considering keeping a backup to that position on the roster and Bibbs could be the ideal candidate.

So, the Redskins got a win that prevented a potential implosion, gave themselves a chance to finish at .500, and got good performances from two young players who can help them out in the future. For a mid-December game when the team has been eliminated from playoff consideration, that’s not a bad day.

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.