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Need to Know: Pass defense key for Redskins vs. Cardinals

Need to Know: Pass defense key for Redskins vs. Cardinals

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 2, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.


Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 9; Panthers @ Redskins 17; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 22

Injuries of note:
Did not practice:
TE Jordan Reed
Limited: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle_
Full: LS Nick Sundberg
Thursday injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Redskins vs. Cardinals nuggets and observations

—The Redskins’ offensive line is a little banged up. LT Ty Nsekhe, G Brandon Scherff, and RT Morgan Moses are all suffering from ankle injuries. Moses has been full in practice this week, Nsekhe and Scherff were limited. Having multiple injuries at one position group makes it difficult to conduct a proper practice but it’s something that all teams are dealing with. It will be surprising if any of them misses a snap on Sunday, however. As an aside, this is the last game of Trent Williams’ four-game suspension; he will return to practice this week and will start at left tackle against the Eagles on December 11.

—Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ offensive line is mostly healthy with the exception of the loss of G Evan Mathis to an ankle injury earlier this year, but they have been struggling. They have allowed 33 sacks, 39 QB hits, and 119 hurries. By comparison the Redskins have allowed 14 sacks, 21 hits, and 94 hurries. Perhaps you don’t have to look much further than the line to figure out why Carson Palmer is having a bad season.

—If you are looking for a common thread in the Redskins’ wins look at their pass defense. In each of their four losses the opposing team has averaged 7.6 yards or more per pass play in each of them. When the opposition averaged less than that, the Redskins are 5-0-1 (they won against the Giants despite allowing 8.4 per pass play). Palmer and the Cardinals have gone over 7.6 yards per pass pay just once this season. Their 2016 average is 5.9, down almost two full yards from last year.

—It’s starting to look like Josh Norman might stalk the University of Phoenix Stadium parking lot, meet Larry Fitzgerald when he arrives, and follow him for the rest of the day. Yes, even in the slot, if the defense calls for it. “There will be times per call – if the call dictates that Josh matches No. 11 [Fitzgerald], he’s going to match him even if he’s lined up in the backfield,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

—A lot of Redskins fans wanted the team to draft defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche in the first round this year instead of Josh Doctson. The Cardinals took the Ole Miss product with the 29th overall pick. But he has had minimal impact this year. He has played in just four games and not all his games off have been due to injuries. Nkemdiche has not dented to stat book with zero tackles and zero sacks. Assuming he would have had a similar performance in a Redskins uniform the Washington defense would not be any better had they drafted him. Of course, Nkemdiche could get rolling later this year or in future seasons but for 2016 the Cardinals haven’t gotten much more out of their top draft pick than the Redskins have out of theirs.

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Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East


Good news Redskins fans: Jason Pierre-Paul shipped out of NFC East

The Giants shipped out Jason Pierre-Paul for life as a Buccaneer, and in turn, Tampa will send a third and fourth round draft pick to New York.

Moving Pierre-Paul comes at a curious time for the Giants. The team will eat $15 million of dead money in the move, and New York also sent a fourth-round pick to Tampa as part of the transaction. 

What it definitely signals is that Big Blue looks to be moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 look. Additionally, with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft in April, maybe the Giants will seriously look at NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb. 


For the Redskins, seeing Pierre-Paul leave the NFC East is welcome news. He has 12.5 career sacks against Washington QBs, the same amount he has against the Eagles and Cowboys combined. 

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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Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

Looking at the details of Zach Brown's contract with the Redskins

The Redskins and linebacker Zach Brown agreed to a three-year contract that will require Brown to continue to play at a high level if he is going to collect all of the $21 million the deal contains.

Brown’s camp reportedly was shopping for a contract that had some $20 million in guaranteed money. The actual deal fell well short of that.

Brown, who was leading the league in tackles before an assortment of injuries forced him to sit out the last three games, got a total of $5.5 million in fully guaranteed money. He got a $4.5 million signing bonus and his $1 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.


After that, the remaining two seasons essentially are team options. In 2019 he has a $6.75 million salary and $4.5 million of that is guaranteed for injury. His 2020 salary is $7.5 million with no guarantees of any kind.

The contract also has per-game roster bonuses available at a rate of $15,625 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster in 2018 (total of $250,000 for the year) and $31,250 per game in 2019 and 2020 ($500,000 total).

The salary cap hits per year are as follows:

2018: $2.75 million
2019: $8.75 million
2020: $9.5 million

The average annual value of $7 million ranks ninth among inside linebackers.

Brown will need to continue to play well to collect on the contract. The team will be able to save $5.75 million on the 2019 cap if they terminate the deal after one season and $8 million if they do it in 2020.


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.