Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 22, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.
Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and Matt Cavanaugh press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 10
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 31
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 37
What they’re saying about the Redskins
The Washington football team — your most persistent headache, the squad whose light hadn’t even flickered during the preseason and the first game — awoke Sunday with a kind of performance that can bring a team together, that can be called upon in difficult times throughout the long year.
This is a good, one paragraph summary of what we saw on Sunday in Los Angeles. It wasn’t any reason to throw a party or anything but it was a sign of life. They avoided getting crushed by fans and the media for being 0-2. At 1-1 they have life, especially with the rest of the teams in the NFC East experiencing some struggles as well.
Washington can be a force when its rushing attack gets going. Over the past three seasons, the Redskins are 15-2-1 when rushing for at least 90 yards as a team (3-13 when they don't). The 229 rushing yards Sunday against the Rams were Washington's second most in that span.
They jumped from No. 24 to No 17 in these rankings, more of a reflection of the overreaction to the loss to the Eagles than any actual improvement in the team. I think the Redskins belong somewhere in the middle of the pack right now and that is where most have them now.
They ran all over the Rams, which is a good sign for the offense. Now they have to amp up the passing game.
This is a good point on ramping up the passing game. Even a moderately efficient performance throwing the ball would have meant a dominant win for the Redskins. They won’t be able to run for 229 yards every week and Kirk Cousins has to get it going.
I suppose most will explain this in one of two narratives:
1. Cravens was never committed to football, and Washington needed to move on rather than letting him continue to be a distraction.
2. The bumbling Washington brain trust committed another blunder, this time blindsiding a player who was trying to right his life off the field.
The reality is probably somewhere between those two sentiments. Coaches need to know who is on their roster going forward, and the 22-year-old can use the time to chart a clear path forward. Remember, a Washington legend once took a year off because his heart wasn't in the sport.
The Cravens story remains a puzzle with many missing pieces. The key may be in the 15-minute conversation he had with Doug Williams on the sideline before the Texas-USC game the night before the Redskins played the Rams. Perhaps the talk convinced Williams that Cravens is not in the proper frame of mind to return to the team and that the additional two weeks they could have taken before putting him on the reserve/left team list would not make any difference. It seems like too much of a coincidence that two days after Cravens talks face to face with a member of the Redskins brass for the first time since he left the team a week before the season opener.
That’s just speculation but that’s all we have at the moment. By the way, the legend who once took a year off was John Riggins, although his 1980 absence was more of a contract holdout than it was his heart not being in the sports, although there was an element of the latter involved.
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