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Need to Know: 5 burning Redskins questions on offense

Need to Know: 5 burning Redskins questions on offense

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 4, 13 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

After a 3-13 season there are always plenty of questions surrounding an NFL team. Here is a look at the five top questions facing the Redskins’ offense (yesterday we answered five burning questions about the defense).

Will DeSean Jackson be DeSean Jackson? Sometimes a change of scenery is just what a player needs. But often changing everything that led to a player being successful can result in a drop off in production. Everything is different for Jackson this year and we’ll see if he’s energized or lost.

Can an effective line be cobbled together? It seems that Jay Gruden still wants to be able to run the outside zone plays that have been so successful for the Redskins recently but he also wants size on the line to form a solid passing pocket. Well, I’d like to eat whatever I want, not exercise, and still lose weight. But I can’t have it both ways and Gruden may not be able to either. If his line is going to work he may have to go with beef on the line and put Morgan Moses and Spencer Long into the lineup and hope that Alfred Morris can be effective in a power running game.

Can Jordan Reed stay healthy? It’s almost an unfair question since last year was the only time in his football career he missed any significant time. But it’s a legitimate concern with the emphasized sensitivity to concussion issues. Reed could be the different between the offense being very effective and being just OK.

Is Alfred Morris a top five back? He was in 2012 but his production slipped last year. That could well have been due to an offense that just wasn’t hitting on all cylinders. But he thrived as a rookie when Robert Griffin III had the read option going. Gruden has said that that offense is going to be much more of a wrinkle than a staple. Will Morris be able to thrive in Gruden’s scheme?

How well does RG3 bounce back? This is the overriding question. It’s difficult to see the Redskins having a successful season without Griffin performing more like he did in 2012 than he did in 2013. There is reason to believe that a return to full health and an offseason spent polishing his game rather than rehabbing his knee will result in better play. Until we see it on the field, however, that’s just an assumption.

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Timeline

—It’s been 157 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 95 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 13; Training camp 50; Redskins @ Eagles 109

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Instant analysis: Eagles outclass Redskins as Carson Wentz continues stellar year

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USA TODAY Sports

Instant analysis: Eagles outclass Redskins as Carson Wentz continues stellar year

Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles.

First quarter

— The Redskins’ got into the red zone on their first drive with Kirk Cousins passes to Vernon Davis for 31 yards and Jamison Crowder for 20 keying the advance. But they had to settle for Nick Rose’s first NFL field goal.

—Defensively, the Redskins dominated in the first quarter. The Eagles had no official plays before having four penalties, leading to a first and 33. Quinton Dunbar ended that possession with his first interception of the year. The Eagles got their first third-down conversion of the day in the last minute of the quarter.

Second quarter

—The Redskins gifted the Eagles three points by committing consecutive facemask penalties during Carson Wentz runs. Three weeks ago against the Chiefs, a penalty-laden drive helped KC score a touchdown. Not as costly this time but the score is tied 3-3.

—Did you have a parlay bet on Vernon Davis getting two 31-yard receptions tonight? If so, you hit it. His second such catch was the key in the Redskins’ second scoring drive. This time, they got it in from the red zone when the Eagles forgot to cover Chris Thompson, giving him the easiest seven-yard TD reception you’ll see.

—After a sack, the Eagles got the equalizer with a 64-yard bomb from Wentz to Mack Hollins. The Redskins rushed only four for one of the few passing downs so far and Wentz had plenty of time to launch the long pass.

—In the first half, Cousins was 0-3 passing on third down with one or two yards to go. He was 12-13 for 167 yards in all other situations. 

—That third failure to convert on third and short eventually cost the Redskins. A few plays after taking the punt Wentz went to Zach Ertz for 41 yards to the Washington 18. That led to a four-yard touchdown pass to Ertz to put the Eagles up 17-10 at the half.

Third quarter

—Jason Peters, the Eagles’ former All-Pro tackle who is still playing well, was carted off the field early in the third quarter with a leg injury. Meanwhile, Wentz completed four passes and scrambled for 21 to set up first and goal at the six. On third and goal at the nine, Wentz escaped a heavy rush and pitched a touchdown pass to Cory Clement. The Redskins just can’t get off the field on defense and they are down 14 points.

—At that point, the Redskins had run six plays since they took a 10-3 lead. The Eagles had run 23.

—The Redskins cobbled together a drive after getting the Eagles to go three and out for the first time since the first quarter. Cousins scrambled for eight yards, and then he passed to Doctson for 17. It was goal to go after Jordan Reed went up and caught Cousins' pass for a gain of 20 to the five. On the next play, it was Cousins to Reed for the touchdown. It was Reed’s first score of the year and it made it a ballgame again at 24-17.

Fourth quarter

—The Redskins seemed to have the Eagles stopped with another three and out but somehow Carson Wentz got out of a crowd of several Redskins, avoided the sack, and converted a third and eight. That put the momentum back onto the side wearing the green jerseys and they completed the drive with a TD pass from Wentz to Nelson Agholor to restore Philly’s two-touchdown lead.

— The Redskins’ last chance at a miracle rally ended when Kirk Cousins threw a third and six pass right into the arms of Philly safety Corey Graham. Cousins was hit on the play but it still wasn’t a good pass. There was no Redskins receiver in the area. We will await an explanation from Cousins after the game.

—Washington got a cosmetic score with 3:17 on a 75-yard drive that ended with another Reed touchdown reception.

sStay 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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Redskins fans go crazy after refs miss unnecessary roughness call involving Brandon Scherff

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@_JakeRussell

Redskins fans go crazy after refs miss unnecessary roughness call involving Brandon Scherff

Last week vs. the 49ers, Brandon Scherff was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness after the guard pushed a San Fran defender to the ground around the same time that the whistle blown.

A week later against the Eagles, Scherff was the one who was shoved. But this time, there was no penalty.

Derek Barnett played the role of aggressor in the Week 7 matchup. On a third-and-9, Kirk Cousins was hit as he threw, and players pursued the loose ball with some thinking it was a fumble. That's when Barnett came up and laid a late hit on Scherff, sending him to the turf.

Here's what it looked like:

The refs were chucking flags left and right in the early stages of the rivalry game. This one, though, somehow wasn't called.

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE