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Need to Know: 5 Redskins vs. Giants questions--Where's Alfred?

Need to Know: 5 Redskins vs. Giants questions--Where's Alfred?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 25, the day the Washington Redskins host the Giants on Thursday night football.

Five questions about Redskins vs. Giants

—Who the heck is Rashad Jennings? The Giants’ running back is 29 years old and he was a seventh-round pick of the Jaguars out of Liberty in 2009. After four years as Maurice Jones-Drew’s backup he moved on to Oakland in 2013 and joined the Giants this year. The 176 yards he gained rushing against the Texans last Sunday are a career high; it was his fifth career 100-yard game in six years in the league. Jennings is a downhill runner and the Redskins will need to gang tackle him to keep him under control.

—Which Eli Manning will the Redskins see? Manning’s numbers were dreadful in the Giants’ season opening loss to the Lions and just a little better in Week 2 against the Cardinals. But the receivers didn’t help him much; Pro Football Focus charges New York pass catchers with eight drops and some Giants observers will tell you that there were many more in reality. Manning was good against the Texans, completing 75 percent of his passes and not throwing an interception after tossing two picks in each of the first two games. The Redskins should expect the “good” Eli tonight, especially if his pass catchers help him out.

—Can Kirk Cousins keep it up? The Redskins’ backup quarterback isn’t playing like your typical backup, certainly not after throwing for 427 yards in the loss to the Eagles. As opposing defensive coordinators get more game film of him and get a book on his tendencies he will have to adjust. We will see if Cousins and Jay Gruden can stay a step ahead of the opposition.

—Where’s Alfred Morris? It’s not like Morris has been invisible. He’s fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and attempts. But he doesn’t have a game with 25 carries or with 100 yards. Considering that the Redskins have been trailing by more than one score for less than four minutes of game time in their three games, it seems like Morris should have been used more.

—Who can play and who can’t? The Redskins’ final injury report lists nine players as questionable. Some of them, like DE Chris Baker and WR DeSean Jackson, seem likely to be ready to go. The status of others, like G Shawn Lauvao and DE Jason Hatcher, seems to be more problematic. Josh LeRibeus can be an adequate fill in for Lauvao but nobody on the roster can replicate Hatcher’s pass pressure from the defensive line. Who can go and, perhaps more importantly, how long they can play and how effective they can be, will go a long way towards determining who wins tonight.

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Today’s schedule: Giants at Redskins 8:25 p.m.

Days until: Monday night Seahawks @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Cardinals 18; Monday night Redskins @ Cowboys 32

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 


The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.


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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201