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Need to Know: Another bad debut for Meriweather

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Need to Know: Another bad debut for Meriweather

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 16, six days before the Redskins play the Lions at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. You have to wonder if we’ll see Robert Griffin III going Tom Brady on his receivers or linemen

I just not, you know, I’m not an a-hole. I believe in positive reinforcement. If something happens, I know he’ll make it up the next time he gets that chance. And that’s just the way I lead. If they want me to do that, you know, I’m fine with doing that . . . If that’s what we need to get over this hump and start winning games I’m definitely going to do it.

2. Alfred Morris had a pretty decent 107-yard game. He had two 32-yard runs which is great but that’s not really his game. Morris averaged just under five yards per carry on his other 11 attempts so that’s not bad. The big problem was the 13 total carries; that’s not enough for him to have a truly effective game. But the game situation took him out.

3. Maybe when Brandon Meriweather has recovered from his concussion and gets back into the lineup maybe he can play a solid game without incident. Last year he tore his ACL in the first game of the year he was able to play in. In his season debut on Sunday there was the concussion. Not only that, he’s likely to fined for the hit on the sideline that drew the flag and knocked him out of the game. And, even though it wasn’t flagged, he could get popped for the hit that knocked Eddie Lacy out of the game.

4. Now you can see how Aaron Rodgers could get sacked 51 times last year while the Packers still averaged 27 points per game. They got sacked on three out of four plays between their first two possessions but it didn’t matter. They got the field goal after the two Ryan Kerrigan sacks. After the Orakpo sack they punted and after a penalty the Redskins were back at the seven. Three and out for Washington and then a four-play TD drive to take a 10-0 lead. When you have Rodgers, you can recover.

5. The Redskins were called for seven penalties for 78 yards. Not sure if that’s better or worse than the 10 for 75 they drew against the Eagles, I’ll let you decide. But I will point out that three of them were on special teams and two were for unnecessary roughness (Nick Sundberg, Niles Paul). Considering that the kicking game contributed almost nothing positive, the field position lost on those plays was a big negative.

Stat of the day

—Griffin completed passes to 10 different receivers, tied for the most in team history. It’s now happened nine times in team history, the most recent before yesterday was January 3, 2010 against the Chargers.

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Timeline

—Days until: Lions @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Raiders 13; Redskins @ Cowboys 27

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Mike Shanahan news conference 3:00 (telecast on Comcast SportsNet)

Griffin: I’m not an a-hole

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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