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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—Jones looking forward to seeing "big brother" Morris

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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—Jones looking forward to seeing "big brother" Morris

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 16, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 11:55 Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice approx. 1:30 p.m.

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Ravens 23; Eagles @ Redskins 30

Around Redskins Park

—Fans and players who were here last year all have respect for Alfred Morris. But Matt Jones, who came in as a rookie last year, has a special bond with the former Redskins running back. “He’s like a big brother to me, helped me a lot,” he said. “He taught me how to be a man on and off the field. I’ll be happy to see him out there playing against him, against a guy who taught me a lot.” The Redskins hope that seeing his mentor will help gets Jones going; he needs to gain some traction and get his season underway.

—I’d like to add one more number to the Jay Gruden isn't really pass happy pile before I put it to bed. Some of the push back I got centered around him supposedly padding the rushing stats by running a lot in the fourth quarter when they were trailing. So I ran the numbers. In the 34 games that Gruden has been here the Redskins have run in the fourth quarter while trailing by more than one score (deficit of 9 or more) all of 33 times. So of the 860 rushing attempts in the Gruden era 3.8 percent have been throwaway plays in desperation situations. That is not significant.

—With 53 fairly healthy players the decision on who will be inactive on Sunday will be a tough one for Gruden and company. The only two easy ones to figure are QB Nate Sudfeld and G Arie Kouandjio. With only eight offensive linemen on the roster they have to leave a backup tackle (Ty Nsekhe) and backup interior lineman (Spencer Long), leaving Kouandjio as the only extra lineman. Wide receiver Rashad Ross’ kickoff return skills are unlikely to be needed with Dan Bailey able to pound the ball out of the end zone.

—On defense, they had Anthony Lanier down against Pittsburgh and they went with five active defensive linemen. I think the undrafted rookie sits again. Since signing Cullen Jenkins the probably will have him active for a sixth DL in the rotation against Dallas’ we need to find three other defensive players who will sit. S Duke Ihenacho and CB Kendall Fuller were down last week so they should sit this week. The other inactive defender? I'll take a guess at LB Terence Garvin, although they might keep him up for special teams and sit someone else.

—It looks like Joe Barry is catching some flak for his comment that he “felt really good” about the defensive game plan against the Steelers and that now, after the fact, he still does. I do think that the Redskins could have had more bracketing coverage on Antonio Brown. But they did on the first touchdown pass to him, according to DeAngelo Hall, who admitted that he was late getting over to help. The second one came on third and three. That was not an obvious passing situation for the Steelers but perhaps Breeland should have had some help. Still, it took a perfect pass to beat Breeland's coverage. Bottom line, they gave up 38 points and any game plan that has that as a result should at least be thoroughly reexamined.

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 

Road

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs

Home

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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