Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 30, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.
Five first thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys
—Meaningless game? I hate the term and it frequently is misused. Every game there are 22 players out there on each of about 150 snaps or so competing to win and putting what they do out there on film for the NFL world to see. So it means a lot to the players and coaches. But clearly Jay Gruden needs to approach this game differently than he would one that was make or break for the playoffs since going all out to win the game could potentially harm their chances of winning in the playoffs.
—The Cowboys were in a similar situation to the one the Redskins are currently find themselves coming into the last game of 2014, which was at FedEx Field. They were locked into the third seed. But with three minutes and change left in the game, Tony Romo, who had missed time with a back injury earlier in the year, was still throwing passes and handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray, who had pretty much already clinched the NFL rushing title. Dez Bryant stuck around long enough to catch 4 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas won 44-17. The lack of rest didn’t seem to bother them. They beat the Lions and were a (properly) overturned Bryant pass reception away from advancing to the NFC title game.
—The Cowboys finally, officially put Romo on injured reserve earlier this month so he won’t play on Sunday. The quarterback will be Kellen Moore, who went from being the quarterback who ended his career at Boise State in 2011 as the QB with the most wins ever in college to and NFL player who didn’t take a snap until a couple of weeks ago. He started last week and led Dallas to two field goals against the Bills. I don’t think the Redskins will need much more than a couple of touchdowns to win against him.
—The player the Redskins might have to be most wary of is Lucky Whitehead. The Redskins had struggled to a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter earlier this month and they looked to be in position to take control. But Whitehead took an end around and went 22 yards, starting off a drive that ended with the Cowboys tying field goal. And then after the Redskins tied the game on Kirk Cousins’ TD pass to DeSean Jackson, Whitehead returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards, moving Dallas to within a couple of short pass completions of field goal range.
—The other guy to look out for is RB Darren McFadden. He’s just three yards short of having a 1,000-yard season and in his last three games he has 111, 100, and 99 yards. He’s not a great back but you have to figure that with Moore at quarterback we’ll see a lot of him on Sunday.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30
—Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 4; start of NFL playoffs 10
In case you missed it
In some circles of modern culture, producing shocking commentary or content seems like the top goal. Being shocking gets clicks, gets attention, and in turn, gets dollars.
On NFL Draft night, nothing should be shocking. Remember, last season there was no way Jonathan Allen would fall to the Redskins at 17. There was no way Kansas City would trade up for QB Patrick Maholmes. There was no way Chicago would trade up for Mitchell Trubisky. But all those things happened.
Sure, for months draft experts have expounded about what will happen, but the truth is, once the Browns are on the clock, nobody actually knows anything.
With that in mind, let's look at a bunch of options that should not shock Redskins fans.
- Don't be shocked if Washington takes Minkah Fitzpatrick. They want him.
- Don't be shocked if the Redskins draft Da'Ron Payne over Vita Vea. Washington loves Payne's potential to be a disruptor in the pass game and his incredible strength.
- Then again, don't be shocked if the 'Skins take Vita. Plenty of folks like him too.
- Don't be shocked if a team makes a move for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. That could happen after the Redskins pick at 13, but Washington's pick could also prove important in the race for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
- Derwin James will be on the 'Skins list, but don't be shocked if he goes off the board before the Redskins pick.
- Don't be shocked with a trade back, but remember that isn't the goal. With four QBs expected in the Top 10, an elite talent should make it to Washington at 13. If that happens, the Redskins should take advantage of adding a blue chip to their squad.
- Don't be shocked if Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds ends up wearing the Redskins draft hat. Also, don't be shocked if he plays some outside linebacker in the Washington 3-4 scheme, not just the inside LB role most project for Edmunds.
- Don't be shocked if a seemingly sure thing slips all the way to 13. Perhaps that's Quenton Nelson? Or Denzel Ward? Remember, there was no way Jon Allen was supposed to fall to 17 last year.
There are some things Redskins fans should be shocked by.
- Washington should not trade up.
- Washington should not draft a running back at 13 unless Saquon Barley is available. He won't be.
- Washington should not draft a wide receiver at 13.
- If one of the top four QBs is available at 13, Washington should vigorously work the phones to move the pick. Move down a few spots and get Payne should be the exact plan in that scenario. Arizona at 15 needs a QB.
<<<CLICK HERE FOR REDSKINS BEST DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2000>>>
Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the fourth episode above and more here.
After this weekend's NFL Draft, the Edmunds family will go from having one son in the league to three.
Trey is already on the Saints, but Tremaine and Terrell aren't pros just yet. So, when will they be taken? Here's a collection of predictions from NBC Sports Washington's NFL crew regarding the middle and youngest Edmunds brothers.
JP Finlay: The Niners at nine. John Lynch won't be able to get past Edmunds' combination of size and speed, and the elite potential of the just 19-year-old. Remember, too, San Francisco might not have Reuben Foster this fall.
Rich Tandler: Eighth to the Bears. Physically, he is a double for Brian Urlacher and he worked out well enough for the Bears that he is headed for the Hall of Fame this year.
Mitch Tischler: No. 9 to the San Francisco 49ers. We all know Kyle Shannahan loves him some offensive threats but getting an edge rusher that could tally double digit sacks and play both inside and out is going to be too tough to pass up at nine.
Pete Hailey: No. 10 and the Raiders. Jon Gruden won't let the dynamic Edmunds fall any further.
JP Finlay: Kansas City in Round 3. They could use additional depth in the secondary and that franchise knows value when they see it.
Mitch Tischler: The Steelers in Round 3. He fits their scheme, has an nfl body and measured very well at the Combine.
Pete Hailey: Round 3 to the Cardinals. Terrell can learn from Antoine Bethea then fill in for him once Bethea moves on.