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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Bengals—Spotlight on Rob Kelley

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Bengals—Spotlight on Rob Kelley

LONDON—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 30, the day the Washington Redskins play the Cincinnati Bengals in London.


Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Bengals, FOX, 1:30 GMT, 9:30 EDT

Days until: Vikings @ Redskins 14; Packers @ Redskins 21; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 25

Injuries of note:
Matt Jones (knee)
Questionable: Trent Williams (knee), Brandon Scherff (shoulder), Spencer Long (chest), Jordan Reed (concussion), Josh Norman (concussion), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), Jamison Crowder (groin)

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Bengals

—It was not unexpected to see the report that both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed will play against the Bengals but there is no doubt that the team was relieved to get the news of the final clearance from their concussions. Reed gives Kirk Cousins his favorite target back and Norman will help contain A.J. Green.

—There is a lot of concern about Green and there should be. He has a league-leading 50 receptions for 775 yards. And when he goes off and has a big day, the Bengals win. The sixth-year player averages 174 receiving yards per game in the Bengals’ three wins and 63 yards in their four losses. He can get some catches and some yards but it appears that the Redskins are in trouble if he goes off for more than 100 or so.

—As to the other players who were listed as questionable on the Friday injury report, I think all of them will play. I'm going to keep a close eye on Jamison Crowder with his injured groin and it's likely that Will Blackmon will return punts again. But Crowder and the others will almost certainly suit up.

—There will be plenty of focus on the Redskins rushing game with Matt Jones having been declared out for the game. In this game it will be important to keep Green and Andy Dalton off of the field as much as possible. That puts the spotlight on Rob Kelley and we will see if he can perform under such circumstances. I still think that Chris Thompson could get more carries, especially if the Redskins are playing from behind.  The rushing game hasn’t been decisive for either the Washington offense or the Cincinnati defense. The Redskins are 2-1 when rushing for 120 yards or more in a game while the Bengals are 2-2 when allowing over 120 on the ground.

—It seems that the trip here erased any hangover that may have resulted from the Redskins loss to the Lions, a game that they gave away. They quickly turned their focus to London and the Bengals. I don’t think that gives them a big edge over the Bengals but it does help the team internally.

—I see the Redskins jumping out to an early lead and then spending the rest of the game trying to hold on to it. Cousins and DeSean Jackson finally hook up on a long one. Rob Kelley has a decent starting debut but nothing that will force the team to give him the starting job outright. Defensively, the Redskins get to Green a few times and while Norman doesn’t completely stop Green he slows him down just enough.

Redskins 24, Bengals 20

Tandler on Twitter


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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 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.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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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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