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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 7, the day the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

—Matt Cassel will be making his fifth start for the Cowboys. Remember that he did not spend any of the offseason program or training camp with Dallas. They made the trade to acquire him a few days after Tony Romo broke his collarbone for the first time in Week 2. He still is learning the offense on the fly. He has completed 62.7 percent of his passes but for only 5.7 net yards per attempt.

—Greg Hardy leads the Cowboys with 4.5 sacks but he had three in his first two games after returning from a four-game suspension to start the season and just 1.5 in his last five games. He usually lines up on the right side so he will be up against Trent Williams. It’s a good bet that Hardy will continue his sack slump as Williams has not allowed one all year.

—Will it be an Alfred Morris night or a Matt Jones night? Morris seems to be the hot hand now. Disregarding the Panthers game, in which Morris left after only two rushing attempts due to a rib injury, Morris has 38 carries for 170 yards in his last two games. In those same two games Jones had 75 yards on 19 carries. I think they will go in hoping to get Morris going early and see what they can get running and receiving from Jones.

—Kirk Cousins has 290 or more yards passing in each of the Redskins’ last four home games. Since allowing 356 yards to Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 1 the Cowboys have allowed no more than 250 passing yards in a game. I think the Redskins will be OK if Cousins splits the difference and throws for about 275. But with, say, 225 yards the Redskins could struggle.

—Of course, there is more to it than just Cousins’ passing. If the Redskins are going to win they will have to contain Darren McFadden on the ground and force Cassel to show off his relative inexperience in the Dallas offense, get a few takeaways, and get at least a moderately effective running game going. My gut feeling from around Redskins Park this week is that they are ready to do it but there is a fine line between confidence and overconfidence. I think they will pull it out but I won’t be shocked if they struggle.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Cowboys 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Days until: Redskins @ Bears 6; Bills @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Eagles 19

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Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown may want to power through his myriad of injuries but he won’t be able to do it this week.

Brown is one of two Redskins who have been declared out for the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden listed his injuries as toe/ankle/Achilles/hip. This will be the first game that Brown has missed with the Redskins and his first since he was with the Titans in 2014.

Also out is safety Montae Nicholson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

Listed as questionable are OT Morgan Moses (ankle), OT Trent Williams (knee), OLB Ryan Anderson (ankle), WR Ryan Grant (ankle), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), DE Terrell McClain (toe), and C Chase Roullier (hand).

Williams’ status for Sunday is very much in doubt. His usual pattern since sustaining a knee injury in Week 4 has been to sit out the first two days of practice and then participate in the third. However, he was not on the field on Friday during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Jay Gruden said that he did join the team at some point but he didn’t indicate that he took part in any football activity.

He has missed three games and it would not be surprising if he missed a fourth on Sunday. If Williams can’t go, Ty Nsekhe will start at left tackle.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

Roullier has been out the last three games with a broken right (snapping) hand. He has had the cast off of it for a couple of weeks now and he could be ready to go on Sunday.

Harris was out of the game against the Chargers last Sunday with a concussion. He has been practicing on a limited basis all week. The chances that he can pass the concussion protocol seem good, although with concussions it is always difficult to know for sure.

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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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

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USA Today Sports Images

Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown missed practice for a second straight day on Thursday, putting doubt into his availability for the game against the Cardinals.

Brown is leading the league in combined tackles and, probably, in injuries.

The team’s injury report says that he is dealing with four of them—toe, Achilles, and ankle with an illness piled on top of those.

“They’re hindering him quite a bit,” Jay Gruden said of Brown’s laundry list of ailments.

“Sickness is starting to clear up a little bit but he’s still a little sore. We’ll see if he makes any progress tomorrow. It’d have to be pretty significant, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

The illness might clear up but the other injuries are unlikely to go away until a few weeks into the offseason. He is getting treatments that include massage, laser, and acupuncture but rest is the only thing that will get rid of the problems.

Some have wondered why Brown persists with multiple injuries and the team now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. For one thing, playing is what he does.

“I like to play the game,” said Brown last week.

RELATED: WEEK 15 POWER RANKINGS

“I like to play the game with passion and I hate to lose. I try my best to help people do better, just trying to help some of the young guys. At the end of the day, you rest when the season’s over.”

There are financial considerations as well, on a couple of different fronts. Brown will be a free agent in 2018 and he is risking further injury that could lower his value on the market. He says that does not factor into is thinking.

“Last two years I was on the free agent market, it’s the way I play,” he said. “If that was the case I would have just shut it down already.”

There are other, more immediate financial considerations as well. Brown has per-game roster bonuses of $15,625 that are paid if he is on the list of 46 active players. And he has incentive bonuses of up to $2.3 million according to Over the Cap. It’s safe to say that at least some of those bonuses will be attainable only if Brown is able to play effectively in all or nearly all of the scheduled 16 games.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

Brown hasn’t spoken about the incentive bonus money being important and, given his answer to the free agency question, he probably wouldn’t. But this is not a player who has made a ton of money in his career. According to Spotrac, if he hits on his roster bonuses and on his likely to be earned incentives this year he will have about $7.7 million in career earnings. That’s a good chunk of money but once you take away taxes, a cut to his agent and other various and sundry expenses it’s not “set for life” money. It’s likely that his bank account would notice whatever he can collect in incentives.

Gruden has said that Brown is a player who could go on Sunday even with only one practice under his belt. We will know a lot more about his status this afternoon when his practice status for Friday and his game status for Sunday will be announced on the injury report.