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Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under pressure against the Vikings

Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under pressure against the Vikings

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 10, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field.


Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference, player availability after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Packers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 14; Redskins @ Cardinals 24

Five Redskins who are under pressure against the Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins—Maybe I’m being a stickler here but I’ve said that he needs to throw for over 300 yards in a win in order to get off of this list. He still hasn’t done that. Some improved results in the red zone will get him out of the “under pressure” category.

OT Ty Nsekhe—There is plenty of pressure inherent in replacing Trent Williams and knowing that you are going to have to protect Cousins’ blind side for the next four games. Add in the fact that Nsekhe will line up against Everson Griffen, the best pass rusher on a tough Vikings defense, and the intensity of the spotlight goes up.

DE Chris Baker—The Vikings are having a tough time running the ball. At 2.7 yards per carry they are on pace to have the most woeful rushing attack in over 70 years. (via Pro Football Reference) They are probably going to look at the Redskins’ rushing defense as a chance to get rolling on the ground. It’s up to Baker and the rest of the line to make sure that Minnesota running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata don’t all of a sudden become attractive fantasy options.

OLB Preston Smith—So we set criteria for Cousins to be removed from permanent status on this list so let’s set it for Smith. He needs a game with a sack and a forced fumble that the Redskins recover. They don’t have to happen on the same play but they do have to be in the same game. Against the Vikings the opportunity could be there against a weak offensive line.

CB Bashaud Breeland—I'd make him a permanent fixture on this list, too. But that would be three players of the five under pressure and that's too many. Still, his one interception was all the way back in Week 1 and he has yet to force or recover a fumble. Sam Bradford has thrown only one pick all year so maybe this isn't the week for that but he needs to make more of an impact.

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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.