Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 6, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field.
—Today's schedule: Bye week
—Days until: Packers @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 18; Redskins @ Cardinals 28
Five Redskins who have exceeded expectations in the first half
RB Rob Kelley—It surprised many when he made the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent. Kelley was quiet the first month of the season. People sat up an took notice when he ran five times for 59 yards in Week 6 against the Eagles, including an impressive 45-yard run. The conventional wisdom was that the Redskins would have to go out and get a veteran to back up Matt Jones. But after Kelley rushed for 87 yards against the Bengals after starting in place of an injured Jones those thoughts have vanished. He will be a major part of the running game the rest of the season.
C Spencer Long—It looked like he was going to spend the season on the bench after Shawn Lauvao won the starting job at left guard. But then Kory Lichtensteiger went out with a calf injury and Long has become entrenched as the starting center. It’s not entirely due to Long’s presence but the Redskins have rushed for 100 yards or more in four of the five games that Long has started.
WR Jamison Crowder—The second-year player was expected to contribute significantly but he was thought to be behind at least four other players in pass catcher pecking order. Crowder, however, has elbowed his way to the front of the line. He leads the wide receivers in receptions with 40 and he leads the team with four touchdown receptions and in receiving yards with 498. And let’s not forget Crowder going from having the worst punt return average in the league last year to having the best at 19.2 including an 85-yard touchdown return.
OLB Trent Murphy—Expectations could not have been lower for Murphy after he put on weight to move to defensive end only to get asked to move back to linebacker after Junior Galette went out for the season. However, he is second on the team with six sacks, matching his career total coming into the season. After some time to learn the ropes of the NFL Murphy has transformed into the pass rusher the team hoped he would be when they drafted him in the second round in 2014.
S Will Blackmon—The eight-year veteran, who converted from cornerback during this past offseason, is not going to make the Pro Bowl but he has done a good job stepping in at free safety in place of the injured DeAngelo Hall. Blackmon isn’t a long-term solution there and he isn’t going to make a lot of big plays but he brings a lot of football IQ points to the last line of defense.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Enemy Intel: Redskins keeping an eye on New Jersey
- NTK: Looking ahead—The Redskins' 2017 depth chart
- Two Bengals fined for actions in Redskins game
- Redskins Bye Week Grades: LBs making plays
- Bye week grades: Looking at the neglected D-line
- Norman fined for comments
- Trent Williams 'stunned' by suspension, per report