Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 8, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field.
—Today's schedule: Off day, no media availability
—Days until: Packers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 16; Redskins @ Cardinals 26
Five Redskins who must play better in the second half of the season
QB Kirk Cousins—Yes, he has left the field the last two games with the Redskins in great position to win. But if he can take advantage of more red zone opportunities and occasionally hit on a deep pass perhaps he could sometimes walk off of the field late in the game up by multiple scores instead of leaving it up to the defense or a kicker.
RB Matt Jones—There seems to be a line of thinking that says that the Redskins can’t/shouldn’t rely on Jones, that Rob Kelley can get the job done. But over eight games the optimal situation would be for Jay Gruden to be able to utilize the strengths of Jones, Kelley, and Chris Thompson to keep defenses off balance and take pressure off of Cousins. Jones will go back to school on ball security and if he can hold on to the ball he can be an asset going down the stretch.
DL Chris Baker—He hasn’t been playing poorly but there is a feeling that he can do more. He has two sacks but just one in the last five games. Baker has two forced fumbles, a total on which he can improve. The veteran is the only real playmaker on the defensive line. If he can pick things up a notch the defense will benefit.
OLB Preston Smith—This one is pretty obvious. He has just 1.5 sacks and he hasn’t forced or recovered a fumble. Smith came on strong at the end of last season and the expectation was that he would continue rolling this year. If Smith can get going he, Trent Murphy, and Ryan Kerrigan could be a formidable trio of pass rushers down the stretch.
CB Bashaud Breeland—He was expected to team with Josh Norman to form a solid pair of cornerbacks but it hasn’t worked out that way. Perhaps it was asking too much to have him cover Antonio Brown during much of the season opener but his coverage has been spotty against receivers who are not of Brown’s caliber.
Tandler on Twitter
Matt Jones is on the field after missing last week (knee). pic.twitter.com/csGaXk6K56— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) November 7, 2016
In case you missed it
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- Redskins send Paul to injured reserve; Carrier could be activated
- Gruden stands behind suspended Williams
- TE Carrier back to practice for the Redskins
- Redskins still in good playoff position
- Jay Gruden says run game goes through Robert Kelley
- Injury Update: Redskins back at practice
- Redskins Playbook: All eyes on the new Hog
- Raiders Del Rio 'can't wait' for more Redskins castoffs
- NFC East Update: Cowboys keep cruising
- NTK: Cravens' pick turned the Redskins season around