Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 8, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.
Nickel coverage: Five Redskins questions to be answered after the bye
Can Robert Griffin III remove the doubts? This is the big one and plenty of cyber ink has been expended examining the question since Jay Gruden’s “jury is still out” comment on Monday.
Can Ryan Kerrigan reach 15 sacks? He’s on pace for 14 so if he can pick up the pace just a bit he can have the best sack season in team history for anyone not named Dexter Manley (he had 18.5 in 1986; sacks became an official stat in 1983). That’s not just important for Kerrigan; if he gets on a roll getting to the QB the whole defense will perform better.
Can DeSean Jackson continue to average over 20 yards per catch? The only player in team history who averaged over 20 yards on at least 50 receptions in a season was Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell in 1963 (69 rec./20.8 avg.). Again, this isn’t just for the sake of putting up a stat since if Jackson is picking up large chunks of yardage with each catch, Griffin and the offense are performing well.
Can more young players break through? We’ve seen 22-year-old rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland move into the starting lineup due to injury and excel. Tom Compton, 25, has done well after pushing his way to the top of the depth chart at right tackle. We’ll have to see if other young players, like tackle Morgan Moses, guard Spencer Long, and safety Phillip Thomas, earn either starting jobs or enough snaps so the organization can get a good idea of what it has to work with going into 2015.
Can they avoid double-digit losses? The Redskins have lost 10 or more games in four of the last five seasons. To keep from doing that this year they will have to win four of their remaining seven games. They have been good at beating bad teams at home so wins over the Bucs and Rams are a good bet. That means they probably would have to win two of their three remaining division games against the Cowboys, Eagles (both at FedEx Field) and Giants (on the road).
—Today’s schedule: No availability; bye week
—Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ 49ers 15; Redskins @ Colts 22
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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