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Need to Know: Kerrigan says something has to change

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Need to Know: Kerrigan says something has to change

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 14, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Here are five items of interest from Redskins Park:

1. Ryan Kerrigan talked about the inability of the Redskins’ pass rush to get sacks and pressures when they have the lead in the fourth quarter. “That's what's disappointing about these two weeks is that we have had teams in situations that we as pass rushers want them, that's a double-digit lead with not much time left, and we haven't been able to capitalize,” the third-year linebacker said. “That's something that has to change. I don't know if it's a mindset thing or a physical thing or both but it's got to change.”

2. Jarvis Jenkins was asked if he’d like to see the team get more aggressive in their pass rushing schemes. The third-year defensive end touched on the “coaching vs. execution” debate that often rages among fans. “I don't think we should go out of our game plan. Haz is calling great stuff, we've just got to execute more,” he said. “At the end of the day we're the players. We've got to go out there, trust our technique. We've got to do what he's telling us. He's the coach. We play what he calls. If it's not a good call we're still supposed to make the play. It's the NFL, that's why we get paid money.”

3. One of the highlights against the Vikings (you know, before the game got ugly in the second half) was Pierre Garçon taking a short pass from Robert Griffin III and mowing his way through Vikings for 32 yards. Griffin admired Garçon’s style. “He’s a running back playing receiver. Everybody saw him truck that safety against Minnesota so he does some freakish things,” he said. “He’s got a really – I say it’s a good attitude, but he’s a tempered guy out there on the field and he plays that way at receiver which you don’t see very often. If you get the ball in his hands, he can do some damage with it.”

4. Mike Shanahan first said that before he would commit to having Nick Williams active on Sunday he would first have to see how he did in practice. However, when asked what Williams’ abilities might bring to the team, Shanahan slipped a bit, saying he wanted to see how Williams would do when he “knew” he would be playing. Here’s the full quote: “First of all, maybe some guys are just returners, some guys you want not only as a returner but as a wide receiver. We’ll see how he catches punts and kickoffs this week when he knows he’s going to be playing on Sunday afternoon. And you get a chance to see guys, when they are activated, how they practice and how they do things and that’s what we’ll try to do is make that evaluation and decide what gives us the best chance to win.”

5. Eagles QB Nick Foles is not concerned that his team has a 10-game losing streak at home. He’s not sure how to explain it. “I’m excited to play at home. We have previously had a rough time winning at home, but I’m excited to get back at home,” he said. I feel like we’ve done a good job on the road, but we really need to win one at home for our fans and I expect them to be out there ready to roll and cheer us on and we’re striving to get them a win at home.”

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Stat of the day

—The game against the Vikings was the Redskins’ first one this season that they didn’t turn the ball over. They had six turnover-free games last year.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 3; Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 11; Giants @ Redskins 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett news conference 12:00; Practice 1:00; Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00); news conferences streamed line on CSNwashington.com.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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