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Need to Know: Redskins need to contain Bucs' Martin


Need to Know: Redskins need to contain Bucs' Martin

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 21, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs Bucs

—The Redskins are favored in this game by three and a half to four points, depending on where you look. Last year the Bucs came into Fed Ex Field on a five-game losing streak and were 7.5-point underdogs. They won 27-7, one of their two victories on the season. The game was the beginning of the end for Robert Griffin III, who threw two interceptions and drew the pubic scorn of Jay Gruden for his play.

—In 2012, many Redskins fans were upset when Bucs RB Doug Martin was chosen to the Pro Bowl as an alternate ahead of Alfred Morris. They were both rookies and while Morris rushed for 1,600 yards, Martin had 1,450 on the ground and another 450 receiving. After two injury-plagued seasons, Martin is rounding back into his rookie form. In five games (the Bucs are coming off of their bye) he has 405 yards rushing, seventh per game in the NFL, and another 94 receiving. The Redskins have had trouble with Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory in the last few weeks and if they don’t turn things around defensively, Martin could go off and Washington will have a tough time winning if that happens.

—Without doing any advanced statistical analysis, I’d guess that Jameis Winston is probably the quarterback most statistically similar to Kirk Cousins in 2015. In five games as opposed to six for Cousins, Winston has one pick fewer than his counterpart on Sunday and has thrown one more touchdown pass. Cousins has a better completion percentage by about 10 percentage points but Winston averages a yard and a half more per attempt. Cousins has a 77.4 passer rating compared to 77.6 for Winston. It’s a pretty even matchup at QB.

—One thing Cousins has been able to do well this season is stay upright in the pocket, with help from the revamped (and, against the Jets, re-revamped) offensive line. He has dropped back 235 times and has been sacked just seven times, a sack percentage of 3.0. Something will have to give this week as the Bucs have sacked quarterbacks on 9.2 percent of the dropbacks, fourth in the NFL. Tackle Gerald McCoy leads the team with 4.5 sacks, followed by end Jacquies Smith, who has 4.

—If the Redskins are going to get their rushing game back in gear, this could be the week. The Bucs are giving up 120 yards per game on the ground and they have played only one team, the Panthers, better than 16th in the league in rushing. Of course, the Redskins fancy themselves to be one of the better rushing teams in the league but their dismal rushing performances in the last two games (85 yards combined) have dragged them down to 17th in the league with 107.2 yards per game.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Patriots 18; Saints @ Redskins 24

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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.