Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 13, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.
—Today's schedule: Jay Gruden news conference (via conference call) 3 p.m.
—Days until: Browns @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Ravens 26; Eagles @ Redskins 33
Stock up-stock down vs Steelers
Here are the players who improved their stock against the Steelers and the ones who had some issues.
Up—DeSean Jackson had 102 yards receiving, showing some tangible result for the excellent training camp and preseason he has had. He also drew a 46-yard pass interference flag late in the game.
Down—Bashaud Breeland probably didn’t deserve all of the criticism that came his way—it took perfect passes and outstanding catches to beat him a lot of the time—but he did not have a good night. It will take him at least a few games to rebuild his reputation as a solid corner.
Up—Chris Thompson scored the first rushing touchdown of his career and helped protect Kirk Cousins, who was not sacked in 43 pass attempts.
Down—It’s been a while since Trent Williams appeared on this list. But he committed a false start, a holding penalty, and flat out missed some blocks that helped spike the running game. This was not a game that will help him build his All-Pro resume.
Up—Jordan Reed got off to a fast start, disappeared for a while, and then made a few more catches later on. He had 7 receptions for 64 yards, a solid start to the season.
Down—Preston Smith still has a lot to learn. He had some chances to get Ben Roethlisberger down but he tried to bring Big Ben down like he’s a normal QB. He’s not. All Smith had to show for playing the entire game was three assisted tackles. No solos, no sacks.
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In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24
Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants
Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.
Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.
Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.
Keys to winning
- Run the ball—The Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
- Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
- Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.
Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.
Redskins 31, Giants 13
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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In case you missed it
The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game.
Let's be honest: the call was terrible.
Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation.
We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.
The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan).
Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.
If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong.
You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.
Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.