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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2014


Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2014

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 24, 14 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

Last month we looked at the top five passers the Redskins will face in 2014. Today let’s take a look at the five leading rushers they will face, based on 2013 total rushing yards.

1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (1607 rushing yards in 2013)—Yeah, they’ll have to deal with him twice again this year. Last year’s opener was particularly ugly as he ran around and, especially, through Redskins defenders (14 missed tackles by Washington, many against McCoy) for 184 yards on the ground. That game set the tone for the season for both teams.

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (1,266)—He rushed for almost 800 fewer yards in 2013 than he did the year before but he was still fifth in the NFL in rushing. AD didn’t exactly tear the Redskins up in their Week 10 meeting last year as he rushed for 75 yards. But he scored two touchdowns and powered for some key first downs that helped the Vikings put the game away in the fourth quarter.

3. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (1,257)—He’s ‘bout that action. We tend to think of him as a power runner but he tore off touchdown runs of 15, 31, and 40 yards during the playoffs last year.

4. Frank Gore, 49ers (1,128)—Gore is going to be 31 in May and he seems to be getting stronger with age. He hasn’t missed a game in the last three years and has averaged about 1,185 yards per season.

5. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys (1,121)—With Murray, it’s always been “if he could only stay healthy”. Last year he missed only two games and left the first game against the Redskins early with an injury. He still managed to finish 10th in the league in rushing. Imagine how well he could do if Romo, Garrett, and company would actually call running plays when they should.

So the Redskins will play seven games against top 10 running backs. Oh, and Chris Johnson of the Titans was 11th so if he is still with Tennessee that will half of their schedule against

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—It’s been 85 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 167 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 14; NFL Draft 45; Training camp starts 121

In case you missed it

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.