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Offense continues to roll

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Offense continues to roll

By Tarik El-Bashir
CSNwashington.comOffenseGrade vs. Buccaneers: A-Comment: The 24 points Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense amassed vs. the Buccaneers represented the fewest theyve scored this season. But it also could be argued that the unit would have put up 30 had kicker Billy Cundiff connected from 41 and 31 yards.Either way, the offense is the primary reason the Redskins own a 2-2 record at the quarter mark of the 2012 campaign. The unit amassed 474 yards of total offense in Sundays 24-22 victory in Tampa, marking the second time in four games they've surpassed 400 yards. (It happened only three times all last season).And theyve got two rookies to thank for it.Griffin had his best game as a professional, Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday, and Alfred Morris eclipsed the century mark for the first time.In fact, the two most important plays of the game were provided by the first-year standouts. (They are the first rookie teammates to each rush for four touchdowns in their teams first four games, according to Elias Sports Bureau. They're also tied for the league-lead in rushing touchdowns.)Morris 39-yard touchdown run in the second quarter showcased the one-cut-and-up-the-field style that has made him so successful in Shanahans zone blocking scheme. After taking a handoff from Griffin, Morris hit the hole left tackle Trent Williams had opened, cut back hard, then burst into the secondary. Williams' block, meantime, highlighted a strong performance by the offensive line.With 113 yards on 21 attempts (5.4 yards per) against the Bucs, Morris joinedLarry Brown (1972), John Riggins (83), George Rogers (86), Earnest Byner (91) and Terry Allen (96) as the only Redskins backs since the 1970 merger to record at least 75 yards in each of the first four weeks of a season, according to the team.As we talk about each week, he can make the first person miss, which a lot of people cant do in the National Football League, Shanahan said Monday. Hes extremely tough. Hes very smart no nonsense type mindset that hes going to go out there and try to prove himself every week. Hes one of those type of guys that you love to cheer for because hes all business.Griffin didnt pass for a touchdown, but he rushed for one and directed the game-winning drive without the assistance of a functioning headset in his helmet. Facing a second and six and the clock winding down, Griffin took a snap in the shotgun, quickly surveyed the field, then sprinted 15 yards up the middle to the Tampa Bay 26 yard line to help set up Cundiffs winning kick.Griffin posted career highs for completions (26), attempts (39) and yards passing (323). Hes also now ranked fourth in the NFL in passer rating (103.2).On Monday, veteran wide receiver Santana Moss said the team must guard against relying so much on Griffins ability to make something out of nothing. But Moss quickly added that its nice to know Griffin can.I thought he played his best game of the year yesterday, Shanahan said. I thought he handled himself extremely well. He made some plays that you always want a quarterback to make. A lot of times, they cant make those plays this early in their career. Im talking about the two-minute drive, some play action passes, quarterback keeps that I thought were exceptional.Exceptional, indeed.

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Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Those who doubted the wisdom of the Redskins drafting a guard with the fifth overall pick in 2015 (yes, I was one of them) should be preparing to eat their words.

On draft day and during the two and a half years since then, there has been plenty of talk that the Redskins would regret taking Brandon Scherff, who played tackle in college but seemed destined to play guard in the NFL, so early. Not that anyone thought that Scherff would be a bad NFL player but given that they left DL Leonard Williams and edge rusher Vic Beasley on the board, he needed to develop into an All-Pro caliber guard to justify such a high pick.

Well, don’t look now but Scherff is making his way towards becoming one of the best guards in the game. Not just Pro Bowl good; he checked that box last year. Scherff could become the first Redskins position player to be named a first-team All-Pro since Darrell Green and Jim Lachey earned the honors in 1991.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

Asked about Scherff’s play this year, Jay Gruden was effusive in his praise.

He’s reacting. He’s anticipating. He’s pulling. He’s pass-blocking. He’s run-blocking. He’s double teaming. He’s doing everything you want him to do out in screens, out in space. He’s the best guard out in space by far in this league. It’s fun to watch him.

You can listen to Gruden’s full comments on Scherff in the video above.

Gruden is not exactly an unbiased observer. But other, more neutral analysts also have been heaping praise on Scherff.

An article on Pro Football Focus said that Scherff had an “elite” game against the 49ers, not allowing any pass rush pressures and dominating as a run blocker.

RELATED: IN A MUDDLED NFC WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

Two other analysts clipped some plays from the 49ers game to illustrate just how well he was playing.

This one from Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network shows one play, the 49-yard screen pass to Chris Thompson on which Scherff threw a key block.

I’m not sure what the scouting credentials Brandon Thorn has but he did put together a nice collection of clips of Scherff making quality blocks both in space and in the interior vs. the 49ers.

Will Scherff earn All-Pro honors? That could depend on how well the team does. While the All-Pro teams are supposed to be individual honors, it’s tough for an offensive lineman to get many votes if he’s not on a winning team, especially one like Scherff who would be trying to break into the club for the first time.

But the Redskins are not really worried about All-Pro votes. If he keeps playing the way he’s playing and he gets no such consideration it will be fine with them.

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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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 20, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 9
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 16
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 34

Injuries of note:
Not practicing
: OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Ty Nsekhe (core muscle)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle), OLB Ryan Anderson (back), S Stefan McClure (knee). OL Tyler Catalina (concussion protocol).
It was encouraging that Breeland and Norman practiced although Jay Gruden noted that they both took place only in individual drills. See the full injury report here.  

First look at Redskins vs Eagles

Number that pops out—LeGarrette Blount, who had a career average of 4.4 yards per carry coming into the year, is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, fourth in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be a lumbering power back. The key to stopping him is the same as it always has been, getting the north-south runner to go east-west. The Redskins did a solid job against him in Week 1, limiting him to a 3.3-yard average on his 14 carries.

The clutch gene?—Carson Wentz is the MVP favorite right now and the thing is that his stats are very good but not very impressive. He ranks 10th in net yards per attempt, 25th in completion percentage, eighth in yards per game, and seventh in passer rating. But he gets it done when it counts. Seven of his 16 touchdown passes have come on third down. His passer rating of 130 on third down is 10 points better than the second-best in that category, a guy named Tom Brady. As a result, the Eagles get first downs on 53 percent of their third-down passes, also best in the league.

Third down passing the key—The Redskins allow conversions on 35.7 percent of third-down passes, 16th in the NFL. If this game ends up with third downs near the Redskins’ season performance they will be in good shape. If the Eagles convert half of their third downs or more, the visitors will be in trouble.

Protecting Kirk Cousins—The Eagles have 14 sacks on the year. They got four against the Redskins in the season opener so they have 10 in their five games since. Their leading sacker is Brandon Graham, who has four on the season. Two of those came in the opener so he has two in the other five games. He will again be lined up against Morgan Moses, who had one of his worst games since becoming a starter against Philly. If Moses plays as well as he has since Week 1 Cousins could have time to have one of his usual big games against the Eagles.

Yes, Ertz is a pain— This is kind of hard to believe but Zach Ertz, who has been in the league since 2013, is third all-time in tight end receptions against the Redskins with 54. He’s behind only Jason Witten and Jackie Smith and ahead of Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, and Jay Novaeck. Ertz has played nine games against Washington; Witten has played 28 and Smith played 27. So if it seems like Ertz is always a thorn in the Redskins’ side, it’s because he is.

Potpourri: Wentz is the Eagles’ second-leading rusher with 133 yards on 32 carries . . . The Eagles have the third-best special teams DVOA in the league. On punt returns, they are averaging 16 yards per and giving up an average of 5.6 yards. That’s a lot of hidden field position.

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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From the locker room

Josh Norman talking about how it felt when he put some stress on his broken rib during practice on Thursday.

Posted by Rich Tandler on Thursday, October 19, 2017

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