Redskins

Quick Links

Preview: Can the Redskins defy long odds on Sunday?

usatsi_8884059_141983962_lowres.jpg

Preview: Can the Redskins defy long odds on Sunday?

The Redskins are 3-4. The defending champion Patriots are 7-0.

The Redskins are scoring 21 points per game. The Patriots are putting up 36.

The Redskins struggle to win on the road. The Patriots are almost automatic at home.

The Redskins’ quarterback will be making his 17th career start. The Patriots’ quarterback is a future Hall of Famer.

Indeed, on paper, Sunday’s game at Foxboro looks like a monumental mismatch, which explains why Washington has been installed as a 14-point underdog. But games, of course, aren’t contested on paper and the Redskins, like every team that’s lined up against Tom Brady and Co. this season, believe they’ve got a chance.

Whether that’s actually true or not, well, we’re about to find out. Before Sunday's game, be sure to catch Redskins Kickoff on CSN Mid-Atlantic at noon and afterward tune into Redskins Postgame Live at 4.

Here are Tarik’s five areas/matchups to monitor:

1-Brady is motivated after a tumultuous offseason and, at 38, appears to be getting better with age. In fact, he’s one pace for an NFL-record 5,509 yards to go along with 46 touchdowns and two interceptions. And the crazy thing about it is this: everyone knows they're going to throw, and yet they still can’t stop Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and the league's most dangerous air attack. Can the Redskins be the first to do it this season? “There’s always a fine line when you play a great quarterback,” defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. “Do you drop a bunch of guys into coverage? [Because] that limits your rush. Do you bring a bunch of guys in the rush? Well, then you’re limited in coverage. We’ll have a mixture.” The opportunity to pressure Brady figures to be there. Although Brady gets the ball out of his hand faster than any QB in the league, he’s been sacked 18 times this season (11th most).    

2-Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins acknowledged this week that he has patterned his game after Brady’s, having spent years studying his mechanics, etc. Cousins, of course, is attempting to establish himself as a quality starter in the NFL. And the next step for the fourth-year signal caller is eliminating the peaks and valleys and finding some consistency. Sunday will be an opportunity to do just that, and to do it against a Patriots’ defense that’s yielding 19 points per game (8th best.) Cousins earned NFC East player of the Week honors after leading the Redskins back from a 24-0 deficit against the Bucs. Sunday would be a good time to follow up that breakthrough performance with a second straight triple-digit passer rating—something he’s never done in successive starts.    

3-Tackling was a point of emphasis in practice this week for the Redskins after their poor display against the Bucs. In that game, the defense missed 13 tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com. “We have not tackled well,” Barry conceded. “Going back over [the film during] the bye week, really looking at the [big] plays we’ve given up, I’d say as high as 85-percent of the plays we’ve given up have simply been on missed tackles.” Barry also noted that CBA rules limiting padded practices have hurt tackling technique across the league.  

4-Is this the week that the Redskins’ running game gets back on track? The ground attack has been a non-factor the past three games (51, 34 and 50 yards, respectively). Coach Jay Gruden said self-evaluation during the bye revealed that the struggles are the result of multiple breakdowns, including play-calling. “Mainly, it’s trying to do a better job of sticking with it [as a staff] and just performing better, executing better with everybody,” he said. “It’s not one person who we can really isolate [and say], ‘Honestly, we have to fix his technique.’” Although Gruden said no lineup changes were made during the bye, it’s worth keeping an eye on the running backs’ workload. Rookie Matt Jones received more carries than Alfred Morris vs. the Falcons and Bucs (Jones was sidelined against the Jets by a toe injury).   

5-The Redskins’ overall health has steadily improved in recent weeks after hitting a low point last month in New Jersey, where they were without six starters against the Jets. The big ones to monitor on Sunday are wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (hand). Jackson, who’s been sidelined since Week 1, says he expects to play and Kerrigan says he hopes to play with a cast covering his right hand. Later Friday, Gruden will declare every injured player as probable, questionable, doubtful or out.

MORE REDSKINS: Bye week has not been an advantage for the Redskins  

Quick Links

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

pryor_vs_chiefs_usat.jpg
Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198

Quick Links

Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

nicholsonl_int_vs._oak_usat.png
usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199