Some quick items to get your Wednesday morning going:Shanahan vs. ?? on Sept. 9The Redskins open the season in New Orleans in 46 days and the Saints still dont know who will be their head coach for that game, or for any of the first six games on their schedule. Interim head coach Joe Vitt, who is filling in for the suspended Sean Payton, will start a six-game suspension himself starting a week before their game against the Redskins.Vitt said yesterday that the identity of the interim interim head coach has yet to be determined.The discussions have taken place, Vitt said. They are in the infantile stages right now.They might want to get that figured out pretty soon.A hot one to start out training camp tomorrowThe high temperature for tomorrow, the first day of camp practice, is forecast to be 99. The players will be glad that they are not going to be wearing pads until Saturday.The news is not that it will be hot in late July. Its that next week it should be relatively comfortable, with temperatures not forecast to climb past the upper 80s. If that holds, thats a pretty good string of training camp weather.RG3 on the podium todayMedia access to Robert Griffin III will be somewhat limited during training camp and, presumably, into the regular season. Limiting access to the quarterback is normal procedure around the league these days. If its not restricted a high-profile QB could answer media questions for hours a day. That time is better spent in the film room.We get one of our opportunities to talk to RG3 today as will take the podium at 5:30. It will be his first new conference with the beat reporters since minicamp in mid June. Well ask what he did during his summer vacation and see if we can get any insight into what went on during the rookie phase of training camp. And well get his thoughts on the next first coming up for him, his first NFL training camp practice.Reporting dayThe Redskins report to Redskins Park today to check in and take physicals. The first practice will be tomorrow at 10:40 a.m. That one is a walkthrough that is closed to the public. Gates open at 1:00 for fans with the full practice getting underway at 3:00. Be advised that the CBA prohibits players from wearing pads during the first two days of practice so they will be in shorts and helmets on Thursday and Friday.Well be doing a chat in between practices at Redskins Park from 1 to 2, check back here tomorrow morning to find out where to go.Days until: Training camp 1; preseason opener @ Bills 15; RG3 vs. Luck @FedEx Field 31; final cuts 38; Redskins @ Saints 46; home opener vs. Bengals 60
The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.
The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.
OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.
OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.
The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.
Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:
The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.
They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.
Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.
The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.
There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.