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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss.

While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest.

Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. ET kickoff, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m.

LIVE BLOG: REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Redskins fill a need with Da'Ron Payne as their first-round pick

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The Redskins fill a need with Da'Ron Payne as their first-round pick

The Redskins went into the draft with everyone talking about their need to upgrade their defensive line. And despite the presence of two other intriguing defenders on the board, they went with the big guy. 

Da’Ron Payne, a defensive lineman from Alabama, was the name that Roger Goodell read off of the card when the Redskins’ turn came up with the 13thoverall pick in the draft. 

Here is our analysis of Payne from an earlier NBC Sports Washington post about him:

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

At 6-2, 311, the Redskins likely will use Payne in the middle of the line as their nose tackle in their base defense. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will work with him to improve his pass rushing ability. 

Payne has been talked of as the Redskins pick since early in the draft process. As the draft unfolded, it turned out that there were two defenders, safety Derwin James and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who most analysts had rated considerably above Payne, still on the board. As it turns out, the Redskins apparently made the need pick and went with Payne. 

The Redskins draft an Alabama defensive lineman for the second straight year. Last year they took Crimson Tide defensive tackle Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick in the draft. 

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

 

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NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. It's time to file away the mock drafts and frame your big boards for memory.

Tonight, Thursday April 26, the best college football players in the country will learn which franchise they will begin their professional football careers with.

The NFL Draft is the biggest non-sporting event on the sporting calendar, and the 2018 edition is no different. Taking place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, the 2018 NFL Draft is sure to be bigger than ever, with four quarterbacks and a freakish running back all vying for the top pick.

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock, and will make the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft around 8:30 p.m. tonight.

The Washington Redskins have the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and won't make their draft pick until around 9:45 p.m. ET.

But we are keeping you up to date on all things NFL Draft with our life blog and draft tracker.

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins First-Round Tracker and Live Updates:

DRAFT PICK: No. 26 - ATLANTA FALCONS draft WR CALVIN RIDLEY, Alabama

DRAFT PICK: No. 25 - BALTIMORE RAVENS draft TE HAYDEN HURST, South Carolina

10:49 - So D.J. Moore is the first wide receiver? There were some rumors that he could fall back to the second, looks like that was clearly not the case. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 24 - CAROLINA PANTHERS draft WR D.J. MOORE, Maryland

DRAFT PICK: No. 23 - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS draft G ISAIAH WYNN, Georgia

10:35 PM - Yikes, somehow this trade got blurred in our draft coverage. Oakland loading up on tools for Derek Carr. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 22 - TENNESSEE TITANS draft ILB RASHAAN EVANS, Alabama

10:20 PM - TRADE: Baltimore continues to slide back, they give up their spot to Tennessee. Right now the Ravens are at No. 25

DRAFT PICK: No. 21 - CINCINNATI BENGALS draft C BILLY PRICE, Ohio State

DRAFT PICK: No. 20 - DETROIT LIONS draft C FRANK RAGNOW, Arkansas

DRAFT PICK: No. 19 - DALLAS COWBOYS draft ILB LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, Boise State

10:14 PM - Of course Jerry Jones takes his sweet old time getting this pick in... 

DRAFT PICK: No. 18 - GREEN BAY PACKERS draft CB JAIRE ALEXANDER, Louisville

10:04 PM - TRADE: Green Bay decides to now move back up, taking the No. 18 pick away from the Seattle Seahawks and giving them the No. 27 pick Green Bay got from New Orleans

10:03 PM - Okay we get it Bruce Allen, this is a good pipeline to be a part of:

10:01 PM - Go ahead and take a look as well at Rich Tandler's draft profile on Da'Ron Payne, the "immovable object"

9:59 PM - Get to know the Redskins first-round pick Da'Ron Payne, filling a need on their D-line.

DRAFT PICK: No. 17 - LOS ANGELES CHARGERS draft S DERWIN JAMES, Florida State

DRAFT PICK: No. 16 - BUFFALO BILLS draft OLB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, Virginia Tech

9:51 PM - TRADE: This time it is Baltimore making moves, they move down to make room for the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo now at No. 16 and Baltimore at No. 22

DRAFT PICK: No. 15 - OAKLAND RAIDERS draft T KOLTON MILLER, UCLA

9:45 PM - Sorry to leave you all hanging. Interesting to see that the Redskins chose to go on the line with Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds on the board. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 14 - NEW ORLEANS SAINTS draft DE MARCUS DAVENPORT, UT San Antonio

9:33 PM - TRADE: New Orleans jumps all the way from No. 27 to No. 14 using this year's and next year's First Round picks. Green Bay looking good. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 13 - WASHINGTON REDSKINS draft DT Da'Ron Payne, Alabama

9:28 PM - Annnnddddd the Washington Redskins are on the clock.

9:25 PM - Welp, so much for choices. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 12 - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS draft DT VITA VEA, Washington

9:20 PM - The first name associated with the Redskins is gone, still Vea, Payne, James, and Edmunds available

DRAFT PICK: No. 11 - MIAMI DOLPHINS draft S MINKAH FITZPATRICK, Alabama

DRAFT PICK: No. 10 - ARIZONA CARDINALS draft QB JOSH ROSEN, UCLA

9:11 PM - I like 'em odds

9:08 PM - Another trade, the Arizona Cardinals have acquired the No. 10 pick from the Oakland Raiders, per Ian Rapoport.

DRAFT PICK: No. 9 - SAN FRANCISCO draft T MIKE McGLINCHEY, Notre Dame

DRAFT PICK: No. 8 - CHICAGO BEARS draft LB ROQUAN SMITH, Georgia

8:57 PM - We're just over halfway to the Redskins pick, three of the top four QBs have been taken. Will anybody from behind the Skins try and make a deal to move up?

DRAFT PICK: No. 7 - BUFFALO BILLS draft QB JOSH ALLEN, Wyoming

8:51 PM - First trade of the night, Buffalo (No. 12) jumps up to No. 7. Redskins remain at No. 13.

DRAFT PICK: No. 6 - INDIANAPOLIS COLTS draft G QUENTON NELSON, Notre Dame

DRAFT PICK: No. 5 - DENVER BRONCOS draft DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

8:37 PM - If anyone says the had Denzel Ward at No. 4, they're lying. It looks like the seas are starting to open up for the Redskins, someone is going to fall

DRAFT PICK: No. 4 - CLEVELAND BROWNS draft CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

8:35 PM - Okay Nick, we think you are around Chris Russell too much. The world does not need to burn today.

DRAFT PICK: No. 3 - NEW YORK JETS draft QB Sam Darnold, Southern Cal

8:24 PM - Playing Zeke and Saquon Barkley twice a year? Nope RIP to the Redskins D-line. 

DRAFT PICK: No. 2 - NEW YORK GIANTS draft RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

8:18 PM - So yep, Baker was taken first overall. Cue the madnesss for the rest of the draft and here is your Rich Tandler take: 

DRAFT PICK: No. 1 - CLEVELAND BROWNS draft QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

8:13 PM - They're really going to take the whole time for this first pick aren't they

8:11 PM - There is a Scot McCloughan sighting in the Cleveland Browns war room.

8:03 PM - Before we get started, a reminder here are the Redskins picks for the draft, for now... :

1st Round: 13th overall
2nd Round: 13th pick
4th Round: 9th pick
5th Round: 5th pick
5th Round: 26th pick
6th Round: 31st pick
7th Round: 13th pick
7th Round: 23rd pick

8:00 PM - And the Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock. The 2018 NFL Draft is underway.

PreDraft Coverage:

7:48 PM - Green Bay picks right after the Redskins... this could get real interesting real fast.

6:38 PM - On draft night, Vernon Davis is doing Olympic things, but he's still able to check-in and say hi.

5:05 PM - We did a bracket challenge for Redskins fans, giving you the chance to vote on who the Redskins should take at No. 13. If it were up to Redskins fans, Georgia LB Roquan Smith would be the choice.

4:45 PM - Since we are on the subject of the Edmunds brothers, let's ask and answer this question: When and where will both Tremaine and Terrell go?

4:30 PM - One option for the Redskins at No. 13 is Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds. He just so happens to be the focus of an exclusive NBC Sports Washington webseries. "E-Boyz" takes a look at draft prospects Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds, as well as their brother Trey, a running back for the Saints and their father, Ferrell, and former two-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Dolphins.

E-Boyz — Ep. 1: The Players
E-Boyz — Ep. 2: Ferrell
E-Boyz — Ep. 3: Danville
E-Boyz — Ep. 4: Celebration

4:10 PM - The first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft won't be announced for another four hours. But we have a lot to prep. Let's get started with draft music. Players in the green room get to select their walkup music. Josh Jackson deserves to be the No. 1 overall pick. 

4:00 PM - Welcome to our live update tracker of the 2018 NFL Draft. The draft doesn't get started until 8:00 p.m. But there is a lot to go over until then.

Here is a good place to start. 

- Draft Day Primer: JP Finlay goes over all the Redskins' options
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick