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Redskins vs Cowboys: 5 things to know as Alfred Morris heads back to D.C.

Redskins vs Cowboys: 5 things to know as Alfred Morris heads back to D.C.

After a blowout loss to the Steelers to open the season the Redskins definitely need a win Sunday against the Cowboys. Full coverage starts at CSN at noon before kickoff at 1 p.m. The weather forecast shows thunderstorms could blow towards FedEx Field during the game. Here are five things to know before kickoff:

  1. Old school football - Watch a regular Sunday in the NFL and it's obvious that the game has evolved. Few teams rely on a smashmouth run game like they did 20 years ago, but the Cowboys are a group that does best when running the ball. Dallas spent a the 4th overall draft choice on rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot this offseason. In his debut last week against the Giants, Elliot struggled, rushing 20 times for just 51 yards, and average of 2.5 yards-per-carry. Behind Elliot is ex-Redskins RB Alfred Morris, who excelled in his Dallas premiere, rushing seven times for 35 yards. Considering the Redskins gave up nearly 150 yards to Pittsburgh, expect the Cowboys to try to prod the Washington defense early and often with their run game. 
  2. Press the rook - Where the Redskins can succeed against the Cowboys is pressuring rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Last week against New York, Prescott completed 25 of 45 passes for 227 yards. Washington's defense would love to see Prescott throw the ball 45 times again, as that would give Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan a chance to get their seasons on track and would keep the ball away from the Dallas run game. With Washington's secondary - regardless who is covering Dez Bryant - playmakers like Josh Norman, DeAngelo Hall and Bashaud Breeland will be looking to make plays against Prescott.
  3. Stay committed - Jay Gruden's offense only got the ball to its running backs 11 times against Pittsburgh. Some of that was dictated by penalties and game situation, but no matter what, the 'Skins have to run the ball more Sunday against Dallas. Asked this week what an ideal number of carries for his RBs would be, Gruden explained that the game dictates the carries but he would strive for 20 to 30 carries per game. The Redskins must allow Matt Jones to get to 15 carries this week, and supplement that with another 10 between Chris Thompson and rookie Robert Kelley. Gruden and OC Sean McVay talked this week about a balanced offense; to do so the Redskins have to run the ball.
  4. 7, not 3 - Kirk Cousins moved the ball well against the Steelers. The Redskins piled up more than 300 yards passing, but early in the game, Cousins and the offense could not get to the end zone. On two early possessions the Redskins had scoring opportunities but walked with field goals instead of touchdowns. Much of the 2015 success for the Redskins came from converting TD chances and not leaving points on the board. To beat Dallas, that will need to be the case again.
  5. Get right - The Redskins have some unease at defensive line, as Kendall Reyes will miss Sunday's game and Chris Baker showed up on the injury report for a few days during the week. Barring an unexpected setback, Baker should play, and the team can now count newly signed Cullen Jenkins as part of their D-line rotation. Offensively, Trent Williams missed practice on Friday but a Redskins offensive coach made clear they expect the left tackle to play Sunday. Health on both the offensive and defensive lines will be a big factor vs the Cowboys.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeAngelo Hall will play in his 100th game with the Redskins on Sunday. 
  • DeSean Jackson is 84 yards away from 8,000 receiving yards in his career.
  • A Redskins win Sunday would put Jay Gruden's NFC East winning percentage over .500.

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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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 and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

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

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 


What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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