The Redskins will get back to work tomorrow after their 7-6 win over the Bills in their preseason opener and their to-do list will be long.There were some positives, the most notable being the impressive performance of Robert Griffin III in his pro debut. But there were issues as well.After Griffin left the game after leading the game's only touchdown drive, the offense came to a grinding stop. Rex Grossman completed just two of 10 passes for 22 yards and Kirk Cousins was nine of 22 for 74 yards with an interception. For the game the Redskins rushed 32 times for 87 yards, an average of just 2.7 yards a carry.They did not get close enough for either Neil Rackers or Graham Gano to try a field goal. The in-game aspect of their battle for the kicking job, the part that Danny Smith said was the most critical, is now on hold until their game next Saturday in Chicago.The Redskins played better defensively. They allowed the Bills to net just 219 yards of offense. Three Buffalo quarterbacks combined to complete just 14 of 34 passes. And 37 of the 100 yards rushing the Bills picked up came on Vince Young scrambles.Perhaps the biggest issue on defense was some missed opportunities. Rookie Richard Crawford did intercept a pass with a nice, over the shoulder catch but at least three other Redskins dropped easier chances at picks. Buffalo fumbled twice and Washington could not recover either one.Some individuals are going to have to get back to work to improve on their performances. Cornerback Cedric Griffin allowed receivers to get free multiple times, even after the Bills put in their second string offense. Brandon Banks had looked good as a receiver in practice but he had just two catches for seven yards despite being targeted a team-high nine times. Those two along with a number of other players ay have cost themselves position on the depth chart or may have jeopardized their roster spots with their play on Thursday.The good thing for those players and for the team as a whole is that there are many more practices and three more preseason games before the final cuts on Aug. 31 and the Sept. 9 season opener.
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24
Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants
Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.
Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.
Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.
Keys to winning
- Run the ball—The Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
- Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
- Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.
Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.
Redskins 31, Giants 13
Tandler on Twitter
For those looking for an “easier” schedule for the #Redskins next year, remember that his year is a third-place schedule. That got them the two games they just lost, the Vikings and Saints. Can’t tell year to year in NFL.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) November 22, 2017
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The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game.
Let's be honest: the call was terrible.
Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation.
We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.
The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan).
Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.
If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong.
You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.
“Glossed over”? The ball was released from within the pocket w a free rusher and no receiver in the area - intentional grounding. It’s a judgement call as to "facing loss of yardage." Receiver running the wrong route is not a criteria that bails the QB out. https://t.co/IOuAICQfKb— Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) November 22, 2017
Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.