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State of the Redskins, Week 11: Can revamped secondary contain Cam?

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State of the Redskins, Week 11: Can revamped secondary contain Cam?

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 10 of the NFL season.

Record: 4-5, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 4-2
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 4-1
Away: 0-4

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 349.6 (20th)
Defense (yards/game): 370.3 (21st)
Passer rating offense:  89.6 (18th)
Opp passer rating: 96.3 (24th )
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (15th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.0 (32nd)
Weighted DVOA through Week 10 (Football Outsiders): -0.8% (15th)

Top three storylines:

A franchise QB?—About a month after people were wondering if Kirk Cousins would finish out the season at quarterback they are talking about him getting a long-term contract extension. Such is life in the NFL after three games with eight touchdown passes, one rushing TD, one interception that was not the QB’s fault, and a passer rating of over 117.

Another tough test—Two weeks after playing the undefeated Patriots, the undefeated Panthers await. I don’t have the means to look it up without spending hours doing so but I would think that a team playing two undefeated teams on the road in a three-game stretch at this point in the season is very, very rare. But it is the schedule the Redskins were given and they will deal with it as best they can.

Shuffle in the secondary—The big moves were Kyshoen Jarrett and Jeron Johnson playing strong safety in place of Trenton Robinson, who didn’t play at all on defense, and DeAngelo Hall also stepping in to play some safety. We also saw that Will Blackmon, who wasn’t on the team in Week 1 but has been invaluable while Hall and Chris Culliver were nursing injuries, continuing to get lots of playing time.

Next three games

November 22 @ Panthers (9-0)—Cam Newton isn’t lighting it up statistically in the passing department but he is in the MVP conversation because he is getting it done with his legs and in the clutch. That and Carolina’s tough pass defense make this a difficult test for the Redskins.

November 29 vs. Giants (5-5)—The Giants are just a bad matchup for the Redskins. New York has won six of the last seven games between the two teams and most of them haven’t been competitive. Home division games are always important and this one will be no exception, particularly if the Redskins lose at Carolina.

December 7 (Mon. night) vs. Cowboys (2-7)—With Tony Romo coming back, the Cowboys should be off of their seven-game losing streak by the time this game comes around. But even with their QB back the Cowboys are a shadow of the team that rolled to a 12-4 record and were within a Dez Bryan dropped pass (and, yes, per the rules it was a drop) of the NFC title game.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long. And they will have to do it without Josh Norman, their best defensive back.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

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.

In case you missed it

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS FOR EVERY GAME THUS FAR

Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 

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