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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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The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

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USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

The Redskins have not had a very good year when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. They have 31 sacks for the season, 17th in the NFL.

They had a then-NFL best 32-game streak with at least one sack came to an end in Week 10 against the Vikings.

Ryan Kerrigan is doing well with 9.0 sacks to his credit. Preston Smith has five but only a half since Week 6. Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen were forming a solid interior pass rush tandem early in the year but Allen went on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury and Ioannidis suffered a broken hand that limited his playing time and effectiveness.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

But the cure to the Redskins’ pass-rushing ills just may be coming to town on Sunday in the form of the Arizona Cardinals and quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

The Cardinals have given up 44 sacks on the season; that’s 31st in the NFL.

Things have gotten worse in the last couple of weeks, with Gabbert going down a combined 15 times against the Rams and Titans.

If you think that the Cardinals may have hit rock bottom, consider that two starters, left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Earl Watford, won’t be playing due to injuries.

Will Holden, a rookie fifth-round pick, will start at left tackle and Evan Boehm, who lost his job to Watford earlier this season, will be the right guard.

Of course, the Redskins have to go out and make it happen. The entire Cowboys offense was slumping until they met the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. They can’t be a haven for a struggling unit once again.

In any case, it is an opportunity that is in front of the Redskins. It’s up to them to take advantage of it.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

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.

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 14, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 10
—Redskins @ Giants (12/17) 17
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 133

State of the Redskins

Top storylines

Jobs on the line? It’s been the conventional wisdom that the jobs of Jay Gruden and his staff are safe, barring a complete collapse at the end of the year. Well, after two ugly losses we are 40 percent of the way to a complete collapse. The Redskins don’t even have to look good down the stretch, they just need to win two of the final three and be competitive in the other. Gruden might be able to survive a couple more games like the Cowboys and Chargers debacles but if that happens I wouldn’t want to be him on January 1, the day after the season ends.

Shutdowns started—Jordan Reed going on injured reserve could be the first of a few moves to end the seasons of players who won’t be healthy in time to play in more than one or two games. It lets the player dive into rehab and it lets the team sign and get a look at a player who can stay on the roster through the offseason and compete for a roster spot in 2018. There could be more coming up until Week 17.

Playing out the string—Last week, when the Redskins were technically alive for the playoffs they apparently couldn’t muster enough motivation to prepare properly. It will be interesting to see how they react this week with their playoff odds reduced to zero.

Last three games

Sunday vs. Cardinals (6-7)—The Cardinals have fallen even further than the Redskins. Two years ago, they were on their way to a first-round bye and an appearance in the NFC title game. This season they are 6-7 after suffering from a raft of injuries, including losing their starting QB and All-Pro running back David Johnson. Can two teams with nothing to play for put on an entertaining show?

Christmas Eve vs. Broncos (4-9)—And in comes another team that has fallen even further and harder. The Broncos were lifting the Super Bowl Trophy two years ago. Now, the defense that spearheaded that run is still solid but without a reliable quarterback, they are having issues. At this point, your guess at if it will be Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, or Brock Osweiler starting at quarterback is as good as mine.

New Year’s Eve @ Giants (2-11)—Will this game be bye-bye to Eli? Changes are coming to New York and Manning, sometimes a Redskins nemesis and sometimes a player who gift-wrapped wins for Washington, could be on the way out. The Redskins could be playing to avoid the kind of upheaval that has already begun in the Big Apple.

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.

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