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Week 4 Redskins vs Chiefs Preview: Huge opportunity awaits Washington on national stage

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Week 4 Redskins vs Chiefs Preview: Huge opportunity awaits Washington on national stage

After a dominant win against the Raiders last Sunday night, the Redskins vaulted into the conversation about being a possible playoff team.

If Washington can pull off a third straight win, this time on Monday night in Kansas City, the team would be considered a serious contender. 

Think about it: Oakland came into FedEx Field last week with the top scoring offense in the NFL. The Redskins defense held the Raiders to just 10 points, those gifted thanks to prime field position off turnovers. Kirk Cousins and the Burgundy and Gold offense piled up more than 400 yards and looked effective through the air or on the ground. 

The wild part?

The Redskins accomplished the beatdown on Oakland while missing three starters to injuries. Running back Rob Kelley missed the game with a rib injury, which is a blow to the team but not insurmountable. Starting inside linebacker Mason Foster sat out with a shoulder injury. In Week 2, Foster sealed the win in Los Angeles with a late interception. And don't forget star tight end Jordan Reed didn't play against the Raiders either. Historically, the Redskins play much better with Reed on the field, and Cousins performs his best.

That the QB still rolled up 365 passing yards with three touchdowns, without Reed, is quite impressive

Knowing that three important players missed the game, it's entirely possible the Redskins can actually play better in Kansas City than they did in Week 3.

Think about that. 

RELATED: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVP AWARDS

REDSKINS VS. CHIEFS STORYLINES

  1. Strength vs Strength — Undefeated through three games, the Chiefs come into Monday night's contest with the top rushing attack in the league. Behind rookie RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City is piling up more than 162 yards per game on the ground. The Redskins, however, have been stout against the run. They rank second in the NFL at rush yards allowed, giving up just 62 per game. Rookie DL Jonathan Allen has been a huge part of the Washington run defense, and the team will need a lot from him and speedy linebacker Zach Brown. If Foster can return would be another boost for the 'Skins defense, as he is a sure tackler. 
     
  2. Speed kills — Beyond Hunt, the Chiefs possess a ton of game breaking speed. Wideout Tyreek Hill has been clocked at more than 21 miles-per-hour on the field, via NFL Next Gen Stats, and is dangerous witht he ball both off jet sweeps as a rusher or catching passes downfield from QB Alex Smith. Kansas City is a home run hitting team, and big plays hurt the Redskins both in a season opening loss to the Eagles and their first win over the Rams. Washington head coach Jay Gruden knows his team must keep the KC offense in front of them, "We have got to make sure we are keeping our leverages and not giving up the big play. These guys have scored a touchdown of 50-plus yards in nine games in a row. They are a big play team and if we can limit the big plays and try to make them methodically move the ball down the field, I think we can have some success."
     
  3. Familiar face — Andy Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons, and over that time, found a lot of success against the Redskins. Reid holds an 18-11 career record against Washington, and of course, was the Eagles coach in 2010 for the infamous "Monday Night Massacre" where Philly rolled to a 59-28 win at FedEx Field. Much time has passed since that game. When Reid last saw the Redskins in 2013, it was another thumping. This time as coach of the Chiefs, Kansas City embarassed the Redskins 45-10, again at FedEx Field, a the ugly end to the Mike Shanahan era in D.C. collapsed down the stretch of the season. 


RELATED: WEEK 3 NFL POWER RANKINGS

REDSKINS VS. CHIEFS NEWS & NOTES

  • The Redskins rank top in the league in yard differential, as the Washington offense is gaining more than 100 yards per game than the defense is giving up. 
     
  • With a touchdown on Monday, Chris Thompson would be the first Redskins RB with a TD in four straight games since Alfred Morris in 2017. 
     
  • Monday night will mark the 100th straight start for left tackle Trent Williams. 
     
  • The Redskins have not won on Monday night since 2014, when Colt McCoy guided the team to win in Dallas. They've lost three straight Monday night contests by a combined score of 83-47.


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Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

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Associated Press

Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

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

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 10
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 35

Jonathan Allen’s absence

The Redskins defensive line has been one of the most improved positions on the team. Now they have a large hole to fill in that unit.

Jonathan Allen’s Lisfranc injury will require surgery and that means he will be sidelined for the rest of the season. He likely will go on injured reserve sometime this week.

The team’s first-round draft pick had been playing very well. He has helped to provide the Redskins with pass rush up the middle, an important element that has been missing from the defense. The 17th overall pick had a sack, three QB hits and 10 hurries.

What will the Redskins do in Allen’s absence? The first thing they’ll do is take consolation in the fact that they still have Matt Ioannidis to give them some inside pass rush. The second-year player rebounded from a 2016 season where he played sparingly and is providing consistent pass rush pressure between the tackles. He has 3.5 sacks and 16 pressures.

But Ioannidis can’t do it alone. He and Allen each benefitted from the presence of the other one. And edge rushers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have both been helped by the attention the other teams had to pay to the pass pressure threat from the interior.

With Allen gone, who will take his place?

That question has a few different answers. When Allen goes on injured reserve, a lineman will be signed to take his place. That could be rookie Brandon Banks, who has been on the practice squad all year. They could bring up A.J. Francis, who has been around on the practice squad for a couple of years but he has not been with a team since he was release in Redskins’ cut to 53 on September 2.

They also could find a veteran who is not currently working or sign a player off of another team’s practice squad. The Redskins tried out 16 players on Tuesday and the only defensive lineman among them was Owa Odighizuwa, who played in 18 games for the Giants in 2015-2016.

But whoever takes the roster spot likely will be inactive most of the time. Anthony Lanier, the second-year defensive end who has been on the team this year but has not been active for a game, will be active on Monday night. He is a pass-rush specialist and it seems likely that he will get most of Allen’s snaps in nickel situations.

In base defense, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain will rotate in more frequently. It’s not as though they have been sitting on the bench this season. While the rotation has favored Allen and Ioannidis, McClain and McGee have played 131 snaps this year. Ziggy Hood has 155, Ioannidis 170 and Allen 159.

McClain and McGee are OK defending the run so there won’t be a huge drop off there. The spotlight will be on Lanier, who played in just four games last year before an injury ended his season, to continue to get push up the middle with Ioannidis.

He will get his chance on Monday as the Redskins take on the Eagles. In the season opener, the Redskins were able to get pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz (22 pressures on 41 pass dropbacks) but they weren’t often able to bring him down. We will see if Lanier can get to him a time or two and finish the job.

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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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

RELATED: LATEST 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.