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Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 20-15 win over the Cardinals.

Turnovers are important: Part of the Redskins’ problems in their last two non-competitive games was a lack of turnovers. Their only takeaway against the Cowboys and Chargers came on an interception in LA long after the outcome had been decided. Today, the Redskins got one three plays into the game, giving them an extremely short field (six yards) and a 7-0 lead a minute and a half into the game. That proved to be critical on a day when the offense operated well only in fits and starts.

RELATED: Must see photos from Redskins-Cardinals

Kendall Fuller might go to the Pro Bowl: Well, maybe he won’t because not many cornerbacks on 6-8 teams with low-ranked defenses get picked. But he is very, very good. Sunday he was all over the place and finished with eight tackles, including one in the middle of the line on a running play, something you don’t see a corner do often. He also knocked down two passes. The Redskins hope that some of their players who are now rookies can take the same leap that Fuller has between his first and second seasons.

Bad call, Jay: I’m not usually one to bang on Jay Gruden for his play calling but the end around to Josh Doctson late in the third quarter was just awful. They had a five-point lead first down at their own 32. A nice steady drive to any kind of score makes it tough for the Cardinals. But instead of sticking with what was working, Gruden called for an end around the Josh Doctson. It was the wrong play call at the wrong time to the wrong player. Doctson lost 14 yards on the play, which killed the drive. The Cardinals took possession after the punt and got back within two points on a field goal. Not good, Jay.

Special teams still struggle: There were three separate special teams gaffes in the second half. The Cardinals did a pooch kick on the second-half kickoff and they recovered it after the ball took an odd bounce. Then Jamison Crowder let a punt hit the ground and roll all the way back to the six-yard line, costing about 15 yards of field position. Finally, the Cardinals hit a 54-yard field goal but AJ Francis was called for using leverage to try to block the kick, giving the Cardinals a first down. Fortunately, they survived all of the miscues. The defense held Arizona to a field goal after the kickoff, the offense managed to drive for a field goal after getting the ball at the six, and the Cardinals kicked another field goal after the penalty on Francis. Still, the special teams can’t rely on getting bailed out all the time.

A needed win: The Cardinals did manage to put a big scare into the Redskins by driving down to the Washington 21 in the last minute. But the home team held on, averting disaster in the process. Had they lost due to a late drive engineered by Blaine Gabbert, who completed 39-percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 43, things would have become very ugly. A win is a win in the NFL so the fact that a couple of passes went just off the fingertips of receivers inside the 10 on the final drive won’t matter. They will celebrate and go into the week to prepare for the Broncos in a much better frame of mind.

MORE REDSKINS: Some unexpected players lead the Redskins to a sloppy but much-needed win

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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Redskins at Jaguars Week 15: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Redskins at Jaguars Week 15: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Things have gone downhill fast for the Redskins.

Washington turned in their worst performance of the season this past Sunday, falling to the lowly New York Giants 40-16 at home, marking four straight losses following a 6-3 start to the season. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was making his first start since 2015 in place of the injured Colt McCoy, did not last three quarters before he was benched for Josh Johnson. The team had signed Johnson, who had last thrown an NFL pass in 2011, just four days prior. Johnson had to play Madden in order to learn his teammates names.

Surprisingly, there is still a path to the playoffs, even with the team on their fourth quarterback of the season. On Sunday, they travel to Jacksonville for a clash with the Jaguars, a team that was just a few plays away from a Super Bowl berth earlier this calendar year. The Jaguars have been one of the most dissapointing teams in the NFL this season in terms of their preseason expectations, but present a tough challenge for the Redskins this Sunday nonetheless.

Here's everything you need to know...

REDSKINS vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS WEEK 15

Who: Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars

What: Game 14 of the 2018 NFL regular season

When: Sunday, Dec. 16. 1:00 p.m ET

Where: TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida

TV Channel: CBS

Live Stream: Watch Now with fuboTV -- TRY A FREE TRIAL

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Jaguars, -7

Over/Under: 36

Weather: 63 degrees, mostly sunny

REDSKINS at JAGUARS TV SCHEDULE:

11:30 AM: Inside the Redskins
12:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live (MyTeams App)
1:00 PM:  Redskins at Jaguars (CBS)
4:00 PM: Redskins Postgame Live (MyTeams App)
5:00 PM: Redskins Overtime Live (MyTeams App)

Click here to access NBC Sports Washington's Channel Finder 

REDSKINS 2018 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

Week 1: Sun., 9/9, @ Arizona Cardinals (24-6, W)

Week 2: Sun, 9/16, vs. Indianapolis Colts (21-9, L)

Week 3: Sun., 9/23, vs. Green Bay Packers (31-17, W)

Week 4: BYE

Week 5: Mon., 10/8, @ New Orleans Saints, (43-19, L)

Week 6: Sun., 10/14, vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m. (23-17, W)

Week 7: Sun., 10/21, vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. (20-17, W)

Week 8: Sun. 10/28, @ New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. (20-13, W)

Week 9: Sun., 11/4, vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. (38-14, L)

Week 10: Sun. 11/11, @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m. (16-3 W)

Week 11: Sun., 11/18, vs. Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. (23-21 L)

Week 12: Thu., 11/22, @ Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. (31-23 L)

Week 13: Mon., 12/3, @ Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 (28-13 L)

Week 14: Sun., 12/9, vs. New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. (40-16, L)

Week 15: Sun., 12/16, @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)

Week 16: Sat., 12/22, @ Tennessee Titans, 4:30 p.m. (CBS)

Week 17: Sun., 12/30, vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)

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Recent Redskins roster decisions at WR, RB baffling in light of Simmie Cobbs departure

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USA Today Sports

Recent Redskins roster decisions at WR, RB baffling in light of Simmie Cobbs departure

The Redskins lost practice squad wide receiver Simmie Cobbs this week after the New Orleans Saints claimed the undrafted rookie

On its own, that's not major news. Cobbs showed promise in training camp and many around Redskins Park believe he has made a lot of progress working on the scout team this fall. 

Losing practice squad players happens, but the circumstances around Cobbs' departure are unique. For starters, the Redskins tried to keep Cobbs, but he decided to leave for New Orleans anyway.

On the surface, that move is obvious: Play with Drew Brees on a Super Bowl contender or play with a fourth-string QB on a team riding a four-game losing streak. 

Dig deeper, however, and it's not that simple. None of this is. 

Cobbs chose to go to a new team and a new city rather than the squad that signed him out of Indiana University.

Cobbs chose to learn a new playbook and new terminology with just three weeks remaining in the regular season rather than play in the offense he knows and has been practicing since May. 

As Cobbs explained, it bothered him that the Redskins did not want to sign him until New Orleans made a move. He called it a "no-brainer" to go to New Orleans. 

Frankly, Cobbs is right. 

For weeks, the Redskins have carried a bizarre five running backs on their 53-man roster, even as injuries forced significant churn on the offensive line. Washington has not kept more than three running backs active on game day, yet two more sit occupying roster spots. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson are absolute roster locks, but beyond that, none of the other rostered players have performed in a manner forcing the 'Skins to keep them. 

Samaje Perine has only been active four games this season, and those were mostly due to injury. He has five carries this year. The Redskins decided to use one of their two injured reserve return designations for Byron Marshall, who has three carries on the season and is best known at this point for a key block he missed on the play that broke Alex Smith's leg. Kapri Bibbs has played relatively well in limited work, but in last week's loss to the Giants, he was inactive with Perine. 

Add all of that up and it appears the Redskins have at least one more running back than they need. In their defense, Thompson's lingering ribs injury forced Washington to play it safe at running back for a number of weeks, but Thompson has now been back on the field for the last two games.

What does all of this mean for Cobbs? 

Building a 53-man roster is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece must fit with the others, and players on the back end of the roster must be able to help on special teams. 

Cobbs would fit that bill. And this week seemed like the obvious time to bring him up as Josh Doctson worked his way back from the concussion protocol and the team was carrying just five WRs total. 

It's not like Washington was getting a lot of production at the receiver position anyway. Doctson's roster spot is locked in, as is Jamison Crowder's but after that are questions. Mauirce Harris has always shown great hands but he's been on and off the Redskins roster. Veteran Michael Floyd was a midseason addition that has five catches in 10 games. Brian Quick and Jehu Chesson are both primarily special teams players. 

Cobbs, on the other hand, is an intriguing rookie with size and potential. The Redskins are 6-7, and while still in the hunt for the final Wild Card spot, the team is starting a fourth-string QB and playing their fifth and sixth-string guards.

Now isn't the time to take chances on an undrafted rookie; two weeks ago was.

Remember two weeks ago, when the Redskins only used 52 of 53 roster spots for a Monday night loss in Philadelphia? The team literally didn't fill out their full roster. 

Let's not confuse Cobbs with Jerry Rice quite yet, but at the same time, let's look at the big picture.

The Redskins roster has been a mess due to injury, that's understandable. The team has been forced to carry more offensive linemen than expected, and the running back situation clearly dragged longer than the brass could have expected. At least, that's what fans should hope happened with the running back situation. 

Regardless, the Redskins reluctance to give Cobbs a chance, even without much production or potential on the bottom of the WR depth chart, made his decision to join the Saints an easy one. 

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