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Injuries and miscues just too much for Redskins in sloppy loss to Cowboys

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Injuries and miscues just too much for Redskins in sloppy loss to Cowboys

The Redskins were bealeagured by injuries and sloppy conditions on Sunday, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 33-19 at FedEx Field.

After taking a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, a blocked field goal and lengthy return changed the complexion of the game, with the Cowboys scoring 19 straight points. The injuries piled up and Kirk Cousins and the offense could not mount a comeback.

Here are Rich Tandler's observations.

RELATED: WHO ARE THE MOST HATED COWBOYS OF ALL TIME?

First Half

— The Redskins are getting hit in their nickel defense. In Dallas’ opening drive, Ezekiel Elliott ran for eight and 13 yards, the last one for a touchdown. They need to tighten up their run defense in nickel or go more base on first down.

— In the early going, the Redskins were not running very effectively, but the commitment to running helped them when Cousins got away from the short and horizontal passing game and went deep to Jamison Crowder, setting up the Redskins’ first touchdown.

— Cousins was sharp in the early going, completing seven of 10 passes for 80 yards. But he sailed a third-down pass to Pryor just a bit high and the receiver couldn’t quite get two feet down and they had to settle for a field goal.

— The Redskins have not made many positive plays on special teams but they have mostly avoided making negative plays. Until today. Tress Way had problems getting the ball down on a field goal attempt. It was blocked but went forward a few yards. Orlando Scandrick got an 86-yard return and two plays later what looked like was going to be a nine-point Redskins lead turned into a one-point Dallas lead. Now the special teams owe a big play.

— The makeshift offensive line is playing as well as can be expected. No penalties, a couple of sacks but for the most part Cousins has had time to throw. At the half only nine rushing attempts for Washington so it’s hard to judge the performance there.

Second half

— The Redskins’ first turnover of the game caused some damage. Cousins was sacked and had the ball knocked away during the first drive of the second half. Dallas recovered near midfield and turned it into a field goal. The Redskins can’t afford to give away any points.

— But they did. On the kickoff following the field goal, Chris Thompson was hit and fumbled. Two Redskins had the ball in their arms but they couldn’t squeeze it and the Cowboys recovered. A holding penalty negated an Elliott touchdown run but it did set up another field goal. With about six minutes left in the third quarter, the Redskins had given the Cowboys 13 points on the field goal block and the two fumbles.

— The Redskins’ defense is starting to wear down late in the third quarter. After a three and out, which happened because Josh Doctson couldn’t hold on to a deep sideline pass that would have given the Redskins a first down in Dallas territory, Dallas go the ball near midfield. Elliott found running room Prescott completed a couple of passes and Nugent kicked another field goal to give the Cowboys a 10-point lead. In the third quarter the Redskins had the ball for slightly over five minutes.

— The Redskins are running out of bodies. By the end of the third quarter, LG Shawn Lauvao (stinger), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), and DE Matt Ioannidis (hand) were all sidelined with various injuries. While Dallas was getting stronger, the Redskins were fading.

— On a positive note, Jamison Crowder became the first Redskins receiver this year to top 100 yards receiving. He caught one for 41 yards early and kept it rolling. The two who are supposed to be leading the charge, Terrelle Pryor and Doctoson, had two receptions for six yards between them with five minutes left to play.

— The Redskins got a couple of breaks on two near-interceptions that Dallas defenders couldn’t hold on to and a touch pass interference penalty in the end zone but they did get a touchdown that pulled them to within seven. The extra point was missed, another special teams gaffe.

— The Cowboys are going to leave FedEx Field with a win that wasn’t entirely a gift. However the team that couldn’t afford to make many mistakes, the one that had to play a clean game, made too many mistakes—dropped passes, turnovers, special teams gaffes, and more. The Redskins had their shots but they just gave Dallas too many opportunities.

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Need to Know: The five best teams the Redskins will play in 2018

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Need to Know: The five best teams the Redskins will play in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 15, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best teams the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Most of the focus will be on individuals such as quarterbacks and pass rushers, but we’re going to get started with the best teams on the schedule. These are roughly ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. 

1. Eagles (13-3, Super Bowl champs)—They were fifth overall in DVOA and the second-ranked team on the schedule. But DVOA is calculated for the regular season only and you have to say that by the time the playoffs were over that the Eagles had taken their game up a few notches over everyone else. They haven’t lost much over the offseason, putting them at the top of the heap and the Redskins play them twice. 

2. Saints (11-5, lost in divisional round)—New Orleans was the top team in DVOA in 2017. After a couple of mediocre seasons, the Saints have retooled, and they will make a push to get Drew Brees his second Super Bowl ring. They play in Week 5, which means that Mark Ingram will be back from his four-game suspension to open the season and he will be alongside Alvin Kamara in the Saints backfield. They both had over 100 yards from scrimmage when the teams played last year. 

3. Jaguars (10-6, lost AFC title game)—They finally made the jump after failing for the last few years as the trendy preseason pick. It was no fluke as they outscored their opponents by 149 points on the season. Their quarterback situation is far from ideal with Blake Bortles, but they are strong enough defensively (first in defensive DVOA) to rely on their running game. 

4. Panthers (11-5, lost in wild-card round)—They certainly have had the Redskins’ number, winning the last six matchups, a streak going back to 2009. This doesn’t seem to be one of those fluke situations. The Redskins simply have problems matching up with Cam Newton. Carolina also is solid defensively (No. 7 in DVOA). 

5. Falcons (10-6, lost in divisional round)—Even though the Cowboys ranked a couple of notches ahead of the Falcons in DVOA, I’m putting the Falcons ahead of them. Dallas doesn’t have a good enough defense to win with their running game. I’ve always been a big Matt Ryan fan and a lot more people would be too if he hadn’t been victimized by poor defense and bad play calling in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Add in Julio Jones and their running backs and you have a scary offense. Defensively they are not that good but I still like their unit better than that of the Cowboys.

Rest of top 10:

6. Packers—Almost put them ahead of Falcons, their DVOA suffered last year with Rodgers out.
7. Cowboys—Even with problems on D, still have the Redskins’ number.
8. Texans—Way down the DVOA rankings last year but they will the tough with J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson back. 
9. Titans—I’m not sure if they’re ready to take the next step up but they will be hard to beat. 
10. Bucs—The bolstered a defense that already with tough with Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 11
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 48

The Redskins last played a game 196 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 56 days. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Breaking down the Alexander pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Breaking down the Alexander pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 14, 12 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

Is Junior Galette hinting at a possible return to the Redskins? I would be very surprised if Galette ever wears a Redskins uniform again although it would make sense for them to talk to him. I think the Redskins should be very nervous about their depth at outside linebacker. Pernell McPhee can get them some pressure, but he has missed 10 games over the last two seasons. Ryan Anderson’s next NFL sack will be his first. You can’t have too many pass rushers; the Redskins could well find themselves in a spot where they don’t have enough. 

Upside outweighed risk in Redskins' selection of Alexander—The selection of Adonis Alexander wasn’t quite a no-brainer, but it was not a tough call for the Redskins to make. Torrian Gray, who recruited and coached Alexander at Virginia Tech, gave the green light so it came down to his potential and what draft pick they were willing to give up. They have two in the fifth round next year and they had three in the sixth. They might as well get one of those late Saturday afternoon picks in a year early and see what they have. We have more analysis of the Alexander pick here and here

If Guice is legitimate, the Redskins running game could explode—With the exception of the 2012-2013 seasons, when quarterback Robert Griffin III was kicking in a lot of yards on the ground, the Redskins have not been in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards since 2008. Derrius Guice could help change that. Read the post for my in-depth look at the running back position. 

Madden has a clear answer for the Alex Smith-Kirk Cousins debate—I don’t know much about Madden ratings, so I don’t have a lot to add here. It doesn’t look to me like the difference between the ratings of Smith and Cousins constitute and “clear” advantage but, again, what do I know?

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Joe Jacoby belongs in the Hall of Fame. If you’re reading this, I think you know that. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 12
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 54

The Redskins last played a game 195 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 57 days. 

In case you missed it