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Need to Know: In the early going the Redskins’ defense is looking a lot like it did last year.

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: In the early going the Redskins’ defense is looking a lot like it did last year.

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, September 30, eight days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

—So far, the Redskins defense is looking a lot like it did last year, with a good pass defense and a porous rushing defense. Using the DVOA metric from Football Outsiders, they are eighth in pass defense (-19.8% DVOA, negative numbers are good on defense) and 31stin rushing defense (10.8% DVOA). 

— What makes the problems with the rushing defense even more concerning is that the only premiere running back they have faced is David Johnson and he was in his first game after missing most of 2017 with an injury. Things get tougher in the next few weeks with Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, and Ezekiel Elliott on tap.

—Many fans and analysts questioned how quickly Alex Smith could get up to speed in Jay Gruden’s offense. So far, he has done well. He is in the top 10 in nearly every major passing statistical category including completion percentage (68.8 percent, ninth), interception percentage (1.0 percent, sixth), passer rating (102.2, ninth), and adjusted net yards per attempt (7.6, eighth). 

—Smith is clearly off to a better start this year than he was in 2014, his first year in Kansas City after he was traded to the Chiefs. He has a significantly better completion percentage (67 percent now compared to 63 percent in 2014) and passer rating (102.2 now, 81.5 then) compared to his first three games as a Chief. Smith has the same number of touchdown passes, four, but he has thrown just one interception this year compared to three in 2014. 

—The traditional stats are in line with the DVOA metric in this case. The Redskins are seventh in passing DVOA at 35.5 percent. The Football Outsiders numbers, however, don’t paint as good a picture of the Redskins’ rushing game as do the conventional stats. They are fourth in the league in rushing yards but a mediocre 18th(-5.7%) in rushing DVOA.

—Overall, the Redskins are a top-10 defense in terms of DVOA, ranking eighth at -8.4 percent. They also make it as a top-10 offense coming in at No. 10 at 8.4 percent. That’s a balanced team, and if the Redskins keep it up they should have a successful season. 

The agenda

Today: Bye week

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 8 days; Panthers @ Redskins 14; Cowboys @ Redskins 21

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

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire adds for Week 11

Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire adds for Week 11

Week 11 has arrived and the waiver wire is getting slimmer and slimmer.

With four teams on a bye, (Sattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans) there are a few replacements available that you can be confident in adding to your lineup.

All Waiver Wire candidates must be available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues.

WEEK 11 Waiver Wire Options

Kyle Allen, QB, Carolina Panthers 
Opponent: vs. Falcons
Available in 89.8% of ESPN leagues

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
Opponent: vs. Bengals
Available in 63.4% of ESPN leagues

Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
Opponent: vs. Jets
Available in 61.5% of ESPN leagues

Devin Funchess, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Opponent: vs. Jaguars
Available in 95.2 % of ESPN leagues

O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: vs. Saints
Available in 55.4% of ESPN leagues

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Brandon Scherff could very well ask for a contract that tops the one Brandon Brooks just signed

Brandon Scherff could very well ask for a contract that tops the one Brandon Brooks just signed

On Monday, one Brandon in the NFL signed a deal that another Brandon in the NFL absolutely noticed.

The first Brandon is Brandon Brooks, a guard whom the Eagles gave a four-year contract extension worth just more than $56 million that'll kick in starting in 2021. His current agreement with Philadelphia runs until 2020 and carries remaining base salaries of $8 million and $7.5 million.

The second Brandon is Brandon Scherff, also a guard and one who's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in a few months. If Scherff truly gets a chance to negotiate with the Redskins or on the open market, he'll likely look for something very close to or even exceeding the numbers Brooks got from Philly.

Brooks' extension has a $14.05 million annual value, which slots just ahead of the Cowboys' Zach Martin when it comes to the highest-paid guards in the sport. Scherff absolutely deserves to ink something that puts him right next to those players, if not ahead of Brooks and all others at the position.

One thing that works in No. 75's favor is his age. Scherff is about to turn 28 years old. Brooks, meanwhile, is already 30. Washington's lineman should have plenty of productive campaigns in his future, wherever that future is. 

Another interesting similarity between Brooks and Scherff is their durability. Both have have returned from a significant injury they suffered in 2018 — Scherff tore his pectoral, while Brooks tore his Achilles — that look like outliers in otherwise reliable careers.  

Scherff is certainly in the same realm when it comes to talent and production as Brooks, too. They've each earned two Pro Bowl nods, and while Brooks may be thought of as the best guard in the league, Scherff isn't far behind.

Plus, as anyone who's followed NFL contracts this decade knows, it often doesn't really matter if the next elite guy to sign is truly better, it just matters that he's elite and he's next to sign.

Those are all factors Scherff could point to when it's time for him to cash in. When will that time come, though?

The Burgundy and Gold, who reportedly offered Scherff an extension worth $13 million a year this past September that didn't really do much for the 2015 first-rounder, could franchise tag him if they want. That move, of course, would be profitable for Scherff but limit his ability to negotiate. 

Now, whether the Redskins go that route or give him something more stable, it's hard to imagine them letting him get away. Trent Williams will very likely never suit up for Washington again, and having to roll out an offensive line in 2020 without Williams and Scherff would be a very unfortunate situation.

Scherff, however, will likely make the organization pay up to ensure that doesn't happen. He said in October he hopes to be a Redskin until he retires, but it doesn't appear he'll do that on a discount. With the way he's played and how his peers are being compensated, he shouldn't have to, either.

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