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Need to Know: Final pregame thoughts on Redskins vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Final pregame thoughts on Redskins vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 14, seven days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking points

Here are my final thoughts on today’s game between the Redskins and Panthers. 

Update: Crowder and Thompson reportedly out

Overnight, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that both Chris Thompson (ribs) and Jamison Crowder (ankle) will miss today’s game. Thompson being out will mean that Kapri Bibbs will be the third-down back and Samaje Perine will back up Adrian Peterson. Bibbs can handle the runs and passes on third down just fine but keep an eye on him in pass protection. 

Crowder’s absence will give Maurice Harris his second consecutive start. He filled in for Josh Doctson on Monday night against the Saints and he caught three passes for 47 yards. 

Get pressure on Cam

According to the crew at ESPN NFL Matchup, the Panthers keep Cam Newton well protected. He has been pressured on only 19.6 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest percentage in the NFL. It should be noted that four games is a small sample size and that only one of their opponents so far is in the top 20 in the NFL in sack percentage. 

Of course, the Redskins aren’t near the top of the league in sack percentage either, ranking 18th at 6.1. They may not increase that much against the Panthers since Newton is hard to bring down. He has been sacked seven times this year. Getting him off of his mark and forcing incompletions and turnovers (he has thrown three interceptions) could be just as effective as sacks in slowing down the Carolina offense.

Impact comebacks for Panthers?

Much is being made of Panthers LB Thomas Davis and TE Greg Olson playing for the first time this season. Davis is back after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Olson is returning from a broken foot. Both players were with the Panthers in training camp so it’s not like they are coming in completely cold. But I wonder how much impact the 35-year-old linebacker and 33-year-old tight end will have after their layoffs. It’s not as though the Redskins can ignore either player but if one or both players takes a majority of the snaps it could be an advantage. 

An opportunity for the offense?

Over the past few years, the Panthers’ calling card has been a top-10 defense. They don’t have one of those so far this year. Since giving up eight points to the offensively-challenged Cowboys in Week 1 they have given up 31, 21, and 31 points. Football Outsiders has them ranked 26thin defensive DVOA after they were seventh last year. Looking at the more conventional stats, they allow 7.5 net yards per pass attempt (27th) and 4.6 yards per rushing attempt (25th). 

Will the Redskins continue the pattern?

Going back to Week 16 of last year, the Redskins have not just alternated wins and losses, but they have gone from looking like a quality team one week to a train wreck the next. After last week’s calamity, they are due for a good performance. 

But just being due doesn’t guarantee anything. The Redskins need to straighten out their communication issues in the secondary (since apparently, they didn’t nail that down in the first week of OTAs like they should have). Alex Smith needs to get back to being the quarterback he was against the Packers when he threw for 11 yards per pass attempt. Preston Smith needs to show up. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson need to be healthy enough to put together some semblance of a running game. 

I’ve been bullish on the Redskins in my prediction this season. I have picked them to win three of their four games (I had them losing to the Packers). I’ll give them one more week to prove that my positive outlook on the 2018 Redskins is justified. 

Redskins 24, Panthers 20

The agenda

Today: Panthers @ Redskins 

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Giants 14; Redskins @ Eagles 50

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

The NFL Scouting Combine begins next week, and there are several NFL Draft prospects looking to raise their stock.

Our latest mock draft takes a look at which players could use a solid performance at the scouting combine.

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR LATEST MOCK DRAFT>>

After being a frequent top-5 pick in our early mock drafts, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy's stock has slid a little. Could a solid performance in Indianapolis reestablish the wideout as this year's best in the class, and maybe warrant a top-5 pick?

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa likely will not participate at the combine as he continues to recover from his dislocated hip. Could Oregon's Justin Herbert take advantage of Tagovailoa's absence and catapult himself into the debate of the best signal-caller in the draft alongside LSU's Joe Burrow?

Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, who many expect the Redskins to use the No. 2 pick on, will put his incredible athletic ability on display. Could the 20-year-old make the Bengals rethink their decision of using the No. 1 pick on a QB?

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR LATEST MOCK DRAFT>>

Every year, we see several prospects who come out of nowhere during the combine and establish themselves as first-round picks. We saw it last year with Montez Sweat, Juan Thornhill, and Justice Hill.

But remember, a great combine doesn't always equate to being a first-rounder. Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf stole the show a year ago at the combine but fell to the end of the second round of the draft.

Next week's scouting combine is the first major event of the offseason as the NFL shifts focus to free agency and the draft.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Jordan Reed is still in concussion protocol six months after the injury, per report

Jordan Reed is still in concussion protocol six months after the injury, per report

The seventh documented concussion of Jordan Reed's football career is still affecting him six months later.

According to a report from The Athletic CharlotteReed is still in concussion protocol from a helmet-to-helmet collision that occurred during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons in August. 

Reed did not play a snap in 2019, as the team placed him on injured reserve in October.

The tight end is under contract through 2020, as Reed enters the final year of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed with the team in 2015.

But whether he's on the roster or not is uncertain, as NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay reported that Reed's tenure is likely over in Washington. NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson reported Monday that she doesn't expect Reed to return to Washington, either.

"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said on Redskins Nation on Feb. 4. "That’s a big question mark." 

According to Finlay, the Redskins can still release Reed, even if he remains in protocol.

In his six NFL seasons, Reed has never played more than 14 games in one year. Following his breakout season in 2015, Reed never was able to replicate that success.

To address their need at tight end, the Redskins are one of three teams vying for the services of tight end Greg Olsen, who was released by the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago. Rivera coached Olsen in Carolina for eight seasons.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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