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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 29, seven days before the Washington Redskins go to Seattle to play the Seahawks.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins kickoff, 3:30, NBC Sports Washington; Cowboys @ Redskins 4:25

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 7
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 14
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 25

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

—The Redskins will be without Trent Williams and it would not be a shock of we were to find out at about 3 p.m. that Brandon Scherff also is inactive. Even if Scherff can play through his MCL injury, he may not be as mobile and effective as he usually is. With Ty Nsekhe still a week or two away from returning after a core muscle injury, T.J. Clemmings, who has started 31 NFL games, will start in place of Williams. He allowed nine sacks for the Vikings last year, although it should be noted that Sam Bradford takes a lot of sacks.

—We’re not even sure who will start if Scherff can’t go. Tyler Catalina was listed as questionable as he recovers from a concussion. If he is out, they may have to start Arie Kouandjio, a familiar face who was signed yesterday. But he should know the playbook, having spent the last two seasons plus all of the offseason and training cap with the Redskins. It’s far from ideal but it’s one of those desperate times call for desperate measures situations. One sign of the quandary the Redskins are in is that the backup who inspires the most confidence is sixth-round rookie center Chase Roullier, who will start in place of Spencer Long. 

—The Redskins should be in better shape defensively. Of course, they are without Mason Foster and Jonathan Allen, who are on injured reserve. But it looks like Josh Norman is set to return from the broken rib that has kept him out the last two games. And Preston Smith, who had to leave the Eagles game with a groin injury, is expected to start, although he may be on a limited snap count.

—The key to the Redskins’ chances will be the defensive front holding up against the running of Ezekiel Elliott. The second-year player is heating up after a tepid start to the season. He has averaged 131 yards rushing the last two games. If Elliott runs that well in what are expected to be rainy and windy conditions, the Redskins will be in trouble. If they can hold him to about 90 yards, which is what Elliott averaged in two games against them last year, they could have a fighting chance on a day where points could be hard to come by.

Prediction: I am giving the Redskins a puncher’s chance of pulling out a win. Sometimes you can get by for a game or two with some of your best players on the sideline. Clemmings for 16 games could be a big problem; for a game or two, maybe not. Maybe they can load up to stop the run, have an intact group of defensive backs keep tight coverage on the receivers, and pull out a win. Maybe, but it’s not likely. Even if the defense plays well, it’s difficult to see the Redskins scoring enough to pull out this one.

Cowboys 20, Redskins 14
Season prediction record: 2-4

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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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

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 

Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

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