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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Saints

Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Saints

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 3, five days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

My first look at what the Redskins will be facing when they take on the Saints on Monday night. 

Drew Brees just keeps rolling along

The Saints quarterback completed over 80 percent of his passes in the Saints’ first three games. He came back to earth against the Giants with a 56.2 completion percentage but he’s still at a league-leading 75 percent for the year. 

A representative from the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be in the Superdome on Monday night to collect the ball he will throw to break the NFL’s career record for passing yards. Brees needs just 201 to get there and even if the Redskins’ passing defense has a good night he is very likely to set the record.

The Saints pass defense gives back a lot of what Brees gets

It’s a good thing for the Saints that Brees gets a lot of passing yards; defensively, they give back a lot of what they gain. The Saints are 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 31st in adjusted net years per attempt against. 

This doesn’t mean that Alex Smith and company will be able to roll down the field on this unit. Against the Giants, they ran a soft Cover 2 scheme and held New York to 234 yards passing. The Colts used a similar scheme to attempt to frustrate the Redskins’ passing attack in Washington’s Week 2 loss. 

Kamara is the weapon of choice

Alvin Kamara has gone over 100 yards rushing or receiving in three of the Saints’ four games this year. He is tied for the league lead with six touchdowns. The second-year back put away the Giants last Sunday with a 49-yard touchdown run on a play that was designed to just run out the clock. 

And, oh yeah, Mark Ingram, another threat to rush over 100 yards or grab a key pass out of the backfield, is back after serving a four-game suspension. The Redskins’ rushing defense has been shaky in the last two games and they weren’t playing anyone nearly as talented as both members of this duo.

Redskins must keep the lid on

After turnovers, one stat that does a good job of pointing to which team will win an NFL game is explosive plays. Teams that can eat up the field in chunks of 20 yards-plus more often than their opponents have a good chance of winning the game. 

The Saints have piled up a lot of big plays offensively. In four games they have 22 explosive plays. New Orleans has at least six such plays in three of their four games. In three games the Redskins have allowed just five plays of 20 or more yards. If the Redskins can keep the Saints from scoring in a hurry they will have a good chance of winning. If the Saints can tear off a couple of four-play, 75-yard drives, the visitors will be in trouble. 

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The agenda

Today: Alex Smith press conference 12:00; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 5 days; Panthers @ Redskins 11; Cowboys @ Redskins 18

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Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Just days after it was reported that Jordan Reed was still in concussion protocol six months after suffering one last August against the Falcons, the Redskins tight end is apparently healthy once again.

According to The Athletic, Reed has cleared concussion protocol and wants to continue playing professional football. Reed missed the entire season due to the concussion he suffered in Atlanta, the seventh documented concussion of his football career. 

While Reed may still want to suit up, it's unlikely it will be with Washington.

The Redskins are expected to release the tight end, who is entering the second to last season of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed following the 2015 season. The Redskins would save $8.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with Reed prior to June 1.

New head coach Ron Rivera has already parted with multiple veterans, releasing cornerback Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last Friday. Norman had one year remaining on his deal, while Richardson had three.

When asked about the tight end position earlier this month, Rivera wasn't shy about the team needing to improve the unit.

"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." 

Two tight ends the Redskins could seek in free agency are Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, among others.

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Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.

Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.

The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.

Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.

If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.

"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"

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