Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 10, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Talking points

After a bad loss in New Orleans, a number of Redskins will be in the spotlight on Sunday. Here are five players to watch during Redskins vs. Panthers.

QB Alex Smith

Against the Saints, Smith posted a passer rating of 69.9, his worst since he had a 56.1 rating for the Chiefs in a December 2016 game against the Titans. Usually, Smith is on this list just because he is the quarterback and he doesn’t play well the Redskins are unlikely to win. But after a performance like he had against the Saints he will be under the microscope much more than usual. A few poor performances in a row and chatter about his age and his fit in the offense will grow. 

G Brandon Scherff

The offensive line has been inconsistent, and Scherff has been part of their problems. In the last two games, he has allowed a sack, a QB hit, and two hurries. Those aren’t bad numbers for your average NFL guard but typically Scherff doesn’t allow the quarterback to get bothered that often in a month’s worth of games. Scherff going to get paid $12.5 million under his fifth-year option next year and he’s going to be looking for a long-term deal that pays him at least that much annually. He needs to be much better.

TE Jordan Reed

Reed was getting on a roll before Monday night. He averaged 4.6 receptions and 56 yards before getting just one for 21 yards in New Orleans. Since the start of the season, Reed’s workload has remained on the light side, around 40 snaps per game as he continues to work his way back from toe surgery that limited his offseason conditioning program. He will get worked into the lineup more and more often over the next few weeks and any game he could explode with a 100-yard, multi-touchdown game. 


OLB Preston Smith

Ryan Kerrigan got out of the zero-sack club against the Saints and now it’s Smith’s turn. At this point last year Smith had four sacks. And he finished with eight. He also got off to a slow start in 2016 with no sacks through his first five games and he finished the year with 4.5. A similar performance this year would not look good on his resume and it won’t help his ability to collect big money as a free agent when the season is over. 

CB Josh Norman

I don’t think you need much elaboration here. He was bad enough against the Saints to get benched for a series after halftime. Former teammate DeAngelo Hall said that Norman is more focused on being a celebrity than he is about being a good player. His first interception since Christmas Eve in 2016 would go a long way towards quieting the noise. 

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The agenda

Today: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky press conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Panthers @ Redskins 3 days; Cowboys @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Giants 17