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Need to Know: Redskins stock up, stock down after Patriots game

Need to Know: Redskins stock up, stock down after Patriots game

FOXBOROUGH, MA—Here is what you need to know on Friday, August 10, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

Here are the players who played well against the Patriots and saw their stock rise and some others who now have declining stock.

Up—WR Cam Sims caught a 57-yard pass from Colt McCoy. It was a nice pass, looped over the fingertips of a leaping safety. Sims made the most of it, staying inbounds and dismissing a few tacklers to get down to the one-year line. Jay Gruden said that he was looking for players who could shine under the bright lights and Sims, who has been inconsistent in practice, needed a good game. 

Down—When QB Kevin Hogan came into the game for the last series of the first half, the Redskins had racked up 259 yards of offense. They ended with 333, meaning that they got 74 yards of offense with Hogan under center. The problems weren't all on him, but he did nothing to elevate the level of play of the offense. He did a few things well, but with the ball in Patriots territory and his team having a chance to take the lead, he coughed up the ball after a sack. 

Up—NT Tim Settle was playing with backups against backups, but that shouldn’t take away from his performance. He dominated the middle, posting five tackles and forcing and recovering a fumble. 

Down—RB Samaje Perine got off a few good runs but he did put the ball on the ground, something he has to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, the fumble, which the Patriots recovered, was negated because of the referees’ questionable assertion that his forward progress had been stopped. Perine was lucky this time, but his next fumble could be his last for the Redskins

Up—Midway through the first quarter, RB Byron Marshall showed why he is a serious candidate to make this roster. On a play from the New England 25, he got matched up against a linebacker and McCoy looked for him all the way. Marshall took in the short pass, turned on the jets, and went in for the touchdown. Not many can do that.

Bureau of statistics 

Only one player who started last night on offense, RB Rob Kelley, might be a Week 1 starter. In all, 29 Redskins did not play.

On the record

Gruden on why so many of the team’s starters did not play: I think a lot of thinking was I want to see our guys play against hopefully a lot of the starters for New England. I think it’s a great opportunity for some of these core backup players to get some great experience against a great team on the road. That was part of it. The other part of it is we have the Jets coming in for a couple of days of practice.

Comment: Yeah, I guess. Bill Belichick did the same thing, so there must be some merit to the strategy. I still think there is some value is giving the starters five to 10 plays just to get them out there. The thing is, coaches like Gruden are terrified of the thought that they might reduce the length of the preseason. If they continue to make the first look just like the fourth, they could disappear in a hurry. 

The agenda

Today: Off day

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 6 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 22 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 30 days

In case you missed it

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler

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With the game put in their hands, the Redskins defense got the job done again

With the game put in their hands, the Redskins defense got the job done again

The Redskins got going quickly on offense against the Packers on Sunday. They scored in four plays the first time they had the ball. After a three and out they drove to another touchdown. In the second quarter they embarked on the longest touchdown drive they have had since 1999, a 98-yard march. By the time halftime came they had scored 28 points. 

That’s great but that four touchdowns are not always enough to beat an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team. In 2016, the last season that Rodgers played all 16 games, Green Bay averaged 27 points per game. Basically, no lead is safe. 

But Jay Gruden played it very safe with the offensive play calling in the second half. Alex Smith, who was on fire in the first half, attempted only five passes in the last 30 minutes. They had 57 yards rushing in the second half, 32 of which came on the Redskins final possession when they drove for a field goal, their only points of the final two quarters. 

It was a similar performance to their season opener against the Cardinals when they were up 21-0 at halftime and then posted just a field goal in the second quarter. 

While the lack of offense in the second half of the Redskins’ two wins has been a talking point among fans and in the media, the key point is that both games turned out in the Redskins’ favor. They now have a defense that Gruden can trust to hold a lead. 

In Arizona, the Redskins defense gave up a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but the lead was never in danger. On Sunday, a fourth-down stop and a takeaway kept the Packers game from ever getting to be a one-score game. 

In the second halves of their three games, including the Week 2 loss to the Colts, the Redskins have given up an average of 147 yards and seven points. It’s a small sample size but so far, they are doing a good job of shutting the door. 

Another thing the Redskins have been doing well defensively is preventing big plays. The longest play against them was the 64-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Packers. Other than that, they have given up just four plays that gained over 20 yards and none longer than 27 yards. 

They are second in total defense. They are giving up a miniscule 4.3 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, a full two yards less than the league average. If you prefer to use the more traditional passer rating stat, opponents have compiled a 77.0, well below the league aggregate rating of 91.2. Again, it’s early but this is a good start. 

The Washington defense will need to keep it going the next two weeks. First up after the bye is Drew Brees of the Saints, who is healthy and completing over 80 percent of his passes. New Orleans also has running back Alvin Kamara, one of the best two-way threats in the game. After that is Cam Newton of the Panthers, who the Redskins never have beaten, and his dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey. 

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NFC East Update: Eagles, Redskins separate from Cowboys, Giants

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NFC East Update: Eagles, Redskins separate from Cowboys, Giants

The season remains young, but a clear declination appears to be forming in the NFC East. The Redskins and Eagles boast capable offenses, and the Giants and Cowboys do not. 

With the Redskins getting the first bye of the division this week, records going forward will not reflect the same number of games played. In a way, that means this could be the most fair comparison for some time of the four NFC East squads. Let's get to it:

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

The big news on Broad Street wasn't that the Eagles got a Week 3 win, but rather the successful return of QB Carson Wentz. He played fine in the 20-16 win over the Colts, not great, but having the gifted young passer back on the field for the first time since a 2017 knee injury provides a big boost for the Eagles.

Philly also piled up more than 150 rush yards in their Week 3 win while holding the Colts running backs to less than 40 yards on the ground. That's the Eagles formula to stack up wins.

Up next: Sept. 30th @ Tennessee

Washington Redskins (2-1)

Talk about a big rebound. The Redskins dominated the first half of play against Green Bay and finished with a double digit win over the Packers. In their two wins, the Redskins have looked like one of the best squads in the NFL. Unfortunately, the ugly loss to Indianapolis sits in the middle.

Still, with the Redskins on a bye for Week 4, fans should be quite encouraged with the state of their team. Adrian Peterson looks to have plenty left in the tank and questions about Alex Smith's ability to find his wideouts seem overblown. Defensively, a young, ferocious group of linemen appear to be the best the team has had in a long time. The offensive line is banged up, and the bye will be quite useful for that group. Of the NFC East teams, the Redskins have the best point differential at +20, which happens with two double digit wins.

Up next: Oct. 8th @ New Orleans

Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

Through three weeks, the Cowboys offense is terrible. Dallas ranks 30th in points-per-game and 31st in yard-per-game. There are only 32 teams. The pass game is killing the Cowboys, as Dak Prescott is averaging less than 150 pass yards per game. That's real bad, but it's not all his fault.

Dallas cut Dez Bryant in the offseason and did nothing to address his absence. The defense is active and physical up front, but in the NFL, teams need to score points. Right now, it's unclear if Dallas will be able to at a reasonable level. 

Up next: Sept. 30th vs Detroit

New York Giants (1-2)

The only team with a division loss, the Giants logged a surprise good win in Week 3 in Houston. Not quite as bad as Dallas on offense, the Giants merely rank in the bottom third of the league in total yards and points-per-game.

Despite the emergence of rookie Saquon Barkley, the Giants are averaging just 87 yards-per-game on the ground. The biggest problem for Big Blue remains the offensive line, and don't expect it to get much better this year. 

Up next: Sept. 30th vs New Orleans

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