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Need to Know: Redskins vs. Saints tale of the tape

Need to Know: Redskins vs. Saints tale of the tape

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 5, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking Points

Here is a comparison of the elements of the Redskins and Saints as they prepare for their game on Monday night. 

Quarterback
Alex Smith has top-10 stats this year but Drew Brees’ numbers are in the top five all-time. The Saints’ quarterback isn’t slowing down at age 39, getting off to a sizzling start. He has completed 75 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith has been efficient, and he got the deep passing game going last week but he still is a few notches below the elite status that Brees shares with just a few other quarterbacks. 

Strong advantage Saints

Running Back
This is a similar situation to quarterback. The Redskins have two good running backs in Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson. But the Saints’ Alvin Kamara has 100 yards either rushing or receiving in three of the Saints’ four games. And New Orleans will get back Mark Ingram, who rushed for over 1,100 yards last year. 

Strong advantage Saints

Wide receivers/tight ends
The Saints will have the best receiver on the field in Michael Thomas, who has more receptions through four games than any other player in NFL history (42). Paul Richardson of the Redskins will be the second best, although Ted Ginn of the Saints still has a few deep balls left in him. The best tight end on the field will be Washington’s Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis also is better than the Saints’ starter, Benjamin Watson. This is close, but Thomas tilts the balance to the home team. 

Advantage Saints

Offensive Line
While it would be a mistake to underestimate the Saints’ offensive line, they aren’t quite up to the level of the Redskins’ group. Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are one of the better tackle tandems in the league and Brandon Scherff has Pro Bowl credentials. The Saints group is, from left to right, Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford, and Ryan Ramczyk. Their strength is that there really isn’t a weak link on the line. 

Advantage Redskins

Defensive Front
Both teams have a top edge rusher. Both Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan and Washington outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had 13 sacks last year. This year, however, it’s a different story as Jordan has four sacks and Kerrigan has none. The Saints are third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, but the fact that the New Orleans pass defense has been very leaky has teams throwing the ball more and running it less. 

The Redskins’ young defensive line of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Matt Ioannidis is already living up to its potential. The Saints traded away next year’s first-round pick to take DE Marcus Davenport, who is being worked into the lineup. Washington has a slight advantage in the non-edge linebackers as Mason Foster and Zach Brown have better playmaking potential than the Saints’ Manti Te’o, A.J. Klein, and Demario Davis.  

Slight advantage Redskins

Defensive Backs
Last year, New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. So far this year he has not been playing up to that level, allowing 75 percent completions on passes thrown into his coverage, per Pro Football Focus. He is part of a secondary that has given up an adjusted net yards per pass average of 9.9 yards. It’s a passing league this year but compare that to the league ANY/A of 6.5.

The Redskins are giving up 4.3 adjusted net yards per attempt, second best in the NFL. If you prefer the traditional passer rating metric, Washington opponents have compiled a 77.0 rating, third in the NFL, while the Saints’ opposing quarterbacks have rolled up a rating of 128.7, which is 31st in the league. 

Strong advantage Redskins

Special Teams
Neither team has done much outstanding on special teams. The Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins has a better touchback rate than New Orleans’ Will Lutz but Washington has difficulty returning kickoffs (last in the NFL at 14.6 yards/return) so that doesn't make much difference. The Saints are 31st in punt returns with a 3.9-yard average. It appears that this game will be decided on offense and defense. 

Even

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The Agenda

Today: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 2:00

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 3 days; Panthers @ Redskins 9; Cowboys @ Redskins 16

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Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same. Andrew Luck's sudden retirement shook up the sports world and will absolutely alter fantasy football drafting strategies.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

Quarterback always seems to be the murkiest position during fantasy drafts. There is always that one person that selects Aaron Rodgers, and now this year Patrick Mahomes, WAY too early and throws the remainder of the draft selections out of proportions. The best methodology is to select your quarterback as far back in the draft as possible. The dangers of selecting too early vary, and it's not worth it to blow that high of a pick on a player who puts up comparable stats to someone you can grab much later

TIER 1: Showtime

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 5,097 Passing YDs, 50 Passing TD, 12 INT, 272 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB1
Previous Ranking: 1

TIER 2: Elite Starters

2. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 4,165 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 9 INT, 551 Rushing YDS, 5 Rush TD, 2018 QB4
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 Stats: 3,296 Passing YDS, 33 Passing TD, 7 INT, 299 Rushing YDS, 2017 QB5
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 4,442 Passing YDS, 25 Passing TD, 2 INT, 269 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB6
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 3: Near Elite

5. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 3,725 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 14 INT, 131 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB16
Previous Ranking: 6

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 4,924 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB2
Previous Ranking: 7

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 3,395 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 13 INT, 488 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB13
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 3,992 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 5 INT, 22 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB8
Previous Ranking: 9

TIER 4: Late-round options

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 3,448 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 376 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB9
Previous Ranking: 10

10. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 4,308 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 2018 QB11
Previous Ranking: 11

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Ranking:
 12

12. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 2,992 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 14 INT, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 13

TIER 5: Potential is there

13. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 4,688 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 108 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB7
Previous Ranking: 14

14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 5,129 Passing YDS, 34 Passing TD, 15 INT, 98 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB3
Previous Ranking: 15

TIER 6: Backup Options

15. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

2018 Stats: 3,223 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 12 INT, 421 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB15
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 4,298 Passing YDS, 30 Passing TD, 10 INT, 123 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2018 QB12
Previous Ranking: 17

17. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
2018 Stats: 2,074 Passing YDS, 10 Passing TD, 12 INT, 639 Rushing YDS, 8 Rushing TD, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 18

18. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 3,885 Passing YDS, 22 Passing TD, 8 INT, 305 Rushing YDS, 6 Rushing TD, 2018 QB10
Previous Ranking: 19

19. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2018 Stats: 1,201 Passing YDS, 6 Passing TD, 3 INT, 695 Rushing YDS, 5 Rushing TD, 2018 QB28
Previous Ranking: 20

20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2018: Tore ACL in Game 3
Previous Ranking: 21

21. Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars
2018 Stats: 1,413 Passing YDS, 7 Passing TD, 4 INT, 2018 QB35
Previous Ranking: 22

22. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
2018 Stats: 4,049 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 10 INT, 2018 QB17
Previous Ranking: 23

23. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 4,355 Passing YDS, 29 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB14
Previous Ranking: 24

24. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 3,777 Passing YDS, 21 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2018 QB19
Previous Ranking: 25

25. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2018 Stats:
2,865 Passing YDS, 17 Passing TD, 15 INT, QB26
Previous Ranking: NR

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Redskins veterans agree on the one quality that helped Case Keenum become starter

Redskins veterans agree on the one quality that helped Case Keenum become starter

After Jay Gruden announced Sunday that Case Keenum would be the Redskins starter in Week 1 against the Eagles, three Washington veterans were asked for their reaction. Oddly enough, all three used the exact same word to explain why they feel like Keenum deserved the job.

"Case is very consistent," Vernon Davis said.

"He's consistent," Josh Norman said.

"Just being consistent," Adrian Peterson said.

It's a very appropriate descriptor for the 31-year-old. All throughout training camp in Richmond and other offseason practices in Ashburn, Keenum was steadier than Dwayne Haskins and more reliable than Colt McCoy.

Plus, when you consider that the franchise's head coach is in dire need of early wins as opposed to letting a rookie signal caller figure things out, you realize that while this may be big news, it's absolutely not shocking news.

"Case has come in here and picked up the offense extremely well, had great confidence and command over the team," Gruden said in his press conference where he named Keenum the winner of the long, winding QB competition. "I think we have great confidence that Case can lead us to a win against Philadelphia."

Gruden would go on to say that as long as Keenum is producing, he will remain the No. 1 guy. As for whether he still believes he's in a day-to-day race, Keenum told reporters he's constantly competing against himself and will focus on that instead.

So, how does Keenum hold onto the top spot of the depth chart for all of 2019?

Well, if he can encapsulate the quality that Davis, Norman and Peterson noticed from him since he arrived, that'll go a long way.

Much like last season, the plan for this season's Redskins is to win games behind a strong rushing attack and a bullying defense. Keenum will need to make vital throws, of course, but Gruden likely won't be asking him to put together 350-yard, three touchdown days too often.

If Keenum is able to distribute the ball, limit his turnovers as best as he can and sustain drives by being clutch on third down, then there's a chance he keeps this gig for a long time.

If he plays erratically, however, and becomes the reason the Burgundy and Gold aren't winning, then Gruden will be forced to turn to Haskins or McCoy (if he gets healthy) to try and save things.

Sure, those who are skeptical of the situation probably have a right to be. Keenum has been totally fine in live action during the preseason, yet that's about as complimentary as you can be.

Perhaps, though, totally fine is the precise level Keenum needs to perform at. The Redskins would love for him to be better, of course, but as long as he at least remains there, he should remain the starter, too.

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