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Redskins schedule preview: Week 11 vs. Texans

Redskins schedule preview: Week 11 vs. Texans

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the Houston Texans. 

Week 11 November 18, FedEx Field

2017 Texans: 4-12, T-third in NFC South 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 8.5

Early line: Redskins +3

Key additions: S Tyrann Mathieu, 

Key losses:S Marcus Gilchrist, LB Brian Cushing

Notable: Quarterback Deshaun Watson is likely to be healthy for the start of the season after missing the last nine games of the season with an ACL injury. They also will get back DE J.J. Watt, who missed the last 11 games with an injury. 

Biggest questions: 

  • Without Watt and DE Whitney Mercilus, who also missed the final 11 games, the Texans scoring defense dropped from 11th in the league to 32nd. Will they rebound with the return of the two linemen and the addition of Mathieu? 
  • Watson sure looked like he was the real deal last year, but six starts is a small sample size. Does he stay at the same high level?

Series history

The all-time series is tied 2-2; the Redskins won the first two times the teams played, and Houston has taken the last two. 

Series notables

The first time: December 22, FedEx Field—In their first meeting with Houston, the Redskins prevailed 26-10. Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey threw a pair of touchdown passes and running backs Kenny Watson and Ladell Betts each ran for over 100 yards. They became the first pair of Redskins backs to top the century mark in the same game since 1985.

The last time: September 7, 2015, NRG Stadium—This was Jay Gruden’s first game as the Redskins’ head coach and things did not go well. Washington took an early 6-0 lead on a Darrel Young touchdown run, but the Texans responded with two touchdowns in a two-minute span late in the second quarter. Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense couldn’t respond, and Houston prevailed 17-6. 

The best time: September 24, 2006, Reliant Stadium—Mark Brunell set an NFL record by completing 22 consecutive passes, but it really was the running game that led the Redskins to a 31-15 win. Ladell Betts rushed for 124 yards on 16 carries. Clinton Portis popped up the middle for 30 yards and a touchdown just before halftime. That was part of a 31-0 scoring run after the Texans had taken an early 7-0 lead. 

The worst time: September 19, 2010, FedEx Field—A pair of Clinton Portis touchdown runs, and a Chris Cooley touchdown reception had the Redskins up 27-10 late in the third quarter. Their win probability after the Cooley catch was 98.8 percent but they couldn’t seal the deal. The Texans battled back and tied the game on Andre Johnson’s leaping touchdown reception with two minutes left. 

The Redskins had a couple more chances, but they punted near the end of regulation and Graham Gano couldn’t connect on a 52-yard field goal try in overtime.  After that miss, the Texans drove and Neil Rackers’ 35-yard field goal gave them a 30-27 win. 

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After years of neglect on defensive line, Redskins continue smart moves with Matt Ioannidis deal

USA Today Sports

After years of neglect on defensive line, Redskins continue smart moves with Matt Ioannidis deal

For two decades the Redskins bounced back and forth between neglect and negligence along their defensive line. 

Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, Washington hadn't selected a defensive lineman in the first round since the 1990s. The team just did not invest in the draft in the interior of their defensive line. During that time, there were some big-name free agent acquisitions up front, but those didn't work out either. In fact, the Albert Haynesworth contract might be the worst in the history of the sport. 

The result, largely, was bad play along the defensive front and an inability to stop the run, and that largely coincided with losing football teams. There is a direct correlation. 

In the last two seasons, however, the Redskins dramatically changed their approach.

In 2017, Washington selected defensive tackle Jonathan Allen out of Alabama in the first round. In 2018, Washington again took an Alabama defensive linemen in the first round in Daron Payne. The team also added fifth-rounder Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech. 

This week news emerged from Ashburn that the 'Skins took care of another defensive linemen, 2016 fifth-rounder Matt Ioannidis, with a three-year contract extension with $14 million guaranteed. 

Of all the moves to bolster the defensive line, the new deal for Ioannidis should make 'Skins fans the most excited. 

When Allen slipped to middle of the first round in 2017, it was a no-brainer to pick him. When the Redskins added Payne last season, he was the highest player on their draft board at a position of need. 

Those moves were good, but obvious. 

Inking Ioannidis to a contract extension was anything but obvious, and that's why this move looks so good. 

This is a late-round pick out of Temple, hardly a football factory like Alabama. Ioannidis was cut as a rookie after his first training camp, and the team signed him back to their practice squad. Eventually, he made the active roster in 2016 and played sparingly in parts of 10 games. He finished that year with seven tackles. 

Then, something happened.

The Redskins developed a late-round pick, and while Ioannidis deserves a ton of credit for turning his body into 300 lbs. of bull-rushing muscle, the organization deserves credit too, particularly defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

In his second NFL season, Ioannidis logged 4.5 sacks an 27 tackles in 14 games. Last year, he got 7.5 sacks and 31 tackles in 14 games. 2018 marked the real turning point for Ioannidis. Early on, he ws a beast, and his sack-per-snap numbers ranked among the best in the league. 

Injuries have been an issue for the 25-year-old, but beyond that, Washington was wise to lock Ioannidis up now. 

2019 would be the final season on his rookie deal, and if he performs similarly this year as he did last year, his potential free agent market would have been hot. If he improves this fall, Ioannidis would have commanded a significantly higher deal next offseason than the one he just signed to stay in Washington. 

There's also the precedent that the Redskins front office can identify their valuable young talent and take care of those players. The last two offseasons, Washington has let a number of draft picks walk in free agency. Players like Jamison Crowder, Preston Smith, Ryan Grant, Trent Murphy and Spencer Long are just some of the names. Getting an extension done with Ioannidis reinforces for other players in the 'Skins locker room that the money will come if they work hard and play well. 

Don't forget either that it was head coach Jay Gruden that pushed hard for the team to draft Matt Ioannidis back in 2016. While the head coach faces significant pressure this fall to find a playoff bid, this is a good example of the coach's personnel acumen. 

There's also some long-term roster construction in play. 

The Redskins have three more years of contractual control for 24-year-old Allen, and four more years for the 21-year-old Payne. Now, Ioannidis is under contract for four more seasons. 

That's three high impact players on the defensive line, all under 25 years old, that will be in Burgundy and Gold through at least the 2021-22 season. 

It wasn't long ago that the defensive line was by far the Redskins worst position group on the team. In 2016, they had the worst run defense in the league. 

Credit to the team for fixing that, finally. 

And credit to the team for recognizing young talent, and proactively getting a deal done before Ioannidis hits free agency. 

Redskins fans often say they want their team to do what the good teams do. Here's the formula: find hidden talent late in the draft, develop that talent, sign them long-term. 

With the Matt Ioannidis contract extension, that's exactly what Washington just did. 

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans!