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State of the Redskins: Three storylines for the Redskins ahead of their Week 6 matchup

State of the Redskins: Three storylines for the Redskins ahead of their Week 6 matchup

The Washington Redskins enter Week 6 with even more questions than they did the week prior.

Following their blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints, they are set to play another NFC South opponent, the Carolina Panthers. 

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season. 

Top three storylines:

Shaking it off

The Redskins have a short week to shake off their bad loss to the Saints and move on to the Panthers. This loss came with some extra baggage like Josh Norman getting benched, ripped on Twitter by an opposing player, and getting called out by a former teammate. The problems went far beyond Norman; there was plenty of blame to go around. But the schedule doesn’t call for another bye week and they need to adjust quickly to get ready for Cam Newton and company. 

Uneasy about injuries

Jay Gruden said that Josh Doctson was close to being healthy enough to play against the Saints, but he held him out. Maurice Harris started in his place and was target eight times (career high) and made three receptions (tied for career high) for 47 yards (career high). Even though Doctson has not been productive this season (5 rec., 48 yds.) his return will bolster depth and give them flexibility. At running back, the word is that Adrian Peterson (shoulder) and Chris Thompson (ribs) will be able to play on Sunday but you have to wonder about depth at that position.

NFC Least

About the only good news from Week 5 was that the three other teams in the NFC East also lost so the Redskins remain in first place at 2-2. The Cowboys and Eagles both sit at 2-3 while the Giants bring up the rear of the division at 1-4. Like the Redskins, the other three teams have plenty of issues. It seems that if the Redskins can hang around the .500 mark for most of the season they will be able to stay in playoff contention. 

Record: 2-2, 1st in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-0
vs. NFC: 2-1
vs. AFC: 0-1
Home: 1-1
Away: 1-1

Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): -9.0% (22nd, down from 9thlast week)
Playoff chances per FO: 44.4% (-11.6%)

Trending in the right direction: After that Saints game, nothing at all. It’s one of those weeks to get back to work and try to get things moving toward the positive.  

Trending in the wrong direction: The defensive yardage stats took a big hit after Drew Brees’ big night. Going into the game they had given up just 278 yards per game. Coming out the after ballooned up to 320 

Next three games

October 14 vs. Panthers (3-1) — The Redskins haven’t won a game against the Panthers with Cam Newton at quarterback. In fact, they haven’t beaten them with anyone at QB since 2006. Newton is playing as well as he ever has and the decision to let second-year running back Christian McCaffrey run the ball more often has made the Carolina offense a force to be reckoned with.

October 21 vs. Cowboys (2-2) — The Cowboys are having their share of struggles this year, ranking 30th in the passing yards per game with Dak Prescott sitting 30th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt. But Zeke Elliott is leading the league in rushing and he has an average of 110 yards per game in three contests against the Redskins. This is Washington’s first division game of the year. 

October 28 @ Giants (1-4) — Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and Eli Manning all are putting up some good numbers, but it hasn’t added up to much as the Giants have just one win and that’s over the Texans, who were winless going into the game. 

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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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Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

On Tuesday, Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter penned a letter questioning if the NFL is truly prioritizing player safety in its return to work plan, which is expected to begin with training camp at the end of the month.

Hours later, Buffalo Bills wide receiver and former Maryland Terrapin standout Stefon Diggs voiced similar concerns on Twitter, stating "I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable starting back up."

Earlier in the day, he tweeted that he missed football and that he loves the sport.

If and when the NFL does resume this fall, games will be played without fans in some stadiums. Diggs mentioned that it would be "weird" to play in front of an empty stadium, something he's never done before at any level of football.

Even if there are fans at NFL games this fall, they will be away from the playing field. The league has already announced that the first 6-8 rows of each lower bowl section will be blocked off from fans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, those sections will be covered with advertisements, similarly to how the Premier League has done during its restart.

Training camp is set to being on July 28, around the same time both the MLB and NBA will begin/resume their respective seasons. With live-action just a few weeks away, we've seen multiple players across both sports opt-out from playing, including Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

As the NFL season begins to get closer, it's likely only a matter of time before a few players opt-out, too.

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Don't expect the Redskins and Brandon Scherff to agree to a long-term deal before July deadline, per report

Don't expect the Redskins and Brandon Scherff to agree to a long-term deal before July deadline, per report

Brandon Scherff signed his one-year tender with the Redskins in April, and after doing so, told the team's website that he loves playing in Washington and hoped to do so for the rest of his career.

Well, the possibility of that happening may be taking at least a slight hit this offseason, according to a Tuesday report from ESPN's John Keim. Keim tweeted that "there isn't much optimism that a long-term deal will be struck" before the league's July 15 deadline.

If that does indeed happen, the 28-year-old will play out 2020 on the franchise tag and earn $15 million.

Ron Rivera and other members of the organization haven't been shy when it comes to praising Scherff. Back in February, the head coach referred to the guard as "somebody that we really believe is a big part of our offensive line." 

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However, whether it's the overall bizarre nature of this offseason, the uncertainty of how this coming season will unfold or Scherff's recent, serious injury history, it's looking like Scherff is only guaranteed to be a "big part" of the Burgundy and Gold's line for 2020. Simply put, this feels like a very weird time to launch into a major commitment.

If the deadline comes and goes without any unforeseen progress, it'll be up to Scherff to ball out in the franchise's next 16 games, and then look to cash out next March. At that point, this process will start all over again.

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