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Washington Redskins go back to work seeking consistency

Washington Redskins go back to work seeking consistency

The Redskins will get back to work today, getting back together at Redskins Park for an 11:00 practice. This will be a light session as they have a week to get ready for their next game against the Saints next Monday night. 

The main thing they will have to work on defensively is figuring out how to contain quarterback Drew Brees, Mike Thomas, and Alvin Kamara. 

As far as the quarterback and his favorite target go, they will be studying some film from the Saints’ game against the Giants yesterday. Brees came into the game with a completion percentage of over 80 and gaining 8.4 yards per pass attempt. The Giants cooled him down, holding him to 57 percent completions and a very mortal 6.8 yards per attempt. Thomas had at least 10 receptions in each of the Saints’ first three games. The Giants held him to four catches for 47 yards. 

When it comes to Kamara, they won’t learn much from yesterday. The second-year running back rolled for 134 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. The Saints also get back Mark Ingram, who ran for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, after his four-game suspension. Going into the game the Redskins are giving up an average of 4.5 yards per carry, 23rdin the NFL. Rushing defense will be a big priority in Ashburn this week. 

Just as important as preparing for their upcoming opponent is the need for the Redskins to work on some persistent issues that have popped up during their 2-1 start to the season. One is the aforementioned rushing defense. In the big picture, the defensive line usually gets the job done as designed but the linebackers, both inside and outside, are not always there to make the stop. They haven’t been burned by the rushing defense problems yet as the most rushing yards they have given up in a game is 104. But upcoming opponents will look at that 4.5 yards per carry average the Redskins are giving up and will test it. 

On the offensive side of the ball, the Redskins need to get their wide receivers more involved in the offense. None of the three starters has double-digit receptions. The long receptions for Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson are 18 and 14 yards, respectively. Paul Richardson has receptions of 46 and 34 yards and the Redskins need to see more of that. 

The other area the Redskins need to improve is not a matter of X’s and O’s or getting the players to execute those plays better. It’s about consistency. Their last time out, the Redskins beat the Packers, who are likely to finish the season with a winning record. The Saints probably will finish above .500 as well. Since Jay Gruden has been the Redskins’ head coach they have not won back-to-back games against teams that finished the season with a winning record. The lack of consistency has been maddening and costly. The Redskins inability to get a winning streak going prevents them from getting into legitimate, consistent playoff contention.

The same inconsistency prevented them from being 3-0 with the early command of the NFC East. Strong efforts against the Cardinals and Packers led to comfortable wins, but a flat performance against the Colts resulted into their only loss. If they can avoid games like the one against Indy they could exceed the expectations of many. 

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Questions facing Ron Rivera: What will cornerback look like now that Josh Norman is gone?

Questions facing Ron Rivera: What will cornerback look like now that Josh Norman is gone?

With Josh Norman no longer a Redskin and Quinton Dunbar seemingly unhappy with his standing on the team, cornerback is an issue that's rising up Ron Rivera's lengthy to-do list.

Finding a solution to the Trent Williams dilemma, making sure Dwayne Haskins has what he needs to succeed and figuring out what to do with the No. 2 draft pick are all likely ahead of fixing corner on the coach's list, and rightly so.

That said, he probably now has circled CB and drawn an upward arrow next to it, indicating its increasing prominence.

The Norman release was an easy place for the team's new leader to begin. While it would've been intriguing to see Rivera try to reinvigorate Norman's career, No. 24's age, decline in speed and salary all made him extremely expendable. Still, it does mean the franchise is now without a DB who started the overwhelming majority of games in the past four seasons.

Next, Rivera will have to get an idea about how another starter is feeling.

While Dunbar has apparently backed off his recent trade demand, it's clear he's not pleased with the money he's making and is also a bit insecure about where he stands in this new version of the organization. Can Rivera change his opinion, either by initiating a contract adjustment or calming Dunbar's mind about his future, or will the receiver-turned-defender be moved this offseason, too?

The ending of that storyline will obviously impact the entire depth chart in a big way.

Those are the two important secondary pieces who wore Burgundy and Gold in 2019 that Rivera focused on (in Norman's case) or will soon focus on (in Dunbar's case). Others from 2019, like Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland, will return and contribute in their own right.

But there are also lots of guys who wore lots of different colors last year who'll soon be worth monitoring in free agency as well. Fortunately, there'll be plenty of targets for Rivera and Kyle Smith, depending on how aggressive they want to be.

There are the well-known names who are about to cash in, like James Bradberry, a former Panther who's already stated that he wouldn't mind a reunion with Rivera if he can't work out a deal with Carolina. Chris Harris also falls into this classification.

Then there are some mid-tier options, such as Bashaud Breeland. Breeland was drafted by the Redskins and recently won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs. He also was slated to sign with the then Rivera-coached Panthers a few offseasons ago before a fluky injury voided that agreement. Bradley Roby and Darqueze Dennard are in a similar place as Breeland.

Beyond those groups, there are even cheaper free agents as well as later draft picks. Looking ahead, as long as the Redskins keep the second pick in this April's draft, they won't be selecting a cornerback. That, plus the fact that they don't have a second-rounder as of now, means whatever prospects they end up with will come later in the event.

As two former linebackers, Rivera and Jack Del Rio surely understand the significance of fortifying and in turn want to fortify the front line of their defense, and they are one Chase Young choice away from doing so. They'll also be keen on improving their old stomping grounds to ensure the middle of the unit is reliable.

However, cornerback can't be overlooked. With the way the NFL has slanted toward the offense during the last decade and the continued influx of talent at wideout and tight end, having multiple corners who can match up with those pass catchers is a must. Because of that, corner should certainly be close to the center of Rivera's mind.

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0: Who needs to standout in Indianapolis?

The NFL Scouting Combine begins next week, and there are several NFL Draft prospects looking to raise their stock.

Our latest mock draft takes a look at which players could use a solid performance at the scouting combine.

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR LATEST MOCK DRAFT>>

After being a frequent top-5 pick in our early mock drafts, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy's stock has slid a little. Could a solid performance in Indianapolis reestablish the wideout as this year's best in the class, and maybe warrant a top-5 pick?

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa likely will not participate at the combine as he continues to recover from his dislocated hip. Could Oregon's Justin Herbert take advantage of Tagovailoa's absence and catapult himself into the debate of the best signal-caller in the draft alongside LSU's Joe Burrow?

Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, who many expect the Redskins to use the No. 2 pick on, will put his incredible athletic ability on display. Could the 20-year-old make the Bengals rethink their decision of using the No. 1 pick on a QB?

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR LATEST MOCK DRAFT>>

Every year, we see several prospects who come out of nowhere during the combine and establish themselves as first-round picks. We saw it last year with Montez Sweat, Juan Thornhill, and Justice Hill.

But remember, a great combine doesn't always equate to being a first-rounder. Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf stole the show a year ago at the combine but fell to the end of the second round of the draft.

Next week's scouting combine is the first major event of the offseason as the NFL shifts focus to free agency and the draft.

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