Redskins

Quick Links

Week 11 Redskins vs Texans: An opportunity for a statement game at FedEx Field

Week 11 Redskins vs Texans: An opportunity for a statement game at FedEx Field

If the Redskins want to make a statement, Sunday marks a real opportunity. 

Washington, sitting at 6-3 and in first place of the NFC East, hosts Houston, a team that sits at 6-3 and in first place of the AFC South. Despite their records, neither team gets much consideration among the real Super Bowl contenders in the NFL. 

Like any NFL team, both the 'Skins and Texans have weaknesses. And unlike the top NFL teams, both the Texans and the 'Skins have a few warts, too. 

The team that best plays to their strengths will leave FedEx Field on Sunday at 7-3, almost assured of a playoff spot and no longer looking for a signature win. 

Going streaking

The Texans started the season bad, losing their first three games. Since then, Houston hasn't lost. Bill O'Brien's team didn't play last week, enjoying their bye in the actual middle of the season unlike the Redskins, but it's possible the layoff slowed the momentum.

When Houston last played, the Texans escaped Denver with a narrow, last-second victory. A six-game win streak is incredibly hard to come by in the NFL, and a seven-game heater is even harder to put together.

So. Much. Talent.

Not many teams can boast the type of elite talent like the Texans. The team has two possible future Hall-of-Famers in J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins both playing in their prime. Watt has nine sacks in nine games, and the Houston defense aggressively moves him around on the defensive line.

That means Watt will face up against Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses, but also probably inside against right guard Tony Bergstrom. Charley Casserly described Watt against Bergstrom as a significant mismatch, and Washington will need to be creative to slow down the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

As for Hopkins, expect Redskins cornerback Josh Norman to travel with the athletic Texans wideout for much of the game. Hopkins is averaging nearly 100 yards receiving per game, and has seven touchdowns in nine games. He will be a major part of the Houston attack. Oh yeah, we didn't even mention Deshaun Watson or Jadeveon Clowney.

Ground game

The Redskins and the Texans run the ball well. Washington ranks 10th in the NFL on the ground, averaging 121.2 yards-per-game. Houston ranks 11th, averaging 120.2 yards-per-game.

For the Redskins, however, the run game is their only means of offense. Their pass game ranks in the bottom third of the NFL, and in four of his last five games, Alex Smith has thrown for fewer than 180 yards. Weirdly, all four of those sub-200 passing yard games from Smith have resulted in wins for Washington.

The Texans throw the ball better, ranked 18th in the NFL, but aren't the type of dominant offense that the Redskins have struggled against (cough Atlanta, cough New Orleans).

Turn around bright eyes

Few things change NFL games like turnovers, and the Redskins' win last week in Tampa might be the best example. Washington got dominated in just about every offensive category, but the Bucs turned the ball over four times, and the 'Skins skated with a 16-3 victory.

At +4 in turnover margin, the Texans take care of the ball, but not like the +11 Redskins. Watson has thrown seven INTs this season. Not a lot, but four more than Smith. A huge part of the Redskins winning formula is protecting the ball and generating turnovers, and certainly Jay Gruden wants to replicate that on Sunday. 

They said it

  • Jay Gruden on the Redskins mindset in first place: "We're obviously not satisfied or sitting in the lounge chair with our feet up right now relaxing. We've got to get back to work and continue to work. We know there is a lot of football ahead of us, a lot of great teams come in here to play and we have to go there to play and we have to do better. We have to do better on offense and there's a lot more for us to get offensively and defensively for that matter. I'm glad that we're winning without a doubt."
  • Alex Smith on facing J.J. Watt and the Texans defensive line: "They are one of the most disruptive fronts in football. I think when you just talk about just creating problems, penetration. They're all over the place. They obviously are really, really talented. They get up the field."
  • Texans coach Bill O'Brien on Redskins RB Adrian Peterson: "He is obviously one of the best to ever play the game. I mean, he's big, strong, fast, has got good vision, great cutting ability, very, very difficult to stop."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

REALLY WANT MORE? WATCH THIS:

The 1991 matchup between the Redskins and Oilers is the only game D.C. fans should think of when they hear Washington vs. Houston. 

Quick Links

Perception not meeting reality in free agency conversation around Landon Collins

screen_shot_2019-02-21_at_9.35.51_pm.png
USA Today Sports Images

Perception not meeting reality in free agency conversation around Landon Collins

Redskins fans can be an excitable bunch, particularly when it comes to safeties that mold their style of play after the late Sean Taylor. 

After releasing DJ Swearinger prior to Week 17 last season, Washington has a hole at the safety position. That, combined with recent news of Giants standout Landon Collins cleaning out his locker and possibly preparing to leave the organization, could mean an elite safety prospect hits the open market. 

Add it all up, and some 'Skins fans are drooling over the possibility of Collins joining the Redskins. 

Now is the time for a dose of reality. 

New York still controls Collins' contract situation. The Giants have about two weeks to decide if they're going to use the franchise tag on Collins, guaranteeing a $12 million salary for the 2019 season. 

Word is Collins doesn't want to be tagged, and might even skip offseason workouts if the Giants go that route. Skipping the offseason and skipping the regular season are very different. The other thing that could happen, however, is that the tag allows the two sides the time to negotiate a long-term deal to keep Collins in New York. 

Beyond the franchise tag, hurdles still remain before Collins could join the Redskins. 

The biggest hurdle? Cash. 

Washington has about $17 million in salary cap space available. The team will need around $9 million just to sign all of their selections in April's NFL Draft.

The 'Skins could make room for Collins, but that would mean shedding salary. Players like Zach Brown and Stacy McGee could be cap casualties, and there could be some cap relief if the organization can get a long-term extension done with Brandon Scherff. 

Still, Collins is a three-time Pro Bowler that also has an All Pro season on his resume. He's the top-rated safety looking at free agency.

He's going to cost a lot. 

Even if Washington opens up some cap space, maybe doubling their available room, the margins are still fairly small. 

The Colts have more than $107 million in cap space. The Jets have $102 million in space. There are eight other teams with at least $50 million in cap space.

If Washington can double their cap space, that would still be less than $35 million. 

The Redskins have a need at safety. Landon Collins might hit the open market. 

Those are facts. 

The Redskins signing Landon Collins in free agency sounds more like fan fiction. 

Never say never, but temper that excitement Redskins fans.  

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

The Steelers won't tag Le'Veon Bell, meaning the RB will soon be an unrestricted free agent

usatsi_10499383_141983962_lowres.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

The Steelers won't tag Le'Veon Bell, meaning the RB will soon be an unrestricted free agent

Most NFL teams spend years searching for All-Pro offensive weapons. But in the past few days, the Steelers have indicated they're about to move on from two such players.

On Tuesday, Antonio Brown met with team management, and the franchise reportedly decided trading Brown was in their best interest.

Then, on Wednesday, Pittsburgh's GM said there would be no more tags applied to Le'Veon Bell, meaning he'll be an unrestricted free agent this March. 

There had been speculation the Steelers may continue their messy relationship with the running back by placing the transition tag on him. In the end, though, he'll get what he's wanted for quite some time now, albeit later than he wanted it: a chance for a big new contract on the open market.

Now, for all the Redskins fans reading this (hopefully of which there are many, because that'll make my bosses happy), the obvious, yet longshot, question is: Any chance Bell comes to Washington?

The answer, as with any high-priced free agent these days, is almost definitely not. The Redskins don't have money to burn like they routinely did a decade ago, and Bell's going to be craving lots of cash.

Furthermore, if the 'Skins are going to sign a running back, they're much more likely to bring back that Hall of Famer who went over 1,000 yards in 2018 despite arriving in August. Adrian Peterson's yearly salary should be about a third of what Bell's will be, the deal will be shorter and everyone on the Burgundy and Gold would welcome additional time with that particular No. 26.

Bell's going to make someone's offense a lot scarier in 2019. Just don't expect it to be Jay Gruden's.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: