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5 + 1: It's 'just win, baby' in Oakland for the Redskins

5 + 1: It's 'just win, baby' in Oakland for the Redskins

Five keys to Sunday’s Redskins-Raiders plus a prediction.

1. This game will be an Al Davis special—“Just win, baby”. Don’t look for many style points with the Redskins still searching for offensive consistency and struggling with some defensive fundamentals. They’ll probably have to settle for field goals far more often than most would like (all Redskins fans should drink to Kai Forbath’s health) and the defense could still bend and maybe break on occasion. A blowout win would be great for everyone’s morale going into the bye but a close, scuffling victory might just have to do.

2. If Terrelle Pryor is out and Matt Flynn is in for Oakland, the Redskins will be facing a backup quarterback as the starter for the other team for the fifth time since Mike Shanahan became the head coach. They are 2-2 in the previous four games. Both of the wins came last year against the Eagles’ Nick Foles. In 2011 they lost to Matt Moore of the Dolphins and in 2010 Jon Kitna led the Cowboys to a win over Washington. Perhaps that last one should have an asterisk since the Redskins started their backup Rex Grossman for that game.

3. Which Darren McFadden will the Redskins get? The one who averaged 6.8 yards per carry (19 carries, 129 yards) against the Jaguars? Or the one who averaged 2.8 a pop against the Colts (17 for 48) or a microscopic 0.8 (12 for 9) in Denver? McFadden has enough speed to pop a long run and boost his average substantially if the Redskins don’t solve their tackling woes quickly.

4. It’s hard to figure out what to make of the Raiders’ defense at this poing. They do have 10 sacks but they have yet to intercept a pass. They held the Colts to 274 total yards and the Jags to 248 before getting blasted for 536 yards against the Colts. You could look at their defensive numbers from last year and see that they ranked 18th in terms of yardage but they have turned over almost all of the starters from last year so that won’t tell you much about 2013. They look pretty active and aggressive and we’ll see about how Robert Griffin III and company can do against them.

5. And how well Griffin might play could depend on how well Alfred Morris runs. When the Redskins’ offense was rolling last year, Griffin throwing play-action passes after faking to Morris was a big part of it. An inconsistent running game this year has had ripple effects. The cure is 25 carries for Morris with him grinding out 4-6 yards each time he gets the ball. That will get the defense to cheat up and then we’ll see how ready Griffin really is.

Redskins 23, Raiders 14 

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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

Right or wrong, fans blamed Shawn Lauvao for much of the Redskins struggles on the offensive line last season. Pro Football Focus backs up the fans, as Lauvao landed a -19.1 grade, among the worst in the NFL at the guard spot. 

It's worth pointing out that Lauvao was playing hurt during much of his nine starts before getting shut down for the season just before Thanksgiving. In fact, injuries have probably been the biggest issue for Lauvao in his four seasons with the Redskins. 

In four seasons in Washington, Lauvao has never played a full 16-game slate. Last year he played just nine games, and in 2015 he only played three games. 

That points to what may be the bigger issue for the Redskins: offensive line depth. Last season was wild with the amount of injuries Washington sustained up front. It seems almost impossible for the team to have that many injuries again.

Still, the Redskins lost Arie Kouandjio for the year in the offseason. Kouandjio played better last year than Lauvao, and having both men in Richmond would have provided real competition. 

And that might be the biggest question: Neither Lauvao or Kouandjio represent a difference maker at left guard, yet the team did little to address the position. 

All offseason, the Washington brass walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The organization believes strongly in the players they already have, and outside of signing Paul Richardson and re-signing Zach Brown, the team had a quiet offseason. The Redskins struggled to run the ball the last few years, and still, the team did not look to upgrade at LG. 

It's important to note that the Redskins have two All-Pro caliber offensive linemen in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses is a plus at the right tackle spot too. The team likes Chase Roullier at center too, and they tried to add depth in drafting Geron Christian in the third round and bringing back swing tackle backup Ty Nsekhe as a restricted free agent. 

Left guard will be a question, and it's hard not to think that it will be the weakest position on the O-line. Should that submarine the group? It shouldn't. What if Lauvao gets hurt?  Then things get quite tricky.

For the Redskins, however, the expectation might be that the line needs to perform as a unit, and with talent like Williams and Scherff, that should cover up any weaknesses.

Time, and health, will tell if that plan works. 

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 20, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the cornerbacks are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ coverage metrics, although I did some juggling based on interception totals and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, running backspass rushers, and quarterbacks

1. Patrick Peterson, Cardinals—The athletic Peterson has been All-Pro three times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his seven years in the league. He hasn’t had a big interception total since he got seven in 2012, but that is mostly because quarterbacks only throw his way about once every ten snaps he is in coverage. 

2. Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars—I could easily have ranked Ramsey over Peterson. I went with Peterson because he’s been doing it for longer and he’s only 28. Ramsey has justified his No. 5 selection in the 2016 draft. His long arms and ball skills serve him well. He has the size to defend the bigger receivers and the athleticism to be effective against shifty and speedy receivers. 

3. A.J. Bouye, Jaguars—If Alex Smith tries to throw away from Ramsey he will encounter trouble on the other side. It’s been trendy to say that Bouye is underrated for so long he’s in danger of becoming overrated. But he’s not there yet. Bouye was one of four full-time (played at least 60% of snaps) cornerbacks who did not allow a touchdown pass last year and he had by far the most plays in coverage. 

4. Malcolm Butler, Titans—If the Brady-Belichick Patriots don’t win another Super Bowl, the coach’s decision to keep Butler on the bench as Nick Foles shredded the New England secondary will be marked as the end of that era. Maybe Butler isn’t good enough to have made a difference, but it would have been interesting to see. He’s with the Titans now and he will give Smith problems in December. 

5. Marshon Lattimore, Saints—Last year’s defensive rookie of the year plays an aggressive style both in press man coverage and when tackling receivers who have caught the ball. An ankle injury sent him out of the game against the Redskins early, perhaps one of the reasons why Kirk Cousins was able to light them up for 322 yards and three touchdowns. 

Best of the rest: Desmond Trufant, Falcons; Brent Grimes, Bucs; Logan Ryan, Titans;k Jaire Alexander (rookie), Packers

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

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 6
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 20
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 43

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 51 days. 

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