Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 23, 10 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.
The Redskins last played a game 234 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 18 days.
Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Player availability, Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences after practice, approx. 3 p.m.
—Preseason national TV vs. Bengals (8/27) 4
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 25
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 32
Five reasons for concern
Yesterday we looked at reasons to be optimistic about the 2017 Redskins. Today, here are some potential roadblocks that will keep the team from improving and may cause them to take a few steps back.
Kirk Cousins will have difficulty duplicating his 2016 season—Last year, Cousins became one of 10 quarterbacks to pass for over 4,900 yards in a season. Of those 10 only two, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford, have done it more than once. No, Tom Brady hasn’t done it more than once and neither did Peyton Manning or Dan Marino. If Cousins can’t, the passing game, the strength of the team, won’t be quite as strong.
The defensive line is likely to be only marginally improved—Yes, they drafted Jonathan Allen but they lost Chris Baker. Jim Tomsula is one of the best D-line coaches in the league but so far, the two moderately-expensive free agents the team signed are duds. The line a long-term rebuilding project and anything more than baby steps this year will be a bonus.
The safety position—The Redskins “fixed” this position with a wing and a prayer. In a league where competent safeties are hard to come by, D.J. Swearinger is on his fourth team in five years in the league. How good can he be? And Su’a Cravens is a step slow and he’s missing some vital time while recovering from a knee injury. The position should be an upgrade from last year’s group, which included Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a quality unit.
Depth in important spots—I had interior O-line depth on my list as I was starting to draft this post and that was before news of Spencer Long’s injury came out. His place will be taken by Chase Roullier, a sixth-round pick who played one year of center at Wyoming. Next up in the interior line is either Kyle Kalis, an undrafted rookie, or Arie Kouandjio, who hasn’t been able to seriously push for a starting job since he was a fourth-round pick in 2015. And with the D-line starters being questionable it’s hard to have much confidence in the backups.
The schedule—Yes, often what looks like a daunting game at the start of the year turns out to be not so though when you play it. But there is some history the Redskins will have to deal with, particularly on the road. The Chiefs are 4-1 on Monday nights at home since 2000 and they weren’t a very good team for a good chunk of that time span. The Seahawks are 34-6 at home since 2012. There are other factors as well. Ezekiel Elliott will be back for both games against the Cowboys. That five-game winning streak against the Eagles is bound to end this year. Will they be able to get juiced up for a trip to LA to play in a massive stadium that might be half full? Then another one there to play in a 30,000-seat soccer stadium? There are banana peels everywhere you look.
Tandler on Twitter
Let me guess. Fast food? https://t.co/7YUw7pgtnE— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) August 22, 2017
In case you missed it
- Lots of changes on Redskins' D-line but are they for the better?
- Best Redskins players to follow on Twitter
- Injury breeds opportunity for rookie center Roullier
- Could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?
- The 2017 Redskins—5 reasons for optimism