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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Panthers—Last win over Carolina a while ago

Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Panthers—Last win over Carolina a while ago

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 14, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Kirk Cousins news conference 4:05

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 10; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 18

Injuries of note:
LB Compton (PCL sprain), LB Cravens (muscle flexor), RB Brown (concussion)
Latest injury report

First look at Redskins vs Panthers

A 10-year skid: The Redskins beat the Panthers the first six times they played but now Carolina has won five of the last six including the last four straight. The last Redskins coach to have a win over the Panthers was Joe Gibbs in Week 12 of the 2004 season.

Tough going: The Panthers have a tough rushing defense. They rank sixth in the league, giving up just 3.7 yards per carry. Other than the train wreck of a game they had against the Seahawks on Sunday night a couple of weeks ago, when they allowed Seattle 240 yards rushing, they have been strong against the run lately. Outside of that Seahawks debacle, since Week 6 only the Saints have over 100 yards on the ground in a game against them. The Redskins are 2-4 when they fail to rush for over 100 yards.

Cam rocks vs. the Redskins: Yes, Cam Newton has played well in his three career games against the Redskins, completing 65 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 122.0. He could have a tough time getting it done on Sunday. Newton has had a passer rating of over 100 once this year and that was in Week 2 against the 49ers. He has completed less than half of his passes in each of the last four weeks. Newton can be dangerous running the ball but he is on pace to rush for 390 yards this year, which would by far be the lowest for his career.

Norman vs. his old team: With the Panthers close to elimination from the playoffs, the only juice this game has in Carolina is Redskins cornerback Josh Norman facing off against his old team. Norman did not want to comment on it after the Eagles game and he might not have much to say this week. While he was stunned by the team’s decision to pull the franchise tag last April he landed on his feet in Washington. There’s no reason for the Panthers or their fans to be upset with Norman. In fact, if you gave Panthers GM Dave Gettleman some truth serum he’s probably admit that he blew it, consider that his team hasn’t found even an adequate replacement for Norman and is 30th in the league in passing yards allowed.

Three and out: The Panthers are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to giving the ball away; they are 27th in the league with 24 turnovers and they have multiple turnovers in eight of their 13 games. On the other side of the coin, they also have taken the ball away 22 times, making them the eighth-best team in that category . . . I wonder if Norman will be matched up against a tight end? That’s not a serious question but tight end Greg Olsen is by far the Panthers’ most productive pass catcher with 65 receptions for 907 yards . . . The Panthers can get to the quarterback; they lead the league with 39 sacks. The sacks are spread around pretty well with DE Mario Addison leading the way with 7.5 and DT Kawann Short second with five.

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.

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