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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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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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