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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure against the Giants

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure against the Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 30, two days before the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:00; Jay Gruden press conference, player availability after practice approx. 1:30

Days until: Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 2; Wild card playoff round starts 8; Division playoff round start 15

Injuries of note:
Injured reserve:
S Whitner (quad)
Out: CB Dunbar (concussion), LB Cravens (upper arm)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), RB Kelley (knee), DE Baker (ankle)
Latest injury report

Five Redskins under pressure against the Giants

QB Kirk Cousins—This is, in essence, a playoff game for the Redskins and those are the games in which quarterbacks are judged. If he doesn’t play well and the Redskin lose, this game and the actual playoff game that the Redskins lost last year (Cousins didn’t play particularly well against the Packers) will be part of the discussion as his new contract is debated and negotiated.

WR DeSean Jackson—He’s another player who will be up for a new contract and needs a strong finish. But within the context of the game, he will need a big catch or two for the Redskins to generate some offense, especially if Jordan Reed isn’t at 100 percent. It looks like Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins may sit with an injury and that could open the door for Jackson.

DE Chris Baker—In the Week 3 game in the Meadowlands, Baker got a hard sack of Eli Manning. Before he got hit, Manning was on a roll; after it he was very ordinary. Another similar sack would get Manning out of the game in a hurry as Ben McAdoo would not be willing to risk injury to his quarterback if it looks like he is in danger.

CB Josh Norman—It seems unlikely that Odell Beckham will play the whole game but all he needs is one play to put the Redskins in a hole. Norman will be on him and when he can’t prevent Beckham from making a catch he needs to make sure he gets the receiver to the ground.

S Duke Ihenacho—Not many liked the play of Donte Whitner but he was starting over Ihenacho. This week it will be Ihenacho getting the snaps at strong safety with Whitner on injured reserve. Ihenacho needs to show that he’s dependable. He also needs to fix one big problem. Ihenacho leads the team in missed tackles with 15. Nobody else has more than 11. If he is going to lock down the position for as long as the Redskins’ season lasts, he needs to shore up that area.

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In case you missed it

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10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

Over-simplification can be dangerous, but at the same time, some problems boil down to a root cause. 

The Redskins play-action pass game looked bad in 2018, and if you listen to head coach Jay Gruden, much of that might have hinged on the ability of his tight ends to run block. 

Back in March Gruden opened up about some of his team's offensive struggles in 2018 and the coach pointed out that his tight end rotation varied greatly on if the team was going to run or pass. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis tended to come off the field in clear run situations, while Jeremy Sprinkle didn't get many snaps on pass plays. 

As the season went on, that became obvious for opposing defense. 

"Your tendencies are probably through the roof when you throw, that's what we're trying to guard against," Gruden said at the NFL League Meetings. "We got to figure out ways to be balanced in all personnel group settings and make sure that's really what we're studying in the offseason and moving forward how we can adapt our running game to make sure we have the equal amount of runs in each personnel group with each person in that group."

Sure those quotes are a few months old now, but nothing has been done to change the personnel. Reed, Davis and Sprinkle populate the tight end depth chart, and it doesn't seem likely there will be significant change to any of the three player's game. 

Based on that, something else must change. 

The Redskins either need to adapt their run style to something where Reed and/or Davis can be on the field. Or use Sprinkle more in the pass game.

Neither of those options seem particularly likely. 

What could happen is less two tight sets for the Washington offense, and less dependency on that look. 

In his remarks from March, Gruden hinted that the Redskins could deploy their 11 personnel more often, going with three wideouts and one tight, instead of two tight ends on the field. That would require health and productivity from the Redskins wideouts, which hasn't happened in the last two seasons. 

In a way, the discussion of a blocking tight end is very much an oversimplification of the Redskins 2018 offensive woes. The team ranked 29th in the NFL in points scored, and obviously, that lack of production did not stem from one position. 

At the same time, however, the lack of a tight end that can run block and show up in the pass game creates a series of other problems. The team can't always run with their best receiving threats on the field, they can't pull off play-action because the run threat doesn't always emerge, and all of that snowballs. 

The little things add up in the NFL. Just ask Jay Gruden. 

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Derrius Guice shares workout video amid reports swirling about his health

Derrius Guice shares workout video amid reports swirling about his health

Many Redskins' fans became increasingly worried over the weekend about the health of running back Derrius Guice after a report came out that he suffered a hamstring injury during his rehab process from an ACL injury he suffered last August.

The report questioned Guice's availability for the start of Redskins' training camp, which begins on July 25.

In response to the report, Guice tweeted: "I don’t listen to the noise. I know what’s going on with me." He has since deleted his Twitter account.

But Guice is still an active user on Snapchat, and took to the platform on Monday to share footage of himself working out. The second-year running back shared video taken of him performing a number of drills, many of which required him to change direction quickly and test his hamstring, as well as his knee.

Guice even captioned one of the videos "Hamstring who," with several eyes emojis attached to the caption. Based on his caption, Guice does not appear to seem concerned that this latest report will affect his status for the upcoming season.

Prior to his ACL injury last August, Guice showed plenty of promise during training camp and the preseason. 

At this point, Redskins fans just want Guice to be healthy and ready for Week 1 and showcase the talent that earned him an All-SEC honor at LSU.

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