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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs the Cardinals

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs the Cardinals

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 1, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 10; Panthers @ Redskins 18; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 23

Injuries of note:
Did not practice:
TE Jordan Reed
Limited: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)
Full: LS Nick Sundberg
Wednesday injury report

Five Redskins under pressure against the Cardinals

RB Rob Kelley—After his worst game as the starter against the Cowboys (14 carries, 37 yards) Kelley will need to pick it up against the Cardinals, who have the No. 11 rushing defense in the NFL. He’s not to the point where he should be looking over his shoulder just yet but they are running out of games to let Kelley regain his stride.

G Brandon Scherff—Defensive end Calais Campbell made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons and he could be headed for his third straight. Scherff is looking to make his first Pro Bowl and if he can handle the 6-8, 282 lb. Campbell he could take a step in that direction. More importantly, if Scherff can handle the matchup the Redskins' running game will open up and Kirk Cousins will have more time to throw. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins pass defense getting lit up on third downs

TE Vernon Davis—My guess right now is that Jordan Reed will be on the field against the Cardinals but he will play only in certain situations and he won’t be asked to block. The “normal” tight end duties will fall on Davis. He did well filling in when Reed was out earlier this year and he will need to keep that up against Arizona.

LB Su’a Cravens—While it won’t be a one-on-one battle the whole day it may be that Cravens will be largely responsible for covering RB David Johnson out of the backfield. The second-year back also lines up in the slot and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cravens follow him out there. Johnson had 103 yards receiving against the Falcons last week and Cravens will need to come up and make tackles on him.

RELATED: Redskins' TE Reed out of practice, two OL limited

CB Josh Norman—The lone Cardinals receiver who is having a good year is Larry Fitzgerald, who is averaging seven receptions for 71 yards per game. It seems likely that Norman will be assigned to shadowing him and if Norman can shut him down the Cardinals will have a tough time moving the ball through the air.

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Jay Gruden returns to NFL as Jaguars offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden returns to NFL as Jaguars offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden has found a new team in the NFL as he was named the Jacksonville Jaguars' newest offensive coordinator for the 2020 season, the team has announced.

This will be Gruden's return to the league after he was fired as the Washington Redskins head coach earlier this year. He was relieved from his duties after an 0-5 start, the team's worst start under his tenure. 

The offensive mind, that was previously an offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals during their playoff runs with Andy Dalton, will now look to rejuvenate the Jaguars' offense. For years Jacksonville has had one of the least productive offenses in the entire league.

Strapped to Blake Bortles for several seasons and then signing Nick Foles has not paid dividends for head coach Doug Marrone and his staff. Aside from their improbable run to the AFC Championship in the 2017 season, the team has finished as one of the bottom seven offenses in the league under his tenure. 

Gruden also takes this new job as the Jaguars quarterback position is unsettled.

Nick Foles was signed to a four-year $88 million deal last offseason but struggled after an injury derailed his season. When he returned, he eventually was benched after two straight weeks without a touchdown pass. Rookie Gardner Minshew filled in for Foles' place and put together an admirable 6-6 record as a starter, accounting for all six of the team's wins. 

While directing the offense in Cincinnati, Gruden led the Bengals to three straight seasons as one of the top-13 offenses in the league. Their best season they were ranked as high as fourth. However, that did not fully translate to Washington. The last two seasons saw the Redskins offense fall to one of the bottom four in the league. Their record was not much better under his guidance at 35-49-1.

He likely takes this position with a short leash as John DeFilippo was fired from the same position after one year on the job. 

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Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

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USA Today Sports

Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

As a return to the old RFK Stadium site for the Redskins seems less likely, Washington owner Dan Snyder appears to be moving forward with a new plan: Staying in Maryland but adding a gambling license. 

Snyder met with a number of Maryland lawmakers to discuss sports betting and acquiring a license for a new Redskins stadium, according to The Washington Post. The report contends Snyder wants to use "sports betting as part of an overall plan to build a domed stadium that could include hotels, offices and training facilities."

The story also suggests Snyder could build the stadium with his own money. 

The Redskins currently play their games in Maryland at FedEx Field and their lease runs through 2027. The stadium is dated and Snyder has openly talked about wanting a new facility for his team to play.

For years, publicly, Snyder has opined that his team belongs back in D.C. at the RFK site. At various times in the last two years that seemed plausible, but political red tape from the federal government continues to hold things up. The stadium sits on federal land, and while the city has tried to regain control of that site, it hasn't happened. Until the city takes control, which is far from happening, it seems unlikely the Redskins get back to the site. 

So if it's time to move forward with Maryland, it requires a bit of a fresh start. The Redskins and the state were holding talks about a land swap to build a new stadium near the MGM National Harbor along the Potomac River, but those talks stalled when it became obvious the team preferred a return to D.C.

Legalized sports betting in Maryland seems likely to hit the ballot this fall, and considering the state already has fully operational casinos, there's little reason to think the vote wouldn't pass.

That's the first step for the Redskins to get a sports betting license for their new stadium. The idea isn't novel; Ted Leonsis has been quite open about adding a sports book to Capital One Arena and already has an agreement with William Hill bookmakers to run the gambling operation. Similar deals are expected at Audi Field and Nationals Park. 

It remains a bit of a surprise that Virginia politicians seem willing to sit out the courtship of a new Redskins stadium. Former Governor Terry McAullife actively flirted with the idea of building a new Redskins stadium in the Commonwealth, but current Governor Ralph Northam almost seems disinterested in the idea. 

The Redskins practice facility is in Loudon County and the team holds training camp each summer in Richmond. The training camp deal is soon to expire and some believe if and when a new stadium facility gets built, that could also house training camp and practices. Currently, no professional sports teams play in Virginia, and the Commonwealth does not appear as near legalized sports gambling as Maryland or the District. 

Like anything with a gigantic project in a region with three different local governing bodies and the omnipresent specter of the federal government looming, a new Redskins stadium will require significant legislative hurdles and deal-making. Stay tuned. 

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