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Need to Know: A light workload for Redskins' offense vs. Eagles

Need to Know: A light workload for Redskins' offense vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, December 13, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 11; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 19

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

Last look at Redskins vs Eagles

A good (not great) quality win—I’m getting a laugh out of fans who think that a five-point road win in the division is somehow inadequate. The Redskins were favored by just a point and the people who set those lines don’t draw them out of a hat. Washington is better, but not by that much. It’s not a huge win over another playoff contender but it shouldn’t be taken for granted, either. The Redskins aren’t good enough for that yet.

Working part time: The Redskins ran just 48 offensive plays against the Eagles. According to Pro Football Focus that is the fewest snaps they have had in a game since at least 2006 (that’s as far back as their records go). For perspective, the NFL average this year is about 64 snaps per team per game. Considering that, it is somewhat remarkable that they managed 334 yards of offense and scored four touchdowns. Kirk Cousins was the model of efficiency with just 14 pass completions good for 234 yards (16.7 yards/completion) I’m not sure if it’s a formula for success that they can replicate but every once in a while it comes in handy.

The Everett hit: Deshazor Everett will almost certainly get fined for his hit on Darrel Sproles. I doubt that a suspension will be coming. To paraphrase my friend @BurgundyBlog from Twitter, it certainly was a reckless play by Everett. He was out of control. But it was flat out stupid of Sproles not to call for a fair catch. The Eagles fans and media who want Everett to be banned or put in jail need to get a grip.

Should Thompson have taken a knee? Fans could have been spared a ton of anxiety if Chris Thompson had taken a knee somewhere inside the five-yard line instead of scoring on his 25-yard run just after the two-minute warning. The Redskins could have run down the clock (the Eagles had just one timeout left) and taken a field goal attempt as time expired. But there was too much risk involved. Thompson mentioned to me Dustin Hopkins’ short miss against the Bengals in London. And other stuff, anything from a fumbled quarterback exchange to a bad snap on the field goal try, could go wrong, too. It was better for Thompson to finish the play and make the Eagles get a touchdown for the win. The fact that they nearly did doesn’t make scoring the TD a bad idea.

Hodgepodge: Jordan Reed played just 10 snaps. It was good for the Redskins to be able to win essentially without him . . . The Eagles put the ball on the ground two other times before Wentz’s final fumble in the last minute. This is what I wrote last week about how they are not recovering fumbles at the same rate they were last year . . . The most underrated offensive play of the game for the Redskins was the 33-yard pass from Cousins to Crowder that got the game-winning drive jump-started. Nice touch on the thrown a difficult catch executed by Crowder, and a good decision to challenge by Gruden. If the incomplete ruling had stood, the Redskins would have been facing third and 10 at their own 23 and who knows what would have happened after that.

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The Redskins need these three to be at their best in Week 2 against the Cowboys

The Redskins need these three to be at their best in Week 2 against the Cowboys

Come about four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the Redskins and their fans will either be feeling quite good with a 1-1 record or the exact opposite of quite good thanks to an 0-2 start.

Washington will of course need Case Keenum to try and come close to replicating what he did in the opener against the Eagles and could really use a vintage Adrian Peterson Performance. 

Beyond them, though, who needs to be on point for the Redskins? These three absolutely qualify.

Ryan Kerrigan

The Burgundy and Gold's defensive line is down two players already and will be relying upon a couple of guys who basically just arrived. They may have trouble generating pressure up the middle thanks to that, meaning Kerrigan better be ready to do so on the edge.

If the home team allows Dak Prescott to stand in the pocket and pat the ball like Carson Wentz did in Week 1, then it'll be another long day for the entire unit. But if Kerrigan, who plays especially well against division foes, can be a constant threat to Prescott, then that'll make a big difference.

In 2018, Kerrigan forced a game-changing fumble at FedEx Field when facing Dallas. Hopefully he can follow that up with another productive outing this year.

Paul Richardson

Richardson had a fine stat line versus the Eagles, but he did have one drive-killing drop and didn't come up with any of the deep catches he's being counted on to create. Terry McLaurin was clearly the star of the receiving corps, while Richardson played more of a supporting role.

Now, perhaps McLaurin will shine again. Even if he does, Jay Gruden would still love for Richardson to also contribute with a splash play or two. Keenum showed he's willing to take chances downfield, so Richardson will need to use his speed and give Keenum a target for those chances.

The Redskins' most obvious path to a win Sunday will be to pound the ball with Peterson and control the clock as best as they can. That said, if Richardson can flip the field and help the offense score quickly instead of trying to string together 10-play drives, that'll make an upset more likely.

Greg Manusky

Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, after just one game in the role, is drawing comparisons to Sean McVay. He brings his offense loaded with playmakers to Landover for Week 2, and will be squaring off with Manusky's group. It's on Manusky to match Moore.

Manusky had a tumultuous offseason and the defense's Week 1 showing in Philadelphia didn't do much to improve his standing as defensive coordinator. And as mentioned earlier, he'll be rolling out a D-line that's missing some major talent as well as a secondary that has injury issues as well.

Those won't be viable excuses for another game in which his players can't get off the field on third downs or force any turnovers, though. His defenders simply have to play better, sure, but he's going to have to put them in positions to succeed as well, or else he'll be scrutinized even more. 

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NFC East Week 2 Preview: It may be early, but this week is monumental for Redskins' playoff hopes

NFC East Week 2 Preview: It may be early, but this week is monumental for Redskins' playoff hopes

The NFL season is only 16 games, meaning each outcome every week carries a large amount of weight.

But it is still a long season, overreacting to Week 1 is for the most part unwarranted. There are still 15 games left, and no team is eliminated from postseason play after just one loss.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles opened up their 2019 campaigns with victories over divisional rivals, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, respectively. 

Here is what to expect from each team in Week 2.

Week 2 NFC East Preview:

Dallas Cowboys (1-0, 1-0 in NFC East):

The Cowboys opened their season in a dominant fashion, jumping out to a 25-point lead on the Giants in the third quarter. Dak Prescott turned in arguably the best game of his career, throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. 

This week, Dallas travels to FedExField for a second-straight divisional clash. In his three years as the starting QB for Dallas, Prescott has absolutely owned Washington. He's won five of six starts versus the Redskins, throwing for six total touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's also added four rushing touchdowns on the ground over that same span.

Dallas will look for that same production out of their fourth-year QB as they hope to continue their recent dominance over their rival. 

They did fall in Washington a year ago, as the Redskins held running back Ezekiel Elliott to just 33 rushing yards. The Cowboys will certainly need more from their star running back to leave Washington victorious.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, 1-0 in NFC East):

A dominant second half was enough for the Eagles to escape an upset bid from the Redskins in Week 1. Now, they travel to Atlanta for a Sunday Night Football clash against the Falcons.

Atlanta was one of the more disappointing teams from Week 1, failing to score any points until the fourth quarter in a 28-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons will certainly need more production from their star wide receiver Julio Jones, who mustered just 31 receiving yards in the team's opener.

The Eagles secondary struggled at times against Washington, allowing rookie Terry McLaurin to eclipse the 100-yard mark in his NFL debut. Heck, Case Keenum finished with 380 passing yards against them in the loss. This group will certainly have to be better in Atlanta if they want to leave the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a win.

Washington Redskins (0-1, 0-1 in NFC East):

It may just be Week 2, but Sunday's clash against Dallas feels like a must-win. After failing to hold on to a 17-point lead in Philadelphia a week ago, Washington simply cannot afford to go 0-2 to start the season, especially because that would mean two division losses as well.

To do that, they'll have to beat a Cowboys team that has had tremendous success at FedexField. In the 22 matchups on the Redskins home turf, Dallas has won 14 of them. Washington did, however, hold off a late Dallas comeback at FedExField a year ago, winning 20-17.

Stopping Ezekiel Elliott will be crucial for Washington, who will be without one of their best defensive players in Jonathan Allen. In the Redskins victory over Dallas a year ago, Elliott ran for just 33 yards. In his other four games against Washington, all Dallas victories, No. 21 has rushed for an average of 112.8 yards against the Burgundy and Gold. 

The injury bug has already bit Washington in 2019. Besides Allen, the Redskins will be without running back Derrius Guice, tight end Jordan Reed and defensive lineman Caleb Brantley against Dallas.

New York Giants (0-1, 0-1 in NFC East):

The Giants, simply put, looked like one of the worst teams of football in Week 1. A couple of late touchdowns made the final score a little more respectable, but have no doubt about it, they were outplayed by the Cowboys in all three phases in a 35-17 loss.

After defeating one New York team, the Buffalo Bills will look to defeat the other in Week 2 when they travel to Metlife Stadium for a second week in a row. Second-year QB Josh Allen engineered a 16-point comeback over the Jets a week ago, giving the Bills their first win of the season.

For the Giants to earn their first victory of the season, they must feature Saquon Barkley more. Their dynamic running back had a strong opener against Dallas, rushing for 121 yards. The issue was he only received 11 carries, as the game flow forced the Giants to dial-up an aerial attack after falling behind early.

Thankfully for Giants fans, the Bills offense should not put up points the way the Cowboys' offense did a week ago.

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