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Need to Know: Looking back at Packers, ahead to Cowboys

Need to Know: Looking back at Packers, ahead to Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 22, two days before the Washington Redskins go to play the Dallas Cowboys.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Jay Gruden news conference and player availability 11:35

Days until: Redskins @ Cardinals 12; Redskins @ Eagles 19; Panthers @ Redskins 27

Injuries of note
The team did not practice on Monday but by NFL rules they had to issue a hypothetical injury report saying who would have practiced if they had held one.
Out: LS Sundberg (back)
Limited: DE Chris Baker (hamstring), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), LB Preston Smith (back)

Looking back, looking ahead

The Roman god Janus was the god of both beginnings and endings. He was depicted with two faces, one looking forward, the other looking back. Since we’re on this very short week today’s Need to Know will combine both the final look back at the Packers game and the first look ahead to Dallas. So welcome to the Janus edition of Need to Know.

Last look at Redskins-Packers

A quality win: It’s clear that the edition of the Packers that the Redskins beat on Sunday was not a great one. They sit at 4-6 now and with another round of division games to go plus a trip to Seattle left on their schedule they may not finish at .500. But the Packers are still one of the best organizations in the game, Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best player at the most important position in sports, and Mike McCarthy really is, as he said himself, a “highly successful NFL coach”. It still is a quality win for Washington.

Redskins D gets it done its own way: I posted a poll on Twitter asking for grades on the Redskins’ win. Many respondents downgraded their evaluations because of the play of the defense. Look, folks, giving up 24 points to Aaron Rodgers is a good performance. Not a great one, but a good one. Despite their struggles the Packers have put 24 or more on the board in seven of their 10 games. They held the Packers to three and outs in their first three possessions. And they got a takeaway to end any realistic hopes of a Packers comeback. That was a good performance by this defense. Those of you looking for the 1985 Bears to take the field dressed in burgundy and gold are going to be sorely disappointed.

Knocking out a sour taste: Nobody came out and said that this game was redemption for the loss to the Packers in the playoffs last January. Clearly it couldn’t really be full redemption because it wasn’t a playoff game. But for Kirk Cousins, for one, the game did have a little extra meaning. "As a competitor, we certainly had a sour taste in our mouth walking away from the game last season,” he said. “When we watched the film, we felt like there were plays to be made that didn’t get made. I think tonight you saw what we felt we were capable of doing last January and just didn’t get it done.”

First look at Redskins-Cowboys

Second time around with Dak: On Thursday Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has his first game in his second go-around through the NFC East. Joe Barry has now seen Prescott against his defense in addition to having nine other games of tape on him. If he has flaws, now is the time they will start to be uncovered. I don’t think the rookie is all of a sudden going to turn into an interception machine but Barry almost certainly will change things up on Prescott. For example, I doubt that Prescott will have wide open passing lanes on third-down plays like he did in the game in Washington. They will look to get players out there clogging things up to make it as difficult as possible on the Cowboys’ QB.

No rookie wall for Zeke: The Redskins “held” Ezekiel Elliott to 83 yards rushing back in Week 2. Since then he has averaged 121 yards per game with five games of 114 yards or more. But he has cooled off a bit recently, averaging “just’ 100 yards per game with only one game with over 100 yards. Is he hitting a rookie wall with 10 games under his belt? His 97 yards last Sunday against the Ravens, the league’s top rushing defense coming in, says probably not. Keeping Elliott under control will be a challenge.

Run or pass and score: The Cowboys defense looks solid at first glance, ranking fifth in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed. But then you look a little deeper and you see that their offense, which ranks No. 1 in time of possession and keeps the D off the field, is partially responsible for the solid showing of the defense. If you look at their defense per play you see that they are 23rd in overall yards per pay, 21st in yards per rush and 17th in yards per passing play. If the Redskins are going to win, they must maximize every possession and, as they did against the Packers, turn red zone opportunities into touchdowns, not field goals. I don’t have a whole lot of confidence that the Redskins defense will hold the Cowboys to much less than Dallas’ average of 28 points per game. If the Redskins offense continues what it got rolling Sunday night and get their score into the 30’s they have a very good shot at getting the win.

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Former Redskin Josh Doctson signs with New York Jets

Former Redskin Josh Doctson signs with New York Jets

Former Redskins' wideout Josh Doctson has found another home, again. 

Doctson, 27, signed with the New York Jets the team announced Saturday morning via twitter. 

Washington selected Doctson with their 22nd pick in the 2016 NFL draft after he put up monster numbers at Texas Christian University. However, his collegiate success never quite translated to the professional level. During his three seasons in D.C. he played 33 games, recorded 81 receptions for a total of 1,100 yards and 8 touchdowns.

After Washinton released Doctson last September he joined the Minnesota Vikings, but injuries held him to only one appearance and no catches. 

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Josh Hart tries to recruit Stefon Diggs to Redskins amidst trade rumors

Josh Hart tries to recruit Stefon Diggs to Redskins amidst trade rumors

New Orleans Pelican Josh Hart tried to recruit Stefon Diggs in a twitter exchange Thursday surrounding Jordan Reed’s release from the Redskins.

Reed was released on Thursday after six seasons and seven years on the team.

In a tweet commemorating Reed’s accomplishments, the Redskins called him “one of the best in franchise history” and thanked him for his years on the team.

Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed his disappointment in Reed’s release by quoting the tweet with a crying emoji. Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs shared similar feelings by responding to the quote saying “not my dog j reed…”.

Diggs is a Maryland native but has been with the Vikings since he was drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft in the fifth round.

In response to this exchange, Hart chimed in and pleaded with him to “Come on home bro #HTTR”.  Hart, a D.C. native and long-time Redskins fan, is not the only one who has been looking to help the Redskins with their player recruitment.

Haskins has also made recruiting for the Redskins a habit this season, engaging with players like Ron Rivera and Antonio Brown through social media regarding coming to play in DC.

Hart's interaction with Diggs is particularly notable considering that his recent social media has left Vikings fans wondering what his next moves are. In addition to cryptic tweets potentially linked to his dissatisfaction with his team, Diggs also took down all of his Instagram pictures which feature him in a Vikings uniform.

Could Diggs be heading to the Redskins? If Hart has any say in the matter, maybe.

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