Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 22, two days before the Washington Redskins go to play the Dallas Cowboys.
—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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In case you missed it
- Poor scheduling gives Redskins no time to enjoy win
- Gruden plays to win against Packers, and it worked
- What 'How do you like me know?!' means for Cousins
- Gruden: Win means a little bit more
- Report card: Coach and QB get top grades
- Piling up yards—and points