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Need to Know: Pass defense key for Redskins vs. Cardinals

Need to Know: Pass defense key for Redskins vs. Cardinals

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 2, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 9; Panthers @ Redskins 17; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 22

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

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Redskins vs. Cardinals nuggets and observations

—The Redskins’ offensive line is a little banged up. LT Ty Nsekhe, G Brandon Scherff, and RT Morgan Moses are all suffering from ankle injuries. Moses has been full in practice this week, Nsekhe and Scherff were limited. Having multiple injuries at one position group makes it difficult to conduct a proper practice but it’s something that all teams are dealing with. It will be surprising if any of them misses a snap on Sunday, however. As an aside, this is the last game of Trent Williams’ four-game suspension; he will return to practice this week and will start at left tackle against the Eagles on December 11.

—Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ offensive line is mostly healthy with the exception of the loss of G Evan Mathis to an ankle injury earlier this year, but they have been struggling. They have allowed 33 sacks, 39 QB hits, and 119 hurries. By comparison the Redskins have allowed 14 sacks, 21 hits, and 94 hurries. Perhaps you don’t have to look much further than the line to figure out why Carson Palmer is having a bad season.

—If you are looking for a common thread in the Redskins’ wins look at their pass defense. In each of their four losses the opposing team has averaged 7.6 yards or more per pass play in each of them. When the opposition averaged less than that, the Redskins are 5-0-1 (they won against the Giants despite allowing 8.4 per pass play). Palmer and the Cardinals have gone over 7.6 yards per pass pay just once this season. Their 2016 average is 5.9, down almost two full yards from last year.

—It’s starting to look like Josh Norman might stalk the University of Phoenix Stadium parking lot, meet Larry Fitzgerald when he arrives, and follow him for the rest of the day. Yes, even in the slot, if the defense calls for it. “There will be times per call – if the call dictates that Josh matches No. 11 [Fitzgerald], he’s going to match him even if he’s lined up in the backfield,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

—A lot of Redskins fans wanted the team to draft defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche in the first round this year instead of Josh Doctson. The Cardinals took the Ole Miss product with the 29th overall pick. But he has had minimal impact this year. He has played in just four games and not all his games off have been due to injuries. Nkemdiche has not dented to stat book with zero tackles and zero sacks. Assuming he would have had a similar performance in a Redskins uniform the Washington defense would not be any better had they drafted him. Of course, Nkemdiche could get rolling later this year or in future seasons but for 2016 the Cardinals haven’t gotten much more out of their top draft pick than the Redskins have out of theirs.

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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 8 and 14 vs. Giants

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 8 and 14 vs. Giants

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against the Giants. 

Week 8 October 28, MetLife Stadium

Week 14 December 9, FedEx Field

2017 Giants: 3-13, fourth in NFC East 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 6.5

Early line: Week 8 Redskins +3.5, Week 14 Redskins -1.5

Key additions: RB Saquon Barkley, LT Nate Solder, RB Jonathan Stewart, LB Alec Ogletree

Key losses: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, G Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg

Notable: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returns after missing 12 games with a fractured ankle last year.

Biggest questions: 

  • Will Eli Manning reward the organization for bypassing the quarterback position with the No. 2 pick in the draft? Or will he continue his downhill slide?
  • Will Barkley have sufficient impact to justify his status as the No. 2 overall pick?
  • The last three years, the Giants defense has gone from being ranked 31stto 10thand back to 31st. Where is their true level?

Series history

Giants lead all-time series92-65-3; after the Giants won five in a row from 2013-2015 the Redskins have taken three of the last five. 

Series notables

The first time: September 16, 1937, Griffith Stadium—This was the beginning of two eras: The Redskins first game in Washington and the start of Sammy Baugh’s NFL career. The game, however, belonged to Riley Smith as the Washington back scored all of his team’s points with a pair of field goals, his dazzling, 60-yard interception return in the fourth quarter and the extra point following that game-clinching touchdown in the home team’s 13-3 win. 

The last time: December 31, 2017, Met Life Stadium—It was 16 degrees at kickoff, the Redskins had only four offensive players from their Week 1 starters in the lineup, and all the Redskins had to play for was a non-losing season. These were just some of the reasons for Washington to be disinterested and it seems like they dragged down the Redskins. The apathy increased when a guy named Orleans Darkwa bolted 75 yards for a touchdown just 1:17 into the game. The Redskins never competed in the 18-10 loss.

The best time: November 27, 1966, D.C. Stadium—The Redskins scored on offense, on defense, on special teams, on the ground, and through the air in racking up the highest single-game scoring total ever in a regular season NFL game with 72 points. In a losing effort, the Giants scored 41, making the combined total of 113 points, another league record. 

Backup running back A. D. Whitfield had a career day, scoring three touchdowns, one on a five-yard pass from Sonny Jurgensen, the other two on runs of one and 63 yards. All of those points came in the first half as the Redskins went into intermission with a 34-14 lead.

Charley Taylor jumped into the scoring extravaganza with a pair of third-quarter TD receptions from Jurgensen, one of 34 yards, the other covering 72. Brig Owens was the point scorer on the defensive side things, getting touchdowns on returns of a fumble and an interception.

In all, they scored a touchdown almost every way you can: four running, three passing and one each on a punt, fumble, and interception return. They also got nine extra points and a field goal. The final was 72-41.

More than 12,000 NFL games have been played since this one and, despite rule changes designed to favor the offense and increase scoring, both the Redskins’ 72 points and the combined 113 still stand as NFL records. Only once has a team put up as many as 70 points and the combined score has the next-highest total beaten by a touchdown.

The worst time: January 1, 2017, FedEx Field—The Redskins have had many costly losses to the Giants over the years but the sting from this one is still fresh. The home team would get a wild-card playoff spot with a win while New York, with its playoff seeding clinched, had nothing to play for. But it was the Redskins who had nothing. They were able to fight back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to tie it up in the fourth quarter. But after a Giants field goal, Kirk Cousins threw an unforgivable interception that sealed New York’s 19-10 win and the Redskins went home. 

Redskins schedule series

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman competes in 'Dancing with the Stars' finale Monday

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Dancing with the Stars YouTube

Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman competes in 'Dancing with the Stars' finale Monday

Josh Norman is fast, smooth and creative with excellent footwork that can leave you speechless.

Sure, those are qualities he has on the football field, but we're actually talking about his skills as a ballroom dancer.

Norman is one of three finalists on "Dancing with the Stars" during a shortened, athletes-only season. The Redskins' cornerback is partnered with pro dancer Sharna Burgess, and the couple will compete against two other pairs in the finals Monday night (8 p.m., ABC). 

Fiery, in sync and always entertaining, Norman and Burgess have stunned in the first three of four total episodes this season, but winning the mirrorball trophy won't be easy. They're up against Olympic figure skating bronze medalist Adam Rippon and former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.  

Norman's only real competition is Rippon, who is beyond natural on the dance floor — although Norman has been a delightful surprise as well. Clearly — and like so many previous football players who have done well on "DWTS", like Calvin Johnson and Von Miller — his skills on the gridiron easily translate. 

Here's a look at his previous three performances with Burgess. Does it look like he has what it takes to win?

Week 1: The Cha Cha

Week 2: The Paso Doble

Week 3: A Contemporary Dance

Here's how you can vote for Josh and Sharna in Monday's season finale.

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