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Need to Know: Redskins in a definitive must-win game vs. Giants

Need to Know: Redskins in a definitive must-win game vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 26, six days before the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Jay Gruden news conference 3:00

Days until: Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 6; Wild card playoff round starts 12

Injuries of note:
RB Kelley (knee), CB Breeland (ankle), S Whitner (quad), WR Jackson (jaw)
Postgame injury report

The definitive must-win game on tap this week for Redskins

—The one thing that we know for sure right now is that the Redskins have to beat the Giants. Going into the weekend there were some scenarios where they could finish 1-1 and still make it in. Those scenarios have evaporated. If they lose, they’re out. That is the definitive must-win situation. 

—It’s hard to figure out what to take away from the win over Chicago. The Bears rolled up 458 yards of offense and converted 70 percent of their third downs. The only time Bears running back Jordan Howard wasn’t ripping through the Washington defense was when he was when he was briefly sidelined after taking a hit. Had Matt Barkley thrown just, say, three interceptions that game might have become one of the white-knuckle affair that we have become accustomed to this year.

—The defense is not going to magically get better, not with the major holes at safety and on the defensive line. The Redskins are going to have to score in the 30’s if they are going to win against the Giants to get in and if they are going to advance when they get there. If Jordan Reed is something close to 80 percent health and if Rob Kelley is good to go after spraining his knee they will have a shot at putting up some points. But they must break out of their season-long inability to get touchdowns consistently in the red zone and after getting in goal to go.

—A lot of the burden to get it done will be on Cousins. In their biggest regular-season game last year he torched the Eagles for 365 yards and four touchdowns in Week 16. He didn’t rack up a ton of yards against the Bears but the offense was balanced and he only threw 29 times. The Giants are challenged offensively; they average 19.4 points per game and have been under 20 every game in the last month. On second thought, perhaps scoring in the mid-twenties will be good enough on Sunday. If they make the playoffs it will be a different story.

—No matter what happens tonight when the Cowboys host the Lions the Redskins will remain in playoff contention going into their game against the Giants at FedEx Field. If Dallas wins tonight, the Redskins are win and in, barring a tie in the Packers-Lions game on Sunday night. If the Lions win tonight it will be win and wait. They will need the Lions to beat the Packers to make the playoffs.

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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Jay Gruden’s absence from football might only last a few months. 

The former Redskins head coach is reportedly interviewing for the Jacksonville Jaguars vacant offensive coordinator position, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Jacksonville parted ways with John DeFlippo last Monday after just one season with the team. 
 

The few times Gruden has spoken since being fired by Washington in October, the former head coach has expressed a strong desire to get back into coaching. Gruden recently told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport he’s been “itching to do something” and “would like an office to go to,” according to Garafolo. 

Interviewing for an offensive coordinator position is not unfamiliar territory for Gruden. He spent the past six years as the head coach in the nation’s capital, but perhaps his most success in the NFL was when the 52-year-old was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Behind the solid play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the Gruden-led offense in Cincinnati resulted in three straight playoff appearances. 

Should be be hired in Jacksonville, Gruden would have some promising pieces to work with. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed plenty of hope in the 12 games he started, and second-year wideout D.J. Chark enjoyed a breakout season in 2019. Additionally, running back Leonard Fournette finished with a career-high 1,152 rushing yards last season. 

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have reportedly interviewed for the gig as well. 

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