Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 22, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Chicago Bears.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Player availability and Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences after practice approx. 2:45
—Days until: Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 2; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 10; Wild card playoff round starts 16
Injuries of note:
Did not practice: LB Compton (knee), LB Cravens (upper arm), CB Dunbar (concussion), TE Reed (shoulder)
Limited: OLB Kerrigan (elbow), DE Baker (ankle_
Note: The Redskins had a walkthrough on Wednesday; the injury report is an estimate of who would have practiced had they conducted a full practice.
First look at Redskins vs. Bears
Too little time: When the Redskins have a short week, I have a lot to do and less time to do it in. My time crunch is multiplied exponentially when compared to the team I cover getting ready for a road game following a night game. For one thing they the game plan done and installed in about 60 fewer hours than you usually have to get it done. But as Jay Gruden said on Tuesday, it’s the physical recovery for the players that is the big challenge. And the Redskins have to do the night game-short week-road game cycle for the second time in less than a month.
Barkley a gamer: Matt Barkley is the third quarterback to start for the Bears this season. In four games his numbers are south of mediocre with completion percentage of 58.6, and a passer rating of 75.2, which would be 30th in the league if he had enough pass attempts to qualify. But he has helped keep his team in games. Last week against the Packers, the Bears had nothing to play for while Green Bay needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt. The Packers held a 27-10 lead going into the fourth quarter but Barley led three drives to tie it up before Aaron Rodgers did what he does and the Packers won. It’s not just Barkley; in a miserable season this team has not quit.
A good defense: By the NFL’s definition the Bears have a top-10 defense as they are ninth in yards allowed. The more sophisticated analysis by Football Outsiders isn’t quite as enthusiastic about the unit; they are 18th in defensive DVOA. That’s not great but the Redskins, ranked 25th in DVOA, would gladly trade places with them. They are about average against the pass (14th in DVOA) and not very good against the run (27th). Perhaps Rob Kelley can get rolling after the very tough night he had against the Panthers.
Team stat leaders: QB Barkley; rushing Jordan Howard 211 att., 1059 yards, 6 TD; receiving Alshon Jeffery 46 rec., 719 yards, 2 TD; Sacks Willie Young, 7.5
Three and out: TE Logan Paulsen, with the Redskins from 2010-2015, sees the field a lot as the Bears’ second tight end . . . Tracy Porter, who spent an injury-plagued 2014 season in Washington, is a starter for the Bears and a pretty solid performer . . . This is a game that the Redskins just hope to survive and walk out of with a win. I’d be very careful about complaining about a lack of style points if they do emerge with a victory.
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In case you missed it
- Shanahan, Cousins and the Super Bowl
- Injury Report: Redskins without three starters on Wednesday
- To defer or not to defer? Gruden still prefers to kick it away
- Slow starts leading to bad results for the Redskins
- State of the Redskins: Losing control
- NTK: Redskins Monday night jinx is real