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Need to Know: Working on a short week, Redskins face a competitive Bears team

Need to Know: Working on a short week, Redskins face a competitive Bears team

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.
Injury report

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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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.


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Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

Urban Meyer predicts former QB Dwayne Haskins is 'going to be great'

There's a reason the Redskins invested their No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in quarterback Dwayne Haskins: They expect him to be their franchise quarterback of the future.

His former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also believes Haskins has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.

Appearing on the Bow Tie Chronicles Podcast, Meyer praised Haskins, calling him the "most accurate passer I've ever had."

Haskins' numbers from his lone season as the starter at Ohio State support Meyer's claim. He completed 70.0 percent of his passes, which was best in the Big Ten this past season. He shattered the Big Ten record for most passing yards in a season, throwing for 4,831 yards, more than 1,000 yards more than the previous record holder. Additionally, Haskins broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record for most passing touchdowns in a single-season, as Haskins tossed 50 in 2018, compared to Brees' 39.

Although he only had one season as the Buckeyes starter, it is not unreasonable to say that Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history.  

So, it makes sense that Meyer had only positive things to say about Haskins.

"He's going to be great," Meyer said on the podcast. "He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year. Every other thing, he’s got it."

The Redskins begin training camp on July 25th, and Haskins will be in an open competition with Case Keenum for the starting quarterback position.

NBC Sports Washington's J.P. Finlay noted that during minicamp, Keenum did look like the better option at times. But that does not necessarily mean that Keenum will be the Week 1 starter. Head coach Jay Gruden already announced that Haskins will have the chance to win the job.

There's no secret that Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback very soon. It's a matter of when he becomes the starting QB, not if. How quickly that happens is up to Haskins and his progression.