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Redskins Playbook: Band back together at offensive line could be good news for Matt Jones

Redskins Playbook: Band back together at offensive line could be good news for Matt Jones

Each time the Redskins practice, you can look for Redskins Playbook - breaking down the top three storylines for the day. On Thursday, the Redskins practice at 1 p.m., and the whole team is now fully focused on the Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A chance for Washington to start the NFL season with a win, and prove that the 2015 NFC East title was no fluke.

  1. On again, off again - At practice on Monday, optimism reigned as rookie first-round pick Josh Doctson practiced in pads. After practice, the rook sounded a bit guarded when asked if he would be able to play against the Steelers. Wednesday the 'Skins held Doctson out of some portions of practice, and afterwards, coach Jay Gruden said, "We’re still taking Josh slowly. He did some individuals work and some other stuff so we’ll have to wait and see." On a positive note though, Gruden added that Doctson did not suffer a setback, but that it was a "unique" situation.
  2. Band back together - In two games with their intended starting offensive line last season, the Redskins looked like a power running team. That line - Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses - plowed the way for more than 340 rush yards in two games. Things came unglued when Lauvao was lost for the year in the third game of the season, and fell apart when Lichtensteiger went down later in the season. But for now, and especially Monday night, that unit is back together. That should be good news for Matt Jones and the 'Skins offense.
  3. Lauvao, in particular - The 6-foot-3, 325 lbs. mauler looked on his way to a Pro Bowl year early in 2015, dominating the line of scrimmage next to Trent Williams. Though he started training camp on the PUP list, once Lauvao came back, it was obvious to onlookers that he gave Washington their best chance at left guard as he routinely got strong push against the second unit. Gruden seems excited to have his left guard back too, "Both performance and health Shawn has done an excellent job. We weren’t sure how Shawn was going to recover from his feet issues and he’s come back in a big way."

For live updates stick with @JPFinlayCSN. And if you want more #RedskinsTalk, listen to the podcast here or click here for iTunes.

 

 

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Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 15, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking points

Here are the players who saw their stock go up against the Panthers on Sunday and others who saw their stocks drop. 

Stock up—A few days ago, CB Josh Norman was a penny stock. He had mixed up assignments in the blowout loss to the Saints and take a ton of criticism after the game, much of it warranted. During the Panthers game, he was a blue chip. Norman got his first interception in 20 games and he forced a fumble. There is still a lot of season to be played but for now, at least it’s good to be Josh Norman.

Stock down—They won the game and that’s the quarterback’s main job. But for the second straight game, Alex Smith did not play up to his $18.4 million cap number. He passed for 163 yards. At times you really wondered where he was throwing the ball and/or to whom he was throwing it. They were able to win thanks to Adrian Peterson’s rushing and three takeaways. To Smith’s credit, he protected the ball well and it should be noted he was without favorite targets, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder. Regardless, it was not a sharp performance by Smith. 

Stock upPeterson came into the game with an injured ankle, knee, and shoulder. Not only did he fight through the pain, he thrived. Six days after he rushed for just six yards against the Saints and sat out most of the second half, he picked up 97 yards on 17 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Peterson did rip off a 19-yard run but mostly it was three yards here, six yards there. It was what the Redskins were expecting when the signed him. 

Stock down—With Thompson out, Kapri Bibbs had his big chance to show what he can do. He didn’t do much. Bibbs, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this season, picked up 11 yards rushing on two carries and he caught one pass for six yards. There were some high hopes for Bibbs among Redskins fans. For today, he didn’t live up to them. 

Stock up—I know that Daron Payne didn’t make a ton of plays and his streak of games with at least one sack ended at two. But he was part of a defensive front that held Christian McCaffrey, who came into the game averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game (fourth in the NFL) and 5.2 yards per attempt, to 20 yards on eight attempts, a 2.5 per carry average. And he made a remarkable play, which is becoming routine for him, when he made the tackle on a tight end who had taken a screen pass well outside of the numbers. He’s a special talent and his stock will continue to rise. 

The agenda

Today: Open locker room 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 3:00 

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Giants 13; Redskins @ Eagles 49

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What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

FEDEX FIELD -- Coming into Sunday's game, the Redskins listed Adrian Peterson as questionable for the game against the Panthers. 

And why wouldn't they?

The future Hall of Famer separated his shoulder last week in a loss to the Saints. In that same game, he got blasted in the knee on a play that many thought would cost Peterson the season. And before the Redskins bye, in a 120-yard effort in a win over the Packers, Peterson took a helmet directly off his ankle. 

Calling AP banged up for the Panthers game is unfair to banged up players. 

Peterson was hurt, from top to bottom. 

Yet, despite the injuries, he still went out and rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, good for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. 

"I had already made up in my mind Friday, 'Hey, I'm going to give it a go,' and I know it's going to be painful but it's mind over matter and keep pressing," Peterson said following the 23-17 Redskins win. 

"So that's what I ended up doing."

In a remarkable endeavor, Peterson was the most consistent player on the offense. Alex Smith played fine but not necessarily good.

The Redskins offense needs more from Smith, but couldn't even ask for anything else from Peterson. 

"I can't say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson. "What a pro. What a pro he is."

In the second half, when the Redskins pass game really fell apart, Washington leaned on Peterson even more. It wasn't pretty, but the team got enough to eat up possession and pad the lead with field goals. 

"Adrian Peterson ran hard," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "I think he created the opportunity for them down the stretch to control the clock a little bit."

Rivera is right. 

Without Peterson, the Redskins probably don't win on Sunday. 

And it's even more remarkable that none of this was supposed to happen. The Redskins seemed reluctant to even give Peterson a tryout after rookie Derrius Guice went down in the preseason. Guice was the plan, and Peterson wasn't even really the backup.

Back then, Gruden explained that Peterson was simply too impressive in his August workout for the team to do anything but sign him to the active roster. 

Now, five games into the season, averaging well more than 4 yards-per-carry and on pace to lead the Redskins in rush yards, it's hard to imagine what Washington's offense would look like without Peterson. 

Sure, he's 33-years-old, but he's also the Redskins most consistent offensive threat. 

Asked what surprised him during his team's loss, Rivera inadvertently summed up the Peterson experience.

"I don't think there was anything surprising. They're a good football team. They run the ball extremely well with Adrian."

Rivera is right.

The Redskins run the ball extremely well with Peterson.

Even with the separated shoulder, the busted knee, the bruised ankle. On Sunday, the Redskins ran the ball extremely well with Peterson.

And that says a lot about Adrian Peterson. 

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