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Redskins vs. Cowboys: Five observations in Washington's Thanksgiving loss

Redskins vs. Cowboys: Five observations in Washington's Thanksgiving loss

DALLAS--My five observations on Cowboys 31, Redskins 26:

—If the Redskins either miss the postseason or if they are one and done due to a bad seed they can point to their lack of red zone productivity as a main reason. They were four of five scoring touchdowns here last week but just two for five today and the second came in desperation time. That will keep them near the bottom of the league in red zone efficiency. Both of their losses to the Cowboys came after failing to get it done down close.

—Earlier in his career Jordan Reed had something of a reputation for being “soft”, for not playing through injuries that others would have toughed out. That word should never be associated with him after this game. He went out in the first half with a shoulder sprain. His return looked very questionable for a while but he returned in the second half. At first it looked like he might just serve as a decoy but then Kirk Cousins started throwing the ball to him. After catching just two passes for 15 yards in the first half, Reed finished with 10 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. He was in considerable pain after the game and his situation will bear watching. But it was a big-time guts performance on his part.

—Rob Kelley was due for a subpar game and he had it today. He had just 37 yards on 14 carries with a long run of eight yards. Jay Gruden said that Kelley did not have tired legs but a rookie who didn’t get many carries in college had to have been feeling the effects of two games in four days. It will be a big game for him in Arizona. Two games in a row like that would have to coaches looking to make changes.

—The defense played about as well as expected against the powerful and efficient Dallas offense, which is to say not too well. Ezekiel Elliott did run wild but his 97 rushing yards on 20 carries were enough to keep the chains moving. Dak Prescott threw for 195 yards and a touchdown and he didn’t even come close to an interception except on one tipped ball. To be fair, the defense twice had to deal with short fields, once after a failed surprise onside kick attempt and once after a long field goal miss by Dustin Hopkins. Dallas drove for touchdowns both times. But, as Donte Whitner pointed out, the defense had a chance to give the team a boost by forcing three and outs and didn’t get it done.

—Kirk Cousins threw for 449 yards and three touchdowns. But the red zone issue fall at least partially into his lap. Sometimes it seems like he is still spooked by the red zone interception he threw against Dallas in Week 2. Like so many other elements of the team, he is on the verge of being very good but with too many holes to quite get there.

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Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

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Loudoun County Sheriff's Office

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson was arrested on assault charges early Tuesday morning in Loudoun County, Va.

The 23-year-old Nicholson was charged with assault and battery and public intoxication following an incident on the morning of Dec. 18 at the One Loudon development.

A female suspect, 24-year-old Sydney A. Maggiore of Vienna, Va. was reportedly with Nicholson at the scene. 

According to police, via NBC 4,  the incident began after Nicholson and a women "pulled up in a vehicle and honked the horn" at a man and women.

"We are aware of the arrest of Montae Nicholson," Redskins spokesman Tony Wylie said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "We are gathering more information and will not comment until we have further details.”

Nicholson started the first seven games of the 2018 season and has appeared in all 14, amassing 21 solo tackles. The Redskins selected Nicholson out of Michigan State in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

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Despite broken leg, belief growing that Colt McCoy will return for Week 17

Despite broken leg, belief growing that Colt McCoy will return for Week 17

A few weeks back when Jay Gruden explained that his Redskins decided not to place quarterback Colt McCoy on the injured reserve list despite a broken leg, most greeted the news with a scoff. 

Surely, McCoy would not actually return to play again in 2018 after suffering the broken fibula in early December. It's a broken leg, and only four games remained on the schedule. 

Well, think again. Asked the odds of McCoy's return for Week 17 on a scale of 1-10, Gruden didn't hesitate.

"I’d say 10 for Colt," the coach said. "That’s just my opinion. I just think Colt’s a crazy dude."

While Josh Johnson played reasonably well in a Week 14 win in Jacksonville, McCoy knows the Redskins offensive system inside and out. If he can get back on the field, it could be a big boost for Washington. 

That doesn't mean Gruden will push it though.

"It wouldn’t surprise me either way. It’s a tough injury to come back from and if he can’t make it back we won’t force him back," Gruden said via the Redskins Talk podcast. "It’s all up to the doctors. It’s not up to me. It’s up to the doctors. Even if Colt says, ‘hey, i can go, I can go,’ it’ will be up to the doctors."

In limited action over three games, McCoy is completing 63 percent of his passes for 373 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. 

Might the playoffs be a part of McCoy's quest to return? Sure, but Gruden made clear that won't skew his decision to bring him back. 

"If it’s safe for him to play, then of course he will play," Gruden said. "If there’s any kind of risk whatsoever there’s not a chance I will let him play."

The Redskins face the Titans on Saturday night in Nashville. Sitting at 7-7, Gruden's team is competing for the final NFC Wild Card spot, as well as holding an outside chance to get back in the NFC East contest. 

To make the playoffs, the overwhelming odds suggest the 'Skins need to win their remaining two games, in Tennessee and home for a Week 17 matchup against the Eagles. 

If Johnson pulls off another win this weekend, on the road, it's possible Gruden might want to ride the hot hand. For now, however, the coach isn't worried about that possible scenario. The team is just focused on the Titans. 

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