Tim Hightower, the running back the Redskins re-signed over the weekend, is not exactly a dynamic runner. His career average is a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry. But that is not the number the Redskins were concerned with when they decided to bring him back. The number they were looking at was 140.That is the number of 2011 sacks posted by the Eagles (50, tied for first in NFL), Giants (48, tied for third), and Cowboys (42, tied for seventh). According to the research of Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com, the 140 combined sacks were the most posted by any trio of NFL teams in the same division last year.That comes to about three sacks per game by the Redskins NFC East rivals. Washington actually fared a little bit better than the league as a whole controlling the pass rush in its division games. In their six division games the Redskins quarterbacks were sacked 14 times, an average of 2.3 per contest.Still, Robert Griffin III cant have a successful season if he has to deal with Jason Pierre Paul, Trent Cole, and DeMarcus Ware bearing down on him play after play. In his article, Kirwan outlines some ways that the Redskins can counter the heat they will face in the NFC East including developing an effective running game and having RG3 develop a good relationship with tight end Fred Davis.But while schemes and strategies are important, pass protection boils down to the blocker staying in between the defender and the quarterback. Hightower is good at that and when he is healthy and on the field, Trent Williams, who lines up against Ware, Cole, and Justin Tuck in those division games, is too. Those two players will be critical if Griffin is going to lead the Redskins out of their longtime spot in the basement of the NFC East.
Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.
The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:
- LT Trent Williams, 91
- RG Brandon Scherff, 88
- FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
- MLB Zach Brown, 85
- CB Josh Norman, 84
- RB Chris Thompson, 83
- WR Paul Richardson, 83
- QB Alex Smith, 81
- WR Jamison Crowder, 81
The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.
Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.
These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.
MORE REDSKINS COVERAGE
We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars.
Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field
2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game
Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9
Early line: Redskins +8
Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief,
Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson
- QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention.
- The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status.
- The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?
The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.
The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries.
The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.
The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.
The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.
It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics.
The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.
But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."
His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.
Redskins schedule series
- Weeks 13 and 17 vs Eagles
- Week 11 vs. Texans
- Week 10 @ Buccaneers
- Week 9 vs. Falcons
- Weeks 8 & 14 vs. Giants
- Weeks 7 & 12 vs. Cowboys
- Week 6 vs. Panthers
- Week 5 @ Saints
- Week 3 vs. Packers
- Week 2 vs. Colts
- Week 1 @ Cardinals