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State of the Redskins, Week 12: Home, (very) sweet home

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State of the Redskins, Week 12: Home, (very) sweet home

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 12 of the NFL season.

Record: 4-6, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 4-3
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 4-1
Away: 0-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 332.8 (28th)
Defense (yards/game): 370.1 (20th)
Passer rating offense:  89.6 (17th)
Opp passer rating: 100.1 (27th )
Yards/rush attempt: 3.9 (25th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.8 (30th)
Weighted DVOA through Week 11 (Football Outsiders): -6.0% (20th)

Top three storylines:

Home, (very) sweet home—The Redskins are still in the hunt for the NFC East title thanks to their ability to win at home. They are winless in five road games but 4-1 in the friendly confines of FedEx Field. The team will have to figure out a way to win away from home if they are going to make the playoffs but they don’t have to worry about that for a while since their next two games are at home. If they win both they will be no worse than tied for first place with a quarter of the season to go.

Ground game problem persist—The Redskins rushed for 14 yards against the Panthers and gave up 142 on the ground. NFL teams have done that 29 times since 1990 and they are 0-29. It’s apparent that the team won’t meet its stated offseason goal of being able to run at will and shut down the other team’s running game. But if they can show some improvement on both sides of the ball they will have a shot in these last six games.

In the playoff picture—They need to beat the Giants to have any realistic shot at the NFC East title, which is probably their only chance at playing more than 16 games. The scenarios are complex but the most promising path seems to be the Redskins winning their remaining three home games (Giants, Cowboys, Bills) and steal one on the road (Bears, Eagles, Cowboys) and come out ahead on tiebreakers. It’s drawing to an inside straight but it is possible.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Giants (5-5)—The Giants are just a bad matchup for the Redskins. New York has won six of the last seven games between the two teams and most of them haven’t been competitive. Home division games are always significant and this one is of elevated importance due to what’s at stake in the standings.

December 7 (Mon. night) vs. Cowboys (2-7)—With Tony Romo back, the Cowboys ended their seven-game losing streak by beating the Dolphins. But even with their QB back the Cowboys are a shadow of the team that rolled to a 12-4 record and were within a Dez Bryant dropped pass (and, yes, per the rules it was a drop) of the NFC title game.

December 13 @ Bears (4-6)—The Bears were in disarray early in the season and Jay Cutler was either the joke or the punch line. But coach John Fox righted the ship and they have gone 4-3 since their 0-3 start. Cutler has thrown just six interceptions after leading the league with 18 a year ago. A road game in the Windy City in December will be quite interesting.

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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