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State of the Redskins, Week 12: How do you like them now?

State of the Redskins, Week 12: How do you like them now?

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

Record: 6-3-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-1
vs. NFC: 4-2
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-1-1

Rankings and changes from Week 10

Offense (yards/game): 418.5 (2nd, +2 from Week 11)
Defense (yards/game): 371.3 (23rd, -2)
Points for: 254 (9th, +7)
Points against: 233 (18th, -1)

Passer rating offense:  99.1 (9th, +3)
Opp passer rating: 92.8 (18th, -2)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.6 (6th, +2)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (31st, -3)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 12.7% (7th, +1)
Playoff chances per FO: 62.6%, +16.9% from last week

Trending the right way: Going into the bye the Redskins’ passer rating was in the middle of the pack, 15th in the NFL. Kirk Cousins has been hot for the last two weeks and the rating has risen three spots in each of the last two weeks. Also, putting up 42 points on Sunday night pushed them up into the top 10 in scoring.

Trending the wrong way: Although Aaron Rodgers was the Packers’ leading rusher on Sunday, the Redskins dropped three spots in rushing yards per attempt, back to 31st. That does not bode well for tomorrow’s matchup against Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys.

Top three storylines:

“How do you like me now?”—As he came off the field after the win over the Packers, Cousins delivered that line to Scot McCloughan on the sideline. Many took it to mean that Cousins is looking towards a big payday when his contract is up after the season. Cousins says it was just a spontaneous celebration. In any case, it’s could be a rallying cry, retiring “You like that!”

Defense scuffles but wins—The Redskins are in the bottom half of the league in nearly every defensive stat but they are playing well enough for the team to win. They are a “bend but don’t break” unit and when they do break they can come up with a play when they need one. Last week’s example was Josh Norman’s punch of the ball from the grasp of tight end Jared Cook that essentially wrapped up the win.

Fat Rob keeps rolling—All it took was a 137-yard, three touchdown performance on national TV, an effort that made him the top fantasy scorer in many leagues, for Kelley to get attention. You have to think that the coaches at Tulane are wondering why they didn’t give him the ball more. After his third start he’s already a vital part of the Redskins’ offense.

Next three games

Thanksgiving @ Cowboys (9-1)—The Redskins will get about eight possessions in this game. They need to score touchdowns on at least half of them if they are going to win.

December 4 @ Cardinals (4-5-1)—This looked like a game that would be Mission Impossible for the Redskins when the schedule came out. Now it certainly looks winnable, although playing them on the road will be very tough.

December 11 @ Eagles (5-5)—The Redskins handled them pretty well in October but the Eagles may be fighting for their playoff lives when this one comes around. For that matter, the Redskins might be, too.  

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“ I want to freakin’ play," Trey Quinn on his minor, but frustrating thumb injury

“ I want to freakin’ play," Trey Quinn on his minor, but frustrating thumb injury

Don't try and convince Trey Quinn that it's not a big deal to miss Thursday's preseason game against the Falcons, which is news Jay Gruden confirmed on Tuesday. To Quinn, it matters a lot, even if the contest itself really doesn't at all.

"I want to freakin' play," the second-year pro told reporters in the Redskins locker room. "I know they don't count, but to be honest with you, I want to get out there and compete."

Quinn is dealing with a thumb injury he suffered in warmups for Washington's exhibition opener in Cleveland on Aug. 8. According to the receiver, things got a "little chaotic" before kickoff and someone ran into him while he was catching a punt.

He explained that his hand is "progressing well" and "should be pretty healthy soon." But for a guy who landed on the injured reserve list twice as a rookie, dealing with another health issue just a handful of days away from the 2019 opener is far from ideal.

"I like reps. I freakin' love football. I don't need them, but I want them," he said. "I get aggravated not being out there. I get pretty pissed off. I'm one of the guys that likes to be out there in practice, get the reps and then go in there prepared for the game."

Quinn is one of the funnier and more laid back players on the Burgundy and Gold, and at times on Tuesday, that side came through. There were other moments, though, where he quickly shifted into a very serious tone, like when he was asked if he'd be suiting up if Thursday was a regular-season matchup. 

"Yeah, I'm out there," Quinn said. "Don't ask that question."

His sense of urgency when it comes to returning to action was evident throughout his talk with the media, and for good reason.

At training camp earlier this summer, Gruden identified Quinn as a guy who had all but locked up the slot position, despite the fact that Quinn only has nine career catches to his name. The last pick of the 2018 NFL Draft is a favorite among coaches, but he's well aware that a few more health concerns and missed games could rapidly change that.

Now, this particular thumb problem doesn't appear to be a huge deal on its own. Combine it with the IR stints in 2018, however, plus the daily on-field chemistry building Quinn's missing with the quarterbacks, and you begin to understand why he's so anxious for his finger to fully heal.

Fortunately for him, he's got another 19 days before the Redskins travel to Philadelphia to open up the year. And when that date finally rolls around, Quinn hopes to have one desire on his mind.

"Come the Eagles Week 1, I want to be ready to win."


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Sorry Redskins fans, it's now officially time to freak out about Trent Williams

Sorry Redskins fans, it's now officially time to freak out about Trent Williams

In some situations, no news is good news. In the Redskins situation with Trent Williams, that's definitely not the case. 

On Monday, Washington coach Jay Gruden was asked if there was any update on the holdout that has kept the seven-time Pro Bowler away from the team for most of 2019, including all of training camp and the team's first two preseason games. 

"There are no updates whatsoever," Gruden said of Williams' holdout. 

That's big trouble. 

For the first few months, it seemed like Williams would come back. He was proving a point, showing the organization just how upset he was about a missed diagnosis on his scalp. But then Williams never showed up for training camp, and multiple sources explained Trent was serious about not coming back.

So why is now the time to really be worried? The Redskins will play their third preseason game on Thursday night in Atlanta. That's the important one, the preseason game where coaches really try to play their guys and simulate live action. 

Trent won't be there. 

"We’re preparing with the guys we have right now. That’s all we can do," Gruden said. 

At left tackle, that means second-year pro Geron Christian or newly signed veteran Donald Penn. Neither player comes close to Williams, but barely any NFL tackles do. Williams is elite, his replacements aren't, and that will become more clear than ever in Atlanta. 

But beyond Thursday's preseason game, Gruden's body language on Monday revealed a reluctant acceptance that Williams is nowhere close to suiting up in Burgundy and Gold. Early in training camp, Gruden sounded upbeat and optimistic that Williams would return. On Monday, the coach seemed defeated when talking about his left tackle (watch the video above).

"It is what it is right now," Gruden said. "He’s not here so we just have to talk about the people that we have."

In May and June, Trent's holdout seemed abstract. It was happening, but didn't really matter. Real football was so far away. 

In July, it became real. Williams never took the field in Richmond, and that was a real sign about the severity of the situation. 

On August 20th, with the dress rehearsal third preseason game two days away, Williams is not part of the game plan. He's not even a real thought for the offensive staff.

At the team's practice facility in Ashburn, Williams is a ghost. Unopened boxes sit stacked in front of his locker. There's no music being played, no jerseys being washed, and no big smile creeping out from his prime spot in the corner. 

Real football starts in less than a month, and for the Redskins, Trent Williams is not part of the plan. That's a huge problem, and now more than ever, it doesn't seem like it's changing.