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3-and-out: Redskins vs. Bears


3-and-out: Redskins vs. Bears

At 1-4, the Redskins have all but used up their mulligans. And while they probably don’t need to win out, they certainly need to pull off a few upsets along the way. Which brings us to Sunday’s game against Jay Cutler, Devin Hester and the Chicago Bears.

Here are three story lines I’ll be keeping an eye on:

1st down - Robert Griffin III rushed for 77 yards on nine carries last Sunday night in Dallas. It was RG3’s most productive game on the ground since Week 11 of last season and his rushing total was five more yards than he gained in the previous four games combined. But Griffin couldn’t get it done with his arm, completing only 49-percent of his passes. Will this be the week Griffin puts it all together? The Redskins’ hopes could be depending on it. “It’s a matter of miscommunications, some missed throws in there, some dropped passes,” Griffin said of his completion percentage (59.8) for the season. “All that accumulates into what the stats says. It’s a long year and we have a chance to make sure those numbers do get back up. And we’ll make sure it does."

2nd down — The Redskins’ porous coverage units couldn’t stop the Cowboys’ Dwayne Harris, who took back a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 90 yards. And without special teams’ ace Bryan Kehl who suffered a season-ending knee injury, the unit’s challenge will be even more daunting Sunday as the Redskins attempt to corral three-time Pro Bowl returner Devin Hester, who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. “He’s probably licking fingers,” special teamer Niles Paul said of Hester. “It’s a great challenge for us as a special teams unit. We have to step up and be big.”

3rd down — In addition to losing Kehl, the Redskins will also be without long snapper Nick Sundberg for the balance of the 2013 season. But the team did get some good news regarding David Amerson. The rookie cornerback suffered a concussion Sunday but he said on Wednesday that his symptoms are not serious and that he felt “fine.” He was limited in practice but there’s a good chance he’ll be on the field against the Bears. That’s huge. Amerson is the Redskins’ No. 3 corner—and the Bears have four pass catchers on pace for 75 or more receptions. “He had no side effects,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “So hopefully he’ll be okay tomorrow.”

Extra point - Wide receiver Santana Moss needs only 71 yards to become only the seventh active player to accumulate 10,000 yards in his career. The 34-year-old also needs only four catches to pass Gary Clark for third on the Redskins’ all-time list.

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Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

At least 51 Redskins will be making the trip to London on Thursday night, including some who are pretty banged up. And there is hope that the other two will be able to make it across the pond.

“We're taking everybody, which is a good thing,” said coach Jay Gruden. “If something happens on Friday or Saturday, we can make adjustments if needed.”

He later clarified the statuses of tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman. Both of them are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, at least partially.

“I’m not too sure about this — Thursday they are going to the independent doctor and if they’re cleared they’ll go on the trip,” said Gruden. “If not, if we’re still having some pain and setbacks, at that point we’ll make that decision to probably leave them back.”

In other words, stay tuned on those two key players.

Two players were out of practice on Wednesday. Reserve linebacker Terrance Garvin was out with a hip injury, and starting running back Matt Jones missed with a knee problem.

The injury was as much a surprise to Gruden as it was to reporters when they saw that Jones was not participating in practice.

“He just came in, I guess, today, had some soreness laterally,” said Gruden. “Had some pain cutting, has to problem running straight ahead so we kept him out today.”

Limited in practice were wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring/shoulder); guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee), Reed, Norman, offensive lineman Spencer Long (chest), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (groin).

With six offensive starters limited and Jones out, Gruden had to alter practice somewhat.

“We had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had,” said Gruden.

MORE REDSKINS: Crowder explains dropped pass against Lions

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Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,

But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.

The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.

Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.

Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.

We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit