Redskins aim to ground Eagles' McCoy

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Redskins aim to ground Eagles' McCoy

In each of the Eagles’ three victories this season, there’s been one constant: running back LeSean McCoy received 20 or more carries.

Conversely, they’re 0-6 when McCoy gets fewer than 20.

Only Andy Reid can tell you why McCoy doesn’t play a prominent role in the Eagles’ offense on a more consistent basis. Or, for that matter, how many times the NFL’s most elusive tailback will carry the ball Sunday at FedEx Field.

Regardless, the Redskins are preparing as though McCoy’s number will be called early and often, particularly since the Eagles will have a first-time starter at quarterback in rookie Nick Foles.

“Considering that he’s not getting too many touches per game, it makes [his numbers] that much more impressive,” linebacker Rob Jackson said of McCoy. 

Through nine games, McCoy has rushed for 705 yards (11th in the NFL) and two touchdowns, one season after he amassed 1,307 yards and 17 touchdowns in 15 games. The drop off n production has led to pointed questions in Philadelphia about McCoy’s role and, specifically, why the 24-year-old is averaging only 18 carries per game. 

That, however, is not the Redskins’ worry. Stopping the shifty 5 foot 11, 208 pound tailback is their only concern.

McCoy uses a rare combination of agility, vision and anticipation to make defenders miss. He also utilizes his world-class acceleration to outrun opponents, a number underscored by his seven carries of 20 or more yards (third most in the NFL). 

“You really can’t contain him,” Jackson added. “You just have to limit him. Every time he gets the ball, he makes at least one guy miss. He’s elusive.”

McCoy played in only one of the NFC East rivals’ two meetings last season, racking up 126 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 28 carries in the Eagles’ 20-13 victory at FedEx Field in October. (McCoy missed the second meeting with a sprained ankle.)

“Do your job," Jackson added, asked how to limit McCoy. "Don’t try to do nobody else’s job. That’s when he’ll hurt you. The second you leave your gap, he’ll pop out and then pop back right where you were supposed to be.” 

A similar sentiment was echoed throughout the Redskins’ locker room this week: discipline, sound positioning and textbook tackling form will be the key to slowing Philadelphia's best player.

“He reminds me of…” linebacker Perry Riley said, pausing for a moment to think. “I don’t know if there are too many like him. He’s one of a kind. I don’t know if he’s quite Barry Sanders, but he’s the closest thing to him. When you have him one-on-one in the open field, you have to tackle him. If he breaks a tackle and gets out into space, he can cause problems for us.”

Lineman Kedric Golston added: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s probably the most elusive back I’ve played against. I didn’t get to play against Barry Sanders, but McCoy is full speed in two steps and can cut on a dime.”

 

 

 

 

Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

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Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

The Redskins added seven players in the draft class of 2016 and many of them share some common traits.

“I'm very excited about these guys, really,” Jay Gruden said to the media after the draft was over. “I think the theme is we got some football players. We got some versatile guys who can do a lot of different things. Tough guys, who love the game of football. We're excited about them, they all bring great attitude to this organization. They're going to play hard and they're good people.”

Gruden seems to be particularly impressed with a pair of defensive players, fifth-round lineman Matt Ioannidis out of Temple and inside linebacker Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick out of Boston College.

“Steven Daniels is very tough,” said Gruden. “When he hits you, he thumps you.”

Like Daniels, Ioannidis was the captain of the defensive unit. Gruden said that he loved his relentless play and said that “he’s a tough guy.”

Ioannidis and Su’a Cravens, the team’s second-round pick out of USC, will both play a number of roles on defense. Ioannidis could add 15-20 pounds (he is listed at 299) and play nose tackle or he could play all along the line. Cravens is a dime linebacker but he could play outside linebacker and strong safety in other situations as well.

Gruden said that the Redskins were able to emphasize toughness and versatility because they weren’t buttonholed into being forced to draft particular positions because they didn’t have anyone there.

“We didn't have a lot of glaring needs, like 'oh, my gosh we're totally incompetent at this position,’” he said. “I felt really good about the depth on our footbal team already, now that the draft is about adding a lot of good football players and adding guys that are tough.”

The team used toughness and other factors as tiebreakers when selecting among players.

“When you're in the draft and it's close between a couple of different guys, the toughness, maybe the special teams factor, the versatility, being a captain, all that stuff factors into it,” said Gruden. “You're always going to err on the side of tough, loves football.”

Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

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Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

Just a week into his Redskins tenure, new CB Josh Norman is enjoying the D.C. life, attending in the White House Correspondent's Dinner. 

@jno24's welcome to DC, the White House Corespondent Dinner! #whcd #RedSkins #HTTR #DC

A photo posted by Jeanine Juliano (@jeanine_juliano) on

Norman came to the 'Skins with much fanfare; an unusual release from a franchise tag in Carolina made him a free agent and Washington swooped in quickly. Norman signed a massive five-year, $75 million contract, and is expected to start at cornerback this fall opposite Bashaud Breeland.

Just hours before donning his tuxedo and heading downtown, Norman was spotted at FedEx Field meeting Redskins rookies Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller.

It's been a busy day for Norman, and depending what you hear about #NerdProm, the night is just getting started.

Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

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Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

It took them their entire draft but the Redskins finally got a running back on their roster. They took Keith Marshall of Georgia with their seventh-round pick (No. 242 overall).

Marshall, 5-11 and 219 pounds, was supposed to be the Bulldogs’ next great back, but due to injuries and the emergence of Nick Chubb he never really got the chance.

He is the fastest player in the draft, if you go by his combine 40 times. He ran 4.31 in Indianapolis, the fastest time recorded this year.

Marshall will line up behind Matt Jones and probably Chris Thompson on the Redskins’ running back depth chart. He will get a chance to earn snaps on third down and possibly as a rotational back teaming with Jones.