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Redskins rewind: A look back at Friday's preview

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Redskins rewind: A look back at Friday's preview

Three days ago, I listed five storylines to follow during Sunday’s showdown against the Steelers in my preview on www.csnwashington.com. Now it’s time to examine how those keys to the game played out at Heinz Field, where the Redskins suffered an ugly 27-12 loss.

1—Ben Roethlisberger vs. the Redskins’ pass defense. As we mentioned, Roethlisberger recently described the Steelers’ air attack under new coordinator Todd Haley as “dink and dunk.” And true to form, Big Ben and his talented crew of receivers picked apart the Redskins with short and intermediate passes. 

In fact, of the Steelers’ first 17 plays, 10 were short passes by Roethlisberger, including a one-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope. Roethlisberger used five different receivers on those first two drives, which resulted in a 10-0 lead the home team would not relinquish.

Roethlisberger finished the game with a 72.7 completion percentage and three touchdowns of 1, 7 and 1 yards, respectively.

2—London Fletcher’s status. It was clear from pre-game warmups that he intended to suit up and extend his streak of consecutive games to 232, the longest among active players.

Fetcher missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with hamstring and balance issues. On Sunday, he and Ryan Kerrigan were the only defensive players to take every snap (61). Although the 37-year-old linebacker was not at his sharpest, he finished with six combined tackles, including a big hit on Chris Rainey on a screen pass that resulted in a five-yard loss in the third quarter.

Fletcher acknowledged that he played through some discomfort, but declined to put a percentage on his health, saying, “I was well enough to play.”

Shanahan, meantime, said Sunday he would not grade Fletcher’s performance until he had an opportunity to watch the film.

3—When will all the injuries become too much to overcome? That time might be approaching, if it hasn’t already arrived for a team saddled with an $18 million salary cap penalty.

On Sunday, the Redskins were missing tackle Jammal Brown, linebacker Brian Orakpo, defensive end Adam Carriker, wide receiver Pierre Garçon, tight end Fred Davis as well as safeties Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson – all of whom had been penciled in as starters or major contributors during the offseason.

Overall depth is better than it’s been in recent seasons. Everything, though, has its limits. Consider: Much of the blame for the loss was laid at the feet – er, hands – of the Redskins’ receivers, who dropped 10 passes according to Coach Mike Shanahan’s subjective count.

Of course, there’s no way to know if having the team’s No. 1 and 2 passing options on the field instead of the sideline would have helped. But you can’t convince me that Garçon would have dropped the ball that Leonard Hankerson did, or that Davis wouldn't have made a difference.

Shanahan is usually very measured in his postgame remarks but he did not mince words when asked about the drops, issuing this stern warning to his receivers, “I don’t care where the placement is. As long as it hits your hand, you better catch it or else you won’t be in the National Football League for very long."

4—Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris vs. the Steelers’ run defense.

The Redskins entered the game averaging a league-leading 177.7 yards per game on the ground. Against the Steelers, they amassed a season-low 86 yards. The lowest previous output was 129 against the Falcons.

The Redskins’ 21 rushing attempts tied for a season low (Falcons). Against the Giants, they attempted 38 runs.

Alfred Morris’s 13 carries, meantime, were a career-low for the standout rookie.

5—Chris Cooley’s first game in 53 weeks. Cooley didn’t expect to get much action and, indeed, it was limited. The tight end played 19 snaps – 37 fewer than Logan Paulsen.

It will be interesting to see if their roles change in the coming weeks as Cooley works his way back into football shape after sitting out the season's first seven games.

“It was a pretty emotional day for me,” he said. “It felt great to get the start. I had so much adrenaline pumping through me.”

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Report: Kevin O’Connell to be hired as Redskins QB coach, possibly signaling future moves

Report: Kevin O’Connell to be hired as Redskins QB coach, possibly signaling future moves

The Redskins are reported to have a new quarterbacks coach. Normally that is not news that moves the needle much but if the report proves to be accurate the move has some big implications for the Redskins coaching staff. 

First, about the coach. Kevin O’Connell was most recently an offensive assistant with the 49ers. Prior to that he was a quarterback who spent time with the Patriots, who drafted him out of San Diego State in the third round in 2008, Lions, Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers. He only saw the field the Patriots and he attempted just six passes. His addition as the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach was reported by Fox Sports.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

The thing is, the Redskins don’t officially have an opening for a quarterbacks coach. The job is held by Matt Cavanaugh. However, the Redskins do need an offensive coordinator since Sean McVay left last week to become the head coach of the Rams. Moving Cavanaugh, who played quarterback in the NFL for 13 seasons before starting a 23-year career in coaching, to offensive coordinator, seems to be the logical move to make to many. 

If O’Connell’s addition to the staff does indeed become a reality, that would all but confirm that Cavanaugh is getting the promotion. Nothing is official until it’s official but this seems to be the way things are heading. 

Stay tuned to CSNmidatlantic.com for the latest. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Report: Redskins RB Rob Kelley undergoes knee procedure

Report: Redskins RB Rob Kelley undergoes knee procedure

According to a report from Ben Standig of Breaking Burgundy, Redskins running back Rob Kelley has undergone a knee procedure already this off-season.

Kelley has reportedly already resumed walking following the minor procedure.

The injury, which occured in a Week 16 matchup against Chicago, is not expected to impact Kelley into the 2017 season.

Kelley came out of nowhere an impressed in the pre-season and took over the starting job from Matt Jones in Week 9.

Stay tuned for more updates on Kelley.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins' Ryan Kerrigan undergoes elbow procedure