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An impossible task for the Redskins next Sunday?

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An impossible task for the Redskins next Sunday?

Do the Redskins face an impossible task on Sunday when they go to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Sunday night?

If you are one of many Redskins fans that settled in on Sunday afternoon to watch the Cowboys take on the Broncos you might think so. Although Dallas ultimately lost to Peyton Manning and company they put on quite an offensive show in the process. Tony Romo completed almost 70 percent of his passes and gained just over 14 yards per pass attempt. He set a Cowboys record with 506 yards passing and he threw for five touchdowns.

Yes, Romo did throw an interception that ultimately led to a game-winning field goal with no time left. But they were only in that position because the Dallas defense couldn’t stop Manning, who had quite a game himself (414 yards, 4 TD’s).

Now the Redskins come into Big D and they are decidedly not the ’13 Broncos. They aren’t even the 2012 Redskins through their first four games. With Robert Griffin III still working to get back to form after his knee injury their offense isn’t what it was. If you take away 21 points scored by the defense Washington has just 10 first-half points all year. That won’t cut it against the Cowboys if they play like they did on Sunday. They put up 20 in the first half yesterday and 48 for the game.

They key question is, will they play against the Redskins like they played yesterday? That is one of a few factors that should give Redskins fans some hope and reason to watch on Sunday.

—Which Cowboys offense will show up? Eight days ago against the Chargers they did not resemble the fearsome juggernaut they were against Denver. Dallas scored 14 points in the first 17 minutes of play and then they were shut out the rest of the way. They lost 30-21, getting a TD on an interception return by linebacker Sean Lee. The San Diego defense, by the way, is not very good. They were ranked 27th in the NFL prior to their late-night loss to the Raiders.

—Since Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett came to town, the Redskins have had pretty solid success against Romo. In five games against the Romo-led Cowboys (he missed one 2010 meeting with an injury) the Redskins have allowed over 20 points just twice. One of those came last Thanksgiving when the Redskins played soft in the second half to protect a 28-3 halftime lead. Since 2010 with Romo playing, the Cowboys have averaged 20 points per game against the Redskins and almost 25 per game in all of their other contests. Washington is 3-2 vs. Romo in that time.

—Regardless of how well the defense manages to contain Romo, Dez Bryant, and company, the offense is going to have to do better if the Redskins are going stay in the game. The good news is that the Washington offense has shown signs of life against the Lions and Raiders and the Dallas defense, Peyton Manning not, looked pretty bad. Griffin is not all the way back to his 2012 form but he’s getting better each week. They won’t be able to put up 51 points like the Broncos did but if they can avoid killer mistakes they could score enough to keep the pressure on the Cowboys.

The Redskins will be underdogs in this game and I’m not sure if I’m going to pick them to win. But to look at this game like it’s some sort of impossible task is off base if you look at the big picture, beyond what has transpired in the past 24 hours.

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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

RICHMOND - Everything seemed cool at the Bon Secours training facility when Jay Gruden left the podium on Wednesday, but that quickly changed when the Redskins released their  Physically Unable to Perform list a few hours later. Jordan Reed landing on the PUP list was an unexpected bomber, a big deal even if the star tight end returns to the field quickly.

On Thursday, the Redskins will take to the field for their first day of training camp. There will be plenty of questions:

  1. When and why? Reed on the PUP list for the first day of camp does not mean Redskins fans should panic, but it also doesn't mean there isn't reason for alarm. Reed has a distinct injury history and it seems the team is being smart trying to handle an injury rather than let it linger. The Washington offense is at its best with Reed on the field. Jay Gruden will be asked about Reed a lot in his Thursday press conference; perhaps their will be some clarity.
  2. D-Line questions - Rookie Jonathan Allen should immediately help the 'Skins up front defensively, but beyond that, there are no sure things in the trenches. The Redskins added Stacy McGee from the Raiders and Terrell McClain from the Cowboys in free agency, and both are expected to have a significant role right away. Those guys have had productive flashes in their past, but injuries have been an issue. The Redskins need them to be good, and healthy, right away.
  3. Time to shine - Josh Doctson hardly had a rookie season as he dealt with Achilles injuries. He played just two games in 2016. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the Redskins need last year's first-round draft pick to produce in 2017. A strong training camp, develping chemistry with Kirk Cousins, could help calm fears about the revamped 'Skins offense. 

Stay with CSN all day for updates from the Redskins first training camp practice of the 2017 season. Football is finally here.

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

RICHMOND—Redskins fans got into a panic when the news that Jordan Reed will start the season on the PUP list with a sprained big toe. But the injury is no cause for great concern. At least not for now.

It’s not that Reed isn’t an important cog in the offense. Of course he is. He was No. 2 in our ranking of the Redskins who will have the most impact in 2017. But there is every indication that the move is precautionary. History indicates that toe injuries tend to linger. Similar to hamstring injuries, the best path often is to rest and rehab until the pain is gone and then rest and rehab a little while longer. That minimizes the chances of the injury coming back.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

The irony here is that Reed did not go to OTAs in order to work on conditioning in Miami. Most areas of his body probably are bullet proof. But there is not a lot you can do to prevent a toe injury; it’s just not one of those areas of the body you can fortify with conditioning.

We don’t yet have a timetable for Reed’s return. They will not be in any hurry. Reed knows the offense and he has good timing and rapport with Kirk Cousins. After missing OTAs he came in a dominated the two-day minicamp. The Redskins could choose to have him work on rehab and conditioning until the third preseason game one month from today. They can let him get a little tune up against the Bengals and then put him back in bubble wrap until they open the season against the Eagles on September 10.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

That sounds like a good plan but there is always the possibility of a relapse. These injuries are tricky. And while it’s too soon to panic, some great concern would be warranted if Reed still is on PUP in a month.

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