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Browns won’t sneak up on Redskins

Browns won’t sneak up on Redskins

There is no question that the Washington Redskins will be ready when the Cleveland Browns come to town on Sunday. After being ambushed by the St. Louis Rams in what was supposed to be a cakewalk to a 7-1 record at midseason, the Redskins will be sure that the Browns do not sneak up on them.

The question is, will it matter?

The Browns broke out of a season-long funk on Monday as they spanked the defending champion New York Giants 35-14. At the core of their woes going into that game was quarterback Derek Anderson, who was erratic at best and almost was benched on a few occasions. It now seems that Brady Quinn will stay anchored to the bench for a while longer Anderson went 18 for 29 for 310 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants.

His favorite target was 6-3 receiver Braylon Edwards. Not coincidentally, Edwards also was struggling this year prior to Monday night. He torched the Giants for 154 yards and a touchdown on just five catches.

The Cleveland defense played well, getting three interceptions off of Eli Manning, who decided that it would be a good idea to start throwing off of his back foot. Eric Wright returned the third pick 94 yards for the clinching touchdown.

In order for the Redskins to beat the Browns, they will need more than just being in the proper mental state. They'll need to put pressure on Anderson, something the Giants failed to do. They'll need to do that while keeping a blanket on Edwards. They'll need to keep Jason Campbell's streak of interception-free play this season intact.

The Redskins can go a long ways towards achieving those goals by exploiting one of the few sore spots for the Browns on Monday. The Giants rushed for 181 yards, averaging 7.2 yards a carry. There were no long runs to puff up the average; their longest gain was 18 yards.

This wasn't a fluke poor performance by the Cleveland run defense. They are 25th in the league in that category, giving up an average of 134 yards per game.

Running the ball, of course, is right up the Redskins' alley. Clinton Portis leads the NFL with 643 rushing yards and as a team the Skins are third in the NFL, averaging 152 yards per game on the ground.

Still, the Redskins may have to throw a bit more than they might want to. Shaun Alexander isn't used to running behind this offensive line, which does a good job of creating daylight but the running back needs to know how to read the blocks and find the hole. Alexander's touches probably will be in the passing game.

Defensively, the Redskins will have to get some degree of pressure on Anderson. The Giants didn't sack him once. That means covering Edwards one on one with Shawn Springs in order to bring Chris Horton on the blitz.

Blitzing also can be an effective tool against the run. Jamal Lewis is one of those power backs who needs to build up a head of steam to be effective. If first contact comes in the backfield from a blitzing safety it becomes much easier to bring him down.

Bottom line, it's not rocket science here. Pound the rock, rattle the opposing QB, win the turnover battle and do the hip-hip-hooray thing in the locker room afterwards.

It says here that Portis goes for a buck-fifty but the defense will have a hard time getting at Anderson. There's no reason to think that they will get consistent pressure since they haven't done it all year. The Redskins will have to score three touchdowns in order to take this one and they will.

Redskins 27, Browns 21

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!