They have a veteran coach in his third season with his second NFL team with precious little to show for the first two years. They have a quarterback who had a breakout performance in his first extended NFL action. And they started the season with nobody expecting anything out of them.That is a description of the 2012 Redskins with Mike Shanahan coming off of 11 wins in two seasons and Robert Griffin III having a big game against the Saints in his NFL debut.But that also describes the 1999 St. Louis Rams. Dick Vermeil, who took the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance in 1980, had returned to coach the Rams in 1997 after a much longer hiatus than the one year that Shanahan took off. After not coaching in the NFL from 1983 through 1996, Vermeil took the reigns of the Rams and immediately left the impression that he should have stayed retired. St. Louis won five and four games in his first two seasons.But things were different in 1999 when Kurt Warner started the season at quarterback. He came into the opener against the Ravens with just 11 career pass attempts but he passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams beat Baltimore. He went on to pass for over 4300 yards and 41 touchdowns that year on the way to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-NFL honors.I think you see where Im going here but Im not going to go very far down that road. The 2012 Redskins have some work to do before they become a 21st-century edition of The Greatest Show on Turf. Those Rams averaged almost 33 points per game, won their first six games, finished the regular season 13-3, and won Super Bowl XXXIV.The 99 Rams had a couple of assets on offense that this Redskins team does not appear to have. Alfred Morris might have a nice rookie season but hes no Marshall Faulk, who was in the prime of his Hall of Fame career. And the Redskins dont have a receiver who is nearly as accomplished as Isaac Bruce was at that point in his career. Bruce was 27 that year and he already had posted a 119-catch season (1995) where he gained over 1700 yards.But the 99 Rams do serve as a reminder that a struggling franchise with an old-school coach can turn things around in a hurry with an injection of improved quarterback play. Again, the Redskins have a long way to go before becoming The Greatest Show II but stranger things have happened.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 23, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.
Today’s schedule: No media availability
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 9
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 30
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 36
The Redskins week that was
Cravens officially won't return in 2017—This was the news that the Redskins had put Cravens on the reserve/left team list, which meant he can’t come back during the 2017 season. While we might hear something more on this before the end of December, the story is on hold until 2018. If Cravens does come back, he would start the second year of his rookie contract. The deal essentially is on hold until he returns (if he does, of course).
5 observations on the Redskins win over the Rams—The top takeaway was “you have to run the ball to run the ball.” Yes, it’s an obvious statement but the logic of it seems to escape Jay Gruden from time to time, as it did Sean McVay. Since Gruden came to Washington the Redskins are 3-19 when they rush for fewer than 90 yards and 1-14 when they attempt fewer than 20 runs. They committed to the run on Sunday and 229 rushing yards later they had the win.
Strong start for Smith but Redskins want to see more—Preston Smith has frustrated coaches with his inconsistency ever since arriving as a second-round pick in 2015. So, it’s too early to start thinking he’s going to have a breakout year after he started off with two sacks in two games. Still, a hot start is a key component to a breakout year and we’ll see if he keeps it up against tough opposition in the next two weeks.
First look at Redskins vs. Raiders—A Bay Area writer says that the Raiders’ offense is “doing whatever it wants” during the team’s 2-0 start. They are fourth in the NFL in total offense but they have that status primarily due to piling up 430 yards against the tanking Jets. I have no doubt that they will move the ball tomorrow night but I’m not so sure the will do whatever they want against an improved Washington defense.
Jay Gruden updates a lengthy injury report—When Gruden rattled off the injury list during his Monday press conference he listed seven players who were “day-to-day” with various injuries sustained during their physical win over the Rams. Six days later, it will be a surprise if any of them are out against the Rams tomorrow. Perhaps the most impressive injury return was that of Mason Foster. During the game, his shoulder was dislocated. He popped it back in and didn’t miss a snap. On Wednesday, less than 72 hours later, he was at practice giving some solid shoves to a blocking sled.
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In case you missed it
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- Why you shouldn't lament Garcon's departure — yet
- New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Huge opportunity looms for Redskins in primetime
The Redskins had a tough, physical game against the Rams last Sunday and it shows on the team’s injury report. Five players are listed as questionable for the coming game against the Raiders at FedEx Field.
TE Jordan Reed (chest), RB Rob Kelley (ribs), ILB Mason Foster (shoulder), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), and CB Josh Norman (shoulder) are the players who are questionable.
Of those players, Reed was the only one to miss a practice this week. He was out on Wednesday and was back on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. The Pro Bowl tight end told reporters in the locker room that he will be in the lineup on Sunday.
There is particular concern about Kelley’s injury. He is likely to start as he usually does. But CSN is reporting that the team will have four running backs on the game day active list instead of the three they went with in Weeks 1 and 2. Mack Brown will dress for the Redskins after being inactive in both previous games.
MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED