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Dallas final thoughts

Dallas final thoughts

I could be wrong—I have been before and I will be again—but I really think that the Redskins have a chance of beating Dallas today. I'm not talking about just your generic "on any given Sunday" chance, but a real "we have arrived and we're going to be a force in this division" chance.

Dealing with Marion Barber will be key. He's going to bounce off of the first tackler with frequency, but the Skins will have to make sure that there's a gang around him to minimize the yardage he picks up after that first contact. Getting a gang around him also could push him to wear down towards the end of the game. Last week was an exception, but he generally averages considerably fewer yards per carry when he gets past 18 or 20 carries than he does earlier in the game. He's as tough as a five-dollar steak, but if the defense pounds on him for the first three quarters of play he won't be quite as fierce at the end of the game.

The Dallas pass rush is another problem for the Redskins. They will get their share of sacks and that's fine as long as the ball stays in Jason Campbell's hand. All turnovers are not created equal. An interception on a deep pass isn't that bad, depending on the situation. The sack, strip, and defensive recovery variety of turnover is much worse. Such a play not only flips field position but it represents a breakdown by the entire offensive unit. An offense often plays tentatively after a disaster like that and the defense is emboldened. That's not a recipe for success for the Redskins on the road.

As I said the other day, Campbell will have to continue his growth in Jim Zorn's system and his development as an NFL quarterback if the Redskins are going to pull this one out. It's just asking too much for the Redskins to pound out long, sustained drives all day long. Sure, the line is going to have to block and the receivers are going to have to run their routes and catch. But it's on Campbell to pull the trigger.

Campbell and the Redskins are almost in a no-lose situations. Of the four possible scenarios—blowout loss, close loss, close win, blowout win—only the first one would be considered a disaster and even that, considering the 11-point spread, wouldn't be a huge blow.

If the Redskins go in and play like they have nothing to lose, they should do OK. Judging by what I've seen from the Redskins under Zorn so far, I think that's exactly what they'll do.


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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).


Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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