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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

This week I got your questions not only from Twitter but also from the Real Redskins Facebook page (go there to Like it) for the first time. Since the Facebook aspect is new we'll start from there.

Well, Troy, nothing has been covered in the media because nothing is happening. What many fans don't seem to realize is that Jackson is on his third strike in the NFL's substance abuse process. He served suspensions of four games and then one year while he was with the Bucs. His current suspension is indefinite. Jackson was eligible to apply for reinstatement after a year but the NFL is under no obligation to reinstate him or even hear his case. So there is no news and there won't be until the league decides that he has been out long enough to get the message. A year apparently didn't do it last time so maybe they figure he needs to sit out longer this time. When something happens, you'll hear about it. But there is no point in the media "reporting" that nothing is new on a regular basis.
@Rich_TandlerCSN if the #Redskins face a Dallas team like the one who just played Denver, How will they be able to stop them? #RedskinsTalk

— Don (@don1964a) October 7, 2013
The simple answer is they won't be able to stop the Cowboys if they play like they did Sunday. But it's not certain that they will play like that. I went over a lot of the reasons in my post yesterday but the simplest way to look at it is that a week ago Sunday the Dallas offense put up 14 points against a Chargers defense that is ranked 27th. The Cowboys are not exactly a model of consistency and it remains to be seen if they can put up two stellar performances in a row.

The key against Romo is to mix things up. Last year they brought anywhere from three to seven rushers after him. There will be plenty of blitz packages and times they drop eight back into coverage in either a zone or a single high safety look. It will very by down, distance, game situation and Jim Haslett's gut feeling.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Are the Skins secondary woes primarily the culprit of poor CB play or safety play? #RedskinsTalk

— Derek Childress (@Poker_Donkey) October 7, 2013
If I had to pick one factor, I'd say that the secondary woes are due to poor tackling. That issue appears to affect primarily the safeties but that's only because they usually make more tackle attempts. It's across the board. I think it's something that will work its way out, the sooner the better. But to get back to your question, I don't think the corners are markedly less talented than the safeties or vice versa. The whole secondary just needs to get its act together when it comes to getting the guy with the ball to the ground.

Sometimes it takes the rest of the media world a while to catch up to what's being written here so I'm used to that (pardon the humble brag). But the fact of the matter with Griffin is that we just don't know. It would surprise me if he didn't continue to improve from week to week. Whether or not he will make a "leap" like Peterson, who went from averaging 97 yards per game in the first half of the season to averaging 165 in the last eight games remains to be seen. The media can't watch practice so we have no way of knowing how he is doing during the week. We find out during the games just like everyone else. My gut is that we'll see more steady progress. I don't see him all of a sudden breaking out this Sunday and playing like he did in Dallas on Thanksgiving. I do think he'll play better than he did against Oakland and that could be good enough to win.

It's hard to tell how much the brace is really affecting Griffin. My guess is that it hampers him some but not nearly as much as many think it does. Remember Griffin wore one his junior year at Baylor and it didn't affect him much then. He was asked in training camp if he would wear it all year and he said he would. That's all we have to go on.

This sounds a lot like a call to "fire Haz, go back to the 4-3" as a solution to the Redskins' defensive woes. I don't know if you were around for the decade of the 90's and early 00's when the team went through a parade of defensive coordinators and regular scheme changes. The result was a consistently bad defense that held the team back. The revolving door ended when Gregg Williams arrived in 2004 and they had a top 10 defense three out of his four years. Maybe they can find another Williams, maybe they can't. Perhaps there is a better option out there than Haslett but there are no sure things. Change for the sake of change rarely yields good results. The same applies to the defensive alignment. Personally, I would not look forward to another two years of acquiring the right personnel for a new alignment and going through the adjustment pains when the existing scheme will work fine if executed properly.

That's it for today. You don't have to wait for a call for questions to ask me something; hit me up anytime on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or on the Real Redskins Facebook page.

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.