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First look: Redskins vs. Giants

First look: Redskins vs. Giants

Osi's back

NFL games are about matchups and the Washington Redskins have one that doesn't work in their favor when they take on the Giants on Sunday.

The Redskins' weakest unit is their offensive line. New York is loaded with talent on its defensive line. Some mismatches spell trouble. This one potentially spells disaster.

It did in 2008. The Redskins mustered just seven points in each of their two games against the Giants last year. The low point total wasn't due to mistakes or bad luck or turnovers. New York simply dominated the line. Clinton Portis had nowhere to run; Jason Campbell had no time to throw.

And that Giants D-line did not have Osi Umenyiora, who was out for the season with a knee injury, or Chris Canty, who was playing for the Dallas Cowboys before coming over as a free agent.

Last year it didn't seem like Jim Zorn adjusted to the Giants' DL dominance. It looked like he was figuring that if he ignored it, it would go away.

It's difficult and usually futile but you can try quick passes, traps, screens and an occasional deep pass with maximum protection. We didn't see much of that last year and the Redskins really never had a chance in either game.

This doesn't mean that all is lost for the visitors. Even though the Giants have a strong offensive line they could struggle to score. The Redskins' defensive backfield against the Giants' receivers is a good matchup for Washington. Until someone emerges as a genuine threat to replace the departed Plaxico Burress Eli Manning will have difficulty finding someone to throw to.

The Redskins' defensive line will be put to the test. The key to stopping Brandon Jacobs is to get him moving sideways. If he's allowed to get up a head of steam into the second level defensive backs end up getting posterized.

I'll make my prediction later in the week. The good news is that the Redskins will face such an OL-DL mismatch just a few times this year but they're going to have to figure a way around it if they want to steal that most precious of regular-season NFL prizes, a division road win.

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

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

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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