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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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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

Tandler on Instagram

Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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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).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

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.