Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 15, 60 days before the start of NFL free agency.
Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2016
Here are five players who did not necessarily play poorly in 2015 but need to take their games up a level or two to help the team improve.
G Brandon Scherff—He was good, at times very good. And he only missed one offensive snap all year. But to justify being the No. 5 overall pick in the draft he needs to grow into a dominant player. Scherff has the tools and the attitude to do it and the sooner he gets there the better.
RB Matt Jones—He showed that he has the ability to be a legitimate offensive weapon with some long runs and some big gains on screen passes. But he fumbled four times and was maddeningly inconsistent. Jones talked about working to improve and to stay healthy but we’ll have to see it in action.
DL Stephen Paea—There is likely to be a starting job open on the DL due to the possible retirement of Jason Hatcher and Paea, who signed a four-year, $21 million free agent contract last year, should be the one to step into it. But he played just 221 snaps before spending the last four weeks of the season on injured reserve with a toe injury. Paea needs to raise his level of play and become a competent starter or at least a solid rotational player who participates in 50 percent of the snaps.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—This could be just a matter of Kerrigan staying healthy. Although he won’t say it, it sure looks like the repaired knee that kept him out of OTAs was still hampering him early in the season. From week 11 on he was on a pace that would have produced about 14 sacks over a full season. If he can keep up that pace for 16 games throughout the 2016 season the Redskins defense will be that much better.
CB Bashaud Breeland—If he continues the progression he has been on the last two years there is no reason why he can’t be a top-level cornerback. What might help him most would be an improved pass rush by the players up front. If there is more disruption of the quarterback’s rhythm he should improve on his interception total (4 in two NFL seasons).
—The Redskins last played a game five days ago. It will be about 240 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 40; NFL free agency starts 60; 2016 NFL draft 104
In case you missed it
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.
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)
Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.
After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona.
Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.
The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.
Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed.
"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.
As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.
On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.
Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs.
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