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For starters, first team offense will play

For starters, first team offense will play

As you probably have read, Jim Zorn has decided to play the offensive starters for a series or two tonight in the Washington Redskins' preseason finale.

The players, by all reports, are all in favor of getting out there to play the kinks out of their game, even if they will be facing the Jags' second-team defense. Even Clinton Portis, who regards preseason game with great distain, showed a willingness to go out there (although not a great degree of enthusiasm.

"Being that I have to play, and it's not my choice," Portis said, "I can't do nothing but be excited about it."

Zorn's has created a minor stir out there. Mosley on the ESPN blog thinks it's a major mistake, but for the wrong reason. He thinks that Zorn is playing his first team for around a dozen plays in an effort to win the game. Of course, that's ridiculous. Zorn is playing the starters because they stunk up Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte last Saturday and what was supposed to be their final tuneup turned out to be a confidence-killing cluster, uh, bomb.

I'm not quite sure where the "tradition" of having your team's final tuneup come two weeks before the first game originated. It really doesn't make any sense when you think about it. Why get the machine running just right facing live action and then shut it down for two weeks?

In any case, those guys need to get back out there and run something resembling an NFL offense. Yes, there is a small risk of sustaining an injury to a starter during those 12 plays, but it's small enough to make it worth the risk.

I like the fact that Zorn doesn't feel bound by this "tradition".

A few other notes about tonight's game:

  • Cornerback Byron Westbrook has been a longshot to make the team all along. The odds against him are now even longer. He sat at my table at the Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon yesterday and he told me that he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Panthers and that he's unlikely to play against Jacksonville.
  • With the release of Matt Sinclair, the chances of linebacker Alfred Fincher making the team as a reserve linebacker increased greatly. However, he'll still have to prove himself tonight. The Skins could scan the waiver wire and pick up a veteran reserve if they're not wild about what they see from Fincher tonight.
  • Fincher should get plenty of action as the defensive starters are not expected to take the field. All this for $100 and more a ticket.
  • The punt-off between Derrick Frost and Durant Brooks will come down to tonight as the two will alternate kicks. It says here that a tie goes to Frost as Shaun Suisham seems to prefer the veteran as his holder.
  • Don't forget to join in on the blog tonight, live from FedEx Field. You'll have a chance to participate in the beta of the Virtual Locker Room, which will give you a chance to ask questions of the players and of Jim Zorn after the game.

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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