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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Rams

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 13, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Rams in Los Angeles


Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice

Days until:

—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 11
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 19
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 46

First look at Redskins vs. Rams

—For the second time in three years, an 0-1 Redskins team coming off a deflating season-opening loss faces a 1-0 Rams team riding high after a big win. In 2015, the Redskins lost to the Dolphins in Week 1 while the then St. Louis Rams stunned the defending NFC champion Seahawks with a 34-31 overtime win. As it turned out the Week 1 momentum meant nothing. The Redskins never trailed and rolled up 182 yards rushing in a 24-10 win.

—Rams RB Todd Gurley did not play in that 2015 game. The then-rookie did not make his debut until Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. Despite the late start, he rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns that year. But he had a sophomore slump last year. He gained a respectable 885 yards but it took him 278 attempts to get there, a putrid 3.2 yards per attempt. And although the Rams romped in the opener Gurley again struggled with 19 carries for 40 yards, a 2.1 per-carry average. Here is what NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger said of his play that game:

And that was against the Colts, who were 30th in rushing defense in the NFL last year, giving up 4.7 yards per carry. Gurley clearly has talent and the Redskins don’t want to be the team against whom he gets it together.

—Aaron Donald does not need to prove himself. The defensive tackle has been first-team All-Pro each of the last two years. But he held out for a new contract all year until reporting on Saturday. Donald did not play in Week 1 and the Rams can extend their roster exemption for him at least through the Redskins game. But coach Sean McVay is saying that he wants to get Donald on the field on Sunday. As of now, the plans are for him to play and the extent of his time "is going to be predicated on how he feels going out to practice and getting involved," said McVay. This could be some gamesmanship on McVay’s part but don’t be shocked to see Donald in there on Sunday if only on a limited basis.

—McVay, of course, is the Redskins’ former offensive coordinator. I’m not sure how much that fact will mean in terms of the outcome. He knows a lot of the players and what makes them tick and what makes them uncomfortable. He also knows Jay Gruden’s offensive philosophy inside and out. On the other hand, Gruden and his assistant coaches know what McVay likes to do as well, so there may not be much of an advantage either way. Gruden summed it up pretty well. “It’ll be a great challenge,” he said. “We have a good idea of what he likes to do, but you just don’t know when he’s going to do it.”

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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I tweeted that Jonathan Allen led all Redskins rookies, and all defensive linemen, in snaps played against the Eagles promting this question:

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Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

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Giants TE grabs crotch, immediately introduced to NFL's celebration rules

It took the New York Giants a full game and another quarter before they scored their first touchdown of the 2017-18 NFL season.

Giants rookie Evan Engram was the recipient of their first touchdown of the season, scoring the first of his career on Monday Night Football.

Naturally he began to celebrate his accomplishment, but perhaps his celebration was too natural. 


In the clip, right in front of the cameraman, the 23-year-old proceeds to dance with a finishing move crotch grab in the midst of his teammates.

Apparently the loosened NFL celebration rules from this off-season did not take out any sexually suggestive actions. 

It resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off for the Giants.

With the ball then kicked out of bounds the Lions had the ball at their own 45-yard line.


Likely the grab will give Engram a fine from the NFL.

Last season Antonio Brown was fined for a similar celebration, by twerking following a score.

The touchdown remains the only time New York has found the end-zone through two games.

With only 13 points it is the lowest scoring two game start in 70 years for the franchise. 

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Snap Chat: Josh Doctson plays more but still looking for first reception


Snap Chat: Josh Doctson plays more but still looking for first reception

The playing time of Josh Doctson in the Redskins’ season opener was a topic of discussion. In Week 2 against the Rams, his playing time increased by nearly 50 percent but he still is looking for his first catch of the season.

After being in 20 plays against the Eagles and not being targeted on a single pass attempt, Doctson played 29 snaps in the Rams game. The result was one target but it was a fade pass in the end zone that he never had a chance to get his hands on. The 2016 first-round pick still has a zero on the stat sheet in the receptions column.

Some other observations on playing time against the Rams:

Kirk Cousins and four of the offensive linemen played all 71 offensive snaps. Morgan Moses left on the last play of the third quarter with a sprained ankle. He was out on the ensuing third-down play, the Redskins punted and when they got the ball back Moses was back in there after missing just the one snap.


—When Rob Kelley was in the game he was getting the ball. He played 16 snaps and had 12 carries before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib injury. Chris Thompson (29) and Samaje Perine (26) split the other running back carries.

—The Redskins played a lot of multiple tight end sets with Jordan Reed (40), Vernon Davis (55), and Niles Paul (36) combining to play 131 snaps. That’s an average of almost two tight ends per snap. Contrast that to last week when the tight ends played a combined 87 of the 69 plays on offense.

—On defense, CB Bashaud Breeland, S D.J. Swearinger, and ILB Mason Foster played all 50 defensive snaps. That means that Foster didn’t miss a play after he suffered a shoulder separation and popped it back into place on the sideline.

Zach Brown missed a snap and Josh Norman missed three, probably due to his shoulder injury.


—Rookie Jonathan Allen again led the defensive line in snaps played with 29 this time. Matt Ioannidis was right behind him with 28.

—Non-Allen rookie watch: Fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson was a surprise starter at strong safety, playing 26 snaps before leaving with an injury. Fellow rookie CB Fabian Moreau played one snap on defense and 21 on special teams. Ryan Anderson played a dozen snaps on defense. Chase Roullier did not play an offensive snap but he got in on six special teams plays.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.