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Need to Know: Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 17, the day the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Second-half running off slightly

Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

That seems to be a popular theme among the team’s fans and on talk radio. But such impressions seem to be based on play calls in some very narrow circumstances such as the fourth-quarter series of three passes that were called after the Broncos tied the October 27 game at 21. Let’s take a broader look at the Redskins’ second-half running game.

We’re going to compare two sets of games here. The one from last year covers the last seven games, the season-ending winning streak that pushed the team into the playoffs. In theory, that stretch of games should have set the blueprint for this year, showing the way that this offense can be successful.

The other set of games is composed of the 2013 season minus the first two games. The games against the Eagles and Packers got away from the Redskins very quickly and the rushing game was not much of a factor. The Redskins’ record in these games is 3-4.

In the last seven games of last year, the Redskins rushed 235 times for 1,214 yards. That’s an average of 5.2 yards per carry and 173 yards per game.

In games 3-9 this year they have run the ball 233 times, just two fewer attempts than they had to close out 2012. They have been slightly less effective, gaining 1,182 yards, 5.1 per carry. But, overall, we’re looking at a difference of less than three percent over seven games, not very significant.

But where you do see a difference is that they are running less after halftime. In the second halves and overtime last year the Redskins ran 142 times for 754 yards (5.3 per carry). This year they have 121 attempts for 643 yards (5.3 yards/carry). The difference of about three carries and 16 yards per game. That’s not huge but it’s significant.

In the seven game’s we’re looking at from this year, the Redskins have trailed at some point in the second half in all of them, so there might be some good reasons to throw the ball rather than run it.

While most of the seven games to close out last year were competitive late, the Redskins only trailed in the second half against the Giants and Ravens.

The Redskins hope to be running out the clock late in today’s game against the Eagles.

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Timeline

—Days until: Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 8; Giants @ Redskins 14; Chiefs @ Redskins 21

—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Eagles 1 p.m.

In case you missed it

Sunday 11.10

Monday 11.11

Tuesday 11.12

Wednesday 11.13

Thursday 11.14

Friday 11.15

Saturday 11.16

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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.

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

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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.