ATLANTA—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 11, the day the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.
Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Falcons
—The Redskins have improved in some areas compared to last year but they are still an inefficient offense. They are second in the NFL with 383 yards per game but tied for 23rd with 19.5 points scored per game. It’s not fair to blame the offense alone; they start their average drive at their own 23.3 yard line, the second-worst starting field position in the league. This is where the lack of takeaways hurts them. The Redskins have three takeaways; only two teams have fewer.
—Adam Schefter reported this morning that Falcons WR Julio Jones will play against the Redskins today but there is “concern” about lingering hamstring issues. You have to think that even a hampered Jones can be effective against a Redskins secondary that will be playing without its top two corners. But it is something worth keeping an eye on as the game unfolds.
—The Falcons will be without leading tackler Justin Durant, who is out with an elbow injury. That should help the Redskins run the ball against a team that is 27th in the NFL allowing 4.4 yards per rushing attempt. Healthy or not, Jones can’t hurt them if he’s on the sideline.
—Tevin Coleman returns from a rib injury today and he will split time with Devonta Freeman. He picked up 112 yards in two games before getting injured and he will split time with Devonta Freeman. The Falcons have averaged just 3.7 yards per rushing attempt. You would think that the Redskins could take advantage of that since they are pretty good at stopping the run. But I don’t think the Falcons are at all scared of third and seven.
—I’m not sure if the Falcons are as good as their record says they are. They still have a lot of the same pieces that went 4-12 and 6-10 in the last two seasons. But even if the Falcons are underserving of being 4-0 they probably will be 5-0 at the end of the day today. This is a tall order for a Redskins team that has been even worse than the Falcons over the last two years. I don’t give them zero chance like some do and I do think that they will hang in for most of the game but their road woes (one win in their last 14 road games) are likely to continue.
—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Falcons, 1 p.m., FOX
—Days until: Redskins @ Jets 7; Bucs @ Redskins 14
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).
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.
RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.
Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.
Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.
In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.
Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.
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