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Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 6, one day before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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—Brady and Belichick have been together for 15 years. Gruden and Griffin have known each other for about six months. The Redskins’ coach dreams of getting to where Belichick is. “It takes a lot of time,” he said. “It takes a lot of trust, a lot of wins, a lot of ups and downs that you fight through together. You work out together, off the field, on the field. Like you said, 15 years, I think it is now? That’s something that you only hope to have, you only dream of having as a head coach.”

—What is secondary coach Raheem Morris looking for during the joint practices and in Thursday’s preseason opener against New England? “Really, I’m just looking for these guys to be physical,” he said. “We’ve done all of the running around in shorts you can do, stuff you can do in underwear. And now it’s time to put your pads on and go out and hit some people. I want to see these guys have contact and go out and play football the way it’s supposed to be played.”

—Morris is happy to get his guys a chance to get his guys to play against one of the best in the business. “Tom is arguably one of the best if not the best guy in the league,” he said. “Any time you get a chance to go against a guy like Tom who’s going to be accurate, going to be pinpoint, going to know exactly what he wants to do. That’s always helpful, that’s always nice to see. We practice against a pretty good one ourselves but when you get a chance to go against one of the best it’s always great for your guys, it’s always a great measuring stick.”

—Tom Brady doesn’t envy the environment that Griffin has to operate in. It was a different world when Brady came into the league in 2000 and as a sixth-round pick he was not under the spotlight that shines on Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012. “The news cycle is different now and there is so much pressure for the young guys,” Brady said. “The spotlight is so bright, and these younger players have an opportunity to develop and there are less practices now and less time they can spend at the facility, so there are different challenges that they’re facing.”

—Bill Belichick said that one of the most important things he got out of joint practices is the ability to work in special situations. During the preseason the first team might get into only a few red zone situations or a handful or third and short. In this setup, Belichick and Gruden can work on them as much as they want to. “Absolutely awesome, it really is,” said Gruden. “You can’t underestimate the reps that we got today and yesterday -- situational. Third down and short, third down and medium, third down and long, red zone opportunities, we had some ‘move the ball’ opportunities, we had two-minute today three or four times, we had to use a timeout, all that stuff, man. That’s something that’s not only good for our players but good for us to watch the situations and make good decisions with the clock – spiking it, when to call timeout, are we in field goal range?”

If you have any questions about what's going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Patriots 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability after practice; Player availability coming off the field; Bill Belichick availability TBD

—It’s been 220 days since the Redskins played a game; in 32 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Bills 12; Final cuts 25; Home opener vs. Jaguars 39

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Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.

Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.

The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.

The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.

Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.

The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.  

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

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