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Need to Know: Bye week has not been an advantage for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Bye week has not been an advantage for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 6, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five stats you need to know for Redskins vs. Patriots

—Jay Gruden talked about the need for the Redskins to get off to a fast start against the Patriots. They have been doing that this year, at least defensively. They have allowed 59 first-half points; only five other teams have allowed fewer. The Redskins have outscored the opposition in the first half 73-59 (it should be noted that the first-half margin was much more impressive before their last game, when the Bucs outscored them 24-7).

—Kirk Cousins has completed 184 passes, the most in team history through seven games. Robert Griffin III had the second most, with 158 in 2013. By comparison, Tom Brady has 199 completions so far this year. Cousins’ eight interceptions are the same number that Griffin had through seven games in 2013. Twenty-four Redskins quarterbacks have had seven or more interceptions through seven games.

—There is plenty of talk that the Redskins will have to be able to run the ball to stay competitive with the Patriots. They had better improve over what they have done in their last three games. In that span, the Redskins have 135 yards on the ground. That is the third-fewest rushing yards over a three-game stretch in team history. Only in September-October of 1994 (127) and November of 1944 (104) have they gained fewer over three games.

—So, how about some big plays to hit the Patriots with a little bit of shock and awe? Last year through seven games they had 10 plays that gained 40 yards or more. This year they have two, a 42-yard Chris Thompson run and a 43-yard pass from Cousins to Rashad Ross. Both of those plays came in one game, against the Eagles. The good news is that six of 2014 big plays were to DeSean Jackson, who should play on Sunday for the first time since early in the season opener.

—The bye week has not been good for the Redskins of late. Since 2008 they have gone 1-6 after getting a week off, a .143 winning percentage. Their only win in that time came in 2012 and it was the start of a seven-game winning streak that got the team to its last playoff appearance.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:00

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 2; Saints @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Panthers 16

In case you missed it

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]