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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Ravens—'Next man up' comes up big

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Ravens—'Next man up' comes up big

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 11, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Lions 12; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 19

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Ravens Next man up comes up big

—In 2013 the Redskins special teams were a disaster, the worst in the league by a long shot. Enter Ben Kotwica and in 2014 the kicking units were merely bad. Last year they made a few negative plays but the team did score three special teams touchdowns, albeit in blowout losses. Now, in 2016, the special teams have been excellent (fourth in the NFL through Week 4 per DVOA) and yesterday they got a punt return for a touchdown that was the difference in the game. The gradual improvement is a tribute to Kotwica and to the Redskins for sticking by him through some tough times, realizing he had a huge task when he got here after the disasters of 2013.

—One under discussed area of improvement for the Redskins on Sunday was in penalties. There were four accepted penalties against them for 46 yards. The majority of the yards, 26 of them, came on a very shaky pass interference call against Will Compton. It didn’t look like there was any contact with the receiver until the ball arrived. There were no false starts called against the offensive line during the road game; the only flag for that infraction was drawn by wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Like many other aspects of the team's performance both good and bad this is a week to week thing but still a positive thing to note.

—There were 16 players who participated in at least a third of the defensive snaps against the Ravens. Of those, seven played little or not at all during the season opener against the Steelers. Some, like Will Blackmon and Kendall Fuller, were inactive. Others, like Greg Toler and Quinton Dunbar, played only on special teams. Matt Ioannidis was on the practice squad and Cullen Jenkins wasn’t even on the team. You hear “next man up” all the time; this is that mantra in action and with solid results.

—I never thought for a second that Marc Trestman would be the savior of the Bears and I was unimpressed when the Ravens brought him on board as their offensive coordinator. He always seemed to want to out-clever the opposition rather than just designing a solid scheme and calling it well during a game. Not only did he abandon a running game that was working well in the first quarter, he stayed away from it even though it worked well even as the Ravens ran very little (8 carries, 44 yards, 5.5 average in last three quarters). The Ravens are better off without him.

—Redskins fans should be used to their team winning close games, at least when they're not playing a certain hated division foe. Going back to Week 4 of last season the Redskins have won six out of nine games decided by one score. Two of the three losses, of course, were to the Cowboys, losses the team will not be able to avenge until Thanksgiving Day.

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

There were a lot of wounded Redskins on the practice field on Wednesday as the team started preparations for their game against the Raiders on Sunday.

One injured player was not on the field. Jordan Reed was out with a chest injury. Obviously, there is concern but Jay Gruden said that it is too early to rule him out of the game.

A half dozen players were limited including RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder), OT Morgan Moses (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (knee), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder).

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

While none of the injuries seems particularly serious, they still could affect each player’s status for the game.

Foster suffered a separated shoulder during the game, popped it back in, and continued without missing a snap. He said that said that he was letting the athletic trainers handle it. “I’m going in, getting my treatment, doing what they tell me to do,” he said.

Kelley suffered a rib cartilage injury in the second quarter on Sunday. He said that the pain was very high that day but that it has subsided since. The starting running back said that

MORE REDSKINS: FIRST LOOK AT REDSKINS VS RAIDERS

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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Terrelle Pryor issues polite but firm request to Rams safety to avoid hitting knees

Terrelle Pryor issues polite but firm request to Rams safety to avoid hitting knees

Football players prefer to regulate their sport without fines and penalties, and in 2017, social media can be a platform for any and all declarations.

After Terrelle Pryor took a direct hit to his right knee in the Redskins win over the Rams, the receiver reached out to L.A. safety Cody Davis via Twitter with a polite, but firm, message. 

RELATED: WEEK 2 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Standing 6'6", Pryor is one of the tallest receivers in the league. It makes sense he doesn't like getting hit in the knees, as any skilly player doesn't, but particularly with the increased height that could mean more safeties are coming in low on him.

Through two games Pryor has eight catches for 97 yards. The season hasn't started particularly strong for Pryor, though the 6-foot-5, 240 lb. wideout remains confident that his production will increase. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden did not go as far as Pryor, but does believe his team's pass game is "very close" to firing on all cylinders. QB Kirk Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards last season, but through two games this year, his statistics have been subpar. 

To beat the undefeated Raiders, the Redskins will need a dominant performance from Pryor. He sounds like he's up for the job.

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