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Need to Know: First thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles—Can the D rattle Wentz?

Need to Know: First thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles—Can the D rattle Wentz?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 12, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Lions 11; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 18

First thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—This is the biggest game for the Redskins since, well, their last big game. If they win and the Cowboys lose to the Packers they would be tied for first in the division. Last year their sweep of the Eagles was the key to winning the NFC East. If they want to do that again they likely need at least a split with Philly and defending their home turf would be the best way for the Redskins to get that done.

—Last week the Redskins played the defense that was ranked No. 1 in the Ravens. This week they face the second-ranked defense. In fact, the Eagles are just 11 yards behind the Seahawks for the top spot. The Philadelphia pass rush is fierce; they are one of two teams (Broncos the other) who are scoring sacks on over 10 percent of their opponents’ pass attempts. It would not be surprising if the Redskins had to try to win again with fewer than 20 points on the board.

—The news that Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson’s 10-game PED related suspension will be upheld is not at all surprising. The suspension is effective immediately so he will miss the game on Sunday and the game in Philadelphia in Week 14. They have had plenty of time to plan for his absence. Johnson is arguably their best offensive, however, so there will be a drop off when the substitute either rookie Halapouliavatti Vaitai, a fifth-round pick, or move veteran guard Allen Barbie from guard to right tackle. In the bigger picture, Johnson is their plan for the future at left tackle when Jason Peters retires and since another PED violation (this is his second suspension) will send Johnson to the sideline for multiple seasons there has to be some long-term concern beyond if Vaitai can hold down the job.

—Is five games of tape on Carson Wentz enough for Joe Barry to figure him out? Maybe but that’s only part of the battle. The rookie is calm and cool in the pocket; his football IQ is off the charts. The Redskins have not been very good at rattling rookie QBs this year. Dak Prescott never batted an eye at what the Redskins threw at him and the Browns didn’t lose to Washington because of Cody Kessler coming apart at the seams. Perhaps turning up the head on the pass rush would bother Wentz but so far the Redskins have not shown that they have the ability to do that consistently and Joe Barry seems reluctant to dial up blitzed to make it happen.

—The Eagles are fifth in the league in rushing yards with a true committee approach. Ryan Mathews is the leading rusher with 146 yards followed by three plays, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner, who have between 85 and 100 yards. Wentz is mobile but he has only 35 yards rushing.

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In case you missed it

https://audioboom.com/boos/5147074-episode-9-redskins-best-the-ravens?t=0

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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]