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Need to Know: Five bold predictions for the 2016 Redskins

Need to Know: Five bold predictions for the 2016 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 9, three days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 11:55; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conference and player availability after practice approx. 1:15

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 243 days ago. It will be three days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 9; Browns @ Redskins 23; Redskins @ Ravens 30

2016 Redskins bold predictions

Here are some long-shot predictions for the 2016 Redskins. They are best-case scenarios that will need everything going right plus a little bit of luck to for them to come to fruition. I did this a year ago and two of the five turned out to be correct.

Matt Jones will rush for 1000 yards—Normally saying that a starting running back has a chance to rush for 1000 yards in a season would not be very bold but there are a lot of questions surrounding Jones. If he runs as well as he is capable of, the only thing that will keep him from topping 1000 would be a lack of carries. An average of 4.0 per carry is a reasonable goal and with 250 carries he will get his 1000. An injury or someone like Rob Kelley taking carries from him will keep him short.

Ziggy Hood will get 7 sacks—Yes, I’ve gone from a guy who, at the start of training camp, predicted that Hood would not make the final 53 to a big fan of his play. He’ll have to stay healthy and play well for 16 games to make this happen and the defense will have to be playing with a lead consistently. But he has the ability to have a late-career revival season.

Preston Smith will be in DPOY discussion—This is probably the longest shot on the board here. Second-year players who didn't really come on until the end of their rookie years usually don't get serious defensive player of the year considerations. I don’t think he’ll win it but he could get a combination of sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and defensive touchdowns to raise some eyebrows.

Kirk Cousins will have a 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio—I’m thinking 30 touchdowns to six interceptions but it could be closer to 35 and seven. This would not require any vast improvement over last year, just a continuation of his last 10 games last year when he rang up 23 and three.

The Redskins will win 11 games—I see this is their best-case scenario, a number they could reach with a reasonable amount of good fortune. The key would be going 5-1 against the NFL East. Even if they aren’t at the level to be able to beat the Cardinals or Panthers they could get to 11 by winning three out of four against the NFC North and against the AFC North. Home games will be the key. They play only one true road game against a team that had a winning record (Cardinals). If they take care of business at FedEx Field they have a chance to have their highest win total since 1991.

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

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.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

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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