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Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 22, two days before the Redskins travel to play the Giants.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Actually, these are not really early because the game is in two days. But here we go anyway:

—The Redskins get no break when it comes to playing teams that are tough to run against. The Giants actually have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Redskins and teams have tried to run against them. The numbers are 45 rushing attempts, 136 yards, a 3.0 average. Washington’s line is 31/141/4.5.

—The Giants have a rather extensive injury list. If Jason Pierre Paul started practicing today he would not play Thursday. WR Victor Cruz missed the first two games with a calf injury following knee surgery last year and it is very unlikely that he makes his season debut on Thursday. Other Giants who have a short week to try to recover are left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (head). Tom Coughlin did not give the media much of an update on Flowers and Rodgers-Cromartie on Monday so time will tell on them.

—Rodgers-Cromartie is the injury to keep an eye on. The New York pass defense has been shaky even with him in the lineup. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 72.5 percent of their passes against them and have gained 7.9 yards per attempt. It should be noted that the quarterbacks were Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Kirk Cousins isn’t on their level at this point in his career. We will see what he can get done.

—Odell Beckham Jr., as one would expect, has been Eli Manning’s favorite target. The quarterback has thrown at Beckham 20 times, seven more targets than to any other player. Last year’s rookie of the year has 12 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. You can do the math and see that he’s on pace for another spectacular season. Chris Culliver gives the Redskins a good shot at limiting him but he will make some plays.

—Rashad Jennings has been the Giants’ primary running back but he has averaged just 2.9 yards on his 22 carries. It should be noted that being handed the ball and told not to score doesn’t help your average much. If that keeps up we could see a shift to the younger Andre Williams, who is averaging 4.8 yards on 12 carries.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice.

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 2; Eagles @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Falcons 19

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—The Redskins get no break when it comes to playing teams that are tough to run against. The Giants actually have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Redskins and teams have tried to run against them. The numbers are 45 rushing attempts, 136 yards, a 3.0 average. Washington’s line is 31/141/4.5.

—The Giants have a rather extensive injury list. If Jason Pierre Paul started practicing today he would not play Thursday. WR Victor Cruz missed the first two games with a calf injury following knee surgery last year and it is very unlikely that he makes his season debut on Thursday. Other Giants who have a short week to try to recover are left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (head). Tom Coughlin did not give the media much of an update on Flowers and Rodgers-Cromartie on Monday so time will tell on them.

—Rodgers-Cromartie is the injury to keep an eye on. The New York pass defense has been shaky even with him in the lineup. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 72.5 percent of their passes against them and have gained 7.9 yards per attempt. It should be noted that the quarterbacks were Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Kirk Cousins isn’t on their level at this point in his career. We will see what he can get done.

—Odell Beckham Jr., as one would expect, has been Eli Manning’s favorite target. The quarterback has thrown at Beckham 20 times, seven more targets than to any other player. Last year’s rookie of the year has 12 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. You can do the math and see that he’s on pace for another spectacular season. Chris Culliver gives the Redskins a good shot at limiting him but he will make some plays.

—Rashad Jennings has been the Giants’ primary running back but he has averaged just 2.9 yards on his 22 carries. It should be noted that being handed the ball and told not to score doesn’t help your average much. If that keeps up we could see a shift to the younger Andre Williams, who is averaging 4.8 yards on 12 carries.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice.

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 2; Eagles @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Falcons 19

In case you missed it

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.