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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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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

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Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle 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.