Washington Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

preston-smith-sack-vs-eagles.png

Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 18, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

—Yes, I know. The injuries, the injuries, the injuries. Yes, there is a reason that Trent Williams ($10.6 million) has a cap number about 20 times higher than that of Ty Nsekhe ($510,000). He's a lot better. But every week in the NFL players who haven’t played much before come in for injured players and get the job done, getting in and out of the lineup before the other team can figure out his strengths and weaknesses. We will see if Nsekhe is one of those guys.

—The defense is largely intact with the exception of CB Chris Culliver. The pressure will be on the defense to get the job done. DE Jason Hatcher and NT Terrance Knighton said during the week that they were looking forward to going up against the straight-ahead power running scheme of the Jets after chasing Devonta Freeman in the zone stretch against the Falcons last week. If they can do their part and bottle up Chris Ivory it will be tough for Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them.

—We could find out if the one-back theory that has been fodder for discussion on talk radio and on the web (including here) has any validity. It seems likely that Matt Jones will be either inactive or available on a limited or on an emergency basis only. That could mean the 20-plus carries for Alfred Morris that everyone has been looking for. It is likely to be tough sledding against the Jets’ defensive front with the Redskins’ banged-up offensive line no matter who carries the ball. But we should get a limited feel for whether or not Morris does do better once he gets into a “rhythm” and warmed up or if that is one of those myths floating around out there.

—The Jets have 13 takeaways and they have played only four games. The Redskins have six in five games. Taking a closer look at the Jets’ numbers, they have forced eight fumbles and recovered seven of them. Their ability to recover them isn’t all training and skill; there is an element of luck involved as well. Over time, every NFL team will recover about as many balls on the ground as the other team does. But even though New York’s luck is likely to run out at some point, it’s not necessarily going to happen against the Redskins.

—If the defense can get it done—meaning holding the Jets to around 14 points—the Redskins will have a shot. Washington has not won a game scoring fewer than 14 points since September 12, 2010, the first game of the Shanahan error, um, era. If the defense or special teams can log a score (DeAngelo Hall scored a touchdown on a fumble return in that 2010 game), the chances will be better. I think the offense goes ultra conservative so Tress Way will have to have to boom punts from deep in Redskins territory and artfully drop them inside the 20 when he’s called upon to do that. Kirk Cousins will need to avoid multiple turnovers. In the big picture it’s like drawing to an inside straight flush. A Redskins win is possible but the odds are very much against it.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Patriots 21

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Defensive line

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Phil Taylor
Other roster locks: Terrell McClain, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier
On the bubble: Matt Ioannidis, A.J. Francis, Joey Mbu

How the defensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: The addition of Allen is a boost but the losses of Chris Baker (free agent) and Ricky Jean Francois (released) can’t be overlooked. Second-year players Lanier and Ioannidis should improve and Hood will be a rotational player instead of a starter, a role better suited to his ability. Andi new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will get the most out of them. The key to improvement will be McClain and McGee. If the two free agents live up to their contracts the line should be better than it was last year. If not, they will struggle again. Slightly better

To the rest of the NFL: But let’s not mistake an improved Redskins D-line for one of the better units in the league. While it’s tough to compare a 3-4 line to a 4-3 front, it still would be quite a leap for the Redskins to move from the bottom of the pack to the lower middle. Tomsula inherited a multi-year rebuild; one draft pick and a couple of free agents are not going to transform the line into a force. Bottom third

RELATED: 2017 OUTLOOK: WIDE RECEIVER

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Since I used his name in conjunction with that of Dave Butz above, that has to be Allen. He has both the physical ability and the mental makeup to be a very, very good one.

Most to prove: Nearly every player on the line has something to prove but only Phil Taylor has been out of football for the last two years. He has worked his way up from a brief retirement to a futures contract with the Redskins to a roster long shot to a probable starter. But he still only has 21 preseason snaps under his belt and he has a long way to go before he reestablishes himself as a legitimate NFL player.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: The only rookie with a realistic shot at making the roster is Allen. His Nick Saban-Alabama background has him well prepared to handle the scrutiny that comes with being a top draft pick and the expectations that come with playing in a place like Washington.

Bottom line: The best-case scenario here is that Taylor anchors the line in the middle, Allen’s learning curve is short, Lanier contributes six sacks in a nickel role, and the rest of the players make up a good rotation. Anything more would be a big bonus. Anything less would be back to being one of the worst defenses against the run.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Phil Taylor:

Well, I’ll tell you, I was in Cincinnati for three years when he was at Cleveland and I know what a force he can be at nose. He was tough to deal with, he really was. We had him for a workout, and I didn’t even know he was on the streets. His knee looked better. He was in good shape. He had a whole offseason and did some good things. I think his body is finally back to where he feels really good. He’s moving around, he’s active, he’s strong, so I like where he is right now. He’s just got to continue to maintain 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.

Quick Links

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

roullier_stretching_ap.png
Associated Press

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

Let’s be clear here.

The Redskins’ loss of center Spencer Long for two weeks due to a knee injury is not a good development.

Long is going into his second year as the starter and he still has a lot to learn. Although he should be back for the games that count, he could have benefitted from the 30 or so snaps he would have taken against the Bengals in the team’s third preseason game this Sunday.

Also, the Redskins’ offensive line has struggled this preseason, especially when blocking for the run.

Another half with the full starting unit playing together would have helped them work on those problems. The third preseason game is supposed to be a dress rehearsal and it’s tough to have one of those if you don’t have all your lead actors.

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS PURSUE RETIRED JETS' CENTER?

However, in the NFL one’s player’s bad fortune can be an opportunity for another. Chase Roullier was a sixth-round pick of the Redskins. With Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan departed to Rams, Roullier became the backup center by default. While many expected the Redskins to make a move for a veteran backup center, they have kept Roullier running with the second-team offense through OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the first two preseason games.

He was a bit shaky against the Ravens in the first preseason game but he was solid against the Packers on Saturday. It should be noted that Roullier will be facing the Bengals’ defensive starters on Saturday, not backups and players whose names will soon appear on the waiver wire as he was in the first two games.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

The competition that Roullier will face, however, is one of the upsides here. If the Redskins need their backup center during the season, their opponent is not going to pull its starter and line up a reserve player against him. He will be facing starters. The Redskins organization should have a pretty good idea of what they have in Roullier after a half against the Bengals’ front-line players.

Again, it would be better if Long was there for the line to work on its game. But the Redskins will have a chance to make the best of a bad situation by finding out if they are set at backup center or if they will need to pull the trigger on finding a veteran option.

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.