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 offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!