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

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

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 40, the day the Washington Redskins host the St. Louis Rams.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Rams

—Although Jordan Reed is listed as questionable, technically meaning that there is a 50-50 chance that he will play, I would say there is an 80 percent chance that he will suit up. Not only does his team need him given how thin the tight end situation is and that they already are missing one passing threat in DeSean Jackson, but he needs to play for the sake of his own reputation. If he is going to shake his well-deserved reputation for being, well, let's say it, soft, he needs to get out there. Reed may be hampered somewhat but he should be out there.

—The Rams’ defensive front is getting a lot of attention for the six sacks they got against the Seahawks. But Seattle did run against them some, picking up 125 yards on 32 carries. The Redskins probably need more rushing yards than that to have a chance and they will only accomplish that if they stick with the run.

—One reason the Rams got six sacks was that Russell Wilson dropped back to pass 47 times in a game that his team trailed by more than one score for just less than seven minutes. If Kirk Cousins drops back anywhere near 50 times the Redskins likely are doomed. He should keep it closer to the 32 he had against the Dolphins. If that happens it could be another game down to the wire.

—I think that the Redskins defender who has the best chance of getting multiple sacks is Jason Hatcher. He had a good game last week with a sack, four tackles, and a pass defensed. The veteran will line up against Rodger Saffold, one of the more experienced members on a young line. The best way to pressure Nick Foles is up the middle and Hatcher should have some success.

—Neither Joe Barry nor Jay Gruden was forthcoming with information on how the cornerbacks will line up with Bashaud Breeland back and Chris Culliver taking his place on the suspended list for a week. Justin Rogers, who was the nickel corner last week, also is out with a foot injury. I think we’ll see DeAngelo Hall and Breeland starting. In nickel situations it should be Breeland moving into the slot and David Amerson covering outside. The just-acquired Will Blackmon will come in in dime situations.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Rams @ Redskins, 1 p.m., FedEx Field, FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 4; Eagles @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Falcons 21

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 27-10 win over the Raiders:

This was the Redskins best defensive performance since 1991. That was the last time they held an opponent to under 128 total yards. They were physical, smart, determined and they made plays. If not for two turnovers they would have had a shutout. Oakland did not cross the Washington 48 without the benefit of a gift. Just dominant. 

With a strong defense, you can do what you want to on offense. I asked Kirk Cousins how much running for a couple of yards a pop as Samaje Perine was doing early in the game helped the offense. He answered in part by saying that the offense can afford to run for a low average per carry when the defense is playing so well. That's true. A punt isn't a bad play when you are confident that you are likely to get the ball back three plays later. 

Chris Thompson just keeps getting better every week. His patience when he has the ball in his hands and his ability to burst into the opening when it's there are textbook excellent. Oh yeah, his open field speed, which he gets to show off after being patient and cutting is amazing. Even the smaller plays, like two near the end of the half, when he wove his way through the cracks in the defense and then got out of bounds after gaining everything he could, are fun to watch. He is the Redskins' offensive MVP so far. 

Doctson showed why the Redskins drafted him on one flash. Nobody is going to give Josh Doctson an MVP award but we did see his potential when he went up and took that deep pass away from David Amerson for the touchdown. Plays like that make you see why the Redskins drafted him in the first round and why they have been patient with him. He will need to develop consistency but in the meantime, splash plays like that help a lot.

It’s hard to find fault in this one. Normally in these posts, I try to find a positive in a loss and something to be critical of in a win. But it’s really hard to find much to be critical about in the immediate aftermath of this one. Jamison Crowder’s muff of a punt certainly was an issue and perhaps Samaje Perine could have made more out of the line’s blocking for him. But from the defense to Cousins to Thompson to Zach Brown to D.J. Swearinger and many more, it was as dominant a game as we’ve seen from this team in a while. Can they keep it up? Tune in next Monday from Arrowhead Stadium and we’ll find out.

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.

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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — It took a while, longer than likely anyone expected, but Josh Doctson's first career touchdown catch may just have been worth the wait.

In the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, Kirk Cousins lofted a deep ball from a bit beyond midfield toward Doctson, who was being boxed out by David Amerson. And as the pass made its descent, Amerson went up to go snag it.

There was just one problem for the corner: Doctson went up and got to it first.

The result? A 52-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the hosts but, far more importantly, opened — quite forcefully, too — everyone's eyes to the sheer talent No. 18 possesses.

MORE: WHY THE DEFENSE'S EFFORT WAS SO ENCOURAGING

"I just made the play," the second-year wideout said afterward, about as nonchalantly as he made the TD look even though it absolutely wasn't. "It was pretty simple to be honest."

Against the Eagles and Rams in Weeks 1 and 2, Doctson suited up for Washington's offense but wasn't involved at all. And in the early going vs. Oakland, it again looked like he'd walk off the field with the same statline as an inactive player, on the verge of facing more questions about why he isn't producing. 

But that all changed on one jump-ball, which is exactly what his head coach has been anxiously waiting for.

"I think it was some relief for him," Jay Gruden answered when asked about the highlight. "I think the players have seen him do that in practice quite often but nobody else has... It wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but to give him a chance where he can go up and make a big time catch, hopefully we'll get more of that."

RELATED: REDSKINS PLAYERS SIT AND KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Doctson's QB, who gestured toward him during the post-score celebration as if to say There's the dude you've all been hearing about for months, certainly appreciated it.

"I do like Josh's ball skills and his ability to catch the ball up in the air and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to give him a chance, they have been asking me to give him that chance and let's give it to him," Cousins said.

As fans of the team know all too well by now, Doctson isn't someone that can be counted on yet. He's oft-injured, and the grab he made over Amerson, while spectacular, was just the third of his career. 

But that sequence provides hope that many more similar to it will follow if he continues to stay healthy and gains more of Gruden's and Cousins' trust this year. He's still far from validating his 2016 first-round selection, but it's now obvious he has the skills to distance himself from those who so badly want to label him a bust.