Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 1, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Cleveland Browns.
—Today's schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability
—Days until: Redskins @ Ravens 8; Eagles @ Redskins 15; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 29
Five Redskins under pressure against the Browns
QB Kirk Cousins—Yes, they got the win against the Giants and Cousins protected the ball and he threw some good passes. But as long as the red zone woes continue Cousins remains on this weekly pressure list in Sharpie. In addition, his completion percentage is down six percentage points from last year, a sign that he’s off a bit.
RB Matt Jones—Jay Gruden didn’t exactly call him out for his running style in the first three quarters of the Giants game. But saying, “in the first three quarters there are some runs he didn’t cap off like we want him to,” as Gruden did on Thursday when asked about Jones isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Jones needs to look at the film from the fourth quarter and copy that running style from snap No. 1 on Sunday.
G Arie Kouandjio—There’s always pressure in your first NFL start. He was never really in the race to start at left guard during the offseason and now is his chance to show that he belongs in the league. It may be his only chance so he needs to make the most of it.
S David Bruton—His play has come under fire from fans and media. There is a particular reason for concern in this game. Brown running back Isiah Crowell has runs of 85, 25, and 20 yards this year. A missed tackle when he gets to the second level could result in the kind of game-changing play the underdog Browns will need if they are going to pull off the upset. Bruton needs to be sure to wrap up.
DE Preston Smith—He has yet to live up to the breakout season hype that followed him ever since his hot finish to the 2015 season. It’s certainly not too late for him to have a very good season but he needs to get going at some point and Sunday against a rookie quarterback seems like as good a time as any.
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GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.
Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.
Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.
[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]
GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.
The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.
On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.
“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.
“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”
Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.
[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]