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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, November 11, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Yesterday, we looked at five Redskins who have exceeded expectations in the 2013 season. Today, it’s five who need to step up if the Redskins are going to make something of themselves in the second half of the season.

1. Shortly after the 2013 season ended, Josh Morgan visited the doctor and had a bunch of hardware removed from the foot he broke while he was with the 49ers in 2011. He feels better than he did last year but his production doesn’t show it. His snaps have declined and he has just 11 receptions for 124 yards on the year.

2. All offseason long we heard how Brandon Meriweather would become a force in the defense once he was healthy. But he’s played every snap since Week 3 with the exception of the Broncos game and his impact has been minimal. On top of that there is no real indication that he has learned to refrain from the headhunting that cost on that one-game suspension. You get the feeling that the next hit could make him a spectator for multiple games.

3. Defensive ends in a 3-4 are supposed to do a lot of the dirty work and don’t necessarily have to make a lot of plays to be effective. But still it would be good to see more out of Stephen Bowen that shows up in the stats. He hasn’t had a full sack since December 18, 2011 against the Giants (he had two half sacks last year, none this year). There are 11 tackles to his credit. Bowen has one of the 10 highest cap numbers on the team and the Redskins should be getting a little more for their money.

4. Speaking of top-10 cap numbers, Chris Chester is a member of that club and the Redskins are not getting their money’s worth out of him. According to Pro Football Focus Chester is the lowest-rated player on the Redskins’ offense. He has allowed 27 QB hurries, more than any two other members of the offensive line combined. He also leads the team with four offensive holding penalties.

5. Robert Griffin III has been up and down this year and, looking from the beginning of the season, he’s been more down than up. The knee injury undoubtedly has been a factor but if he’s taking the snaps, he needs to get that job done.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins have been hit with 17 offensive holding penalties in their nine games. Last year they had just 21 in 16 games.

Timeline

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 6; Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 14; Giants @ Redskins 20

Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 (open to the media for first 30 minutes); After practice (approx. 3:00) Mike Shanahan news conference, telecast on Comcast SportsNet

In case you missed it

Chances of a 2012 repeat seem slim

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

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!