Quick Links

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 1, eight days before the start of NFL free agency.

Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

At the NFL combine, Scot McCloughan said that the team liked one player’s ability but added that “he has to do it”. There are several players on the Redskins’ roster who have the potential to be very good but who need to take the next step and, as they used to say, just do it. If they don’t the team could be looking for replacements in 2017.

RB Matt Jones—This was the player that McCloughan was talking about at the combine. A running back generally isn’t considered a three-year project; he needs to start consistently showing signs that he can get the job done this year. The starting job is his for the taking and this may be his first and only chance.

OLB Trent Murphy—When they draft you in the second round and then the next year they take another guy to play your spot in the same round you have better be ready to fight for your job. Although Murphy retained the starting position for most of the year it’s clear that Preston Smith will be the starter going forward. Murphy needs to step up and earn some snaps or he will be a career special teamer.

WR Ryan Grant—He sure has Jay Gruden in his corner. “I feel really strongly about Ryan Grant,” Gruden said at the combine. “I think he’s an excellent receiver just waiting for his opportunity to be a starter.” Well, he got his chance to get some starts while DeSean Jackson was sidelined and he responded with 16 catches in 6 games, hardly No. 2 receiver production. On the season, Kirk Cousins, the most accurate passer in the league, targeted him 42 times and he managed just 23 receptions.

S Jeron Johnson—Duke Ihenacho beat him out for the starting job in training camp and then when Ihenacho was injured in the season opener Trenton Robinson went in. Johnson has one year left on the two-year deal he signed with the Redskins in 2015. Everybody needs safeties. If he can either start or be a key substitute this year he could get a good deal from the Redskins or from someone else. If not he could be searching for tryouts.

PR Jamison Crowder—Don’t get me wrong here. Crowder the receiver is just fine and on track to have a good career. But his punt returning left a lot to be desired. He doesn’t have great speed (4.56 in the 40 in last year’s combine) but at Duke he showed an uncanny ability to find the open areas and elude would-be tacklers while rolling through them. But last year his average of 5.3 yards per return was among the worst in the league and he made some very questionable decisions when fielding punts. A year to get used to the speed on the NFL game is fine but at some point he has to break one. His long return as a rookie was 16 yards.

Timeline

—Redskins running back Silas Redd was born on this date in 1992.

—The Redskins last played a game 51 days ago. It will be about 194 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 8; Redskins offseason workouts start 48; 2016 NFL draft 58

In case you missed it

Quick Links

There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

With Trent Williams eligible to return to the Redskins after serving a four-game suspension, much chatter has emerged about the All Pro left tackle moving inside to play left guard.

Don't listen to that chatter.

Williams made the move inside to guard once this season, during a win in New York when injuries decimated the Redskins offensive line. He played well, especially considering Williams said after that game that he had never played guard in his life. 

For Washington moving forward, some fans want Williams at left guard and Shawn Lauvao sent to the bench. That would mean Ty Nsekhe stays at left tackle. 

A few problems with this plan: 1) Trent Williams is the best left tackle on the team, and maybe in the NFL. 2) Injuries are mounting up for Nsekhe and right tackle Morgan Moses, not to mention the rest of the offensive line.

RELATED: Nsekhe could move to left guard with Trent Williams back

Nsekhe left the locker room in Arizona with a walking boot on his foot. Moses has dealt with a severely sprained ankle since Halloween. A healthy Williams returning to the team allows Nsekhe or Moses sit and get the rest they need for their injuries. 

Further, on Sunday in a loss to the Cardinals, center Spencer Long sustained a concussion. His backup John Sullivan came in and handled the center duties well. 

Some might suggest that Long move to guard, Sullivan stay at center, and Lauvao go to the bench. That move has more merit than moving Williams inside, but still seems like it would be a reach. And now with Long forced to enter the NFL concussion protocol, it's unclear when he will be back on the field at all.

Another suggestion has been to move Nsekhe inside to left guard. Consider that Nsekhe has been a development project; he's bounced around lower professional football leagues and at age 31 only has six career NFL starts. Couple that with his size - he's 6-foot-8 - and it's a tall task to move from tackle to guard. 

Lauvao played poorly against the Cardinals, that's indisputable. But as much as some fans believe a reworked offensive line is the answer, moving those pieces is not very simple. Coaches and players like and respect Lauvao, and his play can only improve with Trent Williams back standing next to him. 

Like all things in sports, the situation will remain fluid. More injuries could force more changes, but speaking with folks that know the situation, do not expect to see Williams at guard when he returns to the field next week in Philadelphia. 

MORE: Gruden says Redskins "not even close" to thinking about playoffs

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Eagles: Date, time, TV channel, how to watch, online stream

Redskins vs. Eagles: Date, time, TV channel, how to watch, online stream

Coming off their loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Washington Redskins will face the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 14.

The Redskins (6-5-1) fell to the Cardinals, 31-23, last week and will try to avoid losing their third straight game this week against the Eagles. 

The Redskins offense struggled to get going in the first half against the Cardinals, and the defense had some trouble getting stops on third down.

The Eagles are coming off a 32-14 loss last week to the Bengals, and they'll attempt to stop a losing streak of their own. Philadelphia has lost three games in a row.

The Redskins beat the Eagles by a touchdown when they played them in October. With only a few weeks left and the NFC playoff race looking tight, both teams need a win here. 

Here's everything you need to know about how to watch the game:

Week 14 Eagles vs. Redskins game information:

Who: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

What: Week 14 of the 2016 NFL Season 

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When: 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 11

TV Channel: FOX

How to Watch: Redskins Kickoff begins at noon ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: NFL GamePass

Radio: ESPN 980, Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Redskins -1 (oddshark.com)

Over/Under: 47.5

 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 2016 SCHEDULE: 

Week 1 (Mon. 9/12): 16-38 loss, Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)

Week 2 (Sun. 9/18): 27-23 loss, Dallas Cowboys (0-2)

Week 3 (Sun. 9/25): 29-27 win, New York Giants (1-2)

Week 4 (Sun. 10/2): 31-20 win, Cleveland Browns, (2-2)

Week 5 (Sun. 10/9): 16-10 win, Baltimore Ravens, (3-2)

Week 6 (Sun. 10/16): 27-20 win, Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)

Week 7 (Sun. 10/23): 17-20 loss, Detroit Lions (4-3)

Week 8 (Sun. 10/30): 27-27 tie, Cincinnati Bengals (4-3-1)

Week 9 (Sun. 11/6): BYE WEEK

Week 10 (Sun. 11/13): 26-20 win, Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)

Week 11 (Sun. 11/20): 42-24 win, Green Bay Packers (6-3-1)

Week 12 (Thurs. 11/24): 31-26 loss, Dallas Cowboys (6-4-1)

Week 13 (Sun. 12/4): 31-23 loss, Arizona Cardinals (6-5-1)

Week 14 (Sun. 12/11): at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. — FOX

Week 15 (Mon. 12/19): vs. Carolina Panthers, 8:30 p.m. — ESPN

Week 16 (Sat. 12/24): at Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. — FOX

Week 17 (Sun. 1/1): vs. New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. — FOX