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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up vs. the Panthers

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up vs. the Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 20, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Carolina Panthers.

Five players who will need to shine on Sunday

The Redskins chances of upsetting the Panthers are pretty slim but, as we said here the other day, yes, we’re saying there’s a chance. If they are going to pull it off some players are going to have to step up and play big.

QB Kirk Cousins—They have held opposing quarterbacks to a miniscule passer rating of 69.1. If Cousins has a day like that, which would be completing 20 of 35 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, the Redskins will be in trouble.

RB Chris Thompson—Alfred Morris and Matt Jones should be able to ground out some yards against the Panthers. But they are going to need some chunks of yardage and Thompson is the guy who could get them on the ground or with a quick pass out of the backfield.

WR DeSean Jackson—Thompson can get the Redskins some chunks of yardage; Jackson can get them huge chunks of yardage. This will be his third game back after missing most of the first seven games with a hamstring injury. He made one big play early in the game last week and then pretty much disappeared. Jackson needs to have four productive quarters not only for the sake of having a chance against the Panthers but to give the team a life down the stretch run.

S Dashon Goldson—I’d think that he will have a role in covering tight end Greg Olsen. Goldson hasn’t exactly excelled in coverage this year but he has improved lately and he’ll need to be at his best on Sunday.

ILB Will Compton—Someone at inside linebacker will need to try to keep Cam Newton from rushing for 70 yards. I would have gone with Keenan Robinson up until a few weeks ago but it appears that either injuries or perhaps him worrying about his contract status have made this a lost year for Robinson. I don’t think that Joe Barry will use Compton as a spy on Newton but Compton will be tracking him a lot and he will need to bring the quarterback down or at least hold him up until help arrives.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:55; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 2; Giants @ Redskins 9; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 17

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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