Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 24, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
5 who need to step up for the Redskins to beat the Bucs
It’s “code red” as the Redskins take on the Bucs. In order for the Redskins to avoid going into the bye with the taste of a home loss to a mediocre opponent, a few players need to step up.
QB Kirk Cousins—He needs to have a game good enough to halt the chatter that he should be replaced. The backup quarterback, whether it’s Colt McCoy or Robert Griffin III, has already become very popular with some fans and at some point an alternative could start looking good to Jay Gruden. Throwing for 225 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in a win would go a long way towards quieting things down and help the Redskins pick up a badly needed “W”.
OL Josh LeRibeus—The fourth-year player didn’t get embarrassed in his first start at center against the Jets but he wasn’t very good, either. His contract is up after this season and if he can’t prove that he is capable of starting or at least being a viable backup there isn’t much point in keeping him around. The Redskins need to run the ball if they are going to win and if they are not strong up the middle against the Bucs that will be difficult to accomplish.
RB Matt Jones—Since rushing for 123 yards in Week 2, Jones has run for a combined 69 yards in three games. He appears to be recovered from the toe injury that kept him out last week and if Chris Thompson (doubtful, back) can’t go Jones will have to step in and take on the third-down role. The Redskins are 33 percent on third-down conversions over the last two weeks so we’ll see if Jones can help turn that around.
CB Bashaud Breeland—Most of the players on this list are struggling to one degree or another. You can’t say that about Breeland, who would have been up for defensive player of the week honors after his three-takeaway game against the Jets had the Redskins won. But he needs to keep it up and continue to create turnovers while covering either 6-5 receiver Mike Evans or 6-5 receiver Vincent Jackson.
LB Ryan Kerrigan—We’re a little over one-third of the way through the season so his 3.5 sacks almost have him on pace for a double-digit total. It’s not like he has disappeared this year but more is expected out of him. A couple of sacks of Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and a few hits and hurries on top of those would help the Redskins do what they need to get done defensively.
—Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no availability
—Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Patriots 15; Saints @ Redskins 21
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 22, 95 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL franchise tag deadline 38
—NFL free agency starts 46
—First Sunday of 2017 season 231
Sunday morning quick hitters
—Talk that Greg Manusky is the favorite to get the promotion to Redskins defensive coordinator seems to be based more on deductive reasoning than from any reports from Ashburn. I think he is likely to be the guy but I’m not sure that there won’t be a surprise selection for the job.
—The four-year, $42 million contract extension the Rams gave WR Tavon Austin will set the market for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Both of their expiring contracts averaged about $8 million per year so they could be in line for healthy raises the year after turning 30. As in other sports, the market is often set by what your dumbest competitior is willing to pay.
—I didn’t give a second thought to leaving DeAngelo Hall off my projection of the defensive roster for the coming season. He said that he would be willing to redo his contract, which calls for him to make $4.25 million this year. That’s fine but I think that the organization will look at the 32 games he missed in the last three seasons combined and decide that they can’t keep a player that they can’t rely on at any price.
—How hot is Jay Gruden’s seat in 2017? Assuming he keeps his quarterback, I think that he will be fine with a 10-win season and he will be toast with double-digit losses. The tough call will be if they finish 8-8 or even 9-7 with a playoff miss.
—There was a lot of talk about how the Redskins’ salary cap spending on defense last year ($36 million) was dwarfed by what was spent on offense ($78 million). As of right now, the Redskins’ spending is about even, with $57.3 million going to offense and $59.2 million to defense. We’ll see how even the expenditures wind up being when the season starts in September.
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As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.
No. 7 worst play of 2016
Giants at Redskins, Week 17
4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10
Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).
Related: The Redskins week that was
Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.
More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?
Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season.
10 best plays countdown
10 worst plays countdown
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