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Need to Know: How will the Giants defend RG3 and the read option?

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Need to Know: How will the Giants defend RG3 and the read option?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 30, one day before the Redskins host the New York Giants.

What they’re saying

Here is a look at what various analysts around the web are saying about Sunday’s Redskins-Giants game.

The guys at PFT are again unanimous
Michael David Smith: “In the race for last place in the NFC East, I think Washington will get to the bottom with another poor showing from Robert Griffin III, who turns the ball over far too often and will do so a couple times against the Giants.” Redskins 21, Giants 10 Florio: “From winning their final seven after starting 3-6 last year, these Redskins could do the opposite, starting at 3-6 and ending at 3-13.” Giants 24, Redskins 13
Comment: Predictions of a dumpster fire in DC will continue until the team wins a game or two.

Invoking McNabb
Mike Tanier on Sports on Earth says Giants 28, Redskins 21: “Many miles away, something crawls through the slime of a dark New Jersey lake. It's Donovan McNabb. THIS IS WHAT I TRIED TO WARN YOU ABOUT, he mouths noiselessly. Griffin does not have to take McNabb's phone calls, but he has no choice but to take his medicine. Television wants to see Griffin fail in Prime Time. Sunday night offers a chance to defy the narrative, but the Redskins supporting cast doesn't have it in them.”
Comment: After lamenting the lack of a flag on the low blow that Aldon Smith delivered to RG3, Tanier delivers one that also stings by brining up McNabb’s “I told you so” possibilities.

Andy Benoit on MMQB wonders if the Giants try to take away the read option:
Will the Giants do anything special to defend the read-option? They didn’t against Terrelle Pryor’s Raiders a few weeks ago, though that may have been because Pryor was battling a bum knee. But the Giants also didn’t do anything special against the read-option in their two meetings with Washington last season. RG3 gashed them for 89 yards on nine carries in the first matchup, and 72 yards on five carries in the second (granted, not all of those runs were read-options). Griffin hasn’t run the read-option nearly as much this season, but that might change Sunday night given all the evidence suggesting that New York won’t deliberately try to take it away.
Comment: I have to think they will test the Giants’ read option defense in the early going.

ESPN going Big Blue

At least here, in ESPN’s analyst picks, you can find someone who thinks the Redskins will pull off the win. Mike and Mike both pick the Redskins to win. Only half of that group belongs to the morning radio duo. Mike Golic picks the Redskins along with Mike Ditka.

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Stat of the day

—In 2012 the Redskins gained 6.2 yards per play and gave up 5.9, an advantage of 0.3 yards. This year they have gained 5.6 and given up 6.0, a disadvantage of 0.4 yards per.

Timeline

—Days until: Giants @ Redskins 1; Chiefs @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Falcons 15

—Today’s schedule: No availability

In case you missed it

Kyle on Jordan Reed: “We missed him a ton”

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Despite one-year contract, Gruden unequivocal about Kirk Cousins' position

Despite one-year contract, Gruden unequivocal about Kirk Cousins' position

RICHMOND - Looking at the contracts for the two most important people associated with the Washington Redskins, a clear discrepancy arises. The head coach, Jay Gruden, is under contract until 2020. The quarterback, Kirk Cousins, is only under contract for 2017. 

Some speculation suggested that, given the diverging deals, at some point Gruden might look to develop another passer that's locked in with the Redskins for the long-term. Backup QB Colt McCoy is under contract for the next two seasons, and second-year passer Nate Sudfeld is under team control through the 2019 season. 

Gruden made clear that isn't the case. Crystal clear. 

"We're focused on Kirk," the head coach said. "He's our starter and he's going to get all the starter reps. Period."

Cousins should obviously be the focus. In the past two seasons he's twice broken the Washington single season passing yards record, and his rise has coincided with the Redskins first back to back winning seasons in 20 years. 

As for practice reps, Cousins will get the vast majority. McCoy will get work, and Sudfeld too, but this Redskins team is focused on winning this season. 2018 contracts are not on the coach's mind in July of 2017, nor should they be. 

"Colt [McCoy] will take advantage of his reps, I'm sure he will. And Nate [Sudfeld] will get a few sprinkled in there. We're trying to develop Nate also for the future. But, this is Kirk's team right now, and it's our job to get him ready for Philadelphia and really surround him and make him feel good about the people around him. Trying to get him used to [Josh] Doctson, get him used to [Terrelle] Pryor, we have some new weapons around him, so it's a matter of getting him ready. But Kirk will get all of them."

With a rebuilt defense and plenty of options offensively, the Redskins should compete for a playoff spot this year. Is there a scenario where the team sputters and spirals into a lost season? Maybe. And in that hypothetical scenario, perhaps at some point it makes sense to see what another passer can do. It's a long shot. 

For Redskins fans, know that Cousins is the unequivocal starter. Period. 

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Focus will be on Redskins' tight end depth during Jordan Reed's absence

Focus will be on Redskins' tight end depth during Jordan Reed's absence

RICHMOND—The Redskins will be without Jordan Reed in training camp for an unknown period of time. Although his toe injury does not appear to be serious, others will have to fill the gap until he is able to return. And the Redskins just so happen to have one of the deepest tight end groups in the NFL and they added another one with NFL playing experience on Thursday.

Jay Gruden said that the Redskins needed to sign E.J. Bibbs, who has one NFL catch in his career, because Vernon Davis, the backup tight end, has “a little bit of a tweaked hamstring.” Davis, who caught 44 passes for 583 yards last year, seemed to me moving fine in practice after Gruden spoke to the media but he could need some reps off on occasion so they brought in Bibbs to fill in the gap. There is no point in pushing the 33-year-old Davis if it’s not necessary.

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The Redskins have even more options at tight end. Niles Paul is back and he appears to be fully recovered from the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the last eight games in 2016. Paul is going into his seventh season and while he is mostly relied on for special teams play he does have a 500-yard season on his resume (2014).

During offseason practices fifth-round rookie Jeremy Sprinkle looked like he had a lot to learn as he goes from a run-based offense at Arkansas to the Redskins’ sophisticated pass-first scheme. He will need to find his comfort level before he takes any snaps in Reed’s place.

The forgotten veteran is Derek Carrier, who now appears to be fully healthy after he missed the first half of last season with a knee injury he suffered late in 2015. He had just two receptions for 10 yards last year in limited playing time on offense.

MORE REDSKINS: Live practice report, Day 1

Joining Bibbs in the long shot category is Manasseh Garner, a first-year player out of Pitt. While neither player seems to have a shot at the 53-man roster, the Redskins could carry one of the tight ends on the practice squad.

Depth is a good thing to have and the Redskins have done a good job assembling a backup plan at tight end. But you just can’t replace Reed, one of the best few tight ends in the NFL, without a significant drop off in production. The Redskins will let the backups compete and learn in training camp and will keep Reed either on the sideline or doing very light work until he is fully ready to go (and then some).

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.