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Need to Know: Is Cofield the best in the business?

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Need to Know: Is Cofield the best in the business?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 3, 10 days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

A little something different during the bye since we’re lacking the usual newsy nuggets that go here—the top five most valuable Redskins so far this season. We’ll count them down 5-1 here:

5. Barry Cofield—Jim Haslett called him the best nose tackle in the business and less biased observers agree that he’s right up there. And if you don’t have a nose tackle, you don’t have much of a 3-4 defense.

4. Pierre Garçon—Garçon is on pace to shatter the Redskins’ season record for both receptions and yards but they probably won’t end up passing enough for him to continue that pace. But even if they don’t pass he’s still valuable since he’s a fierce run blocker.

3. Robert Griffin III—Yeah, I know that he’s having an off year. But QB is the most important position in any sport. And plays like the scramble and pass to Helu in the fourth quarter make me think that the best is yet to come and it’s coming soon.

2. Ryan Kerrigan—Five sacks and 12 pressures of the quarterback have helped out the defense immensely. Brian Orakpo owns a piece of this because we’re seeing what an experienced Kerrigan can do with a legit threat on the other side.

1. Trent Williams—He has the raw power to drive a big lineman like the Packers’ Johnny Jolly 12 yards downfield and the finesse to guess wrong on an opponent’s pass-rush move and still move back into position to protect the quarterback.

Stat of the day

—Per Pro Football Focus, the Redskins have dropped 14 of Griffin’s passes. Only the Rams’ Sam Bradford has had more of his passes dropped. That puts the Redskins on pace to have 56 drops this year; they had only 35 all of last year.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 10; Bears @ Redskins 17; Redskins @ Broncos 24

—The Redskins are on their bye, no availability this week.

3 and Out: Can the Redskins win the NFC East?

In case you missed it

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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.

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