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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins-Vikings—Kelley's run under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 15, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 9; Redskins @ Cardinals 19; Redskins @ Eagles 26

Injuries of note:
Moses (ankle), day to day
Jackson (shoulder), per Gruden "in play" for the Packers game
Monday injury report

Last look at Redskins vs. Vikings

Stat that stood out: The Vikings came into the game averaging just 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. I pointed this out a few times during the week, also saying that the Vikings would be looking to fatten up this average against the weak Redskins run D. But on Sunday Minnesota had 22 carries for 47 yards, an average of 2.2 yards per attempt. The key was that the Redskins had five tackles for a loss on running plays for a total of minus-13 yards.

Under the radar play of the game: The game was tied 20-20 with 12:54 left to play. After a punt the Redskins were backed up at their own eight yard line. On first down, Rob Kelley took a handoff and headed up the middle, zigging and zagging and evading tackles until he had gained 21 yards to the 29. Two Kirk Cousins passes later the Redskins were at the Viking 40. They needed to get just a little closer to get into range for Dustin Hopkins’ go-ahead 50-yard field goal. Kelley’s run gave them the breathing room they needed to make it happen

Unsung hero: Strong safety Donte Whitner played every snap and he had eight tackles. He didn’t make any of the highlight plays that prompted him to talk about changing his last name to “Hitner” but it was a solid, steady performance.

Snap count snapshot: With Whitner playing every snap (67), Duke Ihenacho (31) and Will Blackmon (33) split the other safety snaps. Su’a Cravens played a season-high 37 snaps. On offense, Ryan Grant played more snaps, 49, than any wide receiver except Pierre Garçon (51).

Potpourri:  The Vikings’ last TD came on a gutsy call by Mike Zimmer. He showed faith in Sam Bradford by having him run a play starting with five seconds on the clock. If they didn’t score a touchdown it’s likely that the clock would have run out before they could even try a field goal . . . I wouldn’t give up a first-round pick for Sam Bradford. Or a second. Or anything higher than a bag of underinflated footballs. He has some skills but being a winner isn’t one of them . . . Ty Nsekhe was ready for his opportunity; he did a very good job in place of the suspended Trent Williams . . . Maurice Harris played only eight snaps but he made the most of them with three receptions, two of them for first downs . . . Would some fans had been happier if the Redskins had given up one touchdown in the first, second, and fourth quarters instead of three in the second? I may be off here but giving up 20 points is giving up 20 points and that gives you a very good chance to win.

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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players that could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players that could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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.