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Need to Know: Other Redskins 'distractions' minor compared to this situation

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Need to Know: Other Redskins 'distractions' minor compared to this situation

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 11, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the Atlanta Falcons.

Now THIS is a distraction

When things like the Albert Haynesworth controversy or the Redskins name debate pop up some fans and folks in the media immediately label it a distraction.

That’s accurate to some extent. The players will get some questions about what’s going on and, in the case of Haynesworth, there are ripple effects in the locker room.

However, if you are gong to call things like that distractions you have to come up with a new word to describe what is happening now, with the future of the head coach and the entire coaching staff up in the air.

While some players have been asked about the team name from time to time, the topic is not anything that affects their daily lives. There were plenty of questions about Albert but the fate of the other 52 players was not in any way tied to his.

This is a different situation. For one thing, the status of Mike Shanahan will be an all-encompassing subject in the locker room. They won’t be able to escape it.

Far more significant than getting asked questions during the 45-minute open locker room is that some of these players may have their NFL futures at stake. A change in coaches inevitably brings about roster change. If the new coach doesn’t use the zone blocking scheme or wants to switch to a 4-3 defense, many won’t have jobs with the Redskins. Even if there are no scheme changes some will not be back.

So there are some who are wondering if they will have to pick up their families and move if they are going to continue their NFL careers. And those are the lucky ones. There are some, “Shanny’s guys” who wouldn’t be in the league if not for Shanahan and there is no guarantee that even if Shanahan lands a job elsewhere that they will be able to continue drawing six- and seven-figure paychecks.

To be sure, a player doesn’t get to this level unless he is able to compartmentalize. But Santana Moss said to LaVar and Dukes on 106.7 The Fan that this is the low point in his nine season in Washington when it comes to facing this type of adversity.

“Every moment you get, it’s more, it’s more, you know like, you’re able to deal with so much as a player, especially when it’s not containing you. So you kind brush a lot of things away but, when it’s like okay, I brushed that away, now you’re bringing back more . . . you try to get away from it man, so it sucks to be a part of and it sucks that we all, even though your name or what you’re doing might not be a part of it, but it’s your team, and so we’re all a part of it. And you hate to walk around with that on you. “

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Stat of the day

—On the season the Redskins have one of the better teams in the NFL when they get near the goal line. They score touchdown when they get into the red zone 59 percent of the time (8th in the NFL) and score touchdowns 74 percent of the time they get in goal to go situations (tied for 11th).

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 4; Cowboys @ Redskins 11; Opening Sunday 2014 season 270

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 2:00)

In case you missed it

Shanahan on focusing on the job at hand

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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