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Need to Know: Redskins will try to continue DeMarco Murray's 2015 struggles

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Need to Know: Redskins will try to continue DeMarco Murray's 2015 struggles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 4, the day the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

—I do think that Chris Culliver will play today. However, that thinking is based on talk in the locker room from earlier in the week and on thinking that it’s a pain issue with the knee, not a structural one, and players frequently play through those. But there certainly is doubt that will last until the inactive players are announced. The promotion of corner Deshazor Everett to the 53 increases that doubt slightly but it was a smart precaution since Frank Kearse was going to be inactive anyway. The inactives are announced around 11:30, stay tuned.

—I don’t give fantasy advice but I would make no lineup decisions in this game based on previously expected heavy rains. Barring an unexpected twist in the weather there is only a 10 percent chance of rain. It may be a bit soggy because it’s been chilly and damp but I wouldn’t, say, go all in on Matt Jones because you believe he’s a mudder.

—Running back DeMarco Murray (hamstring) is questionable for the Eagles but per Adam Schefter he will play. If I’m the Redskins, I’d rather see him play. Ryan Mathews actually got things going on the ground for the Eagles last week, picking up 108 yards on 24 carries against a tough Jets defense. The more carries the Eagles invest in trying to get Murray (22 carries, 11 yards) going, the fewer Mathews will get.

—This is a good matchup for the Redskins in a lot of ways but a bad one in one key category. The Eagles are good when it comes to taking the ball away; they are third in the NFL with eight takeaways. The Redskins have problems protecting the ball with six giveaways on their ledger. Not to be Capt. Obvious here, but the Redskins will have a tough time winning a game if they turn the ball over more than once.

—The Redskins can’t let Sam Bradford get into any sort of rhythm. He has looked like a fish out of water in Chip Kelly’s offense so far, with his completion percentage declining each game down to 50 percent (14-28) against the Jets. Philly has some talented pass catchers in Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and slippery running back Darren Sproles.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Eagles at Redskins, 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 7; Redskins @ Jets 14; Bucs @ Redskins 21

 

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back