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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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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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