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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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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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.

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