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Need to Know: Shanahan says Giants focused on stopping Morris

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Need to Know: Shanahan says Giants focused on stopping Morris

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, December 3, five days before the Redskins host the Chiefs.

Nickel coverage

Five notes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference:

1. During the Redskins’ second-quarter touchdown drive Robert Griffin III scrambled out of bounds and tried to stop on a hard surface near the stands. He took a nasty spill, drawing gasps from the fans in the stands. Shanahan did not know what the surface was. “Well, I didn’t see it until today. That was a fall,” he said. “That was probably the best hit of the whole day. We’ve got to do something because somebody can seriously get hurt right there.”

2. Shanahan was asked about his message to the team after being eliminated from the playoffs. “After it’s over and you go out there and play and the way you prepare, you play just as though you are in the playoffs,” he said. “You want to spoil somebody else’s year. You want to play at a high level. You’re always being evaluated for the future. That never changes.”

3. Although you have to think that Alfred Morris should have had more than 11 carries in a game that the Redskins never trailed by more than one score, it was pretty clear that the Giants were focused on stopping Morris. He had just 26 yards on those 11 carries. “You have to take a look at the front too, what type of front you’re going against,” said Shanahan. “You’ve got to look at the front. I know that doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to people that try to run the football. We believe in the running game, I think you realize that, so for us not to run it, there’s a reason why.”

4. It seems that Shanahan was willing to give a pass to his three veteran players who committed dumb penalties in the second half. On DeAngelo Hall’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty: “After I took a look at what the offensive lineman did to him, I could understand why he retaliated even though you never want a guy to retaliate.” On Santana Moss’ 15-yard penalty for arguing a holding call with the refs: “I could see why he was upset because I agree with Santana, it should not have been called a holding penalty.” On Pierre Garçon getting five yards for kicking a ball in frustration: “It was one of the best kicks I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen a ball go that far – but on the serious side he’s one of the most fierce competitors I’ve been around. If I get everybody playing like him, you won’t need coaches.”

5. Veteran safety Reed Doughty suffered a concussion during the game. Earlier this season he was forced to miss the Broncos game because of a concussion. Two such injuries in a little over a month certain causes raised concerns about Doughty. “Yeah, I think you’re always more concerned after the first concussion,” said Shanahan. ‘When the guy has a second one there is more concern”

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Stat of the day

—Robert Griffin III has now attempted 430 passes this year, already more than the 393 he attempted in 15 games in 2012. But he still has to pass for 161 yards to match his 3,200 total from last year. Griffin is down a full yard per pass attempt this year (7.1) to last (8.1).

Timeline

—Days until: Chiefs @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Falcons 12; Cowboys @ Redskins 19

—Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

In case you missed it

Shanahan on playing for pride

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips