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Need to Know: Team issues overshadow RG3 vs. Kaepernick

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Need to Know: Team issues overshadow RG3 vs. Kaepernick

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 24, one day before the Washington Redskins host the San Francisco 49ers.

What they’re saying

Here is a look at what some NFL media types are saying about tomorrow’s Eagles-Redskins game:

Elliot Harrison NFL.com goes chalk

49ers 27, Redskins 17—“ We tried looking at this game through the prism of the Redskins turning their season around, but we're just not seeing it. The quarterback matchup is close, as are the teams' running games. The issue for Washington is defense, where about the only thing going for the Redskins is the pass rush (which has been strictly mediocre). It doesn't help much that Kai Forbath has missed some very makeable kicks.”

Comment: That last part hasn’t really come back to haunt the Redskins yet but it could on Monday.

From the MMQB.com, Andy Benoit says to look for a right-handed run game

For Washington, running effectively usually involves running behind left tackle Trent Williams, who might be the most athletic blocker in the NFC. (It’s either him or the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith.) This season, 403 of Morris’s 918 rushing yards have come on “wide left” runs. However, don’t be surprised Monday night if Morris runs more to the right. Not only would he avoid San Fran’s menacing run-anchor, Justin Smith, he’d also get a chance to attack either banged-up end Ray McDonald, who is playing with a biceps injury and sat last week with a sprained ankle, or backup end Tony Jerod-Eddie, who is not great at the point of attack.

Comment: Justin Smith is good but I still have Morris go in Williams’ direction until they stop it.

They guys at Pro Football Talk both picked the Niners by 10:

Michael David Smith: “San Francisco’s offense is slumping, but a trip to Washington is just the thing to fix an offensive slump. 49ers 30, Redskins 20.” Mike Florio: “The 49ers have more talent and motivation to get back on the right track, or risk sliding into third place in their division. 49ers 23, Redskins 13.”

Comment: The Redskins defense has been a slump buster all year. If Colin Kaepernick can bust out of his yearlong slump, it will be a long night for the Redskins.

On ESPN.com, Hoge goes out on a limb.

Of the 13 NFL.com analysts and talking heads, only Merrill Hodge picks the Redskins to win on Monday night.

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth laments the lack of focus on RG3 vs. Kaepernick

49ers 27, Redskins 16: “Robert Griffin called the Redskins' too-predictable gameplan against the Eagles "disheartening." He then handed his thesaurus off to Colin Kaepernick to describe a 49ers offense that produced one 20-yard pass play in two weeks and deploys practice squad tight ends as slot receivers. Dejecting, demoralizing, dispiriting, appalling, consternating . . . Two of the most electrifying, dynamic young athletes on the American sports scene face off on Monday night, but all we can talk about is predictable offenses and inappropriate language. Disheartening. Disheartening.”

Comment: I’ll bet that both Griffin and Kaepernick do something that is worth the price of admission.

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Timeline

Days until: Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 1; Giants @ Redskins 7; Chiefs @ Redskins 14

Today’s schedule: No availability, walk through at Redskins Park

In case you missed it

Sunday 11.17

Monday 11.18

Tuesday 11.19

Wednesday 11.20

Thursday 11.21

Friday 11.22

Saturday 11.23

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.