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Need to Know: Who needs to step up?

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Need to Know: Who needs to step up?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 4, nine days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

Since the Redskins news, the staple for this space, has crawled to a stop we’re doing something a little different here. Yesterday we looked at the five most valuable Redskins. Today, we look at five who need to step it up. Let’s count them down:

5. Stephen Bowen—He has not performed horribly but a player who has one of the top 10 salary cap numbers on the team should be having more of an impact. Bowen’s stats (10 tackles, no sacks) are identical to those of Kedric Golston, who makes far less.

4. Josh Morgan—Another high salary (5th-highest cap number) who needs to pick up his production. He has just nine receptions and it’s not like Robert Griffin III hasn’t thrown the ball a ton.

3. Robert Griffin III—Yes, he was on the list of most valuable yesterday but he still has a long way to go if this team is going to be what we thought it could be.

2. Brandon Meriweather—Where is that player we saw for a half against the Eagles last year? He hasn’t been nearly as aggressive (unless you count knocking Eddie Lacy and himself out of the Packers game) or confident since then. Certainly the ACL recovery has slowed him down but the sooner he can get himself back to, well, himself the better off the defense will be.

1. London Fletcher—The leadership, of course, has not diminished and he seems to be able to get where he needs to be. But the number of missed tackles has simply been unacceptable. When you have a defense designed to funnel plays to the inside linebackers so that they can make plays and one of them is having problems tackling the whole defense struggles.

Stat of the day

—In four games this year, the Redskins have a point differential of minus-21 (-5.2/game, 91 scored, 112 allowed), 26th in the league. Last year in 16 games their differential was plus-48 (3.0/game 436 scored, 388 allowed), 12th in the NFL.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 9; Bears @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Broncos 23

—The Redskins are on their bye, no availability this week.

Pierre Garçon talks to Brian Mitchell

In case you missed it

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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