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Reed could help Redskins spring upset

Reed could help Redskins spring upset

Here are five things to watch in the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys matchup plus a prediction.

1. We’ve seen Jordan Reed make some catches (he’s tied for fourth on the team with 13) and score a touchdown (a nice grab in the end zone against the Packers). But we haven’t yet seen the Reed that played at Florida, a tight end who was a threat to take it to the house whenever he got his hands on the ball in space. Given the success that Broncos tight end Julius Thomas had against the Cowboys (9 rec., 122 yds., 2 TD) last Sunday we could see the Redskins try to get Reed untracked by hitting him with some quick slants on the move or with routes down the seam.

2. Prior to last Sunday Tony Romo had passed for over 400 yards four times in his career. The next week he has averaged 265 yards passing with a high of 321 and a low of 218. In those week-after games he threw for an average of two touchdowns and 1.25 interceptions. Dallas went 0-4 in his 400-plus-yard games and 1-3 the game after them. We will see how he follows up his first game with over 500 yards.

3. I’m not going to predict a “breakout” game for Robert Griffin III but someone whose opinion I respect thinks he’s headed in that direction. Evan Silva of Rotoworld posted the following in his fantasy preview of the game:
The Week 5 bye came at a perfect time for Robert Griffin III, a film junkie who undoubtedly pored over his shoddy early-season mechanics during the open date while simultaneously getting further removed from January's knee reconstruction. He's a candidate to take off statistically over the Redskins' final 12 games.
4. Will we see more of Roy Helu Jr.? He played quite a few snaps in the first three games but he only got six touches. That changed against the Raiders when he carried the ball 13 times and had two receptions. And, by the way, the Redskins won. Kyle Shanahan said that he wanted to get Helu the ball more but it’s unlikely that he will want to cut into Alfred Morris’ touches (Morris left the Oakland game early with a rib injury). The key for Helu to get more touches is that the offense needs to sustain drives and then get the ball to Helu in some of the “extra” plays.

5. The defense should vary the looks and the pressure it send on Romo. One snap rush four, the next rush three and drop eight into coverage, and occasionally bring the house and run a cover zero. It’s not like they’re going to confuse the veteran Romo but they could create doubt in the minds of the offensive line. They’re not going to sack Romo a lot but they can keep him off balance enough to force him into some turnovers and other mistakes.

Prediction: I think the Redskins have a real shot at winning this game. They should come in with confidence after beating the Cowboys twice last year. Griffin should come in playing better than he has all year. Still, it’s hard for me to see the Redskins winning this one. I’ll believe their offense can get into gear and score the 30+ point is it likely to take to win this one when they do it.

Cowboys 30, Redskins 27

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!