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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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Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

New Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is looking to pattern his game after two All-Pro linemen. 

"I'm a very versatile player and can do anything. I love watching Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald," Washington’s first-round draft pick told reporters on a conference call.

The Redskins will be very happy if Allen can be as productive as Atkins and Donald. Atkins has played for the Bengals since the 2010 season. He has been durable, playing in 16 games in six of his seven seasons, and effective, producing 52 sacks, a good total for a defensive tackle. 

MORE REDSKINS: A COMPLETE RECAP OF ROUND 1

Donald was a first-round pick of the Rams in 2014. He was a first-team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons, recording a total of 28 sacks in his three seasons. 

Both players combine outstanding physical talent and high motors. Allen has selected two pretty good role models to follow. 

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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Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Jonathan Allen was the perfect pick for the Redskins, filling a need with a player who clearly was the best on the board.

Allen’s slide from a top-five prospect to the middle of the first round is believed to be because of issues with both of his shoulders. During his time at Alabama he suffered labral tears in both of his shoulders that were surgically repaired and he also suffers from mild arthritis in both of them. That apparently scared some teams off but not the Redskins.

“We didn't have any concerns,” said coach Jay Gruden. “We talked to Dr. [James] Andrews, he gave thumbs up on him. We feel very good about the injuries.”

Then why did a top talent slide all the way back to the Redskins’ pick?

“As far as him falling to us, their were a lot of things that happened in the draft, three quarterbacks went, a couple of receivers went pretty high, a lot of offensive players went that probably not a lot of people expected,” said Gruden. “So, some of these very good defensive players fell to us and we're happy.”

Allen told reporters that the shoulders did not cause him any problems while he was playing.

“I didn’t even wear a brace for the [2016] season,” Allen said. “So, I mean, it doesn’t even affect me. Every team I talked to, shoulders were medically cleared, no problems. Probably the best I’ve felt in the last four years, to be honest.”

Alabama team doctor Lyle Cain’s assessment of Allen’s shoulders align with those of the player and Gruden.

"He's played without any problems," Cain told NFL Media last month. "This is something that a lot of offensive linemen and defensive linemen have, things guys play with their whole careers. It's just a little earlier for him because he got hurt in college."

We will see how this plays out. It’s possible that his injury problems could limit his effectiveness or cut his career short. But clearly the Redskins saw that the Allen’s talent made the injury risk a worthwhile gamble.

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.