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Skins-Steelers: No reason to get wee-weed up

Skins-Steelers: No reason to get wee-weed up

It doesn't look like Daniel jumped over Brennan

  • There's no reason to get, in the words of our President, all wee-weed up over Jason Campbell going one for seven for 10 yards passing. I hate to break this to you but there will be a few games this season that he goes one for seven in the first few series. He then will find his rhythm and start completing passes. To be sure, there will be reason to be concerned if he comes out of the New England game with a passer rating that's not much higher than his jersey number.
  • I appreciate all of the Colt Brennan fans that read this blog but I'm afraid I have done him and those fans a great disservice. The Cult of Colt was starting to reel me in and I started to sing his praises. That's frequently is the kiss of death. If you live by the star performance against the third team in the preseason then you die by poor performance in the same situation. That being said and despite Chase Daniel's good game, I still think that there's no question that Brennan makes the team. Daniel is practice squad bound at best. At the same time, let's cool the talk about Colt being ready to step in as the starter or even to challenge Todd Collins for the backup role.
  • The Redskins' backup left tackle for the season may not yet be on the roster. Devin Clark was shaky there last week against the Ravens' scrubs. With Clark out with a knee problem Jeremy Bridges played left tackle for the last three quarters of the game. Although the offense went fairly well, Bridges got whipped a few times. Here's what John Keim said about his performance:

Bridges is a bad tackle. No other way to say it. He needs to be a guard, as we've said since, oh, the first day of camp. He let a linebacker slap him to the outside and get inside of him. Bridges does not redirect well; his feet were planted in cement. Another time the end destroyed Bridges, driving him back deep into the backfield.

  • The annual call for Marcus Mason to make the roster has begun. I think he runs pretty well but to be a backup running back you have to be able to play special teams. That's why Rock Cartwright is safe and Mason will struggle to find a spot on the final roster.
  • Speaking of teams, they weren't very special at all, especially on kick returns. I thought that the fact that other teams can't use a wedge was going to cut down on long returns. Somebody forgot to tell the Steelers that.
  • I don't know where Thomas Boswell gets his typical sampling of the feelings of Redskins fans, but it's not from anyplace that I hang out. In his column about the football game (did he miss a turn while trying to get to Nationals Park last night?) he warns Redskins fans not to get too giddy over last night's game. Here's what he said about the most skeptical fan base in the NFL:

The most perilous word, when it comes to Redskin Universe ("nation" isn't big enough) is the word "good" and all the variations that can be played on it: very good, playoff good and, most lethal of all, Super Bowl-good.

As soon as the Redskins do anything that incites the faithful to use superlatives, or even think such thoughts in the solitude of their burgundy-and-gold basement lairs (been there), the mischief starts all over again.

As the Redskins and their fans start their annual pursuit of NFL Nirvana, it's essential to hold one thought in mind, annoying and antisocial as it seems: The Redskins are not very good.

Certainly, most around town will be happy if the Redskins get off to a hot start again. People were excited last year when the Redskins were 6-2 but I don't think that many non-refundable deposits for Super Bowl trips were lost. There was a healthy dose of skepticism present along with the giddiness.

  • I didn't know that there was a post office at FedEx Field but there must be since it's apparent that Mike Wise mailed in his column from there last night. First he wonders why he wasted time going to the game which immediately makes the reader wonder why he wasted the time to read a column with a picture of Wise at the top. He then goes on to deliver an "indictment" of Redskins fans for finding something better to do on a Saturday night than sit in the rain and watch a scrimmage that counts for nothing. Sure, Steeler fans are more loyal; two Super Bowl wins in four years will do that to a fan base. I don't recall a huge presence of black jerseys the last time the Steelers were in for a preseason game, in 2005. Do you think that maybe the fact that Pittsburgh hadn't won a Super Bowl since that 1979 season had anything to do with that?

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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss. While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest. Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. EST kick, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

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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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances