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State of the Redskins: Breeland the bright spot on a struggling defense

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State of the Redskins: Breeland the bright spot on a struggling defense

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 7 of the NFL season.

Record: 2-4, T-4th in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 2-2
vs. AFC: 0-2
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-3

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 337.8 (25th)
Defense (yards/game): 340.7 (8th)
Passer rating offense: 77.0 (31st)
Opp passer rating: 93.4 (20th )
Yards/rush attempt: 3.9 (24th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (25th)
DVOA through Week 4 (Football Outsiders): -2.8% (15th)

Top three storylines:

Running game stuck in neutral—One bad rushing game could be a fluke. A second starts a trend. Three in four games is a problem. The Redskins were supposed to be a tough running team but they have mustered a total of just 85 yards rushing in their last two games. They have failed to run for over 100 yards in three of their last four games. Yes, teams are emphasizing stopping the run but missed blocks aren’t helping the situation.

Opponents running wild—Again, we have the makings of a trend as Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory have left tire tracks over, around, and through the Redskins’ rushing defense in the last few weeks. They had better to ready for the Bucs’ Doug Martin, who could lay a buck and a quarter on them in a heartbeat.

Breeland shining—The bright spot on the team in the past couple of weeks has been the play of CB Bashaud Breeland. He had a late interception against the Falcons that could have clinched the game. Against the Jets he had three first-half takeaways that kept the Redskins in the game. He’s not flawless in coverage but he has been the team’s best playmaker on either side of the ball for the past two weeks.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Bucs (2-3)—Jameis Winston is struggling from time to time but he has had some good moments in his rookie season. The Bucs D can get after the quarterback and Doug Martin is enjoying a career revival. It should be remembered that the Bucs were on a five-game losing skid last year when they came into FedEx Field and enjoyed one of their few 2014 bright spots with a 27-7 win over the Redskins. Jay Gruden has declared this game to be a “code red”, must-win game.

November 8 @ Patriots (5-0)—After the bye, the Redskins travel to Foxborough to play the Patriots. I hear that they have managed to avoid the post-Super Bowl hangover and are pretty good again this year.

November 15 vs. Saints (2-4)—The Saints have struggled with Drew Brees suffering from arm problems and a defense that can’t stop anybody. But they did manage to knock off the undefeated Falcons last Thursday and are likely to be fighting for their playoff lives when they come to FedEx Field.

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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