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State of the Redskins, Week 14: Falling back into the NFC East pack

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State of the Redskins, Week 14: Falling back into the NFC East pack

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 5-7, T-1st in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 5-4
vs. AFC: 0-3
Home: 5-2
Away: 0-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 333.4 (25th)
Defense (yards/game): 362.5 (21st)
Passer rating offense:  92.2 (13th)
Opp passer rating: 93.5 (20th)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.7 (26th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th)
DVOA through Week 13 (Football Outsiders): -5.2% (18th)

Top three storylines:

Back in the scrum—The Redskins had plenty of chances on Monday night to put themselves a game clear of the division and have a defined path to the playoffs. But they didn’t get it done and while they are still in first place via tiebreakers they need help to win the division unless they win out.

Running game staples missing—Alfred Morris and Darrel Young were the keys to one of the more productive rushing attacks in the league from 2012-2014. On Monday in the most important game since 2012 they played a combined 8 snaps on offense (all of them by Morris). Sure Tom Compton at tight end is a good blocking option but his presence tips off the play; they run four out of every five snaps he plays. Why not keep your intentions a secret and give Young a shot?

Mason Foster—The inside linebacker who played well with Perry Riley sidelined is not the Cinderella story that Quinton Dunbar is. After all, he was the Bucs’ starting middle linebacker for the last four years. But he was on the scrap heap when the Redskins picked him up in late September and he joins the list of players Scot McCloughan has picked up for nothing who have played vital roles.

Next three games

Sunday @ Bears (5-7)—The Bears were in disarray early in the season and Jay Cutler was either the joke or the punch line. But coach John Fox righted the ship and they have gone 5-4 since their 0-3 start. They were starting to look like a Wild Card contender until the dropped an inexplicable stinker to the 49ers on Sunday.

December 20 vs. Bills (6-6)—The Bills’ defense was supposed to be dominant but that hasn’t materialized. LeSean McCoy, who burned the Redskins on occasion when he was with the Eagles, seems to be healthy and is playing better the last four games than he has all year. We will see what Rex Ryan brings to town in a couple of weeks.

December 26 @ Eagles (5-7)—You think the Redskins are inconsistent? The Eagles gave up 10 touchdown passes in two games in a four-day span. Then, of course, they went to Foxborough and stunned the Patriots. We will see if Eagles fans are showering Chip Kelly with gifts the day after Christmas or if they are putting lumps of coal in his stocking.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!