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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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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]