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State of the Redskins Week 17: Start 'em or sit 'em?

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State of the Redskins Week 17: Start 'em or sit 'em?

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 17 of the NFL season.

Record: 8-7, clinched NFC East title
vs. NFC East: 3-2
vs. NFC: 7-4
vs. AFC: 1-3
Home: 6-2
Away: 2-5

Key stats changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 348.3 (17th)
Defense (yards/game): 371.9 (24th)
Passer rating offense:  99.0 (6th)
Opp passer rating: 95.7 (22nd)
Yards/rush attempt: 3.6 (30th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.8 (31st)
DVOA through Week 16 (Football Outsiders): 0.6% (14th)

Top three storylines:

It’s in the bag—The Redskins took care of business in Philadelphia and wrapped up the NFC East title. They won going away and donned the hats and T-shirts in the locker room at the Linc. They still may finish 8-8 but nobody is going to apologize for grabbing a division title in a down year in the NFC East.

Start ‘em or sit ‘em?—They are locked into the four seed so the result of Sunday’s game in Dallas has no effect on the standings. There are some players, such as safeties Dashon Goldson and DeAngelo Hall, who probably will sit due to injuries. Jay Gruden’s dilemma is when it comes to players like Kirk Cousins or Jordan Reed, guys who are healthy now. Should the play them, risking injury? Or should he rest them, risking getting them out of the rhythm of playing every week.

Who’s coming to FedEx—It will be the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks coming in as the Redskins’ first-round opponent. We won’t know the answer until we know the result of the Sunday night game between the Vikings and Packers. Here is the breakdown on what will happen with the various possible combinations of results on Sunday.

Last (regular season) game

Sunday @ Cowboys (4-10)—The Redskins ideal scenario would be to get some injured players the day off, get some players off the field after a few series of work, and come away with a win to finish the season at 9-7.

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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