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State of the Redskins, Week 5: An important drive for Cousins

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State of the Redskins, Week 5: An important drive for Cousins

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 5 of the NFL season.

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

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015

 

Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 383.0 (8th)
Defense (yards/game): 288.0 (4th)
Passer rating offense: 84.5 (19th)
Opp passer rating: 102.1 (26th)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.4 (3rd)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 3.9 (13th)
DVOA through Week 4 (Football Outsiders): -1.2% (18th)

Top three storylines:

A turning point for Cousins?—Kirk Cousins finally got that first fourth-quarter game-winning drive as a starter. If the Redskins go on to do anything this season, that 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Cousins firing a strike to Pierre Garçon will become an iconic moment.

O-line turnaround—The Redskins’ offensive line was a weak point last year but the revamped unit is getting it done so far this year. The backs are averaging 4.4 yards per rush and have allowed a sack on just 3.3 percent of pass attempts, fifth in the NFL. This week they plugged Spencer Long into the hole created when Shawn Lauvao went to injured reserve with a badly sprained ankle and didn’t miss a beat.

Relying on rookies—Right guard Brandon Scherff is a member of that effective line and he is just one of five 2015 draft picks contributing this year. Preston Smith has two sacks, Matt Jones has 200 yards rushing, Jamison Crowder is the slot receiver and Kyshoen Jarrett has gone from safety to being the top nickel corner.

Next three games

Sunday @ Falcons (4-0)—Kyle Shanahan has Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the rest of the Atlanta offense rolling and Dan Quinn has the team believing. In their last three games they overcame double-digit deficits on the road to win against the Giants and Cowboys and then nearly hung half a hundred on the Texans.

Oct. 18 @ Jets (3-1)—Former Redskins safety Todd Bowles (1986-1990, 1991-1992) has the Jets playing pretty well. They are getting it done the way the Redskins want to get it done, with a stout defense, a game managing QB, and a stout rushing attack.

October 25 vs. Bucs (1-3)—Jameis Winston is struggling like, well, a rookie quarterback. But he’s not getting a whole lot of help from the defense and other factors are contributing to the Bucs’ 1-3 record. It should be remembered that they 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.

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Snap Chat: Preston Smith makes the most of his limited playing time

Snap Chat: Preston Smith makes the most of his limited playing time

Here is my weekly look at playing time for the Redskins during their win over the Raiders:

—Defensively, the Redskins were in nickel a lot. Slot corner Kendall Fuller played 46 of the 51 defensive snaps. That generally means that they are playing fewer defensive lineman and indeed, nose tackle Ziggy Hood played only 18 snaps.

Junior Galette played only 15 snaps, down from 19 against the Rams. He did get half a sack.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

—It was surprising to see that Preston Smith got only 23 snaps. That is by far a season low but it’s hard to argue with the strategy. He was very effective with his limited snaps, getting a sack and tackling Marshawn Lynch for no gain on a third and two play.

—Rookie OLB Ryan Anderson is getting worked into the lineup more and more. He got 24 snaps on defense, one more than he had in the first two games combined, and another eight on special teams.

—The two defensive players who were in for 100 percent of the 51 defensive snaps were S D.J. Swearinger and ILB Zach Brown. CB Josh Norman played 47 snaps and ILB Martrell Spaight, Fuller, and CB Bashaud Breeland played 46 each.

—On offense, Josh Doctson (36) got more playing time than Ryan Grant (34) for the first time this year.

RELATED: CAN THE REDSKINS SUSTAIN THEIR SUCCESS?

—Between Kirk Cousins and the five starting offensive linemen, only Shawn Lauvao missed any of the 68 plays run. Lauvao came out for one play to have his helmet fixed.

—TE Jeremy Sprinkle made his NFL debut, getting seven snaps.

—Besides Colt McCoy, the only player who was active who did not get into the game was rookie ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 26, six days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 27
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 33

Last look at Redskins vs. Raiders

—I could fill up this entire post with numbers that demonstrate just how dominant the Redskins defense was on Sunday. Here’s one that impressed me—with the exception of two series that started with turnovers deep in Washington territory, the Raiders ran one play on the Redskins’ side of the field. Early in the second quarter, Derek Carr threw a short pass that Marshawn Lynch turned into an eight-yard gain to the Washington 48. On the next play, Kendall Fuller picked off Carr’s pass. That was it until Jamison Crowder muffed a punt, giving Oakland the ball at the Washington 21 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins passed for over 350 yards with three or more touchdowns and no interceptions for the fourth time as a Redskin. It is the first time Washington quarterback to do that more than once; Joe Theismann did it in 1982 and 1983. Colt McCoy and Mark Rypien did it once each. Cousins is the only one of the group to complete over 80 percent of his passes in such a game; he was 25 of 30, 83.3 percent.

RELATED: UPDATED WEEK 3 NFL POWER RANKINGS

—Again, there are plenty of numbers but what set this game apart was the confidence and attitude on display, particularly on defense. The images that stick in my mind are plays like D.J. Swearinger leveling Marshawn Lynch, Preston Smith just dismissing a Lynch stiff arm to get the stop on third and two, Montae Nicholson getting a textbook legal hit on Michael Crabtree and Zach Brown sending ball carriers to the ground with a vengeance.

—Some are wondering if Mack Brown should be the main backup at running back when Rob Kelley returns from his rib injury, which could be this week. Samaje Perine seemed to miss some openings and at times he seemed to go down with a one-arm tackle. And he fumbled the ball away. But on Sunday night Jay Gruden said that once Kelley is back, Perine will be the backup and Brown is likely to return to the game-day inactive list.

—Let this sink in for a minute—prior to last night’s Cowboys-Cardinals game, the Redskins were fifth in the NFL in rushing attempts (90) and sixth in rushing yards (409). They are on pace to have 480 rushing attempts for 2,180 yards. Last year they ran it 379 times for 1,696 yards.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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