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State of the Redskins, Week 7—Defense remains on a roll

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State of the Redskins, Week 7—Defense remains on a roll

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

Record: 4-2 2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-1
vs. NFC: 2-1
vs. AFC: 2-1
Home: 2-2
Away: 2-0

Rankings and changes from Week 6

Offense (yards/game): 387.2 (5th, +6 from last week)
Defense (yards/game): 366.5 (21st, +6)
Points for: 142 (15th, +1)
Points against: 142 (18th, +1)
Passer rating offense:  90.3 (18th, no change)
Opp passer rating: 89.6 (14th, +4)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.8 (4th, +11)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.0 (32nd, no change)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 8.5% (11th, +1)
Playoff chances per FO: 45.9%, +16.5% from last week

Trending the right way: After averaging 7.0 yards per rushing attempt against the Eagles the Redskins are now fourth in the NFL at 4.8 per attempt on the season. That’s over a full yard better than their 2015 average of 3.7 per carry.

Trending the wrong way: The rushing defense is not getting any better. The Redskins remain dead last in the NFL giving up 5.0 yards per carry to the other team.

Top three storylines:

Three headed monster—It’s too early to proclaim that the Redskins’ trio of running backs are something special but Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and Robert Kelley are looking pretty good. Jones is on pace to rush for over 1,100 yards but he needs to watch out for Kelley taking too many of his carries. Meanwhile, Thompson is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and is on pace to rush for more than 300 yards.

Shutting them down—The Ravens scored a touchdown on their opening drive against the Redskins defense and they haven’t allowed one since. If you go back to the second half against the Browns that’s one touchdown in 10 quarters of play. The “fire Joe Barry” crowd has been very quiet lately.

Chink in the special teams armor—The Redskins’ special teams have been outstanding for the most part but they suffered a crucial breakdown in allowing a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown. Sure, the penalty on Vernon Davis put them at a disadvantage but they have to get off the blocks and make the tackle. One return alone isn’t an issue as long as they tighten things up from here on out.

Next three games

Sunday @ Lions (3-3)—The Redskins once went for 30 years, from 1968 through 1997, without losing to the Lions. Now the Lions have won three in a row against Washington. Detroit also has won its last two games. The last time the Redskins beat Detroit Jim Zorn was in his first year as the head coach. Nobody should expect a walkover for the visitors.

October 30 vs Bengals (2-3) in London—While the Bengals are still a quality team this game does not seem quite as daunting as it did when the matchup at Wembley Stadium was announced. The Cowboys steamrolled them on Sunday. Despite a pretty good arsenal of weapons Andy Dalton has just five touchdown passes in five games.

November 13 vs. Vikings (5-0)—How did the Vikings get to 5-0 without their starting quarterback and Hall of Fame running back? Let’s start with them being plus-11 in turnover margin. They have at least one takeaway every game and they have only turned it over once. Minnesota has more return touchdowns (4) than rushing TDs (3).

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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).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

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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