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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

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Will defense bend but not break in New York?

The Redskins’ defense has been out on the field for more plays in the past two weeks but they are playing better.

In the first four games of the season, opponents ran 244 plays and scored 123 points. That’s 61 plays and 30.1 points per game and an average of .50 points for every offensive play run.

The past two weeks, opponents have run 161 plays, an average of 80.5 per game, and they have scored 50 points, 25 per game. The Redskins have given up an average of .31 points per offensive play.

The Redskins’ opponents are running more plays but getting less out of them. The big plays that were so common in the first quarter of the season have by and large disappeared. In the past two games the longest plays they have given up are a 32-yard Adrian Peterson run and a 29-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones.

Let’s see, forcing long drives, not giving up big plays, forcing teams to settle for field goal attempts (as the Redskins did three times in the first quarter of the Vikings game). That sure sounds like a bend but don’t break defense to me.

But when asked about applying that term to his defense, Jim Haslett objected. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bend but don’t break defense if you’re blitzing,” he said. “I think last week we had a big lead and didn’t want to give it up.”

Will the Redskins be in the position of having to protect a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday? The Giants have been very efficient on offense, scoring .45 points per offensive play. The Redskins will have to be at the top of their game to keep the Giants from piling up the points.

Of course, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well. They have score exactly as many points as the Giants have, 178 (29.7 per game, .48 points/play).

And this game could well come down to who has the ball in his hands last. Eli Manning is one of the best fourth-quarter quarterbacks in the game and he has led two last-minute drives to win Super Bowls. Griffin is carving out his own niche with a late drive to set up a field goal to beat the Bucs and last week’s game-clinching 76-yard run against the Vikings.

I read that Accuscore, one of those places where they simulate each game 10,000 times, had the Giants winning 60 percent of the time. That sounds about right. The Giants should be favored but 40 percent is certainly a reasonable chance of winning.

I’m not going to pick the upset here with the Redskins on the road but it would not be stunning at all if I’m wrong. The RG3 legend could well grow this weekend.

Giants 28, Redskins 24

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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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85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.

Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon. 

Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker. 

Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base. 

More Redskins: After four teams in five seasons, DJ Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home