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Need to Know: Broncos’ WR Welker, TE Thomas big concerns for Redskins

Oct 23, 2013, 5:34 AM EST

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Wes-Welker

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 23, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Denver to play the Broncos.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Broncos matchup:

1. The Redskins defense is geared to stop the run and that won’t change against the Peyton Manning led Broncos. Denver is 16th in the league in rushing offense averaging 108 yards per game. They have rushed for over 100 yards as a team in five of their seven games. The two times they failed to reach 100 on the ground were their opener against the Ravens, a 49-27 win, and their last game, a 39-33 loss to the Colts.

2. Wes Welker is death by a thousand paper cuts. He isn’t going to make the big play on you—he averages 10.8 yards per catch and his long reception this year is just 33 yards. DeAngelo Hall covered Welker when he was with the Patriots so he will probably draw that assignment again. It will be an interesting battle, especially on third down.

3. Welker is a big concern but I think the guy with the capability to drive the Redskins crazy is tight end Julius Thomas. The 2011 fourth-round pick is tied with Welker for the team lead (and the NFL lead) in touchdown receptions with eight. It seems like every time I see the Broncos he’s making a key catch. Tight ends haven’t really killed the Redskins so far this year but then again they haven’t faced many really good ones. Thomas, I think, is one of the good ones.

4. Denver does have a defense but it’s hard to gauge how good it really is. The numbers get skewed when teams are forced into shootouts. They are last in the league in passing yards allowed but only two teams get thrown against more often. Still, they are allowing 8.2 yards per attempt, 28th in the league. You’d expect the rushing yards against them to be low due to teams passing so often and they are with the Broncos ranking fourth in the league. But they are second in the NFL in yards per attempt at 3.3 so they’re doing a good job of defending the few runs that are called against them.

5. It’s tough to write much about Manning that hasn’t already been written. He gets flack, some of it fair, some of it not, for his lack of postseason success. But that doesn’t matter right now given that it’s October, not January. The Redskins will have their hands full with him on Sunday.

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Stat of the day

—  The 134 receiving yards post by Jordan Reed were 25 more than Chris Cooley’s career high of 109.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Broncos 4; Chargers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Vikings 15

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 (media can observe for first 30 minutes); Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practices after practice (approx. 3:15) streamed live on CSNwashington.com                   

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