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Need to Know: Redskins’ challenge will be keeping Griffin upright

Dec 20, 2014, 6:44 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 20, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Three and out—Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

1. Every week we talk about the Redskins needing to run the ball and that’s the buzz this week—run the ball, kill the clock, keep the Philly offense off of the field. But he Eagles are among the better teams defending against the run, giving up an average of 3.8 yards per carry. On the flip side, their pass defense is not very good; Philadelphia ranks 21 in yards per pass play against. The Redskins’ chance of pulling off an upset might rest on the right arm of Robert Griffin III.

2. The challenge will be keeping Griffin upright. In one of those unstoppable force against moveable object matchups, the Eagles are second in the league with 47 sacks while the Redskins have given up 53 sacks, second most in the NFL. If Griffin is unable to minimize the sacks he takes by holding onto the ball for too long it could get ugly in this department.

3. The number that will work against the Redskins this afternoon is 5.7. That is the number of yards they give up per play, 26th in the NFL. The Eagles have run 972 plays this year, second most in the NFL. Doing the math, that comes to 69 plays per game. If the Eagles run 69 plays and the Redskins give up their average of 5.7 per play, that will be almost 400 yards of offense for Philadelphia. The Redskins have not given up 400 yards or more in a game they won since last November when they beat the Chargers.

Out: Although we have been hearing all week that Jay Gruden will be back, nothing is done until it’s done. Some who work at Redskins Park believe that a pair of ugly losses in these last two games could change the thinking on Gruden, especially if FedEx Field is packed with fans of the opposing team. It could even change the thinking on keeping Bruce Allen in his current role. This is more about people reading tea leaves than any hard information but the situation does bear watching.


Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 4:30, FedEx Field

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 8; 2015 NFL Draft 131; 2015 season opening Sunday 267

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. kenlinkins - Dec 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Rich: Could the Redskins be looking at a delayed reaction and be in better shape for 2015 then most think? Many of us Redskins fans believed the plan for 2014 was solid (- the tagging of Orakpo and the signing of Lauvao). It seems that the injury bug after the Philly body bag game was the start of a down fall that just could not be stopped. With 18 free agents on the roster / IR, IMO 8 will not be back (Biggers, Clark, Jenkins, Moss, Polumbus, Merriweather, Hule and Orakpo). Add to that Cap moves of Bowen, Chester, Cofield, Garcon, LeRibeus, and maybe a new contract for T. Williams will give the Redskins about $26 million for free agents. If the Redskins draft 2 O-Line, 2 D-Line in the first 4 picks, added to some of the IR guys being healthy for 2015, then the Redskins are back to needing one of their 3 QB’s to step forward. I have to think that one of them can get the Redskins to 500% in 2015. I do not believe the Redskins are as bad as they have played but something is still holding them back. Can the Redskins eject the small core of problem players with $26 million and 7 draft picks?

    • goback2rfk - Dec 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      The short answer to that question is no. There is no chance they can address all that in 1 off season. If they can just grab a safety and fix up the O-Line a little bit I would be happy with that for next year.

    • Rich Tandler - Dec 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      It’s the NFL, Ken. Things can always turn around in a hurry. A pair of competent safeties (perhaps Philip Thomas and a free agent or high draft pick) would make the defense look a lot better in a hurry. So would another double-digit sack guy.

      Combine that, a guard or two from somewhere, and a few good breaks along the way and you might have a .500 team with even marginal QB play. But they have a lot of work to do to get to be a team that consistently wins 10 games or more, which is where you need to be to get set up to get to the Super Bowl.

      > > >

      • ajbus1 - Dec 20, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        I think a key part to Rich’s reply is us getting a few breaks. You can execute a great off season plan and get nowhere without out a few breaks. Just seems like we haven’t had the great off season plans nor the breaks.

  2. hk2000 - Dec 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I sure hope you’re wrong about Gruden being back next year. I never routed against the Redskins, but for the last 2 games, I must!! Gruden has to go, he is not qualified for Head-coaching, he lacks leadership, creativity and good judgement.: Leadership, for the leaks and unprincipled players, Creativity for the obviousness of the plays they run down after down, and inability or unwillingness to come up with plays that emphasize the QB strengths, and judgement, for his constantly putting down his players (esp Griffin) in public instead of dong it in the locker room and actually trying to coach them up instead

    • polofourme - Dec 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      It already a done deal…Snyder gets to keep is special buddy Griffin and Gruden gets to coach in this nut house for another year…don’t you think that’s going to work out just wonderfully? Gruden has already made it clear all season long, that he thinks Griffin belongs in the Canadian Football League, not even remotely close to even being an average QB and Griffin is shielded and protected by Snyder…its a lose, lose situation. How is Gruden supposed to coach a guy he basically describes as incompetent. But that was deal, Gruden stays if Griffin stays and Griffin stays if Gruden stay..not a football decision a political decision where the coach keeps his job as long as he doesn’t cut Griffin…ridiculous. You could make a very strong argument that both should be fired after this laughable season. But now we get the worst possible outcome a HC who really can not stand his starting QB and QB who has played so poorly over the last two years, his QB rating is around 25.5 based on ESPN rating system. Oh yeah that’s going to work out great don’t you thihk?

      • ajbus1 - Dec 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Wow! Where do you get all your inside info?

  3. polofourme - Dec 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Its not going to be any problem at all…just never call a play where Griffin has to stumble around and pass the ball…either hand off to Morris or Young or Reid or call running plays for Griffin. He is a terrible passer to start with so simply play to what few strengths he has…let him run the ball. Then when he gets hit he can do what he always does…lay on the ground for twenty seconds or so, let the drama build, will he get up… he injured? Milk that attention for as long as he can…that will run the clock down and before you know this embarrassment of a football team will thankfully be off the field and the game mercifully will be over. If he tries to pass, he will get creamed….and he will commit at least two turn overs, miss open receivers and generally stink the place up….but not to worry a guy with a 25.5 QB rating over the last two years, is assured another season no matter how bad he plays…Snyder will force Griffin down Grudens throat and that will be that…which should make for another wasted season in 2015.

  4. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    When it all said and done an offense to b consistent in this league nds to have one qb who can play at gd level with a decent to gd o-line…….u look at teams who consistently get least ten wins a season all have gd to great qbs and gd to great o-lines….patriots. .colts..saints..dallas…packers…steelers..ravens……some have great defenses to help if offense struggles some…

    On other hand u look at teams like skins..bills..raiders..browns..bucs…dolphins etc they all struggled at qb pos…didnt have great o-lines or defenses struggle virtually every yr apart from an occasional winning season

    Also look at coaches on teams as result of winning…..guys like belicik..payton..mccarthy..tomlin..harbaugh etc…bn around a few yrs plus offensive system doesnt change….guys like brady..manning..brees played same set up for yrs…no wonder they play at high level and win playoff games..superbowls…..

    U take all that in and redskins are yrs away from being a consistently gd team yr in yr out…….

  5. billdorf55 - Dec 20, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    It will take a lot more than “Keeping Griffin Upright”. Unfortunately no amount of coaching will help RG see wide open receivers down field. He was never expected or required to do so in his rise through the ranks to the NFL, so what makes anyone think he will be able to play catch-up now at this elite level.

    Success with his style of play stops at the DI level with very few exceptions and never with any lasting effects in the NFL. Especially with such a deficient O-line.

    If Snyder sticks with RG next year, we are doomed.

  6. goback2rfk - Dec 20, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    RG3 needs to take that sleeve off, he is like 0 and 20 with that thing on. See what he can do with that other arm getting some air on it.

  7. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    First qtr typical…..get t/over…get to redzone…fg…….stop philly on 3rd dwn…pen vs breeland….cant stop eagles for easy td

    Dont like personal fouls being half distance to goalline….when player commits such foul ball should b placed at one with 1st and goal when pen happens within 15yrds of endzone…

  8. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Great score for skins…..get ball back and get nothing. …then give up 3-25 and 3-15…easy td….

  9. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Philly leading ht thanks to our generosity on defense……..they already run 20 more plays…they looking at 90 plays at their rate… kp this game close we nd big drive to start second half…… is 17-13 mins

  10. goback2rfk - Dec 20, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    WoW! Andre Roberts worst year by far in his career…

  11. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Got to say hats off to offense in third qtr….running ball setting up big plays….thank u to kicker from philly…also gd job by defense

  12. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    6 mins to go…here chance for rgiii to lead team to victory…..but we prob know how it turn out

  13. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Philly gonna drive for fg…..dont think the defense has blitzed once….since first qtr no pressure on qb at all

  14. colmac69 - Dec 20, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    Incredible. …..who would thought eagles would commit footballing suicide before skins…..wish I had stuck to my gut feeling on thur…….defense finally blitzed couple times and look what happens….int plus review finally goes our way….hail to skins

  15. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM


  16. goback2rfk - Dec 20, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Congrats to Rob on his 1st Win of the year. Though he did well, not spectacular, but well.. I would give him a 8 out of 10. Definitely secured the starting job for next year and more than likely a pretty nice contract offer.

  17. goback2rfk - Dec 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Breeland is looking like a real find for the Redskins. We need more young guys to step up like Breeland and we would be improving. I think Breeland has locked himself into a starting role and a future contract with his play this year. Well done Breeland. Archives

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