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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

Sep 13, 2015, 5:19 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 13, the day the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Five final thoughts about Redskins vs. Dolphins

—Jay Gruden knows about the schemes of Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle from Gruden’s days with the Bengals. They crossed paths as Coyle was the Cincinnati defensive backs coach during Gruden’s first year as offensive coordinator there. Then after Coyle left to become run the defense in Miami, the Bengals played the Dolphins once in each of the next two years. But the addition of a dominant free agent takes away some of that familiarity edge. “But then you add a piece like [Ndamukong] Suh and it could change things drastically for your defense, the calls and what you are doing in short yardage and goal line,” said Gruden. “That’s something we’re trying to prepare for, a lot of different looks and assuming what they’re going to do.” Gruden said that adjustments will have to be made on the fly and the young right side of the offensive line will be challenged.

—Injuries will not be a factor, at least not coming in. The only player listed as doubtful is Dolphins backup tackle Jason Fox (concussion). Washington has two backup players, OT Tom Compton (calf) and OLB Jackson Jeffcoat (thigh), listed as questionable. All of the others on the report are probable, including Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert.

—Rookie Jamison Crowder will return punts for the Redskins. His only punt return in NFL competition consists of him fielding a punt during the Ravens preseason game and promptly slipping to the ground. What I’ll be watching for with him is if he makes good decisions on fielding the ball. Does he know when he should field a punt and when to back off? Can he determine when he should fair catch and when he should run it back? Popping a 40-yard return is nice but the wrong decisions on other punts during the course of the game can give back all of that field position and then some.

—Two underrated Dolphins offensive weapons are running back Lamar Miller and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Miller rushed for 1,099 yards last year on only 216 carries, an impressive 5.1 yards per play. Included in his body of work was a 97-yard touchdown run against the Jets. Landry is not a deep threat; he averaged just 9.0 yards per catch and his longest reception covered just 25 yards. But he is the player Ryan Tannehill goes to to move the chains and 48 of his 84 receptions resulted in first downs. Slot corner Justin Rogers will be primarily responsible for covering him.

—Looking back at the first point, the Redskins have a similar advantage on defense in that they have a new coordinator in Joe Barry and five new starters from last year. Among those new starters is Terrance Knighton, who gives the Redskins a true nose tackle for the first time since they started running the 3-4 defense in 2010. He may not have the impact of Suh but he is a very important addition. Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor (who was the Redskins’ QB coach during the Gibbs II era) really doesn’t know what to expect. The Redskins’ preseason schemes were of the traditional August vanilla variety and the Dolphins will have to figure out on the fly how aggressive the defensive front will be shooting the gaps and how Barry will utilize the pass rushers he has at his disposal.


Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m., FedEx Field

—It’s been 259 days since the Redskins played a game. They play the Dolphins at FedEx Field today.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 11; Eagles @ Redskins 21

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  1. troylok - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    On offense, the Redskins have to run the ball early and often. On defense, they need to get pressure on Tannehill, which should be easy to do when playing against Miami’s sub-par offensive line.

    • bangkokben - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:43 AM

      Not easy if they’re running up tempo quick passes.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        Correct! This will be a nice prep game for the defense before playing Chip Kelly’s Eagles.

  2. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    It’s Game Day for the Skins and that means it time to set aside opinions and back the team. My biggest hope out of this game, aside from a win, is to see Cousins as effective in 4 quarters against a good starting unit as he was in preseason in a few quarters against mostly non-starters. A turnover or maybe two can be forgiven if he responds well and makes up for it by steadily moving the offense and putting points on the board. I still have huge questions about his ability to work in the red zone but I think the steady improvement of Ryan Grant and the emergence of Matt Jones will help Cousins put some points on the board today.

    My true bold prediction of today? Ryan Grant gets two touchdowns! He’s the X factor on the offense that I think is flying under the radar. Miami only really has one true legit DB so there is room in the secondary to exploit.

    • brucefan1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Gotta agree redskinsname. What Moses (not really well-regarded after last season) and Sherff (not really well-regarded after camp & preseason) do against Suh and Wake is key — and worrisome, imho. What Cousin Kirk does in response to some inevitable pressure from them should give us a hint about if he’s many any strides in that area.

      Of course, I also agree with the conventional wisdom that the Skins DBs might very well be vulnerable. DHall makes some plays but usually gives up a few too. Duke was cast off by his last team, and many think Goldson’s washed up. (Don’t even get me started about Amerson!) And while it doesn’t seem like many outside the DMV hold Culliver in especially high esteem, I think Scot was right in seeing something in him. The Phins may choose to go elsewhere today on pass plays.

  3. skinsgame - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    I expect the Dolphins to blitz in spite of their prowess along their line. The inexperience on the right side of the line and at QB is like blood in the water to a shark. They may find out they don’t need to blitz but I would come on strong on defense anyway, if I were Coyle. Critical that the Redskins don’t hurt themselves with penalties and mental errors. This is a winnable game. Redskins pull off a squeaker here, 63-3. Hail!!

  4. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    “Slot corner Justin Rogers will be primarily responsible for covering him.”

    Big game for Rogers which Rich has pointed out a few times. There is a lot I like about him when he is on the field but he was still mistake prone in preseason.

  5. bangkokben - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    Justin Rogers is now wearing 35, Derrick Carrier 89, Houston Bates 96, and Anthony McCoy 85.

  6. dcfaninecuador - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Keys to this game (and probably all others going forward) are, simply put, Moses & Scherff. If they can’t at least hold their own, all the offensive weapons in the world won’t matter. On defense, nothing will matter if they can’t run and don’t have any time to pass.

  7. goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Forbaith Sucks. We need a new PK

  8. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 13, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    All those fricking penalties and then the punt return TD.


    • skinsgame - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:25 PM

      Penalties. The Redskins are the new Raiders where penalties are concerned. Just awful. More than anything, I believe the penalties hurt them the most.

  9. goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Thats it. The squad sucks again guys. Cousins is a INT machine, lets see if Colt McCoy gets the nod next week.
    Hell I rather see Rob get in there. I here the chants, RG3 RG3 RG3

  10. goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:57 PM

    Same old Redskins on display. Horrible Special Teams Play, Terrible Clock Management at the End of the Game, Not Creating Points on T.O., INT’s, Same old crap on display here. Horrible game. Should have easily won that game. BOoOOO!!! Sorry Season Ticket Holders those Ticket Prices Just Took A Beating.

  11. mr.moneylover - Sep 13, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    If kirk cousins gonna throw two picks hes gotta have over 200 yards…jay gruden couldve use Jamison Crowder as a deep threat theres no excuses and to see jay gruden use d-jax injury for his questionable play calling is lame and it show hes not a leader in of men…when things started to turn in mami favor thats when jay gruden as a head coach should’ve called timeout huddle everybody together and tell them to calm down and stay focus but he didnt do that he let things fall apart….kirk cousins is who he is …they took david amerson out the game why they didnt do the same to trent Murphy Preston smith came in the game and got a sack and fumble and recoverd the fumble I know hes a rookie but preston smith making more things happen then trent Murphy

  12. mr.moneylover - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM

    Its sad jay gruden cant adjustment his playbook to a QB now he cant adjustment his playbook when a player gets injured….jay gruden must go now hes making to many excuses on why this team keep shooting they self in the foot….penalties problems goes back to the coaching….when o-line coach bill c. wanted to keep making his O-line run laps for jumping off-side jay gruden was the one who said that was gonna have to stop heading into the season…getting the play off late also goes back to jay gruden….3rd and 12 Jay gruden calls a WR screen to andre roberts who struggle catching the ball why not throw it down field and try to get the first down

  13. gasngo14 - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    Moneylover you don’t have any lip today about ALF? lol

    • mr.moneylover - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:16 PM

      He did good today but I was right about last year and this year preseason he struggle but today he looked like the guy from 2012…maybe he showing up because its a contract year for him also…but the last couple years he looked average at best if alfred Morris continues to put up the kinda numbers he did today he will be the league leading in rushing yards

      • gasngo14 - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:24 PM

        Now he is “average at best”

        I know you don’t like him it’s cool i remember you and nameishere AKA jdhawk said ALF was a ” practice squad player at best ”

        lol he is 2nd in rush yards since he started in the league only behind AP:) thats pretty good average …HA!

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:08 AM

          Trolling turd! I have no idea what you are talking about. The guy has been playing regular seasons in the league since 2012. He couldn’t even qualify for the practice squad. You need quit coming coming on here making up lies about other fans. It’s bad enough you do that about players because you don’t understand the game.

  14. hail74 - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    This just in, 12 other teams sit at 0-1, 6 other QBs threw 2 ints and kirk’s passer rating was hire than both Luck and Peyton. Seriously we all knew this team was going to lose a lot of games this year. Miami is considered by some a playoff team and we’re considered by most the worst team in the league.

    • gasngo14 - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:06 PM

      Thats right we must be patient and allow Scot to rebuild this roster he can’t do it overnight!

      Our fans need to be PATIENT and allow it to happen!

      • goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:53 PM

        Sure patience. What do you call the last 7 years?!?!

        • skinsgame - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:28 PM

          There’s plenty of room on some other teams bandwagon. Go be a Chiefs fan or something. Seriously, you deserve better. You’re better than this.

    • mr.moneylover - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:28 PM

      Yeah but I dont think jay gruden is the guy as a head coach…he said his team didnt come out the second half with the same mindset and it showed on the field thats bad coaching and thats not how you help change the culture you gotta keep drilling in those guys heads dont panic when things go bad …when D-hall went down and david amerson gave up a touchdown thats when the defense collapse…kirk cousins and this offense have to show they can score more then one touchdown ….last year with kirk cousins we score once and get cold and dont score nomore the same thing happen again today… offense had to many opportunities to score touchdowns and they didnt and the defense basically got tired and started losing focus at the end

  15. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    The damned penalties. Don’t forget those, they killed us in the 2nd half. Reed must have had at least 3 all by himself.

    • mr.moneylover - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:03 PM

      Yeah I think both tight ends had 2 or 3 penalties and that goes back to the coaches teaching players not to shoot they self in the foot

  16. kenlinkins - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    It seems that the secret is out! This lost hurt because so many of us Redskins fans really believed that this team is getting better and the Redskins almost had a win to start the year. The opening half saw the Redskins with a lead even after throwing away a few chances to add to the lead. We saw a D and O Line play pretty well, and kept the Dolphins in check with a tied score after 3 quarters but we knew something bad was headed our way, we could just feel it. These Redskins have not yet learned how to win, how to make the game saving play, the brake out point has not yet been reached, but it is close. This is the kind of game a improving team takes to heart and cleans up the mistakes and there was a long list of them but all fixable. There was not just one BIG thing that beat the Redskins but a good number of missed chances and a long list of players and coach’s who could have cleaned up one little thing and it would have push the Redskins into a win. There was no one single point of failure like in years past that caused the lost, but feel free to try and make that case and I can point to 3 or 4 others that had just as much impact on the result, (none of which lasted all game like before) which IMO is the best case for proving this team is getting better. I liked a lot of what I saw today and know that the Redskins can build off this lost.

    • hail74 - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:45 PM

      Well said, particularly about how they have to learn how to win. Losing has been a culture here for far too long. Remember, whether you like Gruden or not he’s only coached 17 games, makes no sense to blow that up and start over now

    • goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:14 PM

      The play with no aggressiveness. On Cousins 1st interception I think it was Clark who stopped on the play and did not keep coming back to a scrambling Cousins.
      Another play I can remember there was 1 Miami WR and 3 Redskins defenders and 1 defender quit on the play and the Miami guy dragged are guys across the 1st down marker.
      Horrible play, horrible heart, no sense of urgency.

  17. skinsgame - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    Does the team impose fines for penalties? I’d start hitting the players in the pocket book. 11 penalties?? Come on!

  18. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Simple question: Is Cousin the answer:?

    • goback2rfk - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:12 PM

      Absolutely not. Never was. Should be looking at the draft next year for replacement or maybe sign a veteran. I do not care but stability is needed at the QB position. But still the team sucks in some many areas it is hard to pin it down to one position. Cousins is a back up like McCoy that can come in any maybe win you 1 or 2 but is certainly not the long term answer at the QB position.

    • kenlinkins - Sep 14, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      That’s the $64,000 question, here is my $32,000 answer: Not for the long term, a true NFL starting QB would have found a way to put points on the board in the 2nd half or found a way to win the game. That didn’t happen, the game was there to win and he didn’t get it done (again a short time frame of good play followed by below avg play, which is what you see from most back up QB’s). And for the next $32,000, IMO the head coach is not the answer either (not yet anyways). Cousins is in year 4 and Gruden in year 2, so maybe there is hope for Gruden but we saw the best of Cousin’s in the first half of the Dolphin’s game and it will take more then that to be a winning QB in the NFL. Too many Redskins fans just want to compare Cousin’s to RG3 in Gruden’s system and not compare him to the standard required to win in the NFL. The Redskins have 3 back up QB’s on the roster with little hope of developing one into a winning NFL starting QB. IMO if Cousins can not get the Redskins to 3-3 we will see RG3 again as he still has the most talent and is still the best bet for development and value (and as someone who hated the RG3 deal, I hate saying that, but it is the truth).

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        I like your point about Cousins inability to put together a complete game consistently. That why many times before this game, I emphasized 4 quarters when commenting on what Cousins needs to show. Two interceptions and One TD that could have been called back is not a sign of an improving QB.

        • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:35 PM

          Forget about putting together a complete game. Has Cousins ever even won a game that he started?! Maybe that one Cleveland browns game a couple years ago. Cousins is a INT and Loss Machine. Archives

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