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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up vs. the Patriots

Nov 7, 2015, 4:59 AM EDT

Goldson-vs-Bucs

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 7, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five players who need to step up for the Redskins to beat the Patriots

QB Kirk Cousins—This is obvious but I get busted by my readers for omitting the obvious so here you go. I am not of the belief that the Redskins can stay competitive in this game by keeping the ball on the ground and trying to move down the field with 12- or 15-play drives. The forward pass can be the great equalizer and if Cousins can be accurate and stay away from any mistakes—the latter certainly is a tall order—the Redskins could have a chance.

WR DeSean Jackson—The Redskins are going to have score often and occasionally from long distance if they are going to going to hang with the Patriots for four quarters. That’s because New England is likely to score often. They have some packages for Jackson and if he can get one bomb and catch one in stride short over the middle and turn it into a long score, things could get interesting.

DE Jason Hatcher—Brady will get rid of the ball quickly. He can be sacked but it’s usually with quick pressure up the middle. That means that Hatcher will need to get push up the middle and hit home with some of his pass rushes. The only way you can ensure that Brady can’t beat you is if he is holding the ball while on the ground.

LB Keenan Robinson—This just in: Tom Brady will complete a lot of short passes. The important thing to do will be to make the tackle. If Rob Gronkowski catches a pass, multiple players will have to be in on the tackle. Robinson will have to get to the spot and tackle either a slippery Julian Edelman or Dion Louis or be a part of the gang on Gronk.

FS Dashon Goldson—If Hatcher and company can’t make the sack and the linebackers and cornerbacks, can’t make the tackle, Goldson will be the last line of defense. He needs to take proper angles to players with the ball and make sure tackles to prevent easy touchdowns. Otherwise what could be a long day for the Redskins will become a much longer one.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Travel to New England, no availability

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 1; Saints @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Panthers 15

In case you missed it

  1. troylok - Nov 7, 2015 at 6:17 AM

    It’s time for Trent Murphy and Preston Smith to turn it up a notch. Kerrigan might not play and if he does he will not be 100%. It’s time for Murphy and Smith to do their stuff. I think Smith might actually match up well with Gronk. I think Murphy has been close on some plays but he needs to find that extra burst at the end to bring the QB down.

    • Penz - Nov 7, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      Does Murphy have another notch to go up to? Don’t think he has, even Kerrigan hasn’t looked great in this scheme. It’ll be up to the O to hang with the Pats and hope for a lucky break somewhere.

      • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 1:06 AM

        Murphy better have another notch. It’s time. A lot of edge rushers don’t break out until their second year, it’s time for him to show what he really has.

        I guess he’s a good depth player either way, good on obvious running downs, and not terrible in coverage. But he needs to improve his pass rush or else he’s going to be a career backup and another blown pick. You have to get more out of second rounders. Hopefully Smith can put everything together and be that guy for us.

  2. celeoinc - Nov 7, 2015 at 7:12 AM

    The QB must go down – Buddy Ryan 1985 – seriously, I sincerely do not wish Brady to get hurt or any player for that matter, but the defense does have to hit Brady often without getting a 15 yard penalty in order for us to be competitive. The last thing we can do is to play our usual vanilla defense against arguably the best QB of all time along with Joe Montana.

    • penz - Nov 7, 2015 at 6:31 PM

      Couldn’t agree more, how do we keep finding these vanilla D coordinators? Lets put 8 men in the box and play bump coverage on the outside and pressure teams early on rather than sit back, let them get in a rhythm then try to react. I’d rather go down fighting than be pushed around. If Winston picked apart out passive D god help us against Brady.

      • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 1:10 AM

        I agree, I would rather go down swinging too.

        I’m not trying to be Mr. Negative, but I don’t see any possible way we win short of a couple bad injuries for NE (which I absolutely don’t want. Watching Brady this year is fantastic). So, since we really don’t stand a chance, this is a good week to try some new stuff and see how our guys do. At least change up the tendencies to give future offensive coordinators more to think about and prepare for.

        The main thing I’m looking for in this game is to see Cousins put together a decent performance and out guys to leave healthy.

  3. skinsgame - Nov 7, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    Every player will have to play as good as they ever have, all at once. It’s absolutely possible. The mantra for the Redskins should be, “Do your job!” Execute, every play. It’s what the really good teams do.

  4. abanig - Nov 7, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Kirk Couins needs to play a near flawless game for the skins to have a chance. Djax need to look like the Djax of last season right away for the skins to have a chance – which is unlikely given how much practice and game time he’s missed this season. Hatcher and those in the front 4/5 need to get their hands up and bat passes down, I doubt the skins are going to get a lot of sacks or pressures but deflections are huge and could lead to ints.

    Last, the defense needs to freaking tackle! The difference between the first 4 weeks of the season when the defense was playing well and shutting down the run and big runs after the catch is tackling and gang tackling. The defense has taken bad angles
    The past month and really been bad at tackling for the skins to win games consistently, that must change.

    • brucefan1 - Nov 7, 2015 at 5:14 PM

      To have all those things happen tomorrow against this team, of all teams, is probably asking too much, adam (but then this IS the NFL — where the strangest things often happen!), but I see no reason not to hope or expect that they might very well occur in the games after this one.

      The Skins have had success in many those areas at various times this season, but not consistently. Lately their opponents have adjusted to what Gru & Crew had been doing earlier, especially in both run offense and run defense. (Or has that been just flat-out poor execution by the Redskins players and coaches? You tell me.)

      Now is time for the brain trust to switch things up and adjust to those adjustments, imho. I mean, can they continue to try those schemes that have failed for the last few weeks? It would show some creativity and unpredictabilty by the coaching staff — things that has seemed in short supply this season. Hopefully they’ve been using the last two weeks to do just that.

      Giving the Pats looks they are not expecting and getting them back on their heels should really be helpful … at least for a while.

      But going forward AFTER this weekend… why not?

      • Penz - Nov 7, 2015 at 6:39 PM

        All it takes is for the Pats to be 1% over confident and the Skins to fly around like their lives depended on it and this game could be interesting. If Cousins plays well the Skins have the weapons to hang with the Pats, if its close in the 4th who knows..

        • goback2rfk - Nov 7, 2015 at 7:26 PM

          Cousins and the offense is not the problem. The offense can hang, its the defense I am worried about. I don’t see the Skins defense getting to many stops on 3rd down this game.

      • Penz - Nov 7, 2015 at 7:44 PM

        Hey Bruce!! Which Bruce are you a fan of?

  5. JOHNNY B - Nov 7, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    We have the talent to win this game. They have Gronk we have Reed they have Edemand we have Dejax . Our offense is better with Crowder and Garson, expecially with Alf and Jones. Our weapons are only as good as the qb getting them the ball. So we need Captain Kirk to show up. If the good Kirk shows up we will have a chance if not a blow out. The Defense with or without our starting corners won’t be able to stop Brady and Gronk. All we can do is try to keep them to field goals. Our front 7 are not going to be able to stop Bradys quick passing attack. Forced fumbles after the pass is where they need to concentrate their energy. Get the turnovers and we will win. It will take the whole team to step up not just a few players.

  6. 226thebeatdontstop - Nov 7, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    As a Redskin fan I’m so sick of this coach ,media an some of the fan base who are making up excuses about why the Skins will lose and its acceptable!

    They will lose because they chose the wrong defensive coordinator and they don’t have players or athletes that can generate consistant pressure on a quarterback.Brady,Gronk ,and Eddlemen are gonna destroy the defensive…My gut is we won’t stop the run an if that’s the case game over first half. Belichick saw the Tampa tape an probably laughed.. The media here in DC got all happy about barely beating a pathetic Tampa team with a rookie qb

    Cousins is doomed to fail tomorrow,the Patriots will show looks Gruden will say after the game ,we didn’t expect to see ..3 picks is not acceptable at some point Cousins has to live up to the hype an beat a quality team or division opponent…Gruden destroyed the running scheme an Alfred Morris its not Morris’s fault he’s healthy an produced every year..I’m also not sold on Sean Mcveighs hype his play calling an formations are way too predictable

    • hail74 - Nov 7, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      They are going up against a team that is widely if not unanimously considered the best in the league. A team that has had stability at the most important position, HC. A team with a sure fire HoF QB. If they lose that’s why, not any of the bs you spouted out. Morris is a great guy and glad he’s on my team, but has been declining every year, not just this one. How do you know cousins will throw 3 picks? That pathetic TB team has beaten better teams than ours but as usual nobody points that out. I don’t get how some fans can’t see the upward trajectory that we’re on.

    • John - Nov 7, 2015 at 11:11 PM

      Once again someone putting it all in Kirk. Beat a quality opponent or division team. I seem to remember he was key in beating Philly. What division are they in? Was it the AFC Central? Oh snap, their in our division. Oh, and the Rams, they have a pretty good defense. Had it not been for second half penalties, Reed not crossing a defender and the special teams blowing it, we might have beaten Miami. It would be nice if Alfred was more decisive in the running game. Opportunities have been their but he has not hit the holes when they were there. Where has the defense been since the Rams game? Sure the corners have been banged up but the don’t have much to do with the inability to stop the run. So it all comes down to Cousins to take the blame. He is the only viable quarterback on this team that gives them a shot at winning but the few interceptions he throws are why we lose. Not a chance. Take a look at the bigger picture.

  7. 226thebeatdontstop - Nov 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    Trent Murphy is a BUST we heard all the hype this off season about how strong he is…Well that strength hasn’t appeared when it counts on Sundays!
    I haven’t heard Murphy’s name on game days,if he isn’t producing or contributing bench him!

  8. sidepull - Nov 7, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    No NT. Thats not going t help matters. Hope Barry has a plan. HTTR

    • goback2rfk - Nov 7, 2015 at 10:54 PM

      Migraine is a lame excuse not to play. And a migraine an entire day before the game?! There are hundreds of treatments that can solve a migraine almost instantly. Occipital nerve block, Imitrex, Fiorcet, the list goes on and on. How the hell does a migraine knock you out the day before the game. Does not make sense to me.. BOOOO!!! Pot Roast

      • Rich Tandler - Nov 8, 2015 at 6:03 AM

        Yeah, Knighton is a wimp. Perhaps I could arrange a meeting and you could tell him that yourself?

        • goback2rfk - Nov 8, 2015 at 12:52 PM

          Ha! Now that funny. Never said he was a wimp. Simply said that migraines are rather easily treatable and thats a fact.

      • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        Come on man. Own up to it. You implied that he’s being a wimp.

        Not all migraines are created equal. I worked in healthcare a long time. Sometimes you can treat them. However, for a lot of people, if you don’t catch them right when they’re coming on, they can be very debilitating. He also wouldn’t be the first player to miss a game for migraines.

        I would love an opportunity to meet Knighton though Rich. I’ll be more than happy to tell him how goback thinks he’s a wimp. His response could make a good quote for a story. Let’s do it.

        • goback2rfk - Nov 8, 2015 at 5:18 PM

          Is it not a stretch for me to think that with millions of dollars and the best healthcare in the world that a migraine cannot be solved an entire day before a game!?! I am not a DR. so i guess I should not have made my migraine comments about PotRoast as I do not know his medical conditions. I am just a disgruntled fan that does not know anything so please excuse me for my ramblings.

        • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 5:32 PM

          I understand that. Just felt like giving you a hard time. But truly, you never know with these things. For the same reasons you listed, I just assumed that they tried what they could and it was still bothering him.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 8, 2015 at 7:14 PM

          goback2rfk, you have never had a migraine since if you did then you’d know that sometimes there is little outside of morphine that can stop the pain. You have never felt pain until you had a migraine. I got mine from a reaction to prescription drugs after knee surgery. I’m also someone that has had broken ribs (w/ a slight lung puncture but not a collapsed lung), knee surgery, kidney stones, and a spinal tap. So I know what real pain feels like. And nothing will put you down harder and faster than a serious migraine.

      • John - Nov 8, 2015 at 10:41 PM

        Knighton’s “migraine”was really a cluster headache. It was described as something that hits him maybe once a year but when he gets it, its real brutal. Even the toughest guy will end up whimpering in the felt position.

        • goback2rfk - Nov 8, 2015 at 10:44 PM

          Yeah. I understand now that it was not actually a migraine it was clusters which is totally different. That makes much more sense now. I thought it was a simple treatable migraine not a medical condition he suffers from. I apologize PotRoast!

        • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 10:54 PM

          And just to add something for people who may not know, just because it isn’t considered a migraine doesn’t mean it’s not brutal. Cluster headaches can be just as bad. At least with migraines they often know the cause (dilated vessels in the brain causing pressure). It’s been a while since my last lecture on headaches, but if I remember correctly, they don’t know what causes them. So treating them is a real crap shoot. Just keep guessing until something works.

          Just the treatment of headaches alone could put a guy out. Some of the medicine makes you feel all kinds of weird, tired, extra sensitive to any kind of sensation, etc. etc.

          Actually even morphine doesn’t work for a lot of people’s migraines. But say it does work for Knighton, imagine being pumped full of high powered narcotics all day then being asked to go play an NFL game the next. If you’re not used to taking narcotics, they’re probably going to put you on your ass for a couple days.

          I much rather would have had Knighton rest and have two weeks to get his body right for the rest of the season than to have him play in a game where we simply didn’t stand a chance. I know some people hate how that sounds. If they’re healthy, then yes, go play your heart out. But if they’re still beat up, this wasn’t the game to rush them back for.

  9. berniebernard666 - Nov 7, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    after Kirk Cousins you should have listed JOE BARRY as having to turn it up a notch. He has been a limp noodle Defensive Coordinator thus far. Do any of you guys out there see a burning fire killer instinct in this guy? Because I don’t. He seems stuck in a pattern of wanting 4 to rush and 7 to cover. He is not creative. He has not played his best pass rusher on defense in Jeffcoat….in fact the ONLY speed rusher on the defense. And now we hear that Jeffcoat has been placed on IR…I suppose from a special teams injury. The Defense is DONE….and Scott M needs to step in and find a new D. Coordinator.

    • John - Nov 8, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      Would you rather the other guy be running the defense. You know, Mr. Zero Blitz? The players need to maintain gap control and wrap when they tackle. Everyone has a gap and is supposed to stop the runner on their way to the qb. If they don’t stay focused, big run. Unfortunately, they don’t have the horses. They get pressure but don’t put the qb on the ground. If we bring 5-6 guys, then we have a banged up secondary playing man. Not a good option. Hopefully the draft will bring us a stud d lineman.

    • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 5:36 PM

      You don’t think it’s a little bit of a stretch to call Jeffcoat the best pass rusher on the team? You don’t think Kerrigan and Smith are better pass rushers than Jeffcoat? I would even say Murphy is better. Speed isn’t everything.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Nov 8, 2015 at 7:07 PM

        Bernie is a bit out there on comments but I think what he “means” is Jeffcoat is the only true edge rusher on the team before going to IR. This I can agree on only because Galette went down. Even when healthy, I doubt Jeffcoat could have provided any real help with true blue starting left tackles in the NFL. Kerrigan is at his best feeding off of pressure from the other side. Smith is a great athlete but IMO and I have stated this ad nauseam that Preston needs to be playing along the defensive line. Maybe he’ll grow into the position since I think he is someone you use in the mold of how Texas uses Watt. He is not a natural OLB. You can see that on many instances where he struggles to cover players going wide on his side.

        • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 10:59 PM

          I think most of us agree that Smith’s natural position seems like a 4-3 DE or playing on the line in a 3-4. But I think he’s shown flashes of being able to adapt to it. It may take a little longer, but most edge rushers don’t do that great their rookie years anyway.

          It will be interesting to see what happens if we can resign Galette though. Have him and Kerrigan start obviously. Use Murphy, Jeffcoat, and maybe bates as depth players. Then move Smith inside. He could be a good replacement for Hatcher.

  10. QuietStormX - Nov 8, 2015 at 12:46 AM

    Right and only if your dreaming? Coach Gruden this is training for Kirk this season so just forget about success or wins with Gruden and his QB Kirk Cousin.

    • John - Nov 8, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      This is not a playoff team. They were not expected to be a playoff caliber team for at least 3 years. Stop whining about Gruden and Cousins.

    • Trey Gregory - Nov 8, 2015 at 5:39 PM

      Cousons has not been the problem on this team lately. He’s had…. Two? Bad games, maybe, that you could really blame him for. And he’s only gotten better as the season has gone on. He played well today. Just stop with the blind Cousins hate. It’s so old.

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