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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up against the Giants

Nov 27, 2015, 5:12 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 27, two days before the Redskins host the New York Giants.

Five Redskins who need to step up against the Giants

WR DeSean Jackson—This is two weeks in a row on this list for Jackson and he’ll probably continue to be on her until he has a big day. I posted yesterday that Jackson has made one big play early in each of the last two games but has subsequently disappeared. The Redskins just might need him to catch one deep in the fourth quarter.

RB Matt Jones—He doesn’t just need to hold on to the ball; he needs to put up some rushing yards while he’s doing it. The Redskins need someone to whom they can hitch their wagon down the stretch and at the time it seems Jones is the best candidate for that job.

CB Bashaud Breeland—Last December Odell Beckham chewed up the Redskins’ secondary with 12 receptions for 140 yards while being guarded mostly by Breeland. He was better earlier this year, although both Beckham and Ruben Randle caught TD passes against him. The second-year corner needs to be physical and make plays.

CB Will Blackmon—I had Chris Culliver here when I first outlined his post but with Cully now out for the season Blackmon needs to step up into the role as a starter. Blackmon was on the street in Week 1 and now he’s starting for a team that could find itself in a playoff run. Like Breeland, against the Giants Blackmon will need to make tackles after completions.

ILB Keenan Robinson—He should be able to play, although we’ll find out his status today. Just like it is time for Jones to step up it also is time for a leader in the defensive front seven to emerge and start making some plays.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:45; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:00

Days until: Giants @ Redskins 2; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears 16

In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Nov 27, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Alf. Needs to take control of this game. I now have no faith that Jones is going to hold on to the ball. And yea Blackmon is going to have to step up every game from here on out.

  2. troylok - Nov 27, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    My five:

    Chris Thompson needs to step up. The last time they played the Giants, it seemed like he was the most effective back. He’s not an every week back but he seems like the right back for this game. Attack the perimeter!

    Coach Barry needs to step it up. He needs to create ways to get to the QB and shut down the receivers long enough for the linemen to attack.

    Coach Callahan needs to step it up. The Redskins’ offensive line’s worst performance of the year was – arguably – the last time they played New York.

    Leribeus needs to step it up. The Giants pride themselves on being big and strong up front and Leribeus will have his hands full trying to block those guys, and oh yeah, he’s going to need to snap the ball accurately, too.

    Coach Fewell needs to step it up. Come on. This is the team that rode you out of town. Show some passion. Have those corners daring Manning to make a pass. Bump and run slows this offense down.

    • Rich Tandler - Nov 27, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      I don’t put coaches in the “step up” article, they are players only. (of course, you are more than welcome to in the comments)

      But I do know that a coach won’t make a single block or a single tackle or knock down any passes. It’s up to the guys on the field.

      • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

        But shouldn’t we “hold the coaches accountable” when they put the players in position to make those blocks or tackles but the players consistently don’t execute? ;p

        • timwillhide - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:13 AM

          The People mentioning the Coaches are pointing more towards players being prepared which helps eliminate mistakes and the Coaches ( Gruden & Barry ) coming up with better schemes, better play calling ( more intermediate and deep passes & more blitzes ) and better in game adjustments in play calling.

        • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 10:51 AM

          Right, Tim. When the players play mistake free as they did against New Orleans, these same folks give the coaches credit for “fixing” these preparation issues. I rewatched the SB where Brett Farve beat the Bill Parcell’s led Patriots. With the Packers up by 14 in the fourth quarter. New England stopped Antonio Freeman one yard short on 3rd and 3 with 6+ minutes left. Freeman after being tackled stretched his arm out with the ball to try to get extra yardage. The defender, Clay, swatted the ball out of Freeman’s hand and then preceded to assault him. While still on him, he pushed to the ground, took several swings and then pressed his helmet into the turf. 15-yard personal foul. Did Parcells not have his WHOLE team prepared for the biggest game of their careers? Or Elvis Dummerville “sacking” Blake Bortles by his facemask – one of the most egregious facemask penalties of all time – with zero seconds on the clock giving the Jags 15 yards and an untimed FG attempt to win the game? Does this fall on Jim Harbaugh? Being unprepared is when your coaches fail to prepare the team for the opponents game plan – not when professional players miss tackles behind the line of scrimmage. They’re obviously in the right place to make the play. As for play calling, I can understand that. I may not agree with specifics but these coaches certainly deserve criticism. Every fan knows that we want to run the ball on 1st and 10 and we do it 60% of the time.

        • ajbus1 - Nov 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM

          So what do you guys think of Bill Callahan and the switch to the power scheme? I’m patient and believe it takes more than a full season to install coach’s schemes but I think the complete lack of a run game is killing our Redskins. Why not run more outside zone to get Morris going? Are they THAT committed to giving this staff all season to install the power scheme? Is it the injuries to the line? I feel like it’s a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” scenario.

        • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 4:43 PM

          I agree with the patient approach and that this isn’t an easy transition. The guys who are learning have to learn everything. Scherff, LeRibs at center, Long, and even Moses had exactly what down from the outside zone? They barely played last year if they were here. Having said that, they were running a lot of outside zone with Morris early on. It wasn’t working either. Some say it was Morris, some say it was the blocking giving up penetration, some say it was a combination. For whatever reason very little has worked in the run game – especially after the injuries to Lauvao and Lichtensteiger. So… patience, yes; injuries, yes; if it ain’t broke; no, it was broke. The guys running the outside zone in 2013 are gone. One other thing about the zone blocking that I didn’t know until recently is that the O-linemen aren’t allowed to roll into their block anymore. This was overdue for player safety but also prevents a lot of the huge backside holes that we’re used to seeing with this scheme.

        • ajbus1 - Nov 28, 2015 at 1:07 AM

          By “if it ain’t broke” I mean going back to even last year. Why would they want to completely change a run scheme that had worked and an RB they had was thriving in? I’ll stay patient and hope the power scheme they envision comes to fruition but it’s really frustrating right now. Hopefully The Danny doesn’t decide to can everyone before they get it going. If they can ever get it going. Maybe I just expected too much from Callahan in his first year. Maybe the injuries really hurt that bad. I agree the guys starting now don’t have much experience but it’s not like they all never played any power run before either. Also I’m pretty sure they can still roll, just no rolling into defenders that are already engaged with another blocker.

        • bangkokben - Nov 28, 2015 at 10:14 AM

          By last year, I don’t think they saw last year as success. Obviously compared to now it is a success but going into the year it was below average. The only back they kept that made last season’s opening day 53 was Morris (Silas Redd got injured in training camp, Chris Thompson started last year on the practice squad, and Roy Helu wasn’t re-signed.) They got rid of the starting right-side of the line and the o-line coach. Tom Compton has made the team as a blocking TE and may have only a handful of snaps this year at the actual tackle position – when he comes into games it’s as an eligible receiver. Then there is no Logan Paulson or Niles Paul blocking from the tight end position which was a weakness last year and worse this year. So, yeah, I do think the injuries hurt – just as it has across the team. I don’t think the Dan gets to make the decision to can – unless he starts with McC which seems nutty. No, they have all played power scheme before but not against this type of competition and they just don’t win their individual battles enough of the time.

        • ajbus1 - Nov 28, 2015 at 12:27 PM

          True, true. And I hope you’re right about Danny boy.

      • troylok - Nov 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM

        Thanks Rich. Granted, the coaches won’t be playing on Sunday but no one can tell me the Redskins offensive line would be the same if Callahan had not come over to coach them up. I’d also say that Fewell doesn’t get enough credit for the spackling job he’s had to do at corner. Yeah, the coaches don’t play but the sure as heck put the players in the right spot to allow them to excel.

        • ET - Nov 27, 2015 at 12:34 PM

          “Yeah, the coaches don’t play but the sure as heck put the players in the right spot to allow them to excel.”

          And, in some places they put the wrong player in place. Granted, there have been some patchwork options forced upon them—Jarrett, Blackmon, Long, Compton, LeRibeus. Some have worked well and some (LeRib) seemingly have not.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      I’ve little faith in LeRib anymore.

      Our running game declined not just because of losing Shawn Lauvao (who made amazing progress this year under Callahan), but because of ineffective center play since Lichtensteiger got hurt.

      Blackmon might turn out to be an upgrade over Culliver.

      • sidepull - Nov 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Agree on Blackmon. Hes playing like he wants a job and that he cares about his performance. Hope he sticks around.

  3. timwillhide - Nov 27, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    I would definitely add Kirk Cousins. The Giants have bin his achilles heel. He has thrown at least 2 interceptionsevery time he has played ththem I would also add the Oline. They need to step up and give Kirk time to throw and not get sacked.
    Oh wait sacks and no time to throw comes from the QB holding the ball too long not poor pass blocking I forgot. Kirk needs to not hold the ball too long

    • timwillhide - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      I would also add our Safeties need to make sure we don’t get beat deep and step up in Run support. I think our DBs could actually do a good job covering their WRs. I was never sold on Gulliver being our #1 CB.

      • timwillhide - Nov 27, 2015 at 5:20 PM

        Big difference playing behind an Oline ranked 31st in Pass Blocking (2014) and one that is ranked 3rd presently

    • sidepull - Nov 27, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      Yea start RG3 and run away with the division. At least hes beaten the Giants right? :)

      • hail74 - Nov 27, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        Now I see the problem, RG3 played against a D like Carolina’s every game the past two years. If only he had games against teams like TB to pad his stats.
        Fwiw, Rg3 is 0-8 against teams that finished the year in the top 10 defensively, Cousins is 0-5.

    • John - Nov 28, 2015 at 12:15 AM

      Actually, if you go to Craig Hoffman’s blog on and look at Cooley’s film breakdown of the game against Carolina, you’ll find that while the right plays were called against the defense, missed assignments by the line, backs and tight ends were the culprit, especially on the pick. But then you would never look at things objectively…

  4. ET - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    LeRibeus, if he starts. I’m surprised and dismayed that the Josh Experiment continues. He needs to handle his fundamental center responsibilities more consistently and get a better first step. LeRib is the weak point on the line and the Giants’ DL aren’t pushovers.

  5. hk2000 - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    I don’t know about Jackson, did he fail to get open? Did he drop any passes? The OL and Cousins need to step up so he can have enough time to throw deep, and when he does, he needs to be accurate!!!! Jackson is not the weakest link in that chain, not by a long shot.

  6. hitmeimopen - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:56 AM


  7. hitmeimopen - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    sorry – What about “Pot Roast”? Has his name been heard at all? He’s supposed to occupy blockers to free-up the LBs for tackles. I’m not so sure he’s doing much but loafing out there. C’mon, big boy – make your presence known!

    • goback2rfk - Nov 27, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      I think we can safely say the entire team needs to step up. We are going to need a good showing from all facets of the game. I would like to see some more big special teams plays. Winning the TurnOver battle would go a long way also like always. Come on Skins, I want some meaningful December games please!

    • John - Nov 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      The one gap system omits the need for d linemen to tie go o lineman from taking out the linebackers. Each lineman and linebacker covers a gap, so if the back comes to your area if responsibility, its up to you to stop him. To many times people have hadthe oopportunity but not taken advantage of it.

    • James McFullan - Nov 27, 2015 at 6:54 PM

      You just stated his job, it isn’t to make big plays, it is to hold up blocks and let the people around him make plays

      • John - Nov 28, 2015 at 12:21 AM

        In a 1 gap system, the linemen don’t tie up blocks. The lineman and linebackers shoot the gaps (every man for himself). If they miss, the back,it gives up a big run.

  8. sidepull - Nov 27, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Everybody is playing the Pats tough. Their wounded. The Giants played them well and had them, and just when the Giants felt they would walk way with a win, they didn’t. That was a heck of a game. The Giants are not going to roll over. The Redskins are going to need to have the QB be a playmaker not just a script follower. A QB that can create. As a team they need to take it to the Giants all 4 quarters. Do not lose this home game, and especially do not get blown out at home! They get no respect from the Giants. The Redskins are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFC East. They going to have to earn respect Sunday.

  9. obxskins - Nov 27, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    Both the OL and DL should be at top of the list! DL gets no pressure on QB or stopping run..OL can’t protect or block for rum…looks like the draft will be heavy on some new big guys that play the line on both side of the ball!

  10. warpath1 - Nov 27, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    I think this game goes as Matt Jones goes. If he gets good yardage and hangs onto the ball, the rest of the offense will open up. OH, and we cant let Eli throw an 80 yard td at the end of the game. We’ll know who we are at the end of this game

  11. brucefan1 - Nov 27, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    Who needs to step up?

    I’d add a few of the guys who are expected to rush the passer, because the opportunity seems like it will be there. The Giants offensive line is like a 5-alarm fire these days, playing backups to the backups. It seems to be the biggest concern of Big Blue’s commenters these days (A close second; their DEFENSIVE line! They’ve been generating zero rush. Man, if ya can’t make hay against a team that’s big weaknesses are in both lines, then cash in yer chips!)

    If the Redskin pass-rush (and I don’t care who, exactly — anyone. Paea, maybe? Kerrigan?) can somehow get Eli looking out of his earhole for much of the day, that would go a very long way to taking away what they do best; gashing teams with crucial completions to Beckham, Randall, Harris, et al.

    (Fwiw, the big theme up here near NYC is that the Giants “can’t look past the Skins”, cuz if they make the mistake of taking them “too lightly” the Skins “might surprise them”!! Can ya believe the gall of these guys?! With only a one game lead over the B&G going for them, and no great statistical advantages, they still act like if they just pay a little attention on Sunday this game is in the bag! This BS — this sense of entitlement — has got to stop. Now!)

    • goback2rfk - Nov 27, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      No one really takes the Skins too seriously. Being one of the worst teams in the league consistently for many many years will get you that reputation. With minimal talent at many positions and no depth whatsoever the Skins are usually written off in the Win column of opposing teams. Hopefully, the Giants come out flat but somehow I think they know they are playing for the Playoffs on Sunday and will come out and whoop the Skins A$$. I do not think the Skins even have a chance in this game.. Should be over before the middle of the 3rd quarter with Eli destroying the lackluster Skins secondary. 350+ Yards and 3TD’s for Eli. Who exactly is playing at the CB position for the Skins on Sunday!? Who? I never heard of that guy before. Most players on the Skins team are no names that people have no clue who they are. We lack big talent and superstar players.
      The Skins season will be close to over when the final whistle blows.

      Giants: 35

      • brucefan1 - Nov 27, 2015 at 4:44 PM

        “Eli destroying the lackluster Skins secondary”

        Eli could easily destroy said lackluster Skins secondary if two important things happen;

        1) the GOOD Eli shows up. In the land of the Giants they know there is a “Good Eli” and a “Bad Eli”. The Skins usually see (enable??) the Good Eli.

        B) If the Redskins front doesn’t exploit a makeshift Giant offensive line and get some real pressure on whichever Eli shows up. If they are not gonna generate a pass rush this week then it probably ain’t never gonna happen for this group.

        “No one really takes the Skins too seriously”

        Sure … but there’s a difference between not taking a team seriously and feeling like you OWN them! ;^}

    • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 4:24 PM

      “This BS — this sense of entitlement — has got to stop. Now!”

      Totally with you but the only one who can make that happen is the team we cheer for. Until then, entitled Giant fan.

      • brucefan1 - Nov 27, 2015 at 5:06 PM

        “the only one who can make that happen is the team we cheer for”

        So true, ben. It’s one of the steps they gotta take if this rebuilding process is ever gonna bear fruit.

  12. colmac69 - Nov 27, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    Code any colour u want game……

    Think offense will produce if we stay clear mistakes…..for me question will b if defense can stop manning….

    We can get ahead and make them play catch up for once we got chance……

    Win and 8-8 will win u div…..u get that two more div wins vs phil and dallas (2) gets u head to head over giants….they got tough one vs jets plus panthers and vikings…we not got it easy but we won’t have better chance to win a div title

    Loss and your basically looking to win last five which at 9-7 might get title or wildcard spot but u couldn’t see skins running table

    Surely eli must b due a bad game vs washington

    • goback2rfk - Nov 27, 2015 at 4:34 PM

      The 2 time SuperBowl champ Eli will play well versus the horrible Redskins secondary. Look at how far the Skins CB’s play off the ball. The short game will be there all day long and Eli will pick us apart. Get Eli into your fantasy lineup if you have him. Big day coming for Eli.

      • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 4:50 PM

        Might as well make some $$ on FanDuel or DraftKings but Kirk Cousins in his last 4 home games has 9TDs and 0 INT and a QBR over 122. So we might get a shootout. I’m all for fixing my lineup with Eli, ODB Jr, and RR to put the hex on them or at least make some $$ to ease the pain come Monday.

        • rtcwon - Nov 27, 2015 at 6:02 PM

          The homer hedge!

        • goback2rfk - Nov 27, 2015 at 9:35 PM

          I have 2 FanDuel lineups going, one with Eli and ODB. And one with Cousins and Jackson. Lets hope we get a big shoot out and the Win!! And Win some $$$ at the same time. HTTR!

  13. JOHNNY B - Nov 27, 2015 at 5:20 PM

    I got one for ya. The whole team needs to step up. This is our best playoff opportunity we need to take this tie breaker out of the equation. The Giants have 3 good to great defenses to still go against I don’t think that they will win 2 of those games. So with that in mind winning on Sunday will give us a possible 2 game leeway. Just as long as those 2 games are not divisional we will still go. But with Manning getting rid of the ball so quick our secondary needs to step up the most. Shut his passing game down.

    • John - Nov 29, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      When you have to depend on the other guys losing their other games so you can have a shot, should tell you that your not that good a team because you don’t win enough on your own. Archives

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