Dec 17, 2015, 4:50 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 17, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Buffalo Bills.
Five thoughts and observations from around Redskins Park
—There wasn’t an announcement or anything but I think for as long as the Redskins season lasts Will Compton and Mason Foster will be the starting inside linebackers. Perry Riley might come back and start in Foster’s place but I’m not sure that Riley’s foot will be healed in time. It looks like Keenan Robinson is out of the picture. The reasons for his decline from team leader to afterthought remain a mystery.
—One thing that slipped under the radar against the Bears was Preston Smith starting at outside linebacker in place of Trent Murphy. It wasn’t a token start, either as Smith played 45 snaps to 20 for Murphy. The rookie played fairly well, getting credited with four quarterback hurries but Murphy made the most of his limited time, getting a sack of Jay Cutler, forcing a fumble that he recovered in the process.
—On Monday, Jay Gruden talked about the low production the Redskins have had on first down running plays. I pulled up the numbers to see what the extent of the problem. The NFL averages 4.1 yards per carry on first down. For the first four games of the year, the Redskins averaged 4.0 per first-down rushing attempt. But since then the average has plummeted to three yards per carry in games five through 13. There is a big difference between second and six and second and seven.
—It remains to be seen what the role of Pierre Thomas is going to be as he picks up more and more of the offense. I don’t think he’s going to replace Chris Thompson as the third-down back when Thompson’s shoulder is healed. They like his speed. The roles of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones seem to be set so I don’t see them being disrupted. In fact, I’m not sure how Thomas fits on the 46-man game day active list as more players get healthy. We will see.
—Bashaud Breeland is playing some great cornerback. I won’t say elite because the word has been overused to the point of being meaningless but he’s been very, very good. What separates him is his competitiveness and his willingness to stay late in the building watching film and doing other preparation. Breeland doesn’t pick off a lot of passes (as they say, if he had good hands he would be a wide receiver) so he probably won’t get much Pro Bowl consideration. But he is playing at that level.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30
—Days until: Bills @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Eagles 9; Redskins @Cowboys 17
In case you missed it
- Rushing game better but still not good enough
- Cousins doesn’t have time to think ahead
- DeAngelo Hall is looking forward to facing ‘little brother’ Tyrod Taylor
- New Redskins TE Alex Smith hopes to suit up Sunday vs. Bills
- Gruden says Trent Williams is the top offensive tackle in the NFL
- RB Chris Thompson returns to practice as Redskins appear healthier Wednesday
- State of the Redskins, Week 15: Still in control
- OPEN THREAD: Is Gruden finally comfortable criticizing Kirk Cousins?
- Bills’ Dareus says his team got too much hype
- Redskins will have their hands full with Bills QB Taylor
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