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Need to Know: Redskins’ Williams not worried about possible rust if rested

Dec 31, 2015, 4:58 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 31, three days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

Five thoughts on the playoff-bound Redskins

—At this point there is really no way of telling when the Redskins will play their first-round playoff game. There are no set criteria for which game is played in which time slot. When the seeds are set or nearly set the league and the networks will get on a conference call and hash it out. The playoff schedule will be announced sometime Sunday evening, perhaps during the Vikings-Packers game.

—It’s really amazing that Quinton Dunbar is out there every week lined up opposite the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, and Jordan Matthews. And nobody is even nervous about it. Per Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks have a 70.1 pass rating when throwing at Dunbar, who came to training camp as a wide receiver. Like most, I figured that he would be a project who would spend the year on the practice squad learning the new position. But when injuries struck the secondary he emerged off of the practice squad and lined up against Beckham.

—Everything I’ve seen makes me think that Kory Lichtensteiger will start at center when the Redskins start the playoffs. All indications are that he is healthy; he will have had 12 weeks off (he last played in Week 5) to rehab his neck injury by the time the playoff game comes around. I’m not sure if he will immediately make a big difference in the Redskins’ run blocking but he probably won’t hurt.

—I think that the issue of playing or resting the starters isn’t of huge concern to the players. “If they need me to play, I’ll be ready,” said Trent Williams. “I get paid to do what [the coach] says.” Williams is not worried about losing momentum if he and some other starters do sit out. “I don’t believe in that,” he said. “We’re all professionals, we’re all grown men. I don’t believe in the whole getting rusty thing . . . In my opinion I don’t think you get rusty sitting out one Sunday.”

—With one week left in the season, the Redskins’ special teams are third in Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA metric. The weighted index counts recent games more heavily to try to reflect which teams are playing better now. In terms of regular DVOA, which measures the whole season equally, the Redskins are fifth. However you measure it, an impressive improvement from last by a mile in 2013 and a sub-mediocre 29th last year.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 3; start of NFL playoffs 9

In case you missed it

  1. skinsgame - Dec 31, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    consistency is what separates really good teams from the rest of the pack. The Redskins are much improved and the things they are doing are working. I’d worry more about players losing focus how that could interfere with the consistency of things more than “rust”.

  2. babyteal1 - Dec 31, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    Play the starters and win the game!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 31, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    Lichtensteiger coming back is a very good thing.

    • ET - Dec 31, 2015 at 2:58 PM

      A very, very good thing!

      Last season, if someone had asked me “Do you think Lauvao or Lichtensteiger will be missed?” I’d have thought they were idiots or subversives from the suburbs of New Jersey. And yet here I am, missin’ them both …

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 31, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        Unbelievable with regards to Lauvao. The Browns didn’t want to keep him, and everyone mocked us for overpaying him.

        And his first year wasn’t good. I have to credit Callahan and Lauvao both for what he did earlier this year. (And curse the injury gods, of course.)

        Silver lining of the dark cloud: with all the snaps Long has had, he’s now a quality backup/starter at LG and RG. And we have Arie Kouandjio and Lauvao back next year. Our depth at guard and tackle is pretty awesome. We need some center-in-waiting though.

        • ET - Dec 31, 2015 at 5:55 PM

          Yeah, Long has gotten a lot better, and I think he still has plenty of upside. My comment wasn’t a dig at him, just recognition that Lauvao was playing at a really high level. Arie also promising.

          But yeah, the center situation needs to be handled next season. The drop off from Kory to LeRib has been considerable.

          (Sidenote: can De La Puente really be that over-the-hill? I can’t imagine that he’s worse than LeRibeus. Maybe they’re trying to give him the reps to grow into the role?)

        • ezg1 - Dec 31, 2015 at 11:50 PM

          thunder, (remember you from the “Insider”) Well thought out and presented. It’s a pleasure to read your definitive logic style of journalism.

  4. colorofmyskinz - Dec 31, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    LeRibeus is the worst center I have ever seen. I re watched the Eagles game 3 times and focused on watching his play. Horrific! It is harder for Kirk to read where his snap is going to go vs reading the defense. His snaps are high, low, left right, of timing… You name it. Very hard for Kirk to know. Where the ball is going to be coming from LeRibeus at center. We would be better off with ANYONE BUT LeRibeus at center. How hard is it to read the defense and worry about where the snap is going to end up. Or take a high snap that is darn near over your head and then go through your reads to make a hot throw. We need to get LeRibeus off the field at the center position immediately. Whoever replaces him needs to be poaying during the Dallas game to get ready for the palayoffw. Sorry LeRibeus but watch your own tape and tell me I embellished on this description just a little. We need a new center period.

  5. redskinscaio - Dec 31, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Great stat about the special teams. They have been the X-Factor this year. Last year during close games, Special teams would miss a key field goal, or they would get a punt blocked, or fumble on the punt, or let the other team score a touchdown, etc etc. I’ve been really impressed with the special teams play this year.

    The biggest difference between this year and last has been Special teams.

    A big improvement has been the ability of the QB to not turn the ball over. And the emergence of better play from the secondary has been tremendous. Dunbar and Breeland have played tremendous football this year.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 31, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    By the way, Rich:


  7. colmac69 - Dec 31, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    Happy new yr to all when it arrives (bout 25 mins here)

  8. JOHNNY B - Dec 31, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    Play the starters hell yeah. Let Kirk and Reed break those records. The start of long time of winning hopefully. Pull them if we are blowing them out or if we are getting our buts handed to us. If we win it is a 4 game winning streak if we lose they will play harder in the playoffs.

  9. goback2rfk - Dec 31, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    They only play 16 games and its a pretty short seasons all in all from training camp to end. Why do they need the rest? Go ahead and rest proven talent like Trent Williams. But all these young bucks need some more reps, Cousins included. This is still Kirks first year as a starter. He is not in a position to sit.
    I hope they play to win the game regardless of the risk of injury. There is always a risk of injury.
    Dallas defense shat on the Redskins offense last game, the Redskins need to come out and show they can make adjustments and win the damn football game.

  10. swolecatblog - Jan 1, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    It’s interesting that when talking about a team coming off a bye week—it’s always looked at as an advantage, i.e. players are well rested, etc. but when it comes to resting players before what is essentially a meaningless football game—it gets turned into a negative, i.e. rust, lost momentum, etc. Archives

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