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Need to Know: Five Redskins who will be under pressure against the Cowboys

Sep 17, 2016, 5:29 AM EDT

will-compton-vs-steelers

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 17, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 15; Redskins @ Ravens 22; Eagles @ Redskins 29

Five under pressure vs. the Cowboys

QB Kirk Cousins—Here he is atop the list again this week. He can’t afford a stumbling start like he had last year, not with the Redskins’ schedule dictating a fast start if they are going to be in the playoff hunt. Cousins wasn’t the reason they lost but he didn’t do much to lift up his team either. When you’re getting a $20 million salary and you want to make more, expectations are high.

C Kory Lichtensteiger—His job was threatened on multiple occasions during the offseason. On opening night he commits two false starts and is in the center of a line that couldn’t open up many holes in the running game. The veteran needs to have a mistake free game.

DE Chris Baker—As Baker goes, so goes the Redskins’ defensive line and they will need to have a good day against the Cowboys. Although the Dallas rushing attack sputtered somewhat against the Giants that line is too good and Ezekiel Elliott is too talent for anyone to relax.

ILB Will Compton—He will be calling defensive audibles while rookie QB Dak Prescott is making his call at the line. The Redskins want to see Prescott playing checkers while Compton is playing chess. Compton and the other linebackers also have to make sure they are solid against the run also. If Dallas gets it s running game going it won’t matter who’s handing off it Elliott and Alfred Morris.

CB Josh Norman—The Steelers debacle wasn’t on him, no matter how you slice it. But he needs to start showing that he is worth the sizable investment the Redskins made in him. When he is on Dez Bryant he needs to shut him down. When he isn’t on Bryant he needs to shut the other receiver down. And making a big play or two would certainly help things.

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  1. Brenton - Sep 17, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    A.B. is a freak. The outcome would have been the same no matter who was covering him. I feel pretty good about this week. Eliminate the b.s. mistakes and execute.

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    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 17, 2016 at 9:04 AM

      Agree on A.B.

      But DeAngelo Williams is 33 years old, and we made him look like Jim Brown.

      That’s been a consistent theme for our D…the opposing running back has his best day of the year against us.
      ~

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      • abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:37 AM

        DeAngelo Williams is a young 33 in terms of running back years. He’s spent most of his career except his first two years splitting carries with Johnathan Stewart and last year he only was the steelers starter for 10 games and had over 900 yards in those games.

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        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:57 AM

          Still no excuse, period! This run defense could be worst than last season and probably will be. Williams was an above average running back in his prime but he wasn’t in his prime Monday night

        • abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 2:08 PM

          I don’t think it will be worse than last year. Addition by subtraction when they didn’t re-sign Potroast

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 17, 2016 at 5:21 PM

          The best Oline is probably in town this week. Trey, if you are going to attribute the run success to one of the best offense lines and an ageless run gashing back then lets revisit this after week 4. This was a notoriously bad run defense last season and last week looked more like the same and in many ways worst when you see Williams not getting touch until he is 4 plus yards beyond the LOS. I think the addition of Jenkins who was cut by this team and not picked up elsewhere is clear there are bigger issues than just running into some elite line l.

          I stated before good teams are going to exploit the glaring weakness on this defense and there are plenty good teams ahead to confirm it.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 5:45 PM

          Oh yeah, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not defending our line or run defense. They’re awful. I’m just saying, everyone should have expected that. Wether you can’t to call them the best or one of the best, a really good O-line came to town with a good RB and a great passing attack. Nobody should have expected our motley crew D-line to hold up.

          My point about Williams is that he gashed many teams last year. It’s not like he was terrible against everyone but us. His age is really irrelevant. He’s produced ever since going to Pittsburgh. So I don’t understand this shock about how they ran all over us. Like you just said, you’ve been saying all summer that our run D would be terrible. So everyone should have gone into that game expecting our run D to be terrible.

          And as a side conversation. I don’t think Dallas has the clear cut best O-line in football anymore. Call it the Bill Callahan affect or whatever but they haven’t looked as dominant as they used to. Frederick, Martin and Smith look like all pros but Collins and Free and struggling enough to bring everyone else down. That could change thigh. We will see. But either way Pittsburgh has an excellent O-line and they manhandled our weak D-line. It happened just like it was supposed to.

        • abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 6:22 PM

          The biggest runs Dwill had were off tackle. That’s more an issue with the OLBs being bad against the run and Breeland snd Bruton missing tackles.

          Up the middle the steelers had 7 rushed for 27 yards or a 3.9 avg.

          Anyone who watched the game should be able to see Kerrigan and Smith get blocked easily by tight ends and then Dwill make Breeland miss or Bruton and then go for 9 plus yards.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 6:36 PM

          Yeah I thought our OLBs were surprisingly bad. But I include them in the D-line. I’m not just talking about the interior line.

          Smith and Kerrigan have to do better if this defense stands any chance.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 18, 2016 at 11:03 AM

          Correct! In a 3-4 you must include the LBs since no one expects 3 players to be the sole contributor in stopping the run against a base 5 man line. However, Dline as a whole was bad creating pressure and stopping the run. If they are coming of tackle then the DE’s are not doing their job either. Where was the penetration from the line. You don’t have to make the tackle but hell at least close a lane or force the runner to adjust his run in the backfield. This issue starts with the 3 man Dline front. They can’t get off their blocks to create any penetration. Most the times, teams will run to their strength and 7 run attempts proves very little at this point.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 18, 2016 at 2:40 PM

          Pittsburgh seemed to do pretty well in everything with just 3 guys. It was nauseating. That’s where having a true beast of a DT really pays off. I like to say DT instead of NT. Because a lot of people think 2-down run stuffer when they hear NT. But it would be awesome to have a guy who can line up as a 0 or 1 and then shade over as a 3 if need be on passing downs and truly pass rush too.

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 12:18 PM

        Why do people keep saying Williams’ age like it’s relevant? He gashed many defenses last year too. And he will continue to do that until Bell comes back. He’s a good RB, age is irrelevant.

        He was also running behind one of the best O-lines in football. It’s not like he single handedly beat us.

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    • snyderisanidiot - Sep 17, 2016 at 9:35 AM

      This is the NFL. The other guy is better is no excuse. Hall should of been playing over the top supporting Breeland. Hall was a split second late, that was the problem.

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      • abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:39 AM

        Even so, Breeland had his hands in the ball, his hands just were separated and Brown was able to reach in and take the ball away from Breeland. Kudos to Brown, but it’s hard to be down on Breeland when you actually see how close he was to intercepting that first TD pass.

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      • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 5:49 PM

        Of course it’s not an excuse, but it’s also reality. If you looked at our team with realistic expectations then that game happened just like you should have expected except for our passing attack. Cousins was off and that removed our strength. But we were supposed to lose, supposed to get gashed by the run, and AB was supposed to get a big stay line. We were just supposed to put up big numbers passing too and we didn’t.

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  2. redskins12thman - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:00 AM

    Relative to the other people on the list, Compton and Norman had relatively good games last week (along with Redskins receiving target starters) — Compton and Norman are key contributors so you clearly want them to play well.

    Singled out this week were Cousins in general (from play calling, to poorly thrown balls, to a miscue on one running play, to not extending plays by not moving out of pocket), offensive penalties, overall play of DL, Bruton, Phillips and, believe it or not, Kerrigan. I would add Kerrigan to any top five list of players to step up their game.

    The poor play was broad across the team so we need virtually everyone to step their game up. There were broad areas of poor performance against the Steelers; this is probably a sign that 1. our roster falls short relative to the elite teams in the league, 2. we didn’t adequately address known position weaknesses from last season or, perhaps more fairly put, the players we were hoping would step up have not (C, LG, DL, S) — Long, Kouandjio, Paea, Reyes, RJF, Bruton, Ihenacho — and 3. the issues are too wide spread for the coaches not to take some of the blame (false starts, missed assignments, tackling, inability to shed blocks, conditioning of players, not coming out on the field for PAT). We can only hope our team is fairing better at the end of the season because they didn’t wear themselves out at the beginning of the season.

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    • abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:41 AM

      Hard to blame Ihenacho when he was inactive. I thought Nacho outplayed Bruton in the preswaon and it wouldn’t shock me to see Nacho get the starting job back soon if Bruton doesn’t play better the next few weeks.

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  3. sidepull - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:25 AM

    My 5

    Cuz
    Jones
    RJF
    Kerrigan
    Bruton

    These guys gotta have better games. Breeland as well could benefit from a decent bounce back. Now that I think of it D Hall too.

    Glad we dont have to wait until Monday night to get the ball rolling. Sak Dak! HTTR

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  4. 226thebeatdontstop - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    As long as Joe Barry is defensive co-ordinator this ream will fail. Barry has been a failure everywhere. Gruden hired him and should be held accountable.

    Not drafting defensive lineman and pass rushers made no since considering this team ranked 28th in total defense last season, drating an injury prone wide receiver made no sense, defense wins championships.

    Joe Barry has to go¡!!!!!

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    • Rich Tandler - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:34 AM

      Yeah, Joe Barry should have drafted better!

      Oh, wait . . .

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      • 226thebeatdontstop - Sep 17, 2016 at 10:18 AM

        Are you disputing the facts, everywhere Joe Barry has been he has failed???

        GRUDEN and Joe Barry had to have had input on needs of the team, if your defense finished 28th in the league obvious talent is needed or scheme adjustment..
        Perry Fewell would have been a, better choice as defensive co-ordinator if they couldn’t entice the obvious choice with a Proven track record of success, Wade Philips

        Joe Barry will continue to fail… JOSH Dotson was a stupid pick, period

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        • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 12:25 PM

          The defensive coordinator doesn’t tell the GM who to draft. That was the point. Scot McCloughan is very well aware of the team needs. It’s not like you could see the D-line needed help but he couldn’t and Barry should be held accountable for not telling him.

          And yes. I am disputing your delusion that Joe Barry has been a failure everywhere he’s been.

        • bangkokben - Sep 17, 2016 at 3:05 PM

          Robert Griffin has to go. Oh wait, never mind.

          Man, the team can improve in other ways other then having the guys you don’t like (Gruden, for not sticking with Griffin and Barry, running a defense without interior help) thrown out. How has replacing coordinators and coaches worked for this franchise?

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 17, 2016 at 3:15 PM

          Lol. Let’s get rid of that bum Dan Snyder while we’re at it.

          Continuity is so important in the NFL. Never mind that it’s a bad idea to get rid of someone if you don’t have a better replacement.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:38 AM

      I don’t believe Doctson had a “history” of injuries. Toward the end of his senior season, he injured his wrist trying to brace himself when he fell during a game against Oklahoma State.

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  5. garg8050 - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    1. Cousins for obvious reasons. Needs to be more confident and not so tentative.
    2. Compton. Needs to get the defense properly aligned and will really need to spearhead the run D.
    3. Lichtensteiger. No penalties and needs to get the o-line in the right pass protections. The Cowboys defense actually did get to Cousins a few times during the game last year.
    4. Barry. Not a player but he’s definitely on the hot seat.
    5. McVay. Needs to be ready to make adjustments as dictated by the D. Needs to keep DJax and Reed involved all 4 quarters.

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  6. snyderisanidiot - Sep 17, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    My 5

    1) Kirk Cousins
    2) Kirk Cousins
    3) Kirk Cousins
    4) Kirk Cousins
    and….
    5) Kirk Cousins

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  7. chimps000 - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    i agree with snyder is an idiot…

    Rich says the team didn’t lose because of Kirk, but they certainly had almost no chance of winning due to his terrible play. And I like Cousins. This team will go as Cousins plays, this is not the 2015 Broncos with the corpse of Peyton Manning being propped up by a great defense.

    Don’t see how Norman could be on this list, as he played probably the best game from any defender on the field, and if not for some weird officiating, he did create a fumble, before the zebras reversed themselves on the field.

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  8. chimps000 - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Rich grabs a straw man there talking about AB having a big game against Wade Phillips. The Broncos also had Montavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton in that game- their number 2 and number 3 WRs. Pick your poison as a defensive coordinator against those 3 guys- exactly the opposite situation the Skins faced in game 1 this year.

    We likely have Joe Barry for coach because the Redskins job under dannyboy is not exactly a highly attractive employment opportunity. We are pretty lucky we got a guy like Jay Gruden, I think he is a good coach, and he is young, learning, and growing into the job. I think Gruden also is willing to be self-critical, and not all NFL coaches are good at that, which is obviously a necessary skill for improvement.

    Joe Barry has very limited talent to work with, but good coaching isn’t about having good talent, its about matching your scheme to your talent, teaching your scheme so that the players aren’t lost out there on a ton of plays, as happened in game 1. We should also put that on the players, and many would also put that on the reduced training camp practices as dictated by the recent CBA. I expect our defense to be something like 20-28th in the league in the rankings, regardless of who is coordinator.

    Maybe the defense lights up Dallas this week, and everyone can crow that Joe Barry is a good coach.

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  9. abanig - Sep 17, 2016 at 11:33 AM

    Cooley graded Kory out as the second highest offensive lineman last week. I don’t think he job is even close to being in jeopardy. On mutiple occasions Kory had to snap the ball and block a defender who was even with him and he did it, once he pancaked someone. The false starts aren’t concerning to me, to me it was just a loss of focus but I don’t expect that to continue.

    Baker has to play better. He and the entire front 4/5 looked out of shape, including our OLBs who didn’t have a good game particularly Vs the run. Most of Deangelo Williams’ biggest runs were off tackle, right over/through Smith and Kerrigan.

    To me, the his under pressure to do a lot better in this game are the entire secondary but Norman. Breeland was in position most of game but couldn’t make the plays he needed to make vs Brown. Hall was late getting over the top twice on the deep balls to Brown that resulted in TDs. Bruton and Phillips had the two worst performances of any of the defenders. They were garbage and if they don’t play better, along with RJF they all could be relegated to being inactive or worse.

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  10. Marco - Sep 17, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Ok,

    Loosing against Pittsburgh wasn’t Kirk’s fault so it wasn’t Breeland’s…
    The only one playing as expected was DJax, the rest needs to step up!

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  11. Jimmy kubas - Sep 17, 2016 at 7:22 PM

    We all know the Steelers are a good team..Could’ve dealt with loss if not for the way we played…Our skins have been getting out to slow starts and go on a hot streak to make playoffs… The few we’ve made recently… But the Steelers game was not right… They didn’t even throw deep…The play calling was predictable… It’s early but the Dallas game is must win…I have faith because we do have a lot of talent…. But we need to come out and do the damn thing on Dallas… FORGET last week… Let’s get hot early this year…I’m hoping they were just rusty and nervous coming in primetime for the first game… Come on guys… I know yall better then that egg y’all laid Monday! Httr!!

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