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Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under pressure against the Eagles

Oct 15, 2016, 6:57 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 15, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.


Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until: Redskins @ Lions 8; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 15; Vikings @ Redskins 29

Five under pressure in Redskins vs Eagles

QB Kirk Cousins—He is on this list until he breaks through and looks like a franchise quarterback. He had his moments against the Ravens, notably on a perfect throw to Pierre Garçon for a third-quarter touchdown. But the problem was, that was their only offensive touchdown. Much of the rest of his day was spent overthrowing some open receivers, especially on third and short. Cousins completed one of six passes on third and one. You can question the play calling if you want but the quarterback has to execute better.

LG Shawn Lauvao—Containing Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, an active, powerful threat against both the pass and the run, will primarily be the responsibility of Lauvao. Cox plays about 75 percent of the Eagles’ snaps so Lauvao had better pack a lunch, maybe a couple of them plus a snack.

Related: Doctson out, two starters questionable for Redskins vs. Eagles

TE Vernon Davis—As of this writing Jordan Reed’s official status for Sunday is questionable but both the timetable needed to be cleared through the concussion protocol and off-the-record comments from some players make it look nearly certain that he will not play. That means a stepped-up role for Davis, the veteran who has 10 receptions for 94 yards this season. Some of the pressure here works its way down to Niles Paul, who will move up into Davis’ role as the second tight end.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—This is supposed to be Preston Smith’s permanent spot on this list but Kerrigan is the one who should shine this day. The Eagles’ first offensive play will be the first NFL play for fifth-round pick Halapouliavatti Vaitai, who will play in the place of suspended right tackle Lane Johnson. That should be a favorable matchup for left OLB Kerrigan, who will be close to full strength after dealing with an elbow injury last week.

Related: Crowder letting instincts take over on punt returns

DE Chris Baker—I’m convinced that Baker made a play that may have turned the Redskins’ season around. Baker has one sack this season. It came when the crushed Eli Manning early in the second quarter of the Giants game. Before that hit, Manning was on a roll; after it he was a very average quarterback. That turned the game in the Redskins’ favor and they ended their two-game losing streak to start the season. If Baker can shake up Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz the Redskins will gain a decided edge.

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  1. Colmac69 - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:15 AM

    If cousins is up and dwn the rest of the season(similar to first 5 games) will he be starting qb nxt season in your opinion or on the move to another team?

    Also mention how gd special teams in general have performed so far…with all debate on the offense and defense it seems to myself they been overlooked somewhat…so far they looking really strong

    Lot people tend to forget the nfl is all bout winning regardless of how good or bad a team performs statistically….sometimes that gets lost in the wk after a game when everyone is having their say on what good/bad/indifferent performance a team displayed

    Anyway couple wks and all yous media guys will be enjoying the delights of London

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:33 AM

      That’s been my point all along; I can’t envision a scenario where the team isn’t better having Cousins competing for the starting spot for at least a couple more seasons as a Washington Redskin, at which point we could easily trade Cousins to another team. You have to throw luck into the mix to land a Luck or Wentz or Prescott.

      No one is over looking the special teams; they have been key to the wins and were among the stronger phases in the two losses. The only area of ST that is of concern is that we’ve had some poor blocking on a couple of punts and escaped very costly situations in two games. The Eagles apply a lot of pressure on kicks (blocking a FG and going after punts); we better have corrected that issue.

      It is all about the win, but it’s important to focus on those areas of performance that most need to improve (regardless of whether you win or lose) so the team gets better as the season goes along.

      Reply Report comment
    • bangkokben - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:13 AM

      These things don’t happen in a vacuum and the rest of the NFL has been watching the short-term success of young inexperienced quarterbacks.However, if Cousins is up and down the rest of the way, it would seem that the winner in this would be…Cousins. Many teams will be in a market for a QB and some teams will want one that is further along than the typical rookie. The Redskins would likely let Cousins explore his options because they will have to make a financial decision on QB and WR and starting over on QB is a cheaper alternative.

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      • abanig - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:41 AM

        100% agree. There will be several teams in the market for Cousins next year. Ariz, Chi, San Fran, Miami, NYJ are a few that come to mind

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      • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:49 AM

        Yup. The only thing that curtails Cousins’ financial trajectory is an injury and even then he’s going to get paid unless it is career ending. The Redskins never had and won’t control what Cousins will get paid; the QB market does.

        That’s the quirky scenario where Cousins gets franchise tagged yet again if the Redskins do not sign him long-term, so at least the Redskins would get two compensatory first-round picks when losing him; the problem is, the risk has actually increased for the Redskins because Cousins salary would be that much more; this scenario would have been a non-issue if Redskins had signed him in 2016. Not signing Cousins to a long-term deal this past season could end up being a big cluster-you-know-what.

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        • garg8050 - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:58 AM

          If Cousins continues to be up and down, I think McCloughan probably let’s him test the market or at the most, puts the transitional tag on him. Let the market dictate the deal. Of course that’s assuming Cousins wants to stay in DC. I get the sense that he really doesn’t. I think there is definitely some resentment between him and the owner/president, and it goes both ways. If he starts to play well consistently again, then I see McCloughan placing the franchise tag again with hopes of getting a more cost effective longterm deal done. The success of the rookie QBs isn’t always sustained, just look at Winston and Mariotta. Both are having up and down 2nd seasons. The league has seen them now and have adjusted; same thing is happening to Cousins. Let’s see how the rest of the year plays out.

        • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:05 AM

          Excellent point, but then I think in 99% of scenarios the Redskins retain him (which will be at market compensation) and if they don’t get, zero compensation in return. Can you imagine losing Cousins for nothing?

          The Redskins should have just signed him and, if not working out relative to other options, traded him at that point.

        • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:14 AM

          Costly too because use up ability to use transaction tag for quite some time.

        • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:15 AM

          transaction = transitional

        • bangkokben - Oct 15, 2016 at 11:15 AM

          If this is the new Cousins, there isn’t a trade market for him. It just takes one team but his inconsistency this year — if that is for a whole 16 games — that is not going to generate trade interest. Teams will take a chance on the contract because of the market but giving up resources AND the finances. I don’t see it. The transitional tag is interesting in that it would basically be the same financial commitment as this year and it allows Cousins to try to walk and the Redskins to use other teams to negotiate for them. It’s a complete non-committal commitment.

        • COSSkinsFan - Oct 15, 2016 at 1:09 PM

          If his play continues as it is, I see us trying to sign him for 16-18 mil per season. If he won’t accept that which u think is pretty likely, I see us using the nonexclusive franchise tag and drafting a possible replacement. His salary wouldn’t increase a ton under the tag next year and we would have the right to match or get 2 number 1 picks. Cousins has proven to be starting caliber and would be an upgrade for some teams. I would love to see him hit his stride and stay here for the right price.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    Lauvao might need a little help with Fletcher Cox.

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  3. redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:47 AM

    Great selections Rich. (I’m confused because I thought you picked yesterday Preston Smith to be on this list.) Impossible to argue with Cousins, Lauvao, and (because it looks like Reed is likely out) Davis. I think the Ravens game illustrated that when Baker and Hood have solid, strong games, it allows the rest of the Redskins D to have great games. For that reason, I’ll never argue with Baker being on the top five list. Then with the degree to which the RBs, TEs and QBs are involved in both runs and pass, all LBs, nickel backs and safeties will be critical — I always have a hard time stopping at five selections — in addition to Kerrigan, need a 2nd week of strong performances from Murphy, Foster, Compton, Smith, Fuller and Ihenacho.

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 3:06 PM

      Please Baker sack Wentz. I don’t want to hurt anyone but I would like him to get rattled.

      To widdle your list down. If everyone plays about like they have but Hood, Ihenacho, and Foster play like they did last week then we should have a good game. Add Cousins and Jones to it and we have 5.

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  4. sidepull - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Breeland needs a good showing. I say he gets a pick 6. Thats my long-shot prediction. Hopefully….

    12th, dont you think maybe “suck for luck” went a little beyond just dumb luck to have the rights to pick Luck first?
    I dont put anything past Grigson and that bunch in Indy.

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:37 AM

      Good point. After what the Colts pulled to get Tevin Mitchel, I don’t put anything past that organization (Mitchel suffered a hamstring injury in preseason game, by the way, and may not play in the NFL). [Besides our divisional rivals, I care for the Colts, Chargers, Dolphins and Rams the least.]

      We’re the Colts trying to lose games? I’m sure management didn’t want to win after they knew Manning was not well enough to play, but I think the players would still play as hard as they could: I don’t think the players were trying to lose or were instructed to lose. None of the Colts veteran QB signings to replace Manning panned out. The Colts wins came at the end of the season when they knew what was required to get the number one pick, but then you could say the Rams were lucky to have a weak strength of schedule. Rams and Vikings were close to landing Andrew Luck, but Colts controlled their destiny.

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 2:54 PM

      I’m 100% convinced the Colts weren’t trying to win. If you think that’s the same as trying to lose, then so be it. The smoking gun was that the won the week after they secured the first overall pick. They had like a 60-year-old QB start a game for them! I know there were better options available.

      But there’s rarely a guy like Andrew Luck coming out. No draft pick is a sure thing but he was about as close as they come. He had the pedigree, college resume, measurables, intelligence, and proved in college he could play a pro style. I think Dashaun Watson is phenomenal but he’s a much bigger draft risk than Luck was. It was kind of a perfect story for Indy.

      And Washington got a good QB in the 2012 draft btw. He just needed a lot of refinement. A LOT. He needed time to sit and learn and they chose to start him right away instead. Had RG3 been a 3rd-4th round pick who sat on the bench for about 3 years he might be playing good football today. The success of QBs has a lot to do with how the team manages them from day 1. We botched it.

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      • COSSkinsFan - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:05 PM

        Not sure they sent out a gotta lose memo out but no question they tanked the season. It’s not like Manning could’ve been replaced but the guys they had playing at qb were beyond bad.

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      • COSSkinsFan - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:23 PM

        And not to revisit our past dealings with QB’s Cuz yep we’ve ruined a few, took on reclamation projects and just mismanaged others. Schuler, head banging Frerrotte ditching Brad Johnson for Jeff George, starting guys like Banks, Wuerffelet, matthews, Beck. The chuck and duck offense with Ramsey, high expectations and negativity with Campbell. Trading for a past his prime guy then to machine sexy rexy and of course the decision to not to pull a guy clearly playing on one leg in a home playoff we had control of and needed only average qb play the rest of the way to win. Ugh this lisr is gonna give me nightmares tonight. Let’s hope Scott handles the qb situation right whatever that means.

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  5. redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    This Eagles game is huge.

    With the importance of playoff tie-breakers, we can’t afford to be 1-2 in divisional games including 0-2 at home.

    Despite the three game winning streak, I hope the players realize the importance of beating a talented but very beatable Eagles team. They need to play smart, mistake free football.

    I think whether the Redskins make the playoffs hinges on whether we get wins against the Eagles and Cowboys.

    We could finish 10-6 and if we lose to the Eagles and Cowboys, not make the playoffs at all by losing out on tie-breakers.

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  6. abanig - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    I’m convinced every Redskins qb present and future will be on this list every week. The fanbase will never be satisfied

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    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:42 AM

      Kirk Cousins has not been playing well. What do you expect? The fans to jump up and down. Last season he looked great this year he looks like trash but we are supposed to be satisfied. I think everyone is just a little disappointed because Kirk could have been that guy! People like Kirk and it does not look like he is a franchise type guy. And that hurts for some people.
      I always believed we need to bring Rob back next season on the cheap and let him play backup to Kirk. Cousins plays much better with Rg3 on the team or someone that make he compete. If they keep Cousins I at least hope they bring someone in to compete against him.

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      • abanig - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:51 AM

        Last season Cousins was average to start. Seven out of last 11 games he was good to great. I think people have amnesia. Cousins didn’t light it up every game last year.

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        • garg8050 - Oct 15, 2016 at 11:29 AM

          Very true. But the expectation or hope was that he finally “got it”. Finally figured out how to play the position well. Especially with the entire offseason as the #1. And I still think there’s time for him to show that he is the guy. He’s just looked tight thus far, like he’s thinking too much. And that’s made him hesitant and very mechanical. I’m still hoping it gets better. Otherwise, back to square one at the game’s most important position.

    • Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 2:55 PM

      I would argue that Cousins played elite in the final games of last season and that was very unlikely to be repeated.

      He does need to play better but fans also need to have realistic expectations.

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      • abanig - Oct 15, 2016 at 5:20 PM

        In 4 games he did against bad defenses don’t forget. I think the fans expectations for the skins are always too high. Cousins is top 15 in almost every category. Fans expect near perfection or for him to play like the top 5 qbs all the time and even the top 5 qbs don’t play that great all the time.

        We’re 3-2 and a play or 2 away from 4-1.

        Cousins has showed last year as the year went on he got better. I see no reason why that can’t happen again.

        I expect he’ll finish about what I thought before the season began:

        67%, 4500 yds, 30 tds and 15 ints

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        • COSSkinsFan - Oct 15, 2016 at 7:44 PM

          And those are awesome numbers. Fair or not, the expectations are there due to his salary. It took him from being a guy he could manage the game to a guy who needs to win games for us. I think if he hadn’t thrown that interception against Dallas we win or redzone efficiency wasnt so bad which isnt just on him, everyone is happy with his performance. One thing I can’t stand is when we get in the red zone, not only do we not run, but we empty the backfield so the defense knows we aren’t gonna run presnap. I’ve said it many times we can win a lot if games with Kirk. He is by far not our b8ggest problem.

  7. troylok - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    I think the linebackers in general are going to be asked to do a lot in this game. The Eagles love those screen passes to Sproles and man, he is speedy and shifty. It’s going to be a challenge containing him, but if the Redskins can do that – by putting a spy on Sproles or playing a wider zone defense, the Eagles’ offense is nothing special.

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 8:54 AM

      Screen plays, 5 yard dumps and draw plays — it’s not just Sproles, but Mathewws too. Smallwood and Barner have been very effective running the ball and I wouldn’t rule out them catching passes either. Wentz is getting the ball out of his hands quickly.

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      • sidepull - Oct 15, 2016 at 9:55 AM

        Is Cravens playing? That should be his bread and butter busting up those dumps…maybe a pick.

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        • redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 10:15 AM

          I agree that it would be great to have Cravens on Sunday; while he could play, it’s 50-50 that he does. I bet we will learn today whether Reed (unlikely) and Cravens (50-50) are available.

        • snyderisanidiot - Oct 15, 2016 at 11:20 AM

          Cravens eye is reported to be all jacked up. Damn shame really.

        • Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM

          I think it’s best if we rest Reed and Cravens. This game isn’t THAT important. Even if they’re cleared. Maybe an extra week just to be safe.

          I’m not buying those reports until I hear it from a more credible source who sources a doctor who actually examined Cravens and not Craven’s snapchat. It sounds like BS to me.

        • bullets2586 - Oct 15, 2016 at 3:28 PM

          Snyderisanidiot, please tell me where you get all your misinformation from? For a man that posts so much you know very little. Either your a troll or clueless.

    • Greed - Oct 15, 2016 at 2:28 PM

      I was thinking the same thing & was about to post that until I read your comments! Ravens primarily use their FULLBACK out the backfield our linebackers were able to stop him for minimal gains after the catch , thus week eagles will deploy sproels and other shifty backs into passing game plus wentz is more mobile than flacko will put a lot of pressure on mason & Compton especially if cravens is out ! Also they must do a a good job at breaking through and fighting off blocks and attacking eagles screen game !

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  8. redskins12thman - Oct 15, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    I think the big question is can Redskins D stop Eagles run and short passing game; can Redskins O-line limit Eagles sacks would be further down in consideration.

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  9. Scott Talbert - Oct 15, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    I believe KC,will be here long-term! H.T.T.R.

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  10. colorofmyskinz - Oct 15, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    I like the list! Our defensive front needs to create pressure on Carson so he is hurried into decisions. Very critical to this game. Reed not being in will take away a huge target, but we have so many it really won’t impact us. I can easily see Davis and Paul keeping the defenses attention and that leaving Crowder on man coverage for many explosive connections.

    I want to see the bubble screen to Crowder, Thompson, and DJax. Both should des of the field. That will keep the attention of that DLine.

    Jones buddy, we need you to have 4 fourth quarters. If you do we win!


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  11. wncskinsfan - Oct 15, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Great list Rich! spot on! In terms of Cousins, I am at the point where I am feeling pretty “meh” about him. No, not bashing the man, but his lack of consistancy is troubling. Even if he turns it on for the rest of the season, a starting QB who shows to be cold for the first quarter of a season does not appeal to me. If somebody tries to buy him, I would be fine with letting him walk. We can put financial resources towards our own players coming up, a bunch of new blood, and let Scot find some QB competition where maybe we will see some consistency that can be taken to the bank. I think this game against the Iggles will seal his fate for us.

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  12. kenlinkins - Oct 15, 2016 at 2:06 PM

    Here is my way too early 2017 Redskins mock draft.
    1st FS M. Hooker Ohio State (will replace D. Hall)
    2nd DT L. Lotulelei Utah (run stopper,)
    3rd SS/OLB Harvey Clemons Lou-ville (another hybrid, you need two in todays NFL)
    4th DE B. Cox Fla
    4th OLB Reeves-Maybin Tenn
    5th C K. Fuller Baylor
    5th RB R Hunt Toledo
    6th OT J Pirsig Minn
    6th CB C Awuzie Col
    7th RB B. Hill Wy.

    Reply Report comment
    • Greed - Oct 15, 2016 at 2:31 PM

      Da%n dude like the homework but a little to early for this , let’s get through the season first

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 3:03 PM

      You have Fuller sticking around till the 5th? That would be a steal.

      There’s a Baylor LB named Taylor Young. He’s too small to play LB in the NFL but he’s a good football player. I’ll bet he goes undrafted. Would be an interesting undrafted pickup to try out as FS or anywhere else they think he could help. If they can find him a position in the NFL I believe he would excel at it. He’s just a great athlete with drive. Keep an eye on him .

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  13. Trey Gregory - Oct 15, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    I know it’s hard to pick just 5. But did Jones not make the list because you think it’s more on the O-line to help him out? Or do you not think the run game will be that important in this game? Just run out of spots? Something else?

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    • devlyn310188 - Oct 16, 2016 at 4:31 AM

      I agree Jones is under pressure. The line have created just enough opportunities which haven’t been fully taken advantage of (notwithstanding short yardage situations). Gruden has already said Kelley deserves more opportunities so if Matt doesn’t hit the ground running first couple of drives I can see Rob getting an extended look.

      Staying balanced is going to be important. Can’t afford to let their D front key on pass and start teeing off on Kirk. An effective dose of Fat Rob will open up play action where Kirk is most effective. Maybe Djax to have a big game which would be great, but I like Vernon to see some deep action.

      Every game is big, but this is opportunity to make a statement on top of the divisional implications. Very excited HTTR

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  14. Larry miller - Oct 15, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Redskins need to get d jazz the ball more.throw deep passes

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