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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Lions—Detroit less pass happy than usual

Oct 19, 2016, 5:00 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Detroit to play the Lions.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1:30; Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 3:30 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Lions 4; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 11; Vikings @ Redskins 25; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 37

First thoughts on Redskins vs. Lions

—It’s probably good for the Redskins that the Lions were able to beat the Eagles and Rams in the first two games. They’re human and it would have been hard for them to get too excited for a 1-5 or 2-4 Lions team. But as it is they are playing a team that is just a game behind them, and they should remember that the Lions made the playoffs just two years ago.

—Are the Lions a passing team? They have that reputation, having finished in the top five in passing attempts in four of the last five seasons. But this year Matthew Stafford has attempted 212 passes, 15th in the NFL. They are, however, not really a running team; they’re 21st n rushing attempts. The offense just isn’t getting many snaps.

—A look at the defense tells you why. They can’t get off the field. Remember when the Redskins were last in the NFL in defensive third down conversions? Washington has improved somewhat over the last couple of weeks and now it’s Detroit bringing up the rear at 49 percent. The Redskins also could find the territory near the goal line to be friendlier than it has been so far this year; Detroit’s defense is also last red zone defense.

—Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know—Lions QB Matthew Stafford, the top pick in the draft in 2009, is only about six months older than Kirk Cousins. Sunday will mark Stafford’s 100th career start. Although he “owns” a losing record at 45-54 the Lion’s record can’t be blamed predominantly on Stafford. That is due to problems that date back to long before Stafford was born. I’ve always liked him as a player although he perhaps has been a little more of a gunslinger that I’d prefer in my ideal QB. The Lions haven’t lost in any of his three career starts against the Redskins.

—The Lions are dealing with some injuries at running back. They picked up Justin Forsett after the Ravens let him go but last week their feature back was Zach Zenner, who came to Detroit as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Against the Rams last week he had 14 carries for 58 yards. Ameer Abdullah was supposed to be their lead dog at running back but he is on injured reserve with a foot injury. Theo Riddick is their leading rusher this year but he sat out the Rams game with a hip injury and his status is up in the air.

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:44 AM

    We should not take them for granted at all. But… we are going to gut them with our receiving naming attack. My call is that this will be a major stat breaking game for Kirk. It is only a matter of time before Kirk turns up one of those 150 QBR rating games. How many did he have last year? At least 3 I know about. It is about time he lets one of those loose and I think it happens this week.

    This team has a ton of confidence and they are focused on going 6-2 prior to the bye. Come on Kirk go 150+!!


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    • colorofmyskinz - Oct 19, 2016 at 5:47 AM

      Rushing attack not receiving naming attack. (God iPhone autocorrect is the worst in the business, where on earth did that autocorrect come from? I constantly watch the iPhone change properly spelled words to words that are completely out of left field, LOL)

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      • bangkokben - Oct 19, 2016 at 8:51 AM

        Yeah it sucks. Always have to spell out Redskins yet it knows my kids’ names. PC crapola.

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 8:09 AM

      I expect the Redskins offense to play well as long as it takes what the Lions defense gives us and doesn’t force the ball. Kirk also should not be starring down his targets; the Lions secondary will be watching his eyes. Like us, they are opportunistic.

      Rich had that great post yesterday of how well Cousins did starting in game 7 of last season so let’s hope we start to see that switch in Kirk starting Sunday. A key will be a strong running game which helps both passing and even more so the Redskins defense.

      While the Lions offense “isn’t getting many snaps” they’ve averaged slightly more points on the board than we have so they’re scoring despite more limited snaps. Also, as Rich points out, the Lions haven’t lost to the Redskins when Stafford starts and he is playing very well at QB this year. They had 5 starters out (three on offense and two on defense) against the Rams and still won. Even though Megatron retired and TE Ebron has been injured, their passing attack is doing well with Jones and Boldin, who came from Bengals and 49ers respectfully, and Tate (super fast); all three are playing very well and will test our secondary; even Andre Roberts is contributing.

      The Redskins need to mark up to their RB / FB in run and pass situations; hopefully Riddick remains out because he is most dangerous but Zenner filled in ably but is not the same threat. Forsett will now be in his 2nd week with the Lions.

      Key to Lions offensive lines’ ability to contain Rams strong defense, including Aaron Donald, was that they used misdirection, pulls and traps to negate the DL’s penetration. The Redskins need to watch film closely and determine best way to get penetration. Stafford is mobile so Redskins need to stop him from escaping the pocket.

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  2. troylok - Oct 19, 2016 at 6:52 AM

    I watched them play the Eagles. Their offense line is not very good and Washington should be able to get in the QB’s face. The Lions use the running back as a safety valve and even though they don’t have talented running backs, they can still burn you in space. Detroit’s receivers are not going to burn anyone with their speed. You can press them, let the free safety play one deep and bring the strong up in run support.

    On offense, the thing the Eagles did wrong is lack patience. A good running game can grind that defense down. If we had an offensive game like we did at Philly – minus interceptions – we’d be in good shape. Their pass rush is a little better than advertised, but running game can take away from that. I think those deep passing opportunities will be there, so get DeSean warmed up.

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  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 19, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    If Stafford has time, he’ll be able to score some points.

    This should be a great game for us to have another big day running the ball.

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  4. redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Back-to-back strong performance by the Redskins defense (aided by strong play / possession by Redskins offense vs. Eagles). Kerrigan was dominant from the opening snap and played a game to remember; he was due for a game like this. Especially pleased for Hood and Ihenacho. Strong games by Hood and Baker are helping make Compton and Foster more effective. Ihenacho did very well although he was limited in snaps. Blackmon and Whitner got sub-par grades.

    Against Lions, we need Redskins offense to have long sustained drives again so defense gets rest / limited snaps. Moreover, we need to shore up our secondary play or Stafford and receiving targets will make life very difficult for us. The Lions run a wide mix of WR sweeps, screens, shallow crosses, intermediate routes up the middle and testing the secondary on deep routes. We’re showing some weakness in defending this mix of plays. The Lions o-line fended off the Rams pesky rush (only one sack) to allow Stafford to go 23 of 31 for 270 yards and 4 TDs. Besides stopping Riddick (if he plays), this is Redskins challenge area.

    Cooley’s defensive grades:

    Kerrigan 9.6 – a dominant performance (seems his shoulder is okay now)
    Ihenacho 8.6 – very impactful on run plays; didn’t play many snaps but never exposed; Cooley doesn’t know if Ihenacho would not do well in defending passes
    Hood 8.3 – very strong game; great blocked pass late in game
    RJF 8.1 – only 15 snaps this game but got a sack finally (happy for him)
    Norman 8.0 – great at man-to-man and zone; gets beat at shallow cross (giving up ground) [this is part of what Lions do]
    Baker 8.0 – as we’ve come to expect, a very strong game; no loafing this week
    Compton 7.9 – very solid game; getting better at rover role
    Foster 7.8 – last couple of games, he’s started to play like last season
    Murphy 7.8 – solid game; needs to avoid false start by watching ball
    Breeland 7.5 – solid game
    Smith 7.4 – solid game; had some very impactful plays
    Fuller 7.0 – did not have his best game but decent in coverage
    Jenkins 7.0 – the “just a guy” grade
    Blackmon 6.7 – getting better every week but Cooley has said in the past that he doesn’t believe Blackmon is a safety but is a CB / nickel back playing safety
    Whitner 6.3 – not a strong grade; missed two tackles in space but got back in to make a play; he’s only been with the team two weeks

    Ioannidis and Garvin did not get graded; limited snaps

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 19, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      I don’t really have an opinion about how Whitner played. But it’s kind of funny because he led the team in tackles and I heard some pretty well respected guys giving him props on the radio. Maybe they were just looking at his stats though. Goldson also usually led in tackles and wasn’t all that great.

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  5. smotion55 - Oct 19, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    I hope the extra day off doesn’t hurt. Trap game to me. They had the best team win of the year and maybe the 2 real bad plays will keep them grounded. Hope my gut is wrong on this. I just am so used to them not playing this consistent early. And stop with the stupid penalties. I just don’t trust them to squeak out wins like this yet.

    The run game has improved and if they have a good start the skins could jump out to a lead like last week. Kirk can and should put up big numbers and that would go a long way to building up his confidence for the Bengals. Kirk made more off schedule plays last week and I would love to see him take control of this early . Reed being hurt makes Kirk go through all of his progressions, more receivers were involved in the passing game and that only helps this week.

    Stafford having a 14 TD to 4 INT ratio is great and they need to put pressure on him. The receiving group he has are not overwhelming and should get held in check. With the skins front 7 starting to gel and Breeland back for a second week should help also. With the tackling much better lately they could beat the Lions. Take the crowd out of this early would be nice.

    Way to many people – expecting- them to go 6-2 at the break. Lets go beat Detroit first. I hope they do go 6-2 at the break but I would be happy with 5-3 and understand the schedule was supposed to be real tough in the 2nd half.

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 19, 2016 at 9:52 AM

      I think Lions receiving group is strong even when Ebron (TE) and Riddick (RB) have been out. Here are the stats of top 6:

      Marvin Jones 29 47 529 18.2 4 73 9 88.2 0 0 203 20
      Golden Tate 25 41 299 12.0 1 61 4 49.8 0 0 95 13
      Anquan Boldin 29 37 244 8.4 3 24 2 40.7 0 0 84 18
      Eric Ebron 18 25 210 11.7 1 29 3 52.5 0 0 59 10
      Theo Riddick 26 32 190 7.3 3 19 0 38.0 0 0 188 8
      Zach Zenner 5 5 64 12.8 0 22 1 16.0 0 0 51 3

      They also have Andre Roberts and he has played well as a returner and, believe or not, as a receiver.

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