Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 23, five days before the Redskins take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Tight end by committee?
Before the season started, a lot of observers thought that the Redskins would be employing a running back by committee approach. As things have turned out, Alfred Morris has carried the load. He has 138 carries while Evan Royster has eight, Roy Helu’s season ended with two carries and Ryan Grant has just one.
With Fred Davis out for a season, are we looking at a committee approach to the tight end position?
Before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon tear on the 16th play of Sunday’s loss to the Giants, Davis had played all but a handful of snaps. He finishes his season with what is now a team-leading 24 receptions. Logan Paulsen, who had just one catch going into the Giants game now has five catches while Niles Paul has four.
After Davis went out, Paulsen’s role increased and he played nearly every snap after that. With Chris Cooley entering the mix in place of Davis, how much will change? Once he gets into game shape will Cooley end up playing most of the game while Paulsen and Paul continue in roles similar to those they had before? Or will the deck be shuffled?
It’s possible that even Mike and Kyle Shanahan don’t know the answer to that yet. It may have to be sorted out on the field, both in practice and over the next few games.
Need to learn how to win
Since the end of the Giants game, I’ve received a few tweets like this one from regular tweeter @RichondOpus:
I'm now revising my season prediction for Skins up to 9 or 10 wins, based on [performance] yesterday. What do you think?
I get that sentiment. They went in to MetLife Stadium, lost their top receiver early, turned the ball over four times, and still almost beat the defending Super Bowl champs. Robert Griffin III’s performance gives hope that the Redskins can win any game and are never out of one.
But this team will continue to lose more often than it wins until it learns how to finish games. Obviously in this case that means not letting Victor Cruz run free and get past the safety. Against the Rams it meant not getting a 15-yard penalty at exactly the wrong time. In the Bengals game it meant giving Griffin enough time in the pocket to make one more play to finish off what would have been a miraculous game-tying drive.
And last year, it meant stopping the Cowboys on third and long in Dallas. You get the picture, no need to go through more agonizing moments for Redskins fans.
If they suddenly should develop this clutch instinct their outlook could change dramatically and nine or ten wins and a solid chance at the playoffs will cone. But until the Redskins prove that they can consistently finish off opponents in close game I have to go on the assumption that they won’t.
Off day, no media availability
In case you missed it
Stock up-stock down report vs. the Giants
Cooley says he’s ready to play.
Days until: Redskins @ Steelers 5; RG3 vs. Cam @ FedEx Field 12; Monday night rematch with Giants @ FedEx Field 41