coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/25/2013 05:16 PM in NFL

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders: Preview and Pick

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders: Preview and Pick

In week four of the NFL schedule an intriguing matchup on the west coast is set to take place as the Washington Redskins will look for their first win of the season when they head to the Black Hole to take on the Raiders. The Raiders will have to scurry to get ready after a short week and they may have a big problem with their quarterback who is still banged up after Monday night football.

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Redskins listed as (-4.5) point road favorites. Although the Redskins have yet to win a game, the public still likes their chances against the Silver and Black. With that in mind, 54 percent of the early betting action is coming in on the road team. Despite that big number, the line has dropped and can now be found at (-3) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

This number could move leading up to kickoff depending on the status of Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor got a concussion in his game against the Broncos, but it won’t stop the Redskins for getting ready to play him.

“We’re getting ready for Terrelle Pryor,” Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said Wednesday. “He’s a dangerous weapon. We feel like he’s gonna be out there. If he doesn’t show up, then we’ll adjust. I feel like they’re gonna run their offense as is. They’re a running team. …Maybe a few plays, a few wrinkles that they add with Terrelle, they won’t run. But I don’t think they’ll be re-writing the book if they put Flynn in there.”
It has not yet been announced if he will play, but he is not practicing.

The Redskins defense cannot stop anyone, and they will have to play better than they have so far if they hope to take down the Raiders on the road.

The latest NFL betting trends for this game reveal that the home team could be in a good spot. The Raiders are 3-0-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 4 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game and 3-0-1 ATS in the last four games overall.

The Redskins are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in September and 12-27-3 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record. The Redskins will have to play hard to get their first win.

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 05:18 PM

A few times this past week I have talked about Jordan Reed and Fred Davis and the battle that they are locked in for the starting tight end position. However, this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the Washington Redskins may be without both of them.

On Saturday afternoon, reports first surfaced that Davis was added to the Redskins' inactive list along with kicker Kai Forbath for an ankle injury. At the time, nobody quite knew what or when Davis' injury happened. On Sunday, head coach Mike Shanahan told reporters that Davis rolled his ankle in practice on the last play on Friday. After waking up with soreness and swelling on Saturday morning, Davis was placed on the injury report as questionable. He then tried to test his ankle prior to Sunday's game and was only able to walk "gingerly," as one report put it.

At the time, the injury to Davis didn't seem like that big of a deal. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed had already begun his takeover of the Redskins tight end position, so most were confident that he would be able to play well, and he did. Reed had five receptions for a career-high 50 yards. In the second half, however, the tight end injury situation got even worse for Washington.

At some point during the second half, Reed took a helmet to the quad and suffered a quad contusion. He was removed from the game and Logan Paulsen was inserted and Niles Paul moved up into the backup tight end spot. According to certified sports doctor Dr. Ray Solano, Reed could miss up to two weeks. Luckily for he and the Redskins, that means he would only miss one game.

So who would step up if one or both tight ends can't take the field on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders? None other than four-year veteran Logan Paulsen. As I've said in other articles, Paulsen is a bit of an unsung hero on the Redskins. When Fred Davis was out with a torn Achilles last season, Paulsen had 24 receptions for 286 yards and a touchdown. At 6-5 and 261-pounds, he's the Redskins biggest tight end and one that can be relied on in the running and passing game.

It doesn't appear that Davis' or Reed's injuries are severe enough for them to miss multiple games. While there is a chance that one or both will be out against the Raiders, they will then have a bye week to heal back up to 100-percent. Against the Raiders, the tight end position won't even be the Redskins' biggest worry, the defense will. Logan Paulsen is more than capable of picking up the slack, that's why the Redskins rewarded him with a contract extension this past offseason.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 05:19 PM

Redskins tight end Fred Davis will be back on the practice field Wednesday afternoon, but what that says about his status for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders remains in doubt.
Davis said Wednesday morning that he has a mid-to-high ankle sprain. He was originally hurt on the last play of practice on Friday and missed the 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.

“It feels way better. I can run more,” Davis said. “I feel a lot better. I think I’ll be able to play Sunday. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see how the week goes. Pushing off and getting back into it, like running full speed routes.”

Davis participated in warm-ups before the Detroit game, but that was for show only. He was just testing the ankle and had no plans to play. Davis may be limited in practice today – the ankle remains tender - but said Thursday and Friday’s practices will be the real tests. He did say he thinks he will play against Oakland.

“It sucks, but at least it’s something like that instead of something severe,” said Davis, who missed most of last season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in Week 7. “Something I can deal with, something I can push through.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 05:20 PM

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor seems intent upon a quick return from the concussion he suffered, based on a series of tweets he fired off Tuesday morning.

Coach Dennis Allen isn't quite ready to make such a bold statement.

"I'm ready to go," Pryor said via Twitter. He also said, "I feel great, by the way. Thanks for the concern. Go Raiders!"

Regardless how Pryor feels, he isn't allowed to practice or play in a game again until he passes the league-mandated protocol for players that suffered a concussion, as Pryor did Monday night late in a 37-21 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Allen said Tuesday that the Raiders will prepare their game plan for the Washington Redskins on Sunday as if Pryor and Matt Flynn are starting.

Pryor's first tweet on Tuesday made it sound as if he has a ways to go before he gets cleared by team doctors.

"Sorry about the loss Raider Nation," Pryor said. "I don't remember much! Good hit by whoever it was. I heard our team fought well. We will be back."

Pryor was unavailable for comment Tuesday because he and his teammates received the day off.

The Raiders practice Wednesday. If Pryor hasn't been cleared by that time, Flynn will get the reps with the first-team offense. He relieved Pryor against the Broncos and made his Raiders regular-season debut.

Pryor got hit in the facemask with the helmet of Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard on a called quarterback run.

Allen said he didn't see anything illegal about Woodyard's hit. He also said that the jarring blow won't affect the play-calling from here on out.

"If you're going to put him in there, you have to play the game, you have to call the game that gives him the best chance to have success," Allen said. "I don't have any problem with what we did. It's unfortunate that he took the hit. But we have to move on from it."

Backup fullback Jamize Olawale on Tuesday underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the ankle injury he suffered against the Broncos. The results won't be revealed until Wednesday.

Cornerback Tracy Porter also suffered a concussion against the Broncos. Allen said Porter's status for the Redskins game is uncertain until he gets cleared by team doctors.

It was hoped that the switch from a zone-blocking scheme to a power-blocking scheme would help running back Darren McFadden regain the form he showed in 2010 and '11, when he averaged more than 5 yards per carry.

Yet, through three games this season, not much has changed. He is averaging 3.9 yards, a modest improvement over the career-worst 3.3 he posted last season.

"We have to continue to look for ways that we can get Darren the football and get him some space that he can run the ball in," Allen said.

Allen fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and offensive line coach Frank Pollack, in part, because of their failure to succeed with the zone-blocking scheme.

However, consider that McFadden averaged 27 yards on four of his 19 carries against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 15 but only 1.77 yards on his 44 other carries this season.

In some ways, the Raiders defense is much improved this season. Yet, there are signs that there's still plenty of work to do for defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.

Opposing quarterbacks completed 76.5 percent of their passes against the Raiders the first three games, the highest figure in the NFL. Also, quarterbacks own a gaudy 120.0 passer rating.

Fortunately for the Raiders offense, the Redskins aren't much better right now. Their defense is last with a 120.1 passer rating allowed and is 28th in completion percentage at 67.9.

Allen said tight end David Ausberry got placed on season-ending injured reserve because his shoulder was slow to heal.

"He didn't progress like we wanted him to," Allen said. "We were hopeful that he would be able to come back. ... We really needed the (roster) spot, so we decided to go ahead and make the move."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/26/2013 08:49 AM

Robert Griffin III believes the Washington Redskins' disappointing 0-3 start soon will be a distant memory.

"I think we're real close," Griffin said. "We can see it on the tape. No one wants to be sitting here 0-3. That's not a good thing for us. It's not who we are."

It is for now until they prove otherwise. It wasn't who they were last year, at least during a seven-game win streak to close the season. But even early in the 2012 season, the Redskins played with energy in part because of the then-rookie Griffin and his electrifying style.

He's not electric right now. And the offense isn't providing any sort of jolt to offset a defense that has, through three games, allowed more yards than any other team in NFL history.

"I think the swagger you are talking about, it's hard to have that swagger sitting at 0-3, but I don't think the team has lost its sense of confidence," Griffin said. "We know we can turn it around. We're built to get out of this hole just like we were last year."

Yes, it often has come back to last year the past couple of weeks. The Redskins turned that 3-6 start into a 10-6 record and an NFC East title. Everything looked good until Griffin tore his ACL in the playoff loss to Seattle. Since then, everything he has done has been scrutinized, from his wedding registry to the meaning of his tweets and his relationship with coach Mike Shanahan.

While the scrutiny continues, Griffin and his teammates have sought a way out of this mess. Last season provided a blueprint, but he said they can't rely on having done it once.

"You look to that as a sense of confidence like, 'We know what this team is made of. We know what we can do,'" Griffin said. "But you don't look at that and relax and say, 'Hey, we can just keep on losing, it will be all gravy.' That's not the way you approach it. You use that as confidence that you can build on toward the next week and don't lose that swagger that we have. I think the team is ready.

"Everybody is disappointed in the way that we've played, and the only thing we can do is change that on Sundays. I can't change it up here. I can't tell you guys any secrets about what is going to happen or how we're going to do it. We just have got to go do it."

Much of the focus has centered on Griffin because, until this past Sunday versus the Detroit Lions, he had not run aside from scrambles. Fair or not, the attention has found him because of the knee injury he had last season. Critics now point to everything with him, from whether he should be playing to whether he should have kept a lower profile this past offseason.

"If you have success -- look at a guy like [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning, who is a great quarterback, a guy that you look up to, he's done a lot of great things in this league," Griffin said. "He has a documentary and he's going off this year, and no one criticizes that. It goes with the territory. If you struggle a little bit coming out of the gates, everyone is going to look at that and criticize it, and you just have got to be able to face that."

Shanahan said Griffin will do just that.

"I know one thing -- it's that he's a competitor," Shanahan said. "When you get down or you don't have a great game, he's going to do everything he can, or he can do, to get himself the best opportunity to be successful. And that's what he does. He's a hard worker and hopefully he'll play his best game of the year this weekend."

Griffin turned over the ball twice against the Lions but also had an apparent 57-yard touchdown pass overturned. There are positives the players say they can build upon. But Griffin knows this isn't about just him.

And there's only one way out of this mess.

"We want to start winning, and it starts this week against Oakland so we go into this bye week with a good feeling," he said, "and come out of it ready to go on a tear."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 09:26 AM

After getting gouged by rushing attacks in their first two outings of the season, the Washington Redskins’ defensive coaches and players set stopping the run as their top priority.

The Redskins achieved that goal against the Detroit Lions, limiting them to only 63 rushing yards, but did still lose their third straight game.

Although encouraged by the improvement, the Redskins believe that the true measuring stick for growth will come this week when the team faces the Oakland Raiders, who rank third in the NFL, averaging 148.7 rushing yards a game.

“It felt good. But I want to win. That’s first and foremost. But kind of righting that part of the game is important,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “It’ll be a tougher task this week. A team I think is a run-first type of team, that will be a bigger challenge. If we come out and do it again this week, we’ll feel good about that part of our game, and hopefully, it can carry us through the season.”

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor stands out as Oakland’s leading rusher. He has amassed 198 yards on 26 carries (12th in the NFL) for an average of 7.6 yards per touch and. Meanwhile, running back Darren McFadden has rushed for 186 yards (16th) and two touchdowns on 48 carries.

Although uncertainty remains over Pryor’s availability for Sunday, the Redskins are preparing as if the concussed quarterback will play. Their plan for stopping the two-headed rushing attack will likely call for the Redskins to feature more of their base defensive front, as was the case against Detroit.

The Redskins last Sunday used that package, which featured three defensive linemen and four linebackers throughout the game versus run or pass plays. This marked a change from the first two weeks of the season, which saw Washington play in its nickel package (two linemen and four linebackers) for much of those games.

Playing in the base package gives the Redskins their best chance to stop the run and force opponents to become one-dimensional, Cofield says. That will force Oakland, which ranks 28th in the league when it comes to passing offense, into its greatest weakness, and that gives the Redskins optimism.

“There hasn’t been many instances since I’ve been here where teams have run the ball down our throats when we’re in our base defense,” Cofield says. “We have a lot of confidence in that. That’s what we train in during the offseason. We played against our offense in that all training camp and all spring, so it’s really hard to prepare for every type of offense all season. You have to have something that you really rest your hat on, and that’s our base defense. We’ve got three veteran guys: myself, Bowen and Kedric Golston, who are all playing at a high level right now. We’ve got all of our linebackers in there, who are the heart of our defense. When we’re in that defense, we feel like nobody can run the ball on us, and that’s going to be a challenge this week.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 10:33 AM

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been medically cleared to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins, but the team wants him to pass one more test Saturday before making a decision on his availability.

Pryor said he was unaware of said test.

"I didn't know that," said Pryor, who suffered a concussion Monday night against Denver, "but that sounds wonderful that they're looking out."

Raiders coach Dennis Allen said if Pryor passes the non-NFL mandated test, he will play Sunday. However, Allen would not say whether Pryor would start, acknowledging that keeping the choice quiet was for "competitive reasons."

Pryor was a limited participant in practice Friday and is listed as questionable. League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Thursday that Pryor was unlikely to play against Washington.

"He got a lot more in practice today, so we want to take another look at him and see where he's at," Allen said Friday. "The key is that both him and Matt Flynn have both prepared this week to start. I'm going to make the right decision based on [Pryor's] health. ... I want to make sure we're making the right decision for this kid."

Pryor, who was injured late in the Raiders' 37-21 loss to the Broncos, passed his final concussion protocol test Friday morning, an ImPACT test, he said.

"That's probably the hardest one," Pryor said. "I feel 100 percent, definitely. The main thing is just preparing. Matt definitely has a lot more reps than me this week. I still don't know what the [situation's] going to be, but I'm still going to study these next couple days real hard as though I will be starting."

Pryor took only a few reps Thursday and is significantly behind in the offensive installation for Washington.

"I believe in my ability, and I always think I'm the best player on the field," he said. "So definitely I think I can make things happen on the field, regardless. But I have to be sharp, and I have to let the guys see me and believe in me at the end of the day.

"Whatever [Allen] picks is going to be in the best interest of the team. ... Whatever [decision] he makes, I'm not going to be mad."

Pryor, the team's leading rusher through three games with 198 yards, and Flynn, a prototypical West Coast offense quarterback, obviously have different skill sets.

"But also, with the plays that we're running, the pocket and down-the-field throws ... from that standpoint, it's going to be the same," Pryor said.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 10:35 AM

Two of the Washington Redskins' four tight ends are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at the Oakland Raiders.

Tight ends Fred Davis and Jordan Reed are questionable along with place kicker Kai Forbath (groin), cornerback Jerome Murphy (death in family) and linebacker Brandon Jenkins (right ankle).

Forbath kicked in practice Friday and made a 48-yard field goal. But Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said they will work out Forbath again in Oakland on Saturday.

“We’ll try a little bit more [Saturday] to see if he has tug in that area, if not he should be ready to go,” Shanahan said. “If he feels he can kick off and take a full stride he’ll play.”

Reed and Davis were limited in practice. Reed, who has a quad bruise, has looked more hobbled this week than Davis. Though Reed said he ran routes and caught some passes, “I still have a little bit of work to go.” Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul would take the snaps at tight end if both those players can't go. Minus Reed and Davis, the Redskins would not have an athletic pass-catcher. Paulsen has reliable hands and is a solid blocker. Paul hasn't proven to be a threat at tight end since converting there during the 2012 offseason.

Receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring), linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (knee) and safety Brandon Meriweather (concussion/knee) are probable.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/29/2013 08:07 AM

Pick: Redskins -3

Pryor will play and that is bad news for the bad Skins defense, but this is a must win for the Skins and they have the better weapons on offense.