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  • Gameday: Monday, September 12th, 2016 7:10PM EST – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins




    Monday, September 12th, 2016 7:10PM EST

    Television: ESPN

    Radio: Sirius

    Online: Game Pass

    Tickets: Ticketmaster (3,548 available of as this entry)

    Kickoff Temperature: 75 degrees, 5 mph winds

    Line: Pittsburgh -3

    Over / Under: 50


    Injury Report



    DE Kendall Reyes (groin)—The story here is not so much about Reyes but what the Redskins will do on the defensive line. There are only six defensive linemen on the 53-man roster. Twice this week Jay Gruden said that there was no concern if Reyes is out because they might go with only five active defensive linemen even if Reyes is able to go. This would be a departure from previous seasons when the Redskins would normally go with six active on the D-line. This would create another spot for perhaps a defensive back or a special teams player.

    DE Kedric Golston(back)—This injury just popped up today. Golston was held out of practice due to the injury. We did not get any details from Jay Gruden as he did not talk to the media after practice. In the locker room, however, Golston said that he would have been “probable” under the old injury designation. He also said, “I’m playing”.

    WR Josh Doctson (Achilles)—He was on the PUP list from the start of training camp up until a week ago and he has just five practices under his belt and he was limited in those. It would not be surprising if it is another week or two until he makes his NFL debut.

    RB Matt Jones (shoulder)—He declared himself to be 95 percent yesterday and vowed he would be a full go on Monday. It will be interesting to see how he holds up if he lands on that left shoulder again.

    G Spencer Long (ankle)—It’s possible that the injury cost him his last shot at holding on to the starting job at left guard. The best guess is that he will be active and the first player off the bench if they need a guard or a center.

    All of these players except Golston were full participants in practice on Saturday. Golston did not practice. OT Ty Nsekhe, who is listed as


    The Steelers are starting out somewhat banged, with OLB Bud Dupree on injured reserve and TE Lararius Green on the PUP list.


    WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder)—The fourth-year receiver would be the choice start opposite Antonio Brown if he was healthy but the shoulder has been a concern throughout the preseason. This leaves Sammie Coates s the likely starter.

    FB Roosevelt Nix (back)—He is the only fullback on the roster but the Steelers will work around his absence.

    CB Senquez Golson (foot)—The fifth of five cornerbacks on the depth chart, Golson perhaps would have been inactive even if he’s healthy enough to play.

    C/G Cody Wallace (knee)—Wallace is listed as the top backup at all three interior line positions so the Steelers will have to hope that the starters can make it through the game.

    On the practice participation report this week but not listed on the injury report: Starters DE Cameron Heyward (ankle), DT Javon Hargrave (Quad), and reserves RT Marcus Gilbert (elbow), and DT Daniel McCullers (knee).

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    Keys To Victory – September 12th, 2016 – Pittsburgh Steelers

    Keys To Victory

    Keys To Victory


    I was going to do a writeup here but since it’s already a hot topic of discussion there’s little to add.  Therefore, I invite you to hear what Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has to say about the Redskins matchup (The good stuff begins around 03:55):



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    Tale Of The Tape: Monday, September 12th 2016 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins – 7:10PMEST

    Tale Of The Tape

    Tale Of The Tape


    The Washington Redskins first 2016 opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who finished the 2015 season with a 10-6 record, good for 2nd in the AFC North.  The Steelers averaged 26.4 points per game scored, 4th best in the league, and gave up 19.9 points per game allowed, 11th in the league.  The Steelers won their wild card playoff game versus the Cincinnati Bengals 18-16 and lost their AFC divisional championship game 23-16 to eventual Super Bowl winners the Denver Broncos.


    The Steelers are coached by Mike Tomlin, 44, of Hampton, VA, a William And Mary graduate, who is in his 11th season as head coach.  He enters the season with a career record of 92-52, with a career 6-5 playoff record, a 2008 Super Bowl champonship, and a 2010 AFC Conference championship to his credit.  The Steelers have never had a losing season record under Tomlin.


    The Steelers are led offensively by 34 year old Ben Roethlisberger, who is entering his 13th NFL season with a career record of 113-56.  Roethlisberger comes off a season in which he only started 11 games and only played in 12, going 7-4, completing 68.0% of his pass attempts for 3,938 yards and 21 TDs.  His passing offense averaged 328.2 yards per game and his season QBRating was 94.5.


    The Steelers rushing attack is led by 33 year old Deangelo Williams, entering his 11th NFL season, who finished the 2015 season with 200 attempts for 907 yards with 11TDs and 40 receptions for 367 yards, and the currently suspended Le’veon Bell, who finished the 2015 season with 113 attempts for 556 yards and 3TDs.


    Antonio Brown, entering his 7th NFL season, led all NFL receivers with 136 receptions for 1,834 yards with 10TDs.


    Defensive end Cameron Heyward led the Steelers with 7.0 sacks last season.  Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons led the Steelers with 77 tackles and was 2nd with 5.0 sacks.


    As for the 2015 Redskins, it is doubtful anyone needs a recap but here one is, if only for comparison:


    The Redskins finished the 2015 season 9-7, good for 1st in the NFC East, with a first round 35-18 playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.  The Redskins socred 388 points, good for 10th in the league, and allowed 379 points, good for 17th.


    The Redskins are led by Jay Gruden, entering his 3rd season as head coach, with a 13-19 career record, 0-1 in playoff games.


    Quarterback Kirk Cousins enters his 5th NFL season on the franchise tag.  His career record is 11-14.  Last season he posted a 69.8 completion percentage with 4,166 yards passing, 29TDs, and most importantly, only 11 INTs.  Cousins averaged 260.4 passing yards per game and finished the 2015 season with a 101.6 QB Rating.


    Presumed starter Matt Jones was the backup to the departed Alfred Morris.  Jones has 144 career rushing attempts for 490 yards with 3TDs in his lone NFL season.  Jones is backed up by thrid down back Chris Thompson, who is entering his 4th NFL season.  Thompson has 38 career rushing attempts for 228 yards.  He also has 41 career receptions for 267 yards with 3TDs.  Undrafted free agent rookie Robert Kelley is expected to see double digit carries per game in a primary backup role.  Kelley is both a rushing and a receiving threat and Gruden has stated he anticipates Kelley filling the role Matt Jones filled last season behind Morris.


    The receiving corps is led by Desean Jackson, who is entering his 9th NFL season.  Jackson had a rough 2015 campaign, playing just 10 games.  He finished the season with 30 receptions for 528 yards and 4TDs.  He is accompanied by Pierre Garcon, also entering his 9th NFL season, who finished the 2015 year with 72 receptions for 777 yards with 6TDs.  Joining the two in the slot is 2nd year receiver Jamison Crowder, who finished the 2015 season with 59 receptions for 604 yards with 2TDs.  Jordan Reed, entering his 4th NFL season, is perhaps the most dangerous receiving tight end in football, when healthy.  He finished the 2015 season with 87 receptions for 852 yards with 11TDs.  This formidable starting group is backed up by rookie Josh Doctson, who was recently cleared from the PUP list and off-season acquisition Vernon Davis, who enters his 11th NFL season looking for a career resurgence.


    Defensively, the Redskins are led by the secondary.  2015 leading tackler Dashon Goldson is no longer with the team.  He has been replaced with cornerback-turned safety Deangelo Hall who could excel in that role.  2nd leading tackler Bashaud Breeland finished the 2015 season with 59 tackles, 2 INTs, and 2 FFs.  He is flanked by free agent Josh Norman, who finished the 2015 seasons with 48 tackles, 4 INTs, 3FFs, and 2TDs.


    The pass rush is expected to come primarily from linebackers Ryan Kerrigan, who finished the 2015 season with 9.5 sacks, and Preston Smith, who replaces the (again) injured Junior Galette.  Smith finished the 2015 NFL season with 8.0 sacks in ONE game started.  Backing them up will be linebacker-turned-lineman-turned-linebacker Trent Murphy, who unfortunately gained weight for the purpose of playing defensive end, and 2016 NFL draft selection Sua Cravens, who will be used in both a WLB linebacker and a safety role according to defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who has requested Cravens be officially listed as “H” on the roster, meaning hybrid.


    The defensive line is anchored by 7th year defensive tackle / end Chris Baker, who finished the 2015 with 6.0 sacks.  Joining Baker will be some combination of Kedric Golston, Kendall Reyes, Rick-Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier, and Ziggy Hood.  Quite frankly, no one knows what to expect from this group.  It could be the weak link in the defense or a top 15 unit.




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    Flashback Friday: This Day in 1969

    On this day, September 9th in 1969, the Washington Redskins lost the top pass catcher in the NFL when Bobby Mitchell decided to retire at the age of 34.

    “I couldn’t stand being on the team and being on the bench,” Mitchell offered at a news conference at the time.

    Despite being the top active receiver in the NFL in 1969 with 521 catches (7053 yards), he had been reduced to a reserve role (Washington had a fleet of young receivers), and was already planning on retiring at season’s end.

    When he retired, Mitchell sat behind only Raymond Berry in passes caught, and only Jim Brown in total yardage (14,078).

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    Bacon Bits: 22


    Twenty-two starters will not be with the team tonight as they travel to Tampa Bay ahead of Tropical Depression Nine for a rare Wednesday Night game.  Twenty-two cuts will be made following the conclusion of the final preseason game next week.  Robert Kelley, #22, will be the starting running back for tonight’s contest.

    In reality, very few positions are up for grabs.  It has been widely reported Cullen Jenkins was signed for the veteran minimum, leaving us to ponder if the Steven Paea cut was financial, performance-based, or more likely, both.  The Perry Riley cut was undoubtedly both financial and performance-based.

    If the team acquires a starting center with any combination of size and experience between now and “53 day”, look for Shaun Lauvao to be the next salary cap victim.

    It seems painfully obvious at this point the team would prefer to start Spencer Long at left guard and not have him at center under any circumstances.

    They are clearly less than impressed with Lichtensteiger’s performance thus far and LeRibeus and Reiter are non-starters as replacements.

    Keith Marshall has been placed on injured reserve and will not play this season.  Derek Carrier has been placed on PUP but it’s hard to see enough roster spaces for him to be active at any point this season.

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    Bacon Bits: 10



    No.  Not that guy.  If you still care about that guy seek professional help.  Ten is the number of days until the Redskins must trim their roster from 90 players down to the maximum of 53.  That means a lot of fringe players will be released this week and several quality ones will be released next week.  The roster is largely set, however there are a few position battles upon which an eye is worth keeping.


    The first cut (is the deepest) or so I’ve heard.  The following players are unlikely to survive that unpleasantry:

    Receivers: Turner, Thompson, Diggs, Stewart, Showers, Thorpe.

    Offensive Line: Booth, LeRibeus, Reiter, Kasitati, Bond, Williams.

    Tight Ends: Paulsen, Jensen, Carrier.

    Backs: Brown, Kerridge.

    Quarterbacks: Sudfield.

    Defensive Line: Crawford, Lanier, Powe.



    The following players are virtual locks to make the roster.  While something untoward could always happen, unless or until it does we’ll be seeing these men sporting the burgundy and gold this season:

    Offense: (24)

    Quarterbacks: Cousins, McCoy

    Offensive Line: Williams, Lauvao, Lichtensteiger, Scherff, Moses.  Reserves: Nsekhe, Cofield, Long, Kouandjio.

    Receivers: Garcon, Jackson, Crowder.  Reserves: Doctson, Grant, Ross.

    Ends: Reed, Paul, Davis.

    Backs: Jones, Thompson, Kelley, Marshall.

    Linebackers: Jefferson, Wakefield, Fields, Ederaine, Trail, Davis.

    Cornerbacks: Carrington, Harris, Cooper.

    Safeties: Everett, Mattias-Smith.

    Defense: (26)

    Defensive Line: Baker, Golston, Reyes.  Reserves: Ioannidis, Paea, Jean-Francois, Hood.

    Outside Linebackers: Kerrigan, Smith.  Reserves: Bates, Murphy.

    Inside Linebackers: Foster, Compton.  Reserves: Riley, Spaight, Garvin.

    Safeties: Hall, Bruton.  Reserves: Blackmon, Ihenacho, Cravens.

    Cornerbacks: Norman, Breeland, Fuller.  Reserves: Dunbar, Phillips.

    Teams: (3)

    Specialists: Sundberg, Way, Hopkins.


    Several of these predictions are predicated on the injuries to starters and key reserves at a handful of positions.  Player who may have been otherwise retained will simply become the victim of a numbers game.  If history is any indication, Scot McCloughan will opt for youth over experience in close battles.  Having said all of that, each of the players not expected to make the roster has an opportunity to change minds in the next two games, and one or two usually take said opportunity.

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    The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And McCloughan

    It already looks like the Matt Jones experiment is an abject failure.  Not only has he looked less than stellar in his limited preseason action but now he has been diagnosed with an AC sprain of the left shoulder and could miss up to four weeks.  The backup plan is no plan, as Chris Thompson is not a primary back.  Keith Marshall and Robert Kelley have not shown enough to believe either could be a week one starter if necessary.  Look for the Redskins to scour the waiver wire if Jones is out for any length of time.

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    Will The Redskins Repeat As NFC East Champions?

    With a completely irrelevant preseason game now under their belt, it seemed a perfectly “poke the bear” time to ask the question…

    The Washington Redskins shocked a large portion of the NFL world in 2015, rattling off nine victories en route to winning the NFC East. They will look to build upon that performance during the 2016 campaign, and while the NFC East won’t be as easy to run away with, things at least look good on the improvement front. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Important Takeaways From Preseason Game 1

    Here are the important takeways from the Washington Redskins first preseason game of 2016 – a 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.



    It’s preseason, get over it. You can’t draw any concrete conclusions. You think you can. You want to. It’s in your armchair nature to even need to.

    But you can’t.

    Because it’s just a worthless preseason game.

    Having said that, here are some more concrete observations… Read the rest of this entry »

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    Bacon Bits: Preseason Game Preview – What The Coaches Will Be Watching

    “Running backs, all you’re looking for – well, number one – you’re looking for how they pick it up mentally, their footwork and obviously the pass protection,” Gruden said. “We take very seriously our pass protection around here. But as far as running the football, we’re going to see that on game day. You know, some guys I’ve seen in shorts, running backs like, ‘Holy cow, this guy can’t be tackled,’ and then he gets into a game and then he gets into a game and he gets tackled and runs backwards the wrong way. So we’ll see how it works out. But I really am excited to watch these guys run.”


    “I think the biggest thing to keep an eye on is how they handle their stamina, you know what I mean?” Gruden said. “When you get out in a game, guys will be playing more than three, four, five, six plays in a row and we’ll see how they handle it, the receivers, defensive backs, pass rushers. It will be good to see. It will be good work for us and we’ll see where we are exactly from a conditioning standpoint and from a skillset.”



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