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Saturday Slop: Redskins get ready for the Patriots

A look at the top Redskins stories of the day.

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Slop1

Patriots defense will provide big test for Redskins | ESPN Redskins Blog

The numbers don't do them justice, in part because they're skewed by teams moving the ball in the second half after trailing by double digits. New England averages a 10-point lead at halftime. So the first-half numbers -- when it's still a ballgame -- matter and in the first two quarters, the Patriots rank fifth in points allowed, fourth in yards per play, eighth in yards per carry allowed and fourth in total yards. They're not infallible by any means, but they are very good. The cornerbacks will play tight, and though they don't have Darrelle Revis anymore, they're effective because the pass rush usually creates problems.

Redskins defense has no margin of error vs Patriots | ESPN Redskins Blog

Tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots have one of the best weapons in the NFL in Gronkowski, who can run routes from all over and is a solid blocker, too. So he can help sell play-action passes, something Brady excels at doing. Against Miami, Gronkowski scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass because of how the Patriots sold play-action, using a guard to pull and leaving the backside safety out of position, allowing Gronkowski to run behind him for an open catch and run.

Redskins believe that Preston Smith has star ability, and they are trying to unlock it | Washington Post

"Now it's time for me to step up, don't play like a rookie, and be a guy the team can count on," Smith said. "I'm watching film a lot longer, paying attention to detail, being critical on myself. If I make a good play, I need to break down what it took to make a good play so I can have even more of those, and obviously correct things when I make a bad play."

By the numbers: Where the Redskins defense stands around the league | Breaking Burgundy

Right now the sacks numbers are a bit artificially propped up as league wide sacks allowed are down. Last season a 5.5% average would have been 27th worst in the league, and the Redskins were at 6.5%. So even if the numbers stay down throughout the year and the Redskins end up in the top 20 at 5.5%, it's not an indication of an improved pass rush.

Redskins vs Patriots: Injury report  | CSN Washington

WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring)—Jackson has been confident all that he would be able to get back on the field for this game. He has been close a couple of times but Gruden has said repeatedly that if Jackson doesn't have 100 percent of his speed he doesn't do the team any good on the field. It looks like he is there, or at least close enough to it to warrant giving it a go barring a setback.

Need to know: 5 who need to step up versus the Patriots | CSN Washington