Regardless of who's at fault -- and that's something to be decided after the season -- the Redskins must improve enough over the last four games to make a difference. Sometimes it's coverage that needs to be tightened; other times there's not enough pressure. The Redskins have blitzed on 50 of 143 third downs, but 24 of those have resulted in conversions -- plus only four sacks and no interceptions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In fact, Washington is the only defense without an interception on third down (and is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for lowest with one takeaway overall).
“You can see him trying to push himself to get out there and work,” Gruden said. “He’s anxious to get back out there with his team. He wants to help, but he also understands that this is an injury that he has to deal with and he has to get well for him to be effective, like he knows he will be if he is healthy. He’s trending in the right direction, so that’s a good sign.”
Nine players were listed as questionable: Lauvao, tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder), end Chris Baker (ankle), end Ricky Jean Francois (foot), tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle), tight end Derek Carrier (knee), linebacker Will Compton (hip), guard Brandon Scherff (ankle) and linebacker Preston Smith (groin).
The Redskins like what Jackson adds; they also know they have tough financial decisions ahead. Fellow starting receiver Pierre Garcon also is a free agent, and it would be expensive to re-sign both. It’s hard to imagine the Redskins re-signing both players because of the cost. And they drafted a receiver in the first round last spring, Josh Doctson. But they still don’t know what Doctson can do because he has played in only two games, thanks to an Achilles issue.
Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate