The Washington Redskins stagger through the remainder of their season with everyone on the team but Donovan McNabb auditioning for a spot on next year’s roster. Santa’s sleigh brings them to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. Santa has a few gifts for Washington, too.
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew, AKA Pocket Hercules, is listed as Doubtful for the game after missing practice this week. Years of fantasy football taught me that “Doubtful” stud players are 50-50 to show up in games, especially when the playoffs are on the line. Jacksonville blew its shot to lock up the AFC South with its loss to Indianapolis last week. They are desperate to win out. If Jones-Drew can crawl, he will make some appearance Sunday.
An impaired Jones-Drew is easier to stop. That’s a gift to the Redskins defense that declared LB Brian Orakpo and S Reed Doughty OUT for the game. The Redskins placed DE Phillip Daniels and nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu on injured reserve. Anthony Bryant might be a step-up from Kemoeatu. Fan favorite Daniels, the strongest man on the team, had already dropped to second on the depth chart.
A healthy Jones-Drew would have allowed Jacksonville to lever its rushing strength against Washington’s greatest weakness–run defense. If Jones-Drew is out, the injury fall-off is much steeper for the Jaguars than for the Redskins.
Rex Grossman continues to make his case for starting quarterback. He looked good for half the game against the Dallas Cowboys. Fans loved the 30 point output and the sustained drives. At the end of the day, Grossman is still Grossman. Counting his appearance against the Lions, Grossman has four turnovers, including fumbles, that led to three touchdowns for the other guys. That’s not sustainable over a 16 game season.
Grossman’s play does give us the chance to assess Kyle Shanahan‘s offense. We see that it can work. Grossman is a wrinkle to throw at Jacksonville who may not have seen enough of him to gameplan for Washington’s offense. All this comes at the price of high drama. We thought we were rid of all that when the Redskins fired Vinny Cerrato. (Sigh.) The players continue to work through the theatrics, the latest example of the character strength of the Redskins.
The Jaguars are favored by seven. As with the Cowboys last week and the Giants next week, logic says the Redskins don’t have enough umph to win. The wrinkles in this contest narrow the odds in Washington’s favor. Look for the spoiler ‘Skins to make this contest a close fight until the very end.
Golston OUT, Jackson In
Redskins placed DE Kedric Golston on Injured Reserve on Christmas Day, according to a story on Redskins Insider. The story cites elbow and groin injuries.
The Redskins elevated LB Rob Jackson from the practice squad and named him starter replacing Brian Orakpo. Jackson jumps ahead of Chris Wilson who backed-up Orakpo most of the season. Don’t read anything more into that than Mike Shanahan evaluating his bench strength.
Santa left another nugget for the Redskins, though it’s rather embarrassing. The previously 4-10 Arizona Cardinals did what the Redskins could not do, beat the Dallas Cowboys at Jerryworld. The Cowboys lost to the Cardinals on a botched kick attempt, which is pretty much how they survived Redskins. Ironic.
A win by the Redskins today propels them to third in the division, ahead of the Cowboys.
Both the Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones build their teams on some notion that accumulating the biggest stars makes for a stronger roster. The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants (and Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens) build their team on the notion of accumulating…and using…draft picks.
Um, that’s a hint.