By: Patrick Waring
Things didn’t go so well for the Washington Redskins during their last visit to MetLife Stadium. A 32-21 defeat to the New York Giants during Week 3 was filled with errors, injuries and mistakes. The Redskins came into that game with optimism and were looking to start their first division game out on the right foot. Now, at a 2-3 record, the Redskins return to MetLife this Sunday to face the 3-1 New York Jets.
One order of business that head coach Jay Gruden’s team will have to take care of is getting back to running the football. After averaging 171.5 yards on the ground in the first two weeks, the Redskins have only averaged 88.7 in the last three. In their 25-19 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week, they only rushed for 51 yards on 24 attempts. Running backs Alfred Morris, Chris Thompson and Matt Jones could not find much room and have not been able to get into a rhythm. Their highest total of those three was 127 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, but 42 of those came on a 3rd down and 19 run by Thompson. While this is something that has to improve, it will be tough to do this week. The Jets offer a dominate defense and left tackle Trent Williams will be out Sunday. The team first said Williams had an illness, but it was announced yesterday that he has entered the league concussion protocol program. Losing a player like Williams would be a tough blow any week, but it’s major against a defense like the Jets. It presents a challenge running the ball and also protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Jets love to blitz often and will try to pressure the opposing quarterback to make quick and bad decisions. This is something that is not good for a quarterback that has issues turning the ball over. Add in the fact that Williams is out, and it makes matters worse.
The Jets possibly have the top defense in the NFL this season. In terms of total yards allowed, the Jets rank number one in the league. They boast the second ranked pass and run defense, and have intercepted six passes. Points will be hard to come by as well. The Jets have only given up 55 total points this year, a 13.8 per game average. Cousins will have to be efficient and take advantage of any scoring opportunities.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger (shoulder), tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) will join Williams being out on offense. Jackson was originally a game time decision, but was scratched late today. The defense will play again without cornerbacks Chris Culliver (knee) and DeAngelo Hall (toe). Running back Matt Jones (toe) is questionable. Jones was injured late in the game last weekend.
Playing the Jets will also offer a familiar name to Redskins’ fans and the organization. Head coach Todd Bowles played eight seasons in the NFL as a safety, with seven of those for the Redskins. Bowles played and started on the 1987 championship team that defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII. He has been experiencing a successful first year as a head coach and has been credited for conducting himself as a professional.
*Update 10/18/15 at 9:52am – Running back Matt Jones (toe) now ruled out for the game.*
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(Above Photo Courtesy Of Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)