- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2016

LANDOVER — The Washington Redskins thrived at FedEx Field during the 2015 regular season and won six of their eight games at home.

Playing in Landover this season has been hardly welcoming, as the Redskins lost consecutive games to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. After a victory against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands, Washington staved off a tumultuous 0-3 start.

Now, they host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in search of their first home victory and a chance to pull even at 2-2 through the first quarter of the schedule.

Here’s a look at the logistics and three things to watch in Sunday’s game.

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Records: Redskins 1-2, Browns 0-3

Television: CBS (Kevin Harlan, play-by-play; Rich Gannon, color; Stacey Dales, sidelines).

Radio: ESPN 980 (Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen, Chris Cooley, Doc Walker)

Weather: 68 degrees and cloudy

Lines: Redskins -7.5, over/under 47.5 per Bovada


All-time record: The Redskins are 11-33-1 against the Browns.

Last regular-season meeting: Dec. 16, 2012: 38-31 win in Cleveland.

Injury report:

Redskins: Out — Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (right ankle), wide receiver Josh Doctson (left Achilles tendon), left guard Shawn Lauvao (right ankle), cornerback Dashaun Phillips (hamstring); Questionable — Defensive end Kendall Reyes (groin), outside linebacker Trent Murphy (elbow/shoulder).

Browns: Out — Tight end Seth DeValve (knee), linebacker Nate Orchard (ankle), defensive end Carl Nassib (hand), quarterback Josh McCown (left shoulder), center Cameron Erving (chest, lung), wide receiver Corey Coleman (hand); Doubtful — Cornerback Tramon Williams (shoulder); Questionable — Cornerback Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring), cornerback Joe Haden (groin).

Things to watch:

** How will the Redskins‘ patched offensive line hold up? Center Kory Lichtensteiger was placed on injured reserve with a calf strain and left guard Shawn Lauvao is out with a moderate right ankle sprain. Washington survived last week thanks to All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams’ strong performance at left guard, while backup left guard and center Spencer Long filled in for Lichtensteiger. Veteran John Sullivan was signed this week, but Long will make his first NFL start at center. It’d be a tall order to ask Sullivan to be ready to start on such short notice, but coach Jay Gruden said they expect him to be ready if needed. Second-year guard Arie Kouandjio will get his first start at left guard, so the team can keep their $68 million left tackle where he belongs.

Is it an ideal situation? Certainly not. It’s the second consecutive season the Redskins have been forced to adjust because of injuries to Lauvao and Lichtensteiger. Last year, Long filled Lauvao’s void. At least for this week, the Redskins are comfortable giving Kouandjio, who has played just one offensive snap in his career, that opportunity.

“He’s just been waiting his turn,” Gruden said. “Continued to get better working in practice and now he’s got an opportunity like a lot of guys get in the National Football League via injury or something else. This is a chance for him to show what he has and we feel comfortable with him in there. He’s been here, knows the system. Like I said, smart, big and physical.”

Keeping Cousins upright is priority No. 1. Luckily for the Redskins, the Browns have just three sacks in three games this season. The bigger task will be getting on the same page in the running game.

** The Browns have issues of their own along the offensive line. Center Cameron Erving is out with a bruised lung and John Greco is starting in his place. Cleveland also signed second-year center Austin Reiter off the Redskins practice squad as Greco’s backup. Right tackle Austin Pasztor was called for five penalties — three times for holding — last week.

Washington’s pass rushers need to take advantage and pressure rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who was pressed into action after injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. The Redskins defense has seven sacks this season, which is tied for 13th. They had two last week against the New York Giants.

Gruden this week praised Kessler for his poise and accuracy, but the Redskins can try to change that by making him adjust on the run.

** Washington’s red-zone struggles continued last week against the Giants, as the Redskins failed to score a touchdown in four opportunities. That brought them to 3-for-14 on the season, a paltry showing when they’ve gotten inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. It’s meant plenty of opportunities for kicker Dustin Hopkins, who was named NFC special teams player of the month for September. He’s a perfect 11-for-11 this season. That said, the Redskins are hopeful to convert more of these opportunities, and more importantly, get tight end Jordan Reed going in this area. Reed is yet to score in the red zone after hauling in 10 touchdowns inside the 20 last season.



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