Thu Sep 19 6:25pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) looses control of the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) looks on in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second half of an NFL football game against Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) breaks away from Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) to run downfield in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Also on the field is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13). (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Mitchell Trubisky wants the Bears to believe this will be the week their struggling offense gets going.
It might actually be that week because Chicago is facing a Washington Redskins defense that hasn't been able to stop much of anything.
The Bears (1-1) go into Monday night's matchup with the third-worst offense in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season. Fortunately for them, the Redskins (0-2) rank third-worst on defense and are dealing with some key injuries contributing to that disappointing start.
''They got some openings where we could have some success on offense this week,'' Trubisky said Thursday. ''We've got to believe that this offense can explode at any minute because of the playmakers and the special guys we have in the locker room.''
Chicago's offense has produced just one touchdown through two games - a 1-yard-run by David Montgomery last week - and Trubisky is a combined 42 of 72 for 348 yards and an interception. The 2017 second overall pick is near the bottom of the league at 4.8 yards a completion.
''Right now, it's just about getting into that rhythm and then understanding the execution of the plays,'' coach Matt Nagy said. ''And us as coaches, too, making sure that we're putting them in optimum position to make the plays with whatever play call is made. We're not running different plays. We're not running anything different than we did last year. It's a long season.''
That's the mantra inside the Redskins' locker room where injuries to defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have contributed to them getting worn down as games go on. Coach Jay Gruden said it's not time to panic yet, but the defense underachieving is alarming.
Washington has allowed a combined 569 yards in the second half in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas .
''We're struggling a little bit, but it takes time,'' defensive tackle Tim Settle said. ''The more we work together as a team, the more we progress as a team, the better we're going to get. We're going to get things rolling. It's going to be pretty.''
Not much is pretty about the Redskins' defense or the Bears' offense so far. Settle mentioned communication as an issue, and first-year Washington middle linebacker Jon Bostic pointed to a lack of cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball.
''Everybody's got to be on the same page,'' Bostic said. ''If you got 10 guys on the same page and one guy that's off it, it's going to lead to an explosive play. Explosive plays win ballgames for you.''
A big kick by Eddy Pineiro won the Bears their game last week at Denver, and they're still looking for the big plays that have eluded them.
''That comes down to everybody being locked in, making sure that everybody's on being on the same page - no miscues on any part of the offense,'' Chicago receiver Allen Robinson said. ''It just comes down to everybody being on the same page and executing.''
Some things to watch when the Bears visit the Redskins on Monday night:
MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
Unlike the Redskins, the Bears' defense is doing just fine. It's ranked fourth in the league and sixth against the run under new coordinator Chuck Pagano after Vic Fangio left to take the Broncos' head coaching job.
''They're physical in the middle and they have speed at linebacker,'' Gruden said. ''They have good edge play. They have a safety that's a ball hawk. Their corners are pretty good and experienced. They don't really have a weakness in their defense.''
Chicago has seven sacks through two games, two off the league lead.
KEENUM IN RHYTHM
Case Keenum won Washington's starting QB job essentially by default because longtime backup Colt McCoy is still injured and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins isn't ready. But Keenum is far from a problem for the Redskins, throwing for 601 yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions.
''I'm well aware of Case Keenum and what he can do,'' Nagy said. ''He's obviously having a good year right now. Statically he's protecting the football. He's very, very football smart. So his football IQ is high. He gets the ball out.''
The Bears brought in a long line of kickers during the offseason after letting the embattled Cody Parker go following his double-doink miss in the playoff loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field. They ultimately went with Pineiro, and he just might be winning them over.
He nailed a 53-yard winner as time expired last week after hitting from 40 and 52 earlier in the game and is 4 for 4 this season. The big boot against the Broncos came after Nagy chose to go for a first down on fourth-and-10 in the opener against Green Bay at home rather than try a 51-yarder.
''I'm trying to gain trust from them,'' Pineiro said. ''Now that he's seen me hit a couple 50-yarders, maybe he lets me try a few longer ones. So it's all a trust process. But we work for that moment behind the scenes at practice. Last-second kick, your team loses, we've been doing this for the past four months now.''
STILL NO REED
The Redskins hoped to get matchup nightmare tight end Jordan Reed back last week after being concussed Aug. 23. This is his fifth documented concussion in seven years, Reed didn't practice again Thursday and all possible caution being taken means he could miss the Bears game, too.
''This is all a part of the process of recovering from this ordeal,'' Gruden said. ''We're just taking it very slowly, making sure he goes through the right process to make sure it's right before he goes back on the field.''
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin was targeted just once in Week 7, but he made it count, catching that one target for a one-yard touchdown. Jarwin continues to play behind starter Jason Witten and won't have any predictable fantasy value unless Witten is forced to miss time. Even then, he won't be a high-upside play by any means.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught all four of his targets in Week 7, gaining 33 yards. Witten had yet another very typical Jason Witten game, making a handful of catches and picking up just a few yards with each one. He'll continue to be a low-floor, low-ceiling depth option when the Cowboys return from their bye after Week 8.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense played well in a Week 7 win over the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. They allowed just 10 points, recovering three fumbles and securing one interception. They were also able to sack Carson Wentz three times. The Cowboys ended up winning a blowout in what was expected to be a much closer game. Dallas goes into their bye week in Week 8, but should come out as one of the better fantasy defensive units after the bye.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher had a big game in a Week 7 win. He knocked through all four of his extra points and made his three field goal attempts too. He knocked through a 63-yard boot and has proven to be one of the more consistent kicking options while also having a big enough leg to make the long kicks. He's one of the better fantasy options at an unpredictable position.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott accounted for two touchdowns in Week 7. He completed 21 of his 27 passes, gaining 239 yards and throwing one touchdown and one interception. He added five carries, adding 30 yards and another touchdown. Prescott's passing score was a one-yard toss to Blake Jarwin, and his rushing score came on an eight-yard run in the fourth quarter. It was an overall productive day for Prescott, although the Dallas running game was really mostly in charge. The Cowboys go into their bye week comfortably in first place in the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard notched eight carries in a Week 7 blowout win over the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Pollard's eight carries were well behind starter Ezekiel Elliott's 22, but he was still able to pick up 28 yards. Pollard has shown well while on the field, but he won't be able to do much as long as Elliott is around. Pollard has league-winning upside if something were to force Elliott to miss time, but even in blowout wins, Pollard's value is severely limited by his place on the depth chart.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 22 times for 111 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, adding six catches for 36 more yards. Elliott was most of the Cowboys offense in this one, and was more than what they needed against a struggling Eagles team. Elliott ceded eight carries to rookie Tony Pollard once the game was firmly in hand, but he remains one of the highest-volume backs in the league and will continue to be an easy RB1 play every time he takes the field.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper caught all five of his targets in Week 7, gaining 106 yards. Cooper wasn't even a sure thing to start in this one, but he came down with every ball thrown his way and went over 100 yards in a game the Dallas offense dominated. He should be even healthier after the Cowboys Week 8 bye, and will return as a surefire WR1.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin missed his lone passing game target in Week 7, but he was given a single carry and took it in 20 yards for a touchdown. Austin has defense-burning speed, but little else to offer as a football player. That means some plays will set him loose on the field but there will never be a predictable enough matchup to determine his value. He's not a fantasy option despite the single impressive play on Sunday Night Football this week.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup only came up with three catches on his four targets in Week 7, gaining 34 scoreless yards. It was certainly a dud in a matchup where Gallup was occasionally being considered a WR1 option, but the Dallas offense simply didn't need him in a game where they had no trouble moving the ball against a scuffling Eagles Defense.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott connected on his one field goal try and on his one extra point try in a Week 7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott made his 38-yard field goal in the third quarter, but wasn't needed much in what ended up being a blowout loss to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott should fare better next week in what is expected to be a closer matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery made just two catches in Week 7, coming up with 38 yards. He tied for the team lead with five targets, but much like the rest of the Eagles offense, he wasn't able to do much. Jeffery was running as the team's WR1 with DeSean Jackson (abdomen) still on the sideline. The Eagles desperately need Jackson's seam-stretching ability and could have him back for Week 8. Unfortunately, they'll have another tough matchup against a strong Bills Defense.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz came down with just two passes in Week 7, gaining 38 yards. Ertz was targeted five times but he was soundly outplayed by Dallas Goedert, who scored the only Eagles touchdown. Ertz has been mostly disappointing this season so far, and next week against the Buffalo Bills Defense doesn't look like a likely get-right spot. He's a TE1 no doubt, but perhaps moving slowly out of the top tier.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor had another disappointing week in Week 7, catching just two passes and gaining 24 scoreless yards. Agholor was targeted four times in a game where almost the entire Philly offense struggled to get anything done. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) possibly back next week to take on a stout Buffalo defense, Agholor will be nothing more than a last-ditch effort in most formats.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins was targeted only once in Week 7 and was unable to come down with a catch. Hollins has been running in three-wide sets in place of DeSean Jackson (abdomen) for several weeks, but has been unable to do anything at all. Even if Jackson can't return for next week's tough matchup against Buffalo, Hollins will not be a recommended fantasy option in any format.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense struggled in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys, allowing 37 points and recording just three sacks and one interception. The Cowboys offense had its way with the Eagles secondary, as was mostly expected. The Eagles will take on the Buffalo Bills next week and should see better results, although there are likely stronger DST options on most league's waiver wires.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott tallied seven carries in Week 7, gaining 32 yards. He also caught his lone target, picking up five more yards. Scott actually ended up with just one touch less than Miles Sanders. With the Eagles taking on a similarly tough Bills Defense in Week 8, Scott won't be worth much in most fantasy formats, but the Eagles backfield has certainly become one worth keeping an eye on going forward.
Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage only had three carries for seven yards in a 31-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but two of them came inside Buffalo's five-yard line, with Ballage cashing in the second of the two for a three-yard touchdown. Ballage was far out-touched by Mark Walton and Kenyan Drake and is currently the clear third option on the league's worst team, making him nothing but fodder for the waiver wire. Even if Drake is traded before this month's deadline, it seems that he'd still be behind new starter Walton in the pecking order, which should give fantasy owners few reasons to roster the once-popular sleeper pick ahead of a Week 8 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert led the team in receiving in Week 7. He caught four passes, gaining 69 yards and scoring a touchdown. Goedert's score came on a 28-yard pass from Carson Wentz. Goedert was also charged with a lost fumble, however. In a game where the Eagles offense could barely do anything, Goedert was the lone bright spot. It could be more of the same types of struggles next week for the Philly offense, making Goedert a TE2 at best.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard did as asked in Week 7, running the ball 11 times for 50 yards. He added two catches for six more yards. Howard didn't have a ton of room to run, but he out-touched Miles Sanders 13-to-9, again solidifying his spot atop the Philly running back depth chart. The entire Eagles offense struggled in Week 7, and they should have another tough time in Week 8 against a stout Bills Defense. Howard will be a volume-based RB2/3.