December 13, 2018 / 4:56 PM / 3 months ago

Journeyman Johnson charged with reviving Redskins at Jacksonville

While the Washington Redskins maintain playoff hopes despite a month-long stumble, the Jacksonville Jaguars are left hoping to salvage something out of a season far below expectations.

FILE PHOTO: Nov 18, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs with the ball past Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) and Texans inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney (55) in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On a four-game losing streak since the season-ending leg injury to quarterback Alex Smith, the Redskins will head to Jacksonville on Sunday in the midst of a freefall. The losing streak has come after 6-3 start to the season that spurred thoughts of an NFC East title.

Not only did Smith suffer a broken fibula and tibia when he was sacked against the Houston Texans, his replacement, Colt McCoy, saw his season end with a broken fibula in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 3.

It means that the Redskins’ playoff hopes will now rest on the passing and running skills of Josh Johnson, who made his first NFL appearance in five years last weekend against the New York Giants, throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown in a 40-16 defeat.

Johnson’s performance, as a replacement for an ineffective Mark Sanchez, earned him the starting nod from head coach Jay Gruden.

“I’m excited that we’re playing against this talented defense and I’m excited that we’re playing against these talented (cornerbacks), this pass rush, these linebackers,” Johnson said of the matchup with the Jaguars. “It’s a great test and I wouldn’t have it any other way than to get an opportunity to go against somebody where you have to earn it and you have to prove that you deserve to be on this field.”

Johnson, who has spent time with 13 NFL franchises, but has only played in a game with three teams, showed his mobility Sunday when he ran for a touchdown in an otherwise forgettable game for the Redskins. He admits he mostly got to know the names of his newest teammates by playing video games the past two weeks.

It leaves the Jaguars defense with two runners to account for. Johnson’s lack of on-field time over the last five years could mean a busy day for Washington veteran running back Adrian Peterson.

Except the 33-year old Peterson has rushed for just 47.5 yards per game over the Redskins’ last six contests. Peterson did have 98 yards rushing - thanks to a 90-yard TD burst - on Dec. 3 against the Eagles.

Like the Redskins, the Jaguars (4-9) have moved on to a new quarterback, but their decision was not injury-based. Cody Kessler has started each of the last two games for the Jaguars, going 1-1, as a replacement for an ineffective Blake Bortles.

Kessler threw for 240 yards and a touchdown last Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, but the Jaguars fell 30-9. Jacksonville picked up a 6-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 2 when Kessler threw for just 150 yards.

Through all of their troubles, the Jaguars’ defense has remained strong, holding two opponents under 10 points and seven opponents to 20 points or less. Yet the loss to the Titans was a different story.

The play that will follow the Jaguars long after this season has ended will be the 99-yard touchdown run from the Titans’ Derrick Henry last Thursday night. Henry rushed for four touchdowns and a Titans-record 238 yards.

“We’ll respond,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said, according to jaguars.com. “The biggest thing is to keep going, keep pushing. ... It’s a situation no one wants to be in, knowing you’re going home when the season’s over. That’s tough. It sucks, but we have to find a way to push and win some ballgames to end the season. You always want to end on a good note, something that can give you some momentum going into the offseason.”

The Redskins do have the 14th best scoring defense in the NFL at 22.8 points per game, but during their four-game losing streak, each opponent has scored more than that average. And the tepid Giants did have a 34-0 lead at halftime last week, although Sanchez’s troubles moving the ball did not help the situation.

Redskins players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom (knee/ankle), cornerback Adonis Anderson (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Doctson (concussion protocol), quarterback Colt McCoy (fibula), tight end Jordan Reed (ankle/foot), tackle Ty Nsekhe (knee) and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (shin); Limited in practice: wide receiver Jamison Crowder (knee/ankle), linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (shoulder), running back Adrian Peterson (shoulder), center Chase Roullier (knee), tackle Morgan Moses (ankle) and tackle Trent Williams (thumb/wrist).

Jaguars players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: wide receiver D.J. D.J. Chark Jr. (quadriceps), offensive lineman Jeremy Parnell (knee) and linebacker Leon Jacobs (quadriceps).

—Field Level MediaWhile the Washington Redskins maintain playoff hopes despite a month-long stumble, the Jacksonville Jaguars are left hoping to salvage something out of a season far below expectations.

On a four-game losing streak since the season-ending leg injury to quarterback Alex Smith, the Redskins will head to Jacksonville on Sunday in the midst of a freefall. The losing streak has come after 6-3 start to the season that spurred thoughts of an NFC East title.

Not only did Smith suffer a broken fibula and tibia when he was sacked against the Houston Texans, his replacement, Colt McCoy, saw his season end with a broken fibula in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 3.

It means that the Redskins’ playoff hopes will now rest on the passing and running skills of Josh Johnson, who made his first NFL appearance in five years last weekend against the New York Giants, throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown in a 40-16 defeat.

Johnson’s performance, as a replacement for an ineffective Mark Sanchez, earned him the starting nod from head coach Jay Gruden.

“I’m excited that we’re playing against this talented defense and I’m excited that we’re playing against these talented (cornerbacks), this pass rush, these linebackers,” Johnson said of the matchup with the Jaguars. “It’s a great test and I wouldn’t have it any other way than to get an opportunity to go against somebody where you have to earn it and you have to prove that you deserve to be on this field.”

Johnson, who has spent time with 13 NFL franchises, but has only played in a game with three teams, showed his mobility Sunday when he ran for a touchdown in an otherwise forgettable game for the Redskins. He admits he mostly got to know the names of his newest teammates by playing video games the past two weeks.

It leaves the Jaguars defense with two runners to account for. Johnson’s lack of on-field time over the last five years could mean a busy day for Washington veteran running back Adrian Peterson.

Except the 33-year old Peterson has rushed for just 47.5 yards per game over the Redskins’ last six contests. Peterson did have 98 yards rushing - thanks to a 90-yard TD burst - on Dec. 3 against the Eagles.

Like the Redskins, the Jaguars (4-9) have moved on to a new quarterback, but their decision was not injury-based. Cody Kessler has started each of the last two games for the Jaguars, going 1-1, as a replacement for an ineffective Blake Bortles.

Kessler threw for 240 yards and a touchdown last Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, but the Jaguars fell 30-9. Jacksonville picked up a 6-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 2 when Kessler threw for just 150 yards.

Through all of their troubles, the Jaguars’ defense has remained strong, holding two opponents under 10 points and seven opponents to 20 points or less. Yet the loss to the Titans was a different story.

The play that will follow the Jaguars long after this season has ended will be the 99-yard touchdown run from the Titans’ Derrick Henry last Thursday night. Henry rushed for four touchdowns and a Titans-record 238 yards.

“We’ll respond,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said, according to jaguars.com. “The biggest thing is to keep going, keep pushing. ... It’s a situation no one wants to be in, knowing you’re going home when the season’s over. That’s tough. It sucks, but we have to find a way to push and win some ballgames to end the season. You always want to end on a good note, something that can give you some momentum going into the offseason.”

The Redskins do have the 14th best scoring defense in the NFL at 22.8 points per game, but during their four-game losing streak, each opponent has scored more than that average. And the tepid Giants did have a 34-0 lead at halftime last week, although Sanchez’s troubles moving the ball did not help the situation.

Redskins players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom (knee/ankle), cornerback Adonis Anderson (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Doctson (concussion protocol), quarterback Colt McCoy (fibula), tight end Jordan Reed (ankle/foot), tackle Ty Nsekhe (knee) and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (shin); Limited in practice: wide receiver Jamison Crowder (knee/ankle), linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (shoulder), running back Adrian Peterson (shoulder), center Chase Roullier (knee), tackle Morgan Moses (ankle) and tackle Trent Williams (thumb/wrist).

Jaguars players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: wide receiver D.J. D.J. Chark Jr. (quadriceps), offensive lineman Jeremy Parnell (knee) and linebacker Leon Jacobs (quadriceps).

—Field Level Media

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