When the Redskins last played the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, they were without their feature running back Saquon Barkley. That won't be the case this Sunday when the Giants come to FedExField, as Barkley is healthy and ready to play.
Interim head coach Bill Callahan is well aware of Barkley's potency as a runner. He rushed for 170 yards in his Week 14 meeting with the Redskins in the 2018 season, and Callahan has respect for what Barkley can do on the field.
"He sees the field and he makes the types of cuts that you wouldn't normally see a running back make, which makes him really special," Callahan said. "There are times where the creases are really tight and it wouldn't appear as though a running back would take that ... and he takes it and makes it."
Barkley missed significant time this season with an ankle injury, but he has still proven to be a potent weapon for the Giants offense. He 722 yards on 178 rushes for 4.1 yards per carry.
-- The Redskins lost a tough one last week -- literally in the final seconds of regulation -- after playing one of their most complete games of the season against the Eagles. It extended their streak of consecutive losses against NFC East opponents to eight dating back to last year.
That kind of loss is not easy to move on from, but that's what the Redskins did this week.
"I think the refocus is key to recalibrate yourself as fast as possible and really attack the 'must' for the game of the opponent that we're playing," Callahan said.
The Redskins and Giants don't have much to play for sitting at 3-11 with two games left. But records don't matter when it comes to divisional opponents, Callahan said. Every team is competitive and the players have talent. Both teams still want to win Sunday's game and end their season on a high note.
"[The Giants] are a quality football team in a lot of areas and a lot of facets of their play, so again, it's another challenge that we have to face," Callahan said.
-- Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was a backup player for most of his 11-year career, so he can understand how many of his players feel now that they're seeing more time on the field.
The Redskins have had more than their share of injuries this season, especially on defense. The Injured Reserve list includes players like Ryan Kerrigan, Jimmy Moreland and Deshazor Everett. Other players like Quinton Dunbar were ruled out against the Giants this week.
As a result, younger players like cornerback Danny Johnson have been forced into the starting lineup. No one on the roster wants their teammates to suffer injuries, but it does provide some players with more opportunities. Manusky's advice to them is to make the best of what is given to them.
"When I get a chance to go out there and play, I'm going to give it my all," Manusky said about his mindset during his playing career. "I know that's the same thing they do. We expect them to do it because that's why they're here on our team."
-- Dwayne Haskins Jr. has made plenty of improvements since his debut in the first matchup against the Giants, and offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell has taken notice.
O'Connell used to give Haskins the play call three or four times; now he only needs to say it once and Haskins has a full grasp of the play. That leaves some time for O'Connell to coach Haskins on the reads and progressions.
"I can give him coaching points, which allows him to click right into the play and he starts to be like, 'If I can know the play call, that's the easy part,'" O'Connell said. "We've been out of the huddle in some cases on third down before 20 seconds on the play clock, which is really, really good for us."
It's an example of Haskins starting to grasp what it takes to have pre- and post-snap success. O'Connell doesn't know if Haskins was using hard counts or double counts at Ohio State, but he is now, and that makes O'Connell happy about where Haskins is in his development.
"Every single time he does it I get really, really fired up about it because I know where that's building for him and what's to come for him," he said.
-- A lot has been made about Haskins playing against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, but Haskins is not having any of it.
Haskins has ties to both the Giants and the Redskins; he grew up in New Jersey, but he went to high school in the DMV area. There were plenty of mock drafts that had the Giants picking Haskins with the sixth overall pick. They took Jones instead, allowing the Redskins to take Haskins nine picks later.
Haskins said he has a lot of respect towards Jones and has no ill feelings against the Giants. He and Jones were in the same throwing group at the NFL Combine and said the Duke product is a "good quarterback".
When asked if he had any extra motivation against the Giants heading into Sunday's game, Haskins said, "Absolutely not."