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Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 20, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 52 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 21
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 30
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 44

Answering Redskins fan questions

I also got virtually an identical question from Alan on Facebook so it leads here. Spencer Long is the starter, period, end of story. During the offseason, I asked both Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan about the backup center position. Both expressed hope that sixth-round pick Chase Roullier will be up to speed by the time the season starts. But if he’s not ready, I think they will have to find a veteran. Right now, the best available is Nick Mangold but I doubt he wants to sign up to be a backup. They will be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire for this year’s version of John Sullivan.

I assume you mean training camp. And I suppose you could say the same thing but insert Nate Sudfeld instead of McCoy. In either case, the answer is no. First of all, the team wants to win. They need to get Cousins, to whom they are paying $24 million, ready to play with the first offense. He’s not going to prepare by throwing to Ryan Grant and passing behind a line with Vinston Painter on his blind side. Second, it would be a great way to drive away the rest of the team. They want to win, too. There are about 15 key players who are free agents in 2018. If the Redskins want to retain the quality players in that group they need to try to win in 2017 and let 2018 sort itself out when it gets here. Now, if it’s December and they are 3-11 it’s a different story.

They rotated them around during the offseason program and, as expected, no coach would address who starters might be in May or June. I think the way that it will play out is that Zach Brown will start at Will linebacker and Will Compton will be the Mike. Mason Foster will come in for nickel situations, something he did well last year after Su’a Cravens was injured. Some fans want to see Foster start with Brown but the coaches like to Compton’s football IQ and he is the only one of the three who has experience called defenses. All three will see plenty of action. Really no idea of how they rank but if the D-line is better the group at ILB will be better.

I’ll play along here since John is a longtime Twitter friend. Let’s establish that neither is very likely to happen. Last I looked the Redskins were a 66-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. They might have a better shot than that but no better than about 50-1. The Rams, per Westgate Sporting Book, are 25-1 to win the NFC West. Seattle is the odds-on favorite in that division at 1-4 so they would have to have a down year for the Rams to win it. But I see that happening more easily than the Redskins making the playoffs (that’s very possible) and winning three or four more games on top of that. The Rams have a solid defense and if Jared Goff can generate enough of a threat to open up room for Todd Gurley they could win some games, maybe enough to steal a division title if Seattle has a down year. I just don’t think that the Redskins are there yet.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Pressure Points: It's a big year for Josh Doctson, and not exactly why you think

Pressure Points: It's a big year for Josh Doctson, and not exactly why you think

Josh Doctson needs a productive season, for himself and for the Redskins. Both parties grew frustrated during 2016 when Doctson played just two games as he battled an Achilles injury, and eventually when the first-round pick was put on the injured reserve list. 

2017 presents a host of new opportunities for Doctson. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are gone, which means there will be plenty of balls to catch if Doctson is up for the task. 

By all accounts he is ready. Doctson himself has said it, as has Washington head coach Jay Gruden. He missed a little bit of time during OTAs, but that had nothing to do with the Achilles troubles, the media was told. 

MORE REDSKINS: IS JONATHAN ALLEN THE NEXT AARON DONALD?

This fall, the Redskins have Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed to serve as Kirk Cousins' primary targets. Doctson should pick up targets after those three, and if defenses try to limit or slow the other weapons, Doctson could feast. 

One more interesting note, though, came in Cousins' conversation with 106.7 the Fan's Grant and Danny. Talking about why he didn't offer a long-term counter to the Redskins, Cousins explained he needed more time to evaluate the state of the Redskins. 

Some of that evaluation could be specific to Doctson. 

Think about it: Cousins excelled with Jackson and Garçon as his primary weapons. Last season, he almost threw for 5,000 yards, and those two wideouts accounted for more than 40 percent of that action. 

Cousins wants to be where he can succeed. Pryor will help, but he's on a one-year deal. If Cousins plans on sticking with the Redskins long-term, he needs to know he has the horses for the offense to produce. 

In Crowder and Reed, Cousins knows what he's got. A star tight end and a highly productive slot receiver, both with the team for at least two more years. Still, the Redskins offense needs a playmaker on the outside. Doctson is under team control at least through the 2019 season, and he's on a cheap, team-friendly rookie deal.

If Doctson proves he can be a No. 1 wideout this year, it could go a long way towards Cousins deciding to come back. Pressure is on. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster: 30-21

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster: 30-21

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

<<<CLICK HERE FOR 2017 REDSKINS ROSTER RANKINGS 21-30>>>

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 21-30, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

<<<CLICK HERE FOR 2017 REDSKINS ROSTER RANKINGS 21-30>>>

—A free agent acquisition who has a top-10 cap hit but an uncertain role.      

—The second-highest ranked rookie on our list.   

—A 2016 free agent acquisition who the Redskins hope will continue to be an ageless wonder.    

<<<CLICK HERE FOR 2017 REDSKINS ROSTER RANKINGS 21-30>>>

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 53-21.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.