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20 questions in 20 days: 10 How much can Hightower contribute?

20 questions in 20 days: 10 How much can Hightower contribute?

By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
CSNwashington.com20 questions in 20 daysAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 10:How much can Tim Hightower contribute this year?The background:Hightower was the Redskins leading rusher through the first five games of the season. Then, a torn ACL knocked him out for the season. Almost 11 months later, he is still struggling to get back to 100 percent. After getting five carries against the Colts in his first action of the preseason, he was still too sore to see even token action against the Bucs last night.Tandler:Its easy to say that Hightower should be fully recovered from his injury but different players recover from different injuries at different rates. A torn ACL has an 8-12 month rehab time and it looks like Hightower will go more towards the longer time frame. The question is if he can play while he continues to heal. I think its going to be difficult. We will not see the Hightower we saw early last season until November or December this year, if at all. He will contribute some plays and maybe even some games here and there but it says here that he will end up with fewer rushing yards in 2012 than Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr., and Alfred Morris, the other three running backs likely to be on the roster.El-Bashir:Hightower is definitely still recovering, and some days are better than others judging from his post-practice limp, which can be quite pronounced. There is, however, some hope that the 26-year-old can contribute as he gets back up to speed. And it came in the second quarter of Saturdays preseason game against Colts. Facing a third down and two, Hightower took the handoff from Robert Griffin III, made a hard cut, then showed speed and agility as he sprinted down the sideline for an 18-yard gain. Does that mean hes ready to be the Redskins' featured back? Even if Hightower was 100-percent healthy, Coach Mike Shanahan has hinted that he intends to use a running-back-by-committee system this season. Given the injury and increased competition for carries, I think a realistic expectation for Hightower this season is 400-500 yards rushing, 150 yards receiving and a total of five touchdowns.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 Aug. 26Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 Aug. 27Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 Aug. 28Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 YesterdayCan the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 TodayHow much can Hightower contribute this year?
9 TomorrowWas making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?

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Browns WR Josh Gordon decides he needs to enter rehab

Browns WR Josh Gordon decides he needs to enter rehab

An explosive talent with a long-record of off-field issues, Browns receiver Josh Gordon announced Thursday that he will head for rehab.

Gordon missed the entire 2015 season due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, but when he has played, he has produced. In 14 starts during the 2013 season Gordon caught 87 balls for more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns. 

MORE REDSKINS: JACKSON SHOULD BE READY FOR BROWNS

A teammate of Robert Griffin III's at Baylor, some in Cleveland hoped that reuniting the QB and WR would bring back their college fireworks. That plan faded first when Griffin got injured Week 1, and while Gordon is still suspended, some hope remained that the two could connect later in the season. For now, it seems that plan will not work. 

Without the decision to enter a rehab facility, Gordon would have missed the Redskins game this Sunday due to suspension.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Redskins' Jackson should be ready for Browns

Gruden presser wrapup: Redskins' Jackson should be ready for Browns

Here are the highlights of Jay Gruden’s Thursday news conference:

—Don’t look for John Sullivan to start at center on Sunday. “I think the first go around will be as a backup—which is very important as we found out last week.” Between this and the word around Redskins Park that Trent Williams is going to play left tackle it looks like Arie Kouandjio will make his first NFL start at left guard against the Browns.

—Gruden said on Monday that Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and Shawn Lauvao (ankle) are “week to week” with their injuries. When asked if he could assign a number to how much time each is expected to miss, Gruden said he couldn’t. “It just depends on how quickly they recover.”

—Gruden has been impressed with Trent Murphy ever since he came to the team as a second-round pick in 2014. Now others are becoming impressed with him as he leads the team in sacks with 3. The coach cited Murphy’s work ethic in the weight room and on the field as reasons for his emergence.  

—Jamison Crowder is tied for the team lead with 16 receptions and he has caught two touchdown passes. Gruden said that he hasn’t necessarily improved from last year. “He’s just getting more opportunities—ball in his hand. He’s playing a lot more.”  

—DeSean Jackson (knee/ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday after being out on Wednesday. “He’ll do more tomorrow,” said Gruden. “And I think he should be ready to go, I would guess.”

—It looks like Gruden is trying to motivate Matt Jones a little bit. He said that he liked Jones’ running style on the final drive. But before that, not so much. “I think in the first three quarters there are some runs he didn’t cap off like we want him to, really to be quite honest.”

—Will we see Duke Ihenacho on Sunday? “Could be,” he said. “We’re going to dress four safeties most likely and they’re all probably get an opportunity.” Ihenacho played 13 snaps against the Giants, his first action on defense this year.