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20 questions in 20 days: 18 Can Meriweather plug the hole at safety?

20 questions in 20 days: 18 Can Meriweather plug the hole at safety?

As we count down to the firstgame of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to belooking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to lookinto their crystal balls and answer them. Question 18: Can Brandon Meriweather get the job done at strongsafety?The background: Just over a year ago, it looked like Meriweatherwas a star on the rise. At age 27 he was coming off of back-to-back Pro Bowlappearances with the Patriots. But Bill Belichick decided that he wasnt in theteams plans and he was released at the end of training camp. The Bears pickedhim up, started him for four games and then benched him. They let him go thisspring and the Redskins became his third NFL team in the past calendar year.Can two teams trash become the third teams treasure?Tandler: The Redskins say that Meriweather was not a fit inChicagos Cover 2 defensive scheme and that his skills are better suited totheir defense. Observation of Meriweather during practice indicates that theRedskins may be right. He is much more comfortable lining up close to the lineof scrimmage and moving forward at the snap rather than staying back and movinglaterally or backwards. The key will be keeping Meriweather in his comfortzone. They will best utilize him by having him blitz, play the short zone, or setthe edge in run defense. If they rely on him to be the last line of defenseagainst deep passes very often, they are asking for trouble. Meriweather can bea solid player if he used in the right role in the right situations.El-Bashir: In limited action this preseason, it can be argued thatMeriweathers been the Redskins most active defensive back. Having playedroughly two quarters, hes been in on five tackles and defended a pass. Butthere are legitimate concerns about his health after he suffered a left kneeinjury Saturday in Chicago that neither the team nor the player has beenforthcoming about. Weve been told that surgery is not required and he wontsuit up the remainder of this preseason. But when will he return? UntilMeriweather shows hes 100-percent recovered, it might be wise to reservejudgment on the impact hell have this season, particularly early. But amiduncertainty, we do know this much: given the Redskins struggles last season atsafety, theres only direction it can go in 2012.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20WillJammal Brown play this year?
19 YesterdayWillChris Cooley make the team?
18 TodayCan Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 TomorrowIs Garon a No. 1 receiver?

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Running back Marshall expected to miss 3 weeks with elbow injury

Running back Marshall expected to miss 3 weeks with elbow injury

Rookie running back Keith Marshall is expected to miss three weeks after suffering a strained elbow in Friday's preseason game.

Marshall was scheduled to have an MRI exam on Saturday. While there has been no official word from the team as to the severity of Marshall's injury, CSN's Chick Hernandez is reporting he will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

RELATED: COMFORT THE KEY TO SMITH'S PURSUIT OF A BIG SEASON

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Redskins' starting defense is sharp in small preseason sample of work

Redskins' starting defense is sharp in small preseason sample of work

Judging by the small sample size that the NFL preseason has become it looks like the Redskins’ starting defense is ready to go for the start of the NFL season.

The Redskins’ opponents had six possessions with their staring quarterbacks in the lineup, which usually means that those teams had all of their healthy starters in the game. In those six possessions the Redskins’ opponents mustered 53 yards of total offense.

As far as the starting quarterbacks, the Redskins didn’t face anyone who is bound for Canton five years after retirement. But there wasn’t a Case Keenum in the group either. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Matt Ryan combined to complete six of 18 passes for 46 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. That comes to a combined passer rating of 42.4.

This is a major improvement over the 2015 preseason when starting quarterbacks were much sharper against the Redskins’ defense. Josh McCown, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Flacco completed 19 of 26 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a stellar passer rating of 128.4.

This year the other teams apparently wanted to get the QBs some work and didn’t run a lot. The Redskins gave up 36 rushing yards on eight attempts. That’s an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Over a year that would be an improvement over last year (4.8 per carry) but still well above the league average (4.1).

It’s hard to overemphasize the small sample sizes involved here. It would be a mistake to draw any sweeping conclusions from a few dozen snaps. But among the goals of the preseason are to look competent and, as Jay Gruden said, create some “positive vibrations”. The Redskins defense can check the boxes next to both of those.

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Bryan Stork clarifies next move after days of speculation with Redskins

Bryan Stork clarifies next move after days of speculation with Redskins

After days of speculation if Bryan Stork would actually end up in Washington, the former Patriots center clarified his next move via Twitter. 

Redskins GM Scot McCloughan traded for Stork earlier this week after it became apparent New England intended to release the 2014 draft pick out of Florida State. It was unclear, however, if Stork would accept the trade to the 'Skins as he mulled retirement options. 

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Stork has dealt with a number of concussions in his two-year NFL career. After playing in a Super Bowl as a rookie, his 2015 season was limited by head injuries. 

Coming to the Redskins, Stork may have an opportunity to compete for playing time. Kory Lichtensteiger is installed as the starting center, but he struggled in the third preseason game against the Bills and was lost for much of the 2015 season to injury. 

McCloughan has openly said he wants big, tough guys up front on the offensive line. Stork - at 6-foot-4 and 310 lbs. - with a documented nasty streak definitely fits that bill. 

Whether or not Stork pushes Lichtensteiger for the starting spot - or even competes for the No. 2 center job with Spencer Long - the price for Stork is tough to argue. McCloughan gave up just a conditional seventh round pick to acquire the former New England starter.