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Bullet points: A big year for Davis

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Bullet points: A big year for Davis

A few quick hits to get your Wednesday morning going:--The Drew Brees contract situation is somewhat confusing. One local writer said that it would be a huge upset if the Saints and their franchise quarterback did not have a long-term deal done by Mondays deadline. But now we get Chris Mortensen reporting that Brees is threating to stay away from training camp if a deal doesnt get done. That doesnt make it sound like negotiations are going smoothly. Obviously, this situation bears watching as it could affect the Saints readiness to take on the Redskins in the season opener on Sept. 9.--Its hard to overstate how big a year this is for Fred Davis. At age 26 he has a window of about two years to take that step from being a nice player into being a very good one. If he takes a step towards that this year the Redskins will give him a long-term contract and not worry about the position for the next four or five years. If hes just OK in 2012 the Redskins could begin looking for a replacement.--Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur is another person under pressure in Ashburn. Along with Kyle Shanahan he is responsible for the development of the franchise, Robert Griffin III. If RG3 comes out and lights things up this year LaFleur could be in demand and up for a promotion, either in Washington or elsewhere. Should the teams most valuable asset struggle, LaFleur could be looking for a job next year.--The 53 continues today with the defensive backs. I might be one short at one of the spots but well see how things turn out. Check back later today and let me know what you think.Days until: Rookies report 5; training camp 15; preseason opener @ Bills 29; final cuts 52; Redskins @ Saints 60; home opener vs. Bengals 74

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Does injury doom Marshall's chances of making the Redskins' roster?

Does injury doom Marshall's chances of making the Redskins' roster?

With running back Keith Marshall out for at least three weeks after suffering a sprained elbow and the roster cut looming, the Redskins’ coaches are going to have some tough decisions to make. Marshall’s hopes of making the team’s 53-man roster may fall victim to bad timing.

All NFL rosters must be cut to 53 players by Saturday. Matt Jones and Chris Thompson are locks to be two of the running backs. It looks like Robert Kelley, who took advantage of the opportunity that he had when Marshall went out against the Bills, is a strong favorite to claim a third spot.

Will the Redskins carry a fourth running back? If they do, will it be Marshall? That would be tough to do. With the season opener against the Steelers coming up two weeks from today they would have to carry an injured running back for at least the first two regular season games and possibly longer depending on the results of the reevaluation. With Jones recovering from an AC joint sprain, Thompson best suited to the third down role, and Kelley unproven the Redskins would need someone who could be of more immediate help. That means perhaps keeping Mack Brown on the roster, or picking up a back on waivers from another team.

And beyond the three-week window, the Redskins have to be concerned about Marshall’s durability. He lasted until the seventh round in the draft due to his difficulties staying on the field when he was at Georgia. Do the Redskins want to stretch their roster numbers to keep him on when his history says that he could end up out with another injury soon after that?

If Marshall had been stellar in practice or if he had been a preseason star (he wasn’t, with 16 carries for 28 yards, an average of 1.8 yards/carry) it might be a more difficult decision. But he wasn’t, so it’s hard to see the Redskins jumping through hoops to keep him around for the 2016 season.

However, they may want to keep him for future seasons. Sometimes in an NFL environment players learn how to take better care of their bodies and how to avoid getting injured. Perhaps they will put Marshall on injured reserve, have him spend the season and the 2017 offseason around the facility, and let him give it a go next year.

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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.