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Ranking the Redskins' pillars among the NFL's best

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Ranking the Redskins' pillars among the NFL's best

There is a long held belief that if an NFL team has a strong player at eachof the following positions secured, success should follow: quarterback,offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner. While the specific weight put on eachhas varied over the years - more than ever passers are paramount to goodfortune in this overt aerial age and some will argue the value of a left tacklehas dipped - the overall concept is one I've followed since my younger days(Ken Beatrice had something to do with this).CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco used this angle to come up with his "four-prongedrankings", focusing on the 2012 season - with seemingly little to zeroemphasis on the future, on upside.Let's emphasize that last point because I feel confident it will take readersof this post, from the rabid face painters to the doom and gloomers, a fewmoments to even comprehend where Prisco's calculations put the Redskins. Let's put it this way. If you used Beatrice's catch phrase "YOURNEXT" every time a new team was revealed, you would utter it 31 times,uncovering every other NFL franchise before the Redskins popped up. After theColts and Vikings, after the Seahawks and Cardinals come the burgundy and gold.Here's how Prisco's math on the locals came to be:- the top player on each team at each position is ranked 1-32 within hiscategory (in other words, Brian Orakpo is listed but not Ryan Kerrigan). Thetop player receives 32 points and so on. However, factoring in the pass-happytimes we live in, points are doubled for the quarterbacks. - The Redskins core four of Robert Griffin III (26 among quarterbacks),Trent Williams (19), Orakpo (14) and DeAngelo Hall (31) combined for 49 points.That's two less than the Cardinals, who managed to somehow top the Redskinseven though the position of their best player (Larry Fitzgerald) is not evenpart of the equation. - The 49 points is also 86 less than the team in first. Nope, not thePackers with Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 quarterback) or the Texans with premiertackle Duane Brown or the Jets and top pass defender Darrelle Revis. In the truestdefinition of adding insult to injury...the Cowboys finished first (rankingDeMarcus Ware tops among pass rushers helped)- Like the draft, RG3 came in one spot behind of Andrew Luck - but alsotrailed Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. Like I said,upside apparently meant squat. -As for Williams and Orakpo, theirrankings seem reasonable(Orakpo is ahead of the 49ers' top blitzer Aldon Smith). Truth is, so doesHall's. No doubt having to scroll down and down this list to find the Redskins was surprisingand instinctively put me into a dukes up position, at first anyway. Obviouslyif the rookie quarterback does a reasonable Cam Newton (11) or Andy Dalton (19)impression, Griffin's ranking will have been too low. Looking at the passers inany way beyond a 2012 prism changes the list, for the good, for the locals thatis.For now, RG3s low number combined with Hall receiving no help from the Russianjudge put the Redskins building blocks into the unenviable position of looking upat all others, on this list anyway.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

ASHBURN, VA—Here is a look at what Jay Gruden covered in his Monday news conference after the Redskins’ win over the Giants.

—We hit on some of the major injury news but there is the complete list: “DeAngelo [Hall], torn ACL, has surgery – he’ll be out for the season. [Bashaud] Breeland, he got an MRI, he has strained tendons in his ankle – he’ll be week to week. Shawn Lauvao has a moderate ankle sprain, we’re going to evaluate him on a week-to-week basis. [Kory] Lichtensteiger has a moderate calf strain, again, week-to-week. [Josh] Doctson went out to pregame warmup and could not push off the way he wanted to, his Achilles was too sore, so we’ve just got to continue to treat him and figure out the roots of the problem and try to get it fixed. DeSean Jackson aggravated his knee and ankle, came back and finished the game. And [Dashaun] Phillips has a hamstring strain. That is it.”

—Gruden said that the loss of a veteran leader like Hall was a big one. “It’s a lot. He’s a captain, you know? He’s coming along, playing a lot better and better at safety, so it’s pretty significant.”

—He tried to sell the 0-3 Browns as a big threat but he wasn’t very convincing. “It’s a tough opponent, very good coaching staff, and got a lot of work to do.”

—Kirk Cousins was pretty good according to the coach but they need to get touchdowns in the red zone. “We tried a quarterback draw one time and we missed the hole a little bit. Had a couple throws that were covered, just couldn’t get it done. Can’t put a finger on one person in that area. It’s not all on Kirk,”

—Going into it, Gruden was about as confident as a coach could be on the fake punt play in the third quarter. “We did it in practice and Tress Way has a great arm – very accurate. Coaching staff on the special teams side of it saw that it was a possibility. We practiced it. He caught it every time but the first day in the walkthrough.”

—A majority of those in the press box plus the TV broadcast crew all thought that David Bruton had made a spectacular interception when he ripped the ball away from Odell Beckham in the end zone. So did Gruden. “I’ve heard that everybody says it was an interception except for the replay guy. I don’t know what the rule is. We just have got to live by it. I thought his elbow was down, I thought his butt was down, I thought he had control of the ball.” Gruden admitted that, like most of us, he doesn’t know what a catch is.

—The Redskins aren’t thinking about cranking out another winning streak like the one late last year that got them into the playoffs. “Yeah, I think the only thing you can do is… the ultimate clich√© is take it one game at a time. That’s the only thing can do. You can’t look ahead.”

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Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Facing multiple injuries, all options on table for Redskins O-line, including Trent Williams at guard.

For the second year in a row Redskins left guard Shawn Lauvao got injured playing against the New York Giants in Week 3. Lauvao's injury, combined with an injury to center Kory Lichtensteiger, left the Washington offensive line in disrepair. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that both offensive linemen are now on a week to week basis, and it sounds quite possible neither player will go next week against Cleveland. The coach called both injuries "moderate" - ankle sprain for Lauvao and calf strain for Lichtensteiger. 

The injuries mean the 'Skins are likely to bring in new linemen, particularly at center. 

"We're going to have to," Gruden said when asked about new help for the line. 

Once Lauvao and Lichtensteiger were injured in the Giants game, Gruden was forced to try an interesting combination. Veteran left tackle Trent Williams slid down to guard and Ty Nsekhe took over for Williams at tackle.

Importantly for the 'Skins, the results weren't bad.  

"He's so good at tackle but he actually played pretty darn good at guard," Gruden said of Williams. 

"He's a great athlete, probably be a good center too," the coach joked. 

MORE REDSKINS: NEXT MAN UP IS ROOKIE IN WASHINGTON

But Williams playing more guard should not be laughed at. The Redskins showed some of their best run game of the season late in the win against New York with Williams lined up next to Nsekhe.

Further, the coaching staff has repeatedly talked about how much they like Nsekhe as a tackle but that there was no spot for him with Williams and Morgan Moses healthy. As unusual as it sounds, with Williams at guard allows Nsekhe to get on the field at tackle. 

The Redskins do have another option in house: Arie Kouandjio. In his second year out of Alabama, Kouandjio has the size needed to play guard, but he is yet to be active on gameday this season and has been considered more of a development project than a player that is ready to roll. 

If Kouandjio is ready, he can play left guard and Williams stays in his normal spot at left tackle, protecting Kirk Cousins' blind side. 

"We'll just have to evaluate that situation and see how it goes, see how Arie does at left guard," Gruden said. "Ty is an excellent player, there's no question about it, but to move your Pro Bowl left tackle out of the mix to guard is something that's a little unique and hard to do."

Scot McCloughan made some strong moves last season bringing in players as injuries impacted the Redskins. Looks like the GM will again have that opportunity, this time on the offensive line.