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Redskins notebook: Nine OTA takeaways

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Redskins notebook: Nine OTA takeaways

1) Theabsent-minded head coach: It's all good now according to Mike Shanahan, but last Monday's accidentalcollision at practice with cornerback Brandyn Thompson that knocked the head coach to the ground also knocked him loopy for a time.Those guys didnt think I could take a hit at 59. I proved I can take a hit," Shanahan said during his Thursday post-practice press conference. "I did talk to the team afterward, which was about 10 minutes after I got hit. I do not remember the conversation I had with the team. I really dont. It took me probably about 20 minutes, 25 minutes, to recover because I hit my head pretty good on the turf. I was fine, really, about 20 minutes afterward. I was fine.Shanahan addedthat during his38 yearsroaming practice fields he's been pushedor brushed against a time or two, he's "never taken a shot like that.2) Participation report: I wrote about this here, but those who did not practice on Thursday included Leonard Hankerson (hip), Brian Orakpo (pectoral), Adam Carriker (foot blisters), Steven Bowen (knee), Jonathan Goff (knee) and running back Tim Hightower (knee surgery). Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) participated in individual and unit drills only. Barry Cofield and Tanard Jackson were both absent, but Shanahan said both were excused. During the two weeks of OTAs, Shanahan said, "Weve got 100 attendance. If a guy has missed, its been an excused absence.3) Random RG3 things: The latest sign the kid gets it came when he described his plan for rewarding his offensive lineman during the season. "My familys from New Orleans, Louisiana. I know how to cook beignets. For every no-sack victory, theyll get beignets and I think theyll love those. As for how the rookie is handling the second week of OTAs, I wrote about that over here.4) Safety dance: While there was plenty of mixing and matching with the first and second unit, Reed Doughty continues to primarily work with the reserves. As for the absent but excused Jackson, Shanahan said the original planwas forhim to return today. until it wasn't. "He was going to practice for the first day today, but over the last couple weeks with his shoulder and his legs, he wasnt ready to go. But hes approved to practice and he should be ready for tomorrow or Monday.5) Tight end watch, part one: Regarding Chris Cooley, Shanahan said, Hes been doing fine. No setback with his knee. I think he strained his groin a little bit two days ago, and hes fine today. Theres no swelling on the knee, no setback there. Thats a good sign because hes been working for the last few weeks pretty hard. Thats a positive sign.6) Tight end watch, part two: I'm always fascinated when someone wants to make declarations about player X having a breakout practice, especially this early in the process when nobody is wearing pads. My goal is toneverbe that guy.With that said, one player who did turn some heads was Niles Paulafter flashing his deep threat on multiple plays down field, including a scoring pass from Rex Grossman.In the modern NFL, having tight ends that are built and run like wide receivers isbecoming the norm so any indication that the second-year player can be that type of option is interesting. Seeing how he handles the blocking side of things when the pads do come out is another andarguably more important matter.7) Don't blame the pancake social: Orakpo did some individual and unitwork, but waskept off thefield during 11-on-11 drill because ofhis left pectoral muscle, which he originally injured late last season. "He kind of had it get pushed back a little bit," Shanahan said. "We did an MRI on it, and it was no problem. It was just a little bit sore, probably some scar tissue in there from the surgery. We just kept him out of team drills, but he did all individual drills so he should be fine.8) Offensive line: Another practice, another day talking about Jammal Brown's yoga habits. Fine, the media were the one's asking the questions about it, but they came up after he practiced with the first unit at right tackle. Both the player and head coach continue to believe yoga is indeed helping the flexibility in his surgically repaired let hip. Let's see where we are with this in training camp, which is when Lichtensteiger believes he will be active practice participant. With Lichtensteiger sitting out during team drills, Tyler Polumbuslinedup at left guard with the first unit.9) Brian Banks: Shanahan said he called and spoke with Banks, aformer USC linebacker recruit who had his football career cut short in 2002when he plead no contest to a schoolmate's false accusation of rape at the age of 17. Banks spent his next five years in a jail cell and is now seeking an opportunity in the NFL. One is expected to come next week when he visits Redskins Park for a workout. "I think when somebody goes through the situation that he went through, he deserves an opportunity to try out for somebody," Shanahan said. "This kid deserves a chance."

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!