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Camp preview: LB's are the team's strength

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Camp preview: LB's are the team's strength

The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. Were going around the team to let you know what were looking for when practice gets underway. Yesterday we looked at the offense (line, backsreceivers). We start the defense today with the line and linebackers.Anticipated starters:LDE Adam Carriker
NT Barry Cofield
RDE Stephen Bowen
ROLB Brian Orakpo
LOLB Ryan Kerrigan
MLB London Fletcher
JLB Perry RileyCarriker might get challenged for his starting job (see Jarvis Jenkins below) but otherwise this group is set in stone. The linebacking corps is the strength of the team and that group is set up for success by the workmanlike guys up front. This will be their second full season playing as a unit (Riley played for half of the year) and should only get better. Their task during training camp will be to stay healthy and fine tune.Key reserves:DE Jarvis Jenkins
NT Chris Neild
OLB Rob Jackson
LB Lorenzo AlexanderJenkins has the talent to start but the versatility he showed in camp last year before he got injured may make him more valuable in a reserve role. He can rotate to give Bowen and Carriker a rest and play nose tackle on passing downs to provide some rush up the middle. Alexander can play inside or outside linebacker but even if he doesnt play a snap on defense his role on special teams makes him one of the teams key players.On the bubble:DE Kedric Golston, Kentwan Balmer, Darrion Scott, Doug Worthington
NT Chris Baker
LB Markus White, Chris Wilson, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl,The DEs listed are fighting for one or two spots. It seems like the coaches would like to see Balmer succeed as they are impressed with his size (6-5, 315) and the ability that made him a first-round pick of the 49ers. Robinson is not really on the bubble but he is unlikely to see many defensive snaps as he trains to be Fletchers eventual replacement. While it seems that Neild is safe, Baker could sneak up and steal his spot.Three things to watch:Will Riley take the next step? Riley did a lot of learning on the job last year, mixing some big plays with some obvious errors. If he can keep making the good plays while drastically reducing the mistakes the defense will be that much better.Can Cofield master the position? He came into camp last year right after signing as a free agent with little time to learn his new position. At about 310 lb., Cofield is quite a bit lighter than the typical 3-4 nose tackle but he managed the position last year by using leverage and quickness. With the offseason program behind him and a full training camp to work on his techniques he might be able to go from being adequate at the position to being pretty good.How long can London keep on keeping on? In a way, thats a dumb question as Fletcher shows no signs of slowing down. But all football players hit the wall at some point; its not a question of if, its a question of when. Chances are that he will play virtually every snap this year and lead the team in tackles again. But at some point . . .What do you want us to watch? Who do you think is on the bubble? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag RedskinsTalk.

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 was awfully wacky, wasn't it?

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USA Today Sports Images

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 was awfully wacky, wasn't it?

After Week 2, it looked like the NFL was being divided into three tiers: The bottom feeders, the inconsistent squads and the leaders.

After Week 3, though, those tiers have largely fallen apart.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

Blowouts came out of nowhere. Favorites lost to underdogs. And Joe Flacco looked good! (OK, only the first two happened).

After a classically wacky week in the league, how have the power rankings shifted? Click the above or below link to find out.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

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Three things that aren't being talked about enough from Redskins-Raiders

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USA TODAY Sports

Three things that aren't being talked about enough from Redskins-Raiders

Is that what it feels like to watch the Patriots on a weekly basis?

The Redskins 27-10 victory over the Raiders on Sunday night was about as impressive of a performance as the Burgundy and Gold has produced in recent memory.

That means many of the huge storylines — like the return of Really Good Kirk Cousins, a secondary that locked down Oakland's weapons and Chris Thompson casually posting a Julio Jones-like receiving stat line — that have, and will continue to be, hashed over. But there are a few topics that are being overlooked following the Week 3 Washington win.

Here are three Redskins-Raiders things that should be talked about a little more.

1) The Redskins didn't make many mistakes, but when they did, they recovered really nicely

The 'Skins were in control of that ballgame pretty much from the start. But there were some points, like Jamison Crowder's muffed punt or Samaje Perine's fumble, where the team gave Oakland some life.

Yet Jay Gruden's team deserves more shine for the way they bounced back from those errors. The defense forced a three-and-out after Dustin Hopkins missed a 52-yarder. They also held the Raiders to three deep in their own territory when Perine put the ball on the ground. And the offense, behind Thompson's 74-yard catch-and-run, put three points on the board right after the Silver and Black scored their only TD.

Those few moments caused those at FedEx Field to hold their breath. But the Redskins' resiliency was key in maintaining their breathing room.

MORE: WE TOOK SOME SWEET PHOTOS ON SUNDAY NIGHT

2) It was another incomplete effort from Dustin Hopkins

Speaking of Hopkins, Sunday night was a good but not perfect performance.

The Redskins' kicker missed the aforementioned attempt from 52 yards away, making Week 3 the second straight time out he's missed one from 50 and beyond. He converted all three of his extra points and was true on two other field goals so it wasn't all bad, but there'll be moments in 2017 when he'll be relied upon to hit from long range, and thus far, he's come up empty.

That miss is the type of thing that gets passed over in victories. Those are pointed to very quickly in losses, however.

3) You know the D-Line was a force, but let's not forget who they did it against, either

Jim Tomsula's unit made Derek Carr look more like his brother. Once you consider who they pushed around, though, their domination becomes even more notable.

The Raiders offensive line is regarded as one of the league's elite groups, but they looked pedestrian in D.C. The four sacks they allowed were the most they've given up in their last 20 regular season and playoff games. Greg Manusky's front seven will enjoy watching the film from this one.

RELATED: SEVEN OF THE BEST STATS FROM REDSKINS-RAIDERS