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Minicamp quick hits

Minicamp quick hits

A few observations from today's Redskins minicamp:

  • As most of you know, I'm not much of a Colt Brennan guy but I have to say that I was impressed during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. He fired a few intermediate passes over the middle with great accuracy and authority and showed good touch on deep passes. I'm not ready to anoint him as a future star or anything but after today I'll be a lot less surprised if it does happen.
  • Brian Orakpo worked with the linebackers earlier in the session and with the defensive line later on. In the 11-on-11 he displayed a quick first move and good speed around the edge from a three-point stance. I'm a bit concerned about throwing too much at him with the two positions.
  • D. J. Hackett, the former Seahawk and Panther that the Redskins tried to sign as a free agent last year, was in for a non-roster tryout. He looked sharp, although he did have the advantage of having a good base of knowledge of Zorn's offense.
  • The best-looking receiver out there was Devin Thomas. He certainly seems to be in excellent shape and he's running sharp routes. It appears that, unlike last year, he "gets it".
  • I had a good chat with Zorn with just a couple of other reporters after the main media session had broken up. He walked us through the process of sorting out the tryout players. "First we identify the ones who are going to hurt themselves or hurt someone else. They're gone today," he said, smiling. "We didn't have any of those," he added.

    In his hand was a laminated version of the tryout roster that had been given to us. "It's kind of hard to sort them out when they just got here," Zorn said.

    He said that everyone probably would stick around until after the second session on Saturday and then they will probably thin some out before Sunday's single practice.
  • And, don't worry, the swine flu is under control at Redskins Park. The fist bump has replaced the handshake as the official greeting and hand sanitizers are all over the place.
  • If Phillip Daniels' knee holds out, he could contribute this year. He is in terrific shape. When I first glanced at him up close I thought he was wearing shells but, no, his upper arms are just that big.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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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. 

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