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Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Expectations vs. Ravens

Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Expectations vs. Ravens

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 7, 26 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 218 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 34 days.

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 3
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 12
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 48

Redskins hot topics

RICHMOND—Here is a look at what’s going on at Redskins training camp just a few days prior to the team’s first preseason game.

—Jay Gruden was asked about the performance of Bashaud Breeland so far in camp. He was very hesitant to answer. The transcript from PR read, “He’s doing good… He’s such a competitive guy. He gets in trouble sometimes, he’s so overly competitive, but for the most part, I like what he’s doing, man.” That ellipsis was an awkward moment of silence. The “overly competitive” part is what my main observation has been. He seems to gamble too much and he may be out of position sometimes. There is time to work it out but for right now the fourth-year player is not looking good.

—Gruden took a peek at the roster cut situation regarding head count at each position. He mentions what areas have the key battles. "Yeah, I've thought about a lot of different scenarios, both outside linebacker, safety, corner, inside backer. I mean, we have some issues we're going to have to deal with as far as the 53-man roster,” said Gruden. “I think it'll all play out. You know, everybody's happy with everybody right now, but at the end of the day, people are going to have to perform in the preseason.” There will be a lot on the line in the preseason games starting Thursday night in Baltimore.

—The two last items are questions from fans via Twitter and Facebook.

I’ll take one on each side of the ball. The offensive side is easy. RB Mack Brown will get a lot of chances to shine. Rob Kelley was dealing with some neck pain last week and he might not play at all. Chris Thompson’s snaps will be limited. Samaje Perine may get six carries. That will leave a lot of work for Brown, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry in the preseason last year.

On defense, I’ll go with a more obscure player. Inside LB Pete Robertson has been making plays all over the field in practice. I don’t think that the first-year player out of Texas Tech has much of a shot to make the roster but he will make his case for a practice squad spot or perhaps a look by another team.

Gruden was asked that on Sunday and his answer was, well, not an answer. "Not yet. We’ll see how we get through the next two practices, see where we are,” he said. But there is no reason to think that he will vary from what he has done in the past. In the first preseason game last year Kirk Cousins, Pierre Garçon, and DeSean Jackson each played the first possession, which lasted eight snaps. The starting offensive line stayed in and protected Colt McCoy for another series, a total of 17 snaps. So the correct answer here is one or two series, eight to 15 snaps.

If Galette doesn’t start he will play about the same number of snaps that the starters do. Brown should come in for nickel situations early and play some base defense later. Regardless, he will be on the same snap count as the starters.

Don’t ask me to figure out Jim Tomsula’s D-line rotation. There is no apparent pattern to go on. Watch and learn with the rest of us.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Top 5: Redskins players and positions to watch vs. Packers

Top 5: Redskins players and positions to watch vs. Packers

The Redskins stumbled out of the gate in their preseason opener after falling to the Baltimore Ravens 23-3. Washington showed very little offense as they struggled to move the ball for most of the game, while the defense suffered some key injuries.

Kirk Cousins and company look to rebound in their second preseason game as they host the Green Bay Packers this Saturday at 7:30 PM. 

CSN's Julie Donaldson and former NFL GM Charley Casserly give their top five players and positions to keep an eye on in the Redskins second preseason game.

RELATED: FOSTER, BROWN TO START VS. PACKERS, GRUDEN SAYS.

Charley Casserly Top 5:

5. Matt Ioannidis: "I like Ioannidis. I thought he played the best of the rest of the defensive lineman. He's a high motor guy, he gives you effort, he's quick."

4. Deshazor Everett: "I thought he played well the other night. I thought he covered well, I thought he was aggressive against the run, he made good tackles."

3. Outside Linebackers: "Hey Preston Smith, this is your opportunity. This is a big year for him because hey, we drafted a guy. Anytime we draft a guy, the pressure is on."

2. Kirk Cousins: "He's got an advantage here. Green Bay is down, two of their top three corners aren't playing. This passing game should be in sync this week."

1. Offensive Line: "This offensive line did not play last week...you got to come out, dominate the line of scrimmage, control the line of scrimmage, and set the tone for the game."

Julie Donaldson's Top 5:

5. Nico Marley: "He has a lot of heart. He's making a name for himself... this guy has more to show for us than just being Bob's grandson, but I want to see can he do it again..."

4. Deshazor Everett: Cc'd: Casserly's comments

3. Samaje Perine: "There were so many expectations for him, he looked a little bit lost. I'm kinda hoping those are just nerves..."

2. Offensive Line: "If Kirk Cousins is going to have any success, or anybody that goes behind him, if that run game is going to have any success then we need to get that o-line in sync."

1. Colt McCoy: "We are one injury away from Coly McCoy taking over this team."

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Josh Doctson looks good to go, new starters at LB and other practice notes

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AP

Josh Doctson looks good to go, new starters at LB and other practice notes

Josh Doctson looked like a first-round pick in Richmond, at least, until a hamstring injury knocked him off the Richmond practice fields for a few days. On Thursday, back in Ashburn, Doctson again showed his considerable talents.

Taking the field for 11v11 drills for the first time since he injured his hamstring. Doctson made three catches from QB Kirk Cousins. He showed the same fluidity and smoothness in his routes that he flahes in Richmond. 

Leaving the field, Doctson said he felt good. After practice, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Doctson "looked good." Gruden added the plan is to see how Doctson looks in warmups before the Packers game Saturday (6:30, CSN) night and then the team will decide if the second year wideout will play or not. 

Other notes and observations:

  • In season, the media gets to watch very little of NFL practices, especially in the time leading up to a game. Since Thursday's practice was still technically a training camp session, reporters got to stay and watch as the Redskins prepared for the Packers by running their scout team offense and defense. Cousins and the starting Redskins offense went up against the faux-Packers squad, complete with Dashaun Phillips dressed in a yellow penny playing the role of Ha-Ha Clinton Dix. It was very interesting to watch, and shows that the Redskins will be better prepared for Green Bay this week than they were for Baltimore last week. 
  • Thursday's practice also went much shorter than many of the recent sessions, another sign that the Redskins were treating the Packers game like a normal week. The team skipped the bulk of individual drills, 7v7 and cut down on special teams work. 
  • Deshazor Everett missed the practice session with a personal issue, per Gruden. The coach added that Everett is "okay."
  • Working in drills near the goal line - against the scout team - Cousins looked dialed in. He fired touchdowns to Vernon Davis and Terrelle Pryor.
  • Kendall Fuller has locked up the nickel cornerback role. It also looks like the four down linemen in nickel will start with Jon Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan. There will be plenty of changes and rotations among that group though.
  • Gruden announced after practice that Zach Brown and Mason Foster will start at the linebacker spots vs Green Bay. The team showed that duo in drills, which meant Will Compton got pushed to the second team. When that group was on the field, rookie Montae Nicholson tipped a pass at the goal line. Compton came up with it for the INT. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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