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Need to Know: 5 observations on the Redskins' 53-man roster

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Need to Know: 5 observations on the Redskins' 53-man roster

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 1, six days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Five observations about the Redskins’ 53-man roster:

—The waiver claim of Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho makes a lot of sense. It’s hard for a team that’s as needy at safety as the Redskins to turn down the chance to get a player who started 14 games and three playoff games, including the Super Bowl. According to some reports he is a box safety with limited coverage skills. The fact that he’s not an all-around safety is not surprising since such players are very rarely available on the waiver wire. We will see how quickly he can get up to speed.

—I still am puzzled by the decision to let both Chris Thompson and Lache Seastrunk go, even though Thompson has returned to the practice squad. Keeping at least one speed back on the 53-man roster seems to be the smart way to go. But if Thompson can stick on the practice practice squad and develop there instead of while taking up roster spots it will be a case of all’s well that ends well.

—Right now I’m not sure if the Redskins are better off on the offensive line than they were a year ago but they could be better a year from now. There might be a slight upgrade in the starters with Kory Lichtensteiger taking over for Will Montgomery at center and Shawn Lauvao moving in at left guard. But if Morgan Moses and Spencer Long can develop into starters as projected (and/or if Josh LeRibeus can as well) it could be a major upgrade. But draft picks carry no guarantees, especially not third rounders, so we will have to wait and see.

—The most improved unit on the team clearly is wide receiver. Pierre Garçon, Santana Moss, and Aldrick Robinson are back. DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Ryan Grant replace Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, and Nick Williams. You don’t need much explanation or advanced stats to tell you that it’s a better unit.

—A few numbers: The Redskins’ roster has 25 players on offense, 25 on defense, and three specialists. A total of 24 players were not on the 53-man roster at any point last year. Of those, 21 are new to the Redskins organization in 2014. A total of 24 of them were drafted by the Redskins.

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Stat of the day

—DeSean Jackson had 25 plays with gains for 20 yards or more in the regular season with the Eagles last year plus one in the playoffs. On the drives where Jackson had those explosive plays the Eagles scored 17 touchdowns, kicked seven field goals, and missed two field goals.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 10:45; player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 12:30).

—It’s been 246 days since the Redskins played a game; in six days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 13; Redskins @ Eagles 20; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 25

In case you missed it

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Final injury report: Three Redskins out for Sunday

Final injury report: Three Redskins out for Sunday

Redskins

Out

C Spencer Long (concussion)—He missed the second half of the Cardinals game and has been in the concussion protocol this week. John Sullivan will start in his place.

S Will Blackmon (concussion)—Blackmon also has been in the concussion protocol and has not practiced all week. Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho will handle the safety position.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the Arizona game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

G Shawn Lauvao (groin)—It was a surprise to see him watching practice on Wednesday as no injury had been reported for him. But he came in for treatment and did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, Arie Kouandjio will start at left guard.

OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Fortunately Trent Williams is back from his suspension; Nsekhe was the starter while he was out. If Nsekhe is out, Vinston Painter will be the swing backup tackle.

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—After missing last week’s game with a third-degree separation of the AC join in his left shoulder, Reed was able to practice on a limited basis this week. If range of motion is still an issue he could sit or play very limited snaps. If it’s a matter of pain tolerance he will be a full go.  

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Eagles.

DE Chris Baker (ankle)—Baker missed some practice this week but he should be able to go against the Eagles although his level of effectiveness will bear watching.

Also questionable for the Redskins: DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Derek Carrier (knee)

Eagles

Questionable

WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) and RB Ryan Matthews (knee) were full in practice all week and it seems likely that the Eagles’ leading receiver and rusher, respectively, will play on Sunday. Up in the air is the status of WR Dorial Green-Beckham (oblique), who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) will miss his third straight game. He had a rough start in his NFL debut against the Redskins in Week 6 but he remained the starter until getting injured in Week 11. Since then the Eagles have moved LG Alan Barbre to right tackle with Stefen Wisniewski going in at left guard.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - WR Ryan Grant opens up about good and bad of NFL life

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USA Today Sports

New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - WR Ryan Grant opens up about good and bad of NFL life

Ryan Grant generates a ton of reaction from Redskins fans - and it's not always postive. The third-year wideout sat down with JP Finlay to talk about the ups and downs of life in the NFL. 

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates