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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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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys. The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.

Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation.

The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family.

 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

RELATED: COWBOYS WR LUCKY WHITEHEAD'S DOG REPORTEDLY HELD FOR RANSOM