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Need to Know: 5 questions Jay Gruden must answer before Redskins OTAs

Need to Know: 5 questions Jay Gruden must answer before Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 22, five days before the start of OTAs.

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Here are the five biggest questions facing Jay Gruden as he gets ready to take his team into the meat of the offseason program with OTAs next week.

What plays should be thrown out? There are many more plays in the playbook that he and Sean McVay have assembled than can be used. Part of OTAs will be figuring out which ones will work and which ones they should hit the delete button on. The more he can figure out in advance which plays will be most effective the more efficiently the limited practice time can be used.

What does the depth chart on the offensive line look like? With a new coaching staff, everyone should have a fair shot at a roster spot and a starting job. But you have to line them up in some order to begin with and the initial order always has influence on the final order. The most important question is whether the draft status of Morgan Moses and Spencer long should trump the experience of players like Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis.

How about the wide receiver depth chart? It’s not quite as muddled as the line with the top three jobs set in stone but beyond that there are three or four spots that are wide open. Who gets first shot at lining up wit the second unit to work with Kirk Cousins at quarterback?

What is the schedule going to be? Most teams use the allotted practice time for rookie camp in one session. Gruden did it differently, splitting it into two shorter sessions with meeting in between. Will he break from the mold during OTAs? Will he give players input into the decision?

Should it be all work and no play? Mike Shanahan would occasionally give the players a break from the grind and take the players to the movies or have a family picnic day at Redskins Park. As a veteran coach with a lot of authority, he had the pull to be able to do something like this. Does Gruden want mix in some fun activities and, if he does, will he feel comfortable in doing so?

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Timeline

—It’s been 144 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 108 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.

Days until: OTAs 5; Training camp starts 62; Redskins @ Eagles 122

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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