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Need to Know: 5 Redskins notes and quotes after Thursday's OTA

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Need to Know: 5 Redskins notes and quotes after Thursday's OTA

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 30, 18 days before the start of minicamp.

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(Still on vacation, enjoying some beautiful sunsets in the Outer Banks. But fresh content is back in your Need to Know. I still might be slow in approving first comments and responding.)

Here are five key notes and quotes on Jay Gruden’s remarks following yesterday’s OTA.

When Gruden was asked about how Robert Griffin III performed, he was sure to spread some praise to all three QB’s on the roster: “Robert, all the quarterbacks, have done a great job as far as terminology is concerned. We tried to have some carryover from last year, there’s a lot of new plays, formations. He’s done an excellent job as far as his command of the huddle – that’s always been a positive of his – spitting out the plays and not having many mentals at all. So we’re impressed with all three quarterbacks, the way they’ve handled it – Colt [McCoy], Kirk [Cousins] and Robert.”

I’ve been saying all offseason that the organization would like for Keenan Robinson to step into the inside linebacker spot vacated by London Fletcher’s retirement. Gruden offered some very encouraging words when asked about Robinson: “Mentally he’s in good shape. [Inside Linebackers] Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti has done a great job with him getting him up to speed. Physically, he looks excellent to me. He’s running, he’s long and he can run sideline to sideline in pass coverage. He’s disruptive. He gets into zones and is a big guy to throw over. He can cover tight ends, he can cover backs. We have high hopes for Keenan and we love the progress he’s making. Just from a short period of time, he’s one of the guys on the field that stand out, ‘Is that Keenan again?’”

Speaking of players the organization are counting on, here’s what Gruden had to say about Phillip Thomas: “Phillip’s done a great job also. He had a great interception today. He’s just getting back in the flow and [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] is working with him and doing a good job, and between he and [safety Brandon] Meriweather, we expect good things from that safety spot.”

Gruden appreciates good tight end play and he sees great things for Jordan Reed: “No question he has done an excellent job. He is obviously a force in the passing game. We got to work him a little [on] being more stout in the running game because it is important for a guy like that. But overall I think he has had no drawbacks from his concussion…knock on wood . . . If people want to crowd DeSean or crowd [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon], he’s a guy that is very much needed in the passing game, so we just got to keep him healthy and get him going.”

Gruden has been pumping the brakes on Morgan Moses all along and he did it again on Thursday. “We’ll see. All these rookies right now, they’re obviously just, like we brought it up earlier, they are struggling a bit mentally but you can see some talent there. Him and [guard] Spencer Long both have done a great job with the offensive line. There’s a lot to learn as far as offensive line play, picking up the stunts, all the run schemes that we have – inside zones, outside zones and then the pass protections we have. We have nine or 10 pass protections already and maybe more, so it’s a grind for them mentall,y but you can see the talent is there.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 150 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 100 days until the play the Texans in their season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 18; Training camp 54; Redskins @ Eagles 114

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.