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Need to Know: 5 things we've learned about the 2014 Redskins

Need to Know: 5 things we've learned about the 2014 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 29, one day before the Redskins cut their roster to 53.

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The offseason is finally over. The Redskins are going to cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. tomorrow, establish their practice squad Sunday, and get to work on Monday. Jay Gruden was hired as the team’s head coach on January 9; here is what we’ve learned about him and the team since then.

They are going to run the ball—Although Gruden may be somewhat reluctant to do it, the Redskins are going to run the ball a lot. “The strength of our football team would be, I would say, our running game,” he said earlier this week. With Robert Griffin III struggling to adjust to being a pocket passer and examining the entire field, that is the wise course of action.

Special teams will be better—Rob Jackson might be a better linebacker than Gabe Miller and Everette Brown but he was released this week anyway. Why? “It’s not just how well you play that position, it’s what you do that can help the team in other spots, special teams for instance,” said Gruden. Remember that when you hear about any cuts tomorrow that don’t make sense on the face of them. The answer will lie special teams. Ben Kotwica will have heavy input into the determination of the last half dozen or so roster spots.

Jim Haslett really is in charge of the defense—A more aggressive defense doesn’t necessarily mean a better defense. But after getting retained as defensive coordinator Haslett will at least get a chance to do things the same way. It seems that Gruden is keeping a proper balance between being aware and meddling.

Alfred Morris is ready for the season—This is a good thing for the Redskins due to the top item in this list. He’s been running with confidence ever since his first carry of OTAs. It continued through training camp and the preseason games.

DeSean Jackson is fast—He didn’t always turn it on 100 percent during the offseason but when he did it was eye catching. It looks like Griffin is still adjusting to having a guy with his speed as a target; they have been very much hit or miss when the media has been able to observe them work. But if/when they ever start to hit consistently it will be something to see.

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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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

—It’s been 243 days since the Redskins played a game; in nine days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Final cuts 1; Home opener vs. Jaguars 16; Redskins @ Eagles 23

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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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