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Need to Know: 5 under the radar Redskins who will be playmakers in 2014

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Need to Know: 5 under the radar Redskins who will be playmakers in 2014

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 30, eight day before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

The preseason is finally over and we can move on to the games that actually count. But the practice games were useful in confirming a few things I’d seen in training camp and earlier regarding some of the lesser-known players on the team. Here are five under-the-radar players who will be on everyone’s radar by the end of the season.

WR Ryan Grant—Their fifth-round draft pick is as fundamentally sound as any rookie at any position. He makes up for his lack of blazing speed with solid route running and excellent hands. Sooner rather than later he will be the fourth receiver and contributing.

FB Darrel Young—The converted linebacker has been on the roster since 2010 but he hasn’t done much offensively. Jay Gruden will change that this year. Young won’t become a full-fledged offensive weapon by any means but he should make a few memorable plays running and receiving.

ILB Keenan Robinson—The third-year player who has only a half a season of experience has drawn some attention due to the fact that he’s replacing London Fletcher. But he’s a legitimate playmaker. He will make plenty of mistakes but his speed and coverage skills should allow him to make some plays from the Mike linebacker position.

DE Chris Baker—Sure “Big Swaggy” gets attention due to his size and his big personality. But he is much more than just flash; Baker is a rare combination of size, speed and agility. He will end up in the backfield getting a sack or tackle for loss on a regular basis.

CB Bashaud Breeland—The rookie fourth-round pick will get burned from time to time—news flash, every cornerback does—but will also has the capability of making highlight quality interceptions on occasions.

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

—Final preseason kickoff stats: Zach Hocker 12 kickoffs, 3 touchbacks, 6 returned inside the 20. Kai Forbath 8 KO’s, 1 TB, 1 in 20, 1 out of bounds. If Hocker ends up getting the nod that could be the reason why.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability; Roster must be reduced to 53 by 4 p.m.

—It’s been 244 days since the Redskins played a game; in eight days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 15; Redskins @ Eagles 22; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 27

In case you missed it

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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.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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