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Need to Know: A heavy workload for Perry Riley

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Need to Know: A heavy workload for Perry Riley

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 11, four days before the Redskins play the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Nickel coverage

1. Starting inside linebacker Perry Riley played 81 of the team’s 83 snaps on defense and then 16 more on special teams. Meanwhile, backup ILB Nick Barnett was active but did not play. I’m not sure why a healthy, active linebacker is sitting out special teams altogether while a starter playing against a hurry-up offense designed to wear down a defense is taking on extra duties covering kicks.

2. Riley was one of 13 defensive players who played more than 20 snaps. Barnett was one of seven active defensive players who played fewer than 10 snaps. For all of the talk about how deep this team is you’d think they might have utilized that depth a bit more against a team running the offense the Eagles did.

3. It looks like Pro Football Focus was more impressed with the Redskins’ offensive line than I was when I did my offensive grades. I gave the unit a D while PFF (premium content) gave all but Tyler Polumbus a positive rating and the right tackle was only minus-0.4. I did point out that two of the three sacks of RG3 came on blitzes and may have been the responsibility of backs who didn’t pick them up. Still, I just thought they didn’t look like they have their act together and Griffin faced consistent pass pressure up the middle. Perhaps we’re both right, they performed OK as individuals but they didn’t work as a cohesive unity.

4. It wasn't exactly stunning to learn that someone from the NFL telling Robert Griffin III to put his knee brace inside his uniform pants was the result of a "miscommunication". It just seemed dumb after he wore the brace on the outside last year. You have to think that the brace functions better when it's worn where it was designed to be worn.

5. Pierre Garçon is taking some heat for the Cary Williams interception, the play early in the third quarter that set up what proved to be the winning points for the Eagles. Some are saying that he should have come back to the ball instead of letting Williams dive and make the pick. Maybe he should have but I don’t think he expected Williams to come flying into the picture and grab the ball. Garçon wasn’t inclined to move up and meet the ball because he wanted to make sure he maintained enough yardage to convert the third and 11. It looks to me like Williams just make a heck of a play.

Stat of the day

—Griffin completed 25 of 36 passes in the last 29 minutes of play on Monday. In entire games last year he only had more attempts once (39 vs. Carolina) and more completions once (26 @ Bucs). Obviously putting the ball in the air that many times is not part of the Redskins’ game plan.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Packers 4; Lions @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Raiders 18

—Today’s schedule: Player availability in locker room 11:15; Practice 1:00; Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00)

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Little time to breathe for defense as Packers are next

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?