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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)

In case you missed it

Little time to breathe for defense as Packers are next

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!