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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 3, 10 days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns.

If you need to catch up on what's happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

A lot is riding on “developing” right side of offensive line

RICHMOND—The Redskins have made no secret of the fact that they intend to run the ball far more often than they did in 2014. But in order to do that they will need for the revamped right side of the offensive line to be effective, if not stellar. And, according to Jay Gruden, that’s not necessarily a given.

"That’s just where they are—they’re developing,” the Redskins head coach said when asked about the progress of second-year right guard Spencer Long and rookie right tackle Brandon Scherff. “Spencer’s got a little bit of a leg-up because he had all of last year. I mentioned it before, Spencer missed a lot of his senior year, so he didn’t get as many reps and he was still developing.”

Long missed a good chunk of his senior year at Nebraska with a knee injury and he played just 16 offensive snaps. He has the benefit of having a full season of being on an NFL roster. That helps, but watching film, attending meetings, and working the scout team at practice doesn’t fully prepare a player to step in and be a starter.

At least he has more experience than Scherff.

“And Brandon, he’s a rookie, you know?” said Gruden. “He’s got a lot to pick up in a short amount of time. Week 1 we have [Dolphins defensive end] Cameron Wake coming right at him, so he’s got to pick it up quickly. He’s played right tackle and right guard in training camp and he’s doing a wonderful job so far. A long way to go, a lot to learn, he’s going to learn from the best, one of the best. Ryan Kerrigan is showing him the ropes a little bit and we’re going to use that knowledge and that experience to his advantage, that’s for sure."

Wake had 11.5 sacks last year and has averaged over 10 sacks per season during his six-year NFL career.

In practice, the two have been doing just fine, although they just donned their pads on Saturday. We will be a better indication of where they are next week when the Houston Texans come to town and the line will be facing the likes of JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney (if he is off of the PUP list by then) and Vince Wilfork.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins walkthrough, 10:35 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference approx. 2:45; Redskins practice, 3 p.m.

—It’s been 218 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 41 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 10; final cuts 33; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 52

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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

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