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Need to Know: Already a winner in Redskins' competition at left guard?

Need to Know: Already a winner in Redskins' competition at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 1, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.

Read and react

Some quotes from Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins with my reaction to them.

Gruden on the situation at left guard: “We’re going to let them compete this week, let them get a lot of reps and see how it goes. Right now, I’d say Spencer Long has probably got the leg up, but we’ll see.”
React: Long is supposedly competing with Arie Kouandjio to see who replaces Shawn Lauvao in the starting lineup. But it looks like Long has the clear edge. Per a source, he took the majority of the first-team reps in practice. He will probably get the call but I wouldn’t rule out Kouandjio getting his shot at some point later this season.

Cousins on the two overthrows of Jordan Reed in the end zone in the second quarter against the Giants: "Yeah, I thought the first one Jordan beat him so much that a part of me said, 'Don't overthrow him. Just give him a chance,’ you know? When you win that much at the line of scrimmage, you start to try to aim it and try to give him a chance to just make sure it's not overthrown. As a result, sure enough, when you start aiming it and not throwing it, it gets underthrown and the [defender] was able to recover . . .  then other one to Jordan was a tough deal where the protection, the safety blitz got on me quickly and I wasn't able to set my feet and let it go. And that was another one where you felt like Jordan had beat his guy and if the ball had been able to be thrown further out potentially could've been a touchdown as well.
React: If Cousins makes these two throws, there is not nearly as much conversation about his interceptions. It’s OK to throw some interceptions if you don’t let opportunitites for positive plays get away. That's why we talk about touchdowns compared to interceptions instead of talking about each of them in isolation. If he learns from his mistakes, he’ll be fine. If not, well, it will be someone else’s turn on the Redskins’ quarterback carousel.

Gruden spreading the credit for the team only allowing four sacks in three games: When you're talking about sack numbers, a lot of people want to point just to the offensive line, but really it's the quarterback also. It's throwing the ball on rhythm. It's getting the ball out of your hands when there's pressure. It’s tight ends in protection if need be if they're chipping. It's the running backs in protection. It's the receivers going to the right depth and being in the right spot.
React: I trust that we all realize now that sacks are not the sole responsibility of the offensive line. A quarterback can prevent a lot of them. Last year, with a generally poor offensive line, and this year, with an improved line, Cousins has been among the better QBs in the league at keeping himself upright.

Cousins said that he went back and watched the film of his start against the Eagles last year: “I watched that game film this week and really it was I guess a pleasant surprise to see how far I’ve come since that game. It was a productive game offensively, but, boy, we left a lot of plays out there. I thought my footwork was pretty inconsistent. I thought some of my decision making or just my overall procedure of playing the quarterback position was inconsistent at times.”
React: Cousins completed 30 of 48 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns in that 37-34 loss in Philly last October. It would not seem to be a game that a quarterback would look back and have the feeling that he should have done something better. It is good that Cousins can find things that need to be corrected even after an extremely productive game.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden, Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 3 Redskins @ Falcons 10; Redskins @ Jets 17

In case you missed it

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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