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Need to Know: Are the Redskins O-line starters settled?

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Need to Know: Are the Redskins O-line starters settled?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 5, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Here is the first Question of the Day to come via email. It’s from Josh:

Thanks for the question (but please call me Rich). To answer this one we’re going to open up the imaginary casino and take $100 worth of chips to bet on who will be the starter at each position.

Left tackle—Trent Williams $95, Morgan Moses $5; Just throwing the fiver down on Moses in case Williams isn’t healthy. Health could be a concern for Williams during the season. In 2014 he was on the injury report for 10 games and he missed one start and half of another game with knee and ankle injuries. Williams likely will plough through most or all of the season but they had better be confident in Moses to back him up.

Left guard—Shawn Lauvao $90, Josh LeRibeus $10; Last year Lauvao missed the Thursday night game against the Giants with a knee injury so there are health concerns here. But despite some fan chatter, a healthy Lauvao is a lock to start Week 1.

Center—Kory Lichtensteiger $95, Austin Reiter $5; Even though Lichtensteiger isn’t the ideal size for a Gruden-Callahan offensive lineman he knows how to use angles and leverage to compensate. It looks like he’s in this year with Reiter the early favorite to slide into the middle in 2016.

Right guard—Spencer Long $85, Arie Kouandjio $15; I’m only giving Kouandjio a slightly better chance than I give the others backups due to Long’s inexperience. Williams, Lauvao, and Lichtensteiger have combined to play several thousand NFL snaps while Long has played 18. I expect him to grab the job and run with it but there is a chance that Kouandjio develops quickly and is be better player by the time Week 1 comes around. Kouandjio is a rookie, too, but the point here is that the inexperience heightens the possibility of the unexpected happening.

Right tackle—Brandon Scherff $95, Tom Compton $5; Yes, Scherff has even fewer NFL snaps than Long. But the bet here is based on the politics of the situation as much as it is the football factors. Scherff was the fifth pick in the draft and Gruden was one of his biggest advocates. There is no way that Scherff will start the season on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I think that when all is said and done Scherff will have earned the right to start. But even if he doesn't earn it he'll start anyway.

Timeline

—It’s been 159 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 100 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 11; Redskins training camp starts 55; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 111

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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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