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Need to Know: Baby steps for RG3 today

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Need to Know: Baby steps for RG3 today

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 14, five days before the Redskins host the Steelers at FedEx Field.

A big step for Griffin

First he said it on Twitter:
There is no friction. There is an understanding between coach and player. That is all. Don't have to like everything

— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) August 12, 2013
And, since Mike Shanahan has stated that he isn’t on Twitter and doesn’t read Twitter, Robert Griffin III made an unscheduled stop by the media room at the Bon Secours training center to make sure that everyone got the message.

“I just want everybody to know if there’s any questions about if there’s a rift between me and Coach [Shanahan] or if there’s a conflict,” he said. “There is no conflict. Coach is Coach. I’m the player. Coach has a plan and I’m abiding by that plan. I’m doing everything the coaches are asking me to do. I trust those guys. They want me to have a long career and that’s what part of this plan is about.”

Well, I’m glad we have that settled now. Go on about your business, people.

Griffin finished up his statement by saying,  “That being said, I’m excited about tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow” in the statement is, of course, today, the day that RG3 is supposed to take snaps in 11 on 11 drills for the first time since training camp began almost three weeks ago.

It’s a big moment for Griffin but all indications are that it won’t be compelling viewing. I wouldn’t call in sick for work or anything in order to come out and see RG3’s initial full-team work of 2013.

His reps will be limited to fewer than ten, maybe a lot fewer. According to reports his snaps will come against the scout team defense also known as the last string defense. There won’t be any read option plays, nothing fancy out of the pistol formation.

Griffin will hand off a few times, he will throw a few short passes and that will be it.

It will be a big moment for Griffin, a major milestone in what has been, by all appearances, a remarkable recovery from having his knee reconstructive just over seven months ago. But it still will be a baby step for Griffin and baby steps aren’t always exciting except for the baby and for the parents.

We’ll be out there every step of the way to tell you what happens. If you want to join us from the spectator area at Bon Secours training center please do, but keep you expectations low.

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Today’s schedule (all practices open to the public at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center)

12:40—Single practice, players available coming off of the field

2:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

Loss of Thomas further thins safety corps

In case you missed it

Days until: Steelers @ Redskins 5; Preseason game No. 3 Bills @ Redskins 10; Eagles @ Redskins 25

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Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

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