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Need to Know: Both teams in good health

Need to Know: Both teams in good health

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 6, three days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. The Eagles’ Cary Williams and Riley Cooper got into a scuffle in practice yesterday. As you can see from the video from CSNPhilly.com, it wasn’t exactly a knockdown, drag-out affair.

Williams was one of the few Eagles who did not toe the harmonious company line after Cooper was caught on tape yelling a racial slur. “I think there’s no place for that word in anybody’s language, in anybody’s mouth or off anybody’s tongue, whether you’re black, white, green, purple, blue,” Williams said soon after the tape was uncovered. “It’s still the same meaning, it’s still a harsh word.” They both said things were “cool” later that afternoon but the situation bears watching.

2. If you had said a year ago that Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III would be playing in a Monday night opener and neither quarterback was asked to compare and contrast himself to his opposite number it would have been a major upset. But during Griffin’s press conference on Wednesday and Vick’s conference call with D. C. area reporters earlier that afternoon such a question was not asked. Vick’s name did not come up in RG3’s presser and Vick was asked to comment on Griffin only regarding coming back from injuries.

3. Trent Williams talked about the moments before coming out of the tunnel before a game. You hear from retired players who say that this is the kind of thing the miss the most.

It's electric. You never forget it. It's a feeling that is hard to describe but once you feel it you'll never forget it. I'm not yelling but it's kind of hard to stay quiet. You're so hyped. The game can't come fast enough once the smoke starts coming out and they call your name. It's just a rush, man.

4. Adam Carriker was not exactly emotional when he talked to reporters in the locker room for the first time this calendar year but he sounded very, very determined. Tarik has the post on it here. Him talking about swinging at things with a baseball bat during his bad days was pretty powerful. I don’t know how the saga will turn out but it’s hard not to root for the guy.

5. It’s hard to complain about the Redskins’ injury report. Only three players listed and two of them, Barry Cofield (hand) and Kirk Cousins (foot) practiced fully. Only Brandon Meriweather (groin) was limited. Yes, that’s groin, not knee. Mike Shanahan said that the knee is fine and that the groin is a new and unrelated injury. For the Eagles two reserves, CB Brandon Hughes (hand), T Dennis Kelly (back), were held out of practice.

Stat of the day

—The Redskins had 31 sacks last year and nine of them (29 percent) came in their two games against the Eagles.

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Timeline

—It’s been 240 days since the last Redskins game; there are three days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Packers 9; Lions @ Redskins 16

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; player availability and Mike Shanahan press conference after practice (approx. 1:30)

Morris makes the running game go

In case you missed it

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips