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Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 6, one day before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

—Brady and Belichick have been together for 15 years. Gruden and Griffin have known each other for about six months. The Redskins’ coach dreams of getting to where Belichick is. “It takes a lot of time,” he said. “It takes a lot of trust, a lot of wins, a lot of ups and downs that you fight through together. You work out together, off the field, on the field. Like you said, 15 years, I think it is now? That’s something that you only hope to have, you only dream of having as a head coach.”

—What is secondary coach Raheem Morris looking for during the joint practices and in Thursday’s preseason opener against New England? “Really, I’m just looking for these guys to be physical,” he said. “We’ve done all of the running around in shorts you can do, stuff you can do in underwear. And now it’s time to put your pads on and go out and hit some people. I want to see these guys have contact and go out and play football the way it’s supposed to be played.”

—Morris is happy to get his guys a chance to get his guys to play against one of the best in the business. “Tom is arguably one of the best if not the best guy in the league,” he said. “Any time you get a chance to go against a guy like Tom who’s going to be accurate, going to be pinpoint, going to know exactly what he wants to do. That’s always helpful, that’s always nice to see. We practice against a pretty good one ourselves but when you get a chance to go against one of the best it’s always great for your guys, it’s always a great measuring stick.”

—Tom Brady doesn’t envy the environment that Griffin has to operate in. It was a different world when Brady came into the league in 2000 and as a sixth-round pick he was not under the spotlight that shines on Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012. “The news cycle is different now and there is so much pressure for the young guys,” Brady said. “The spotlight is so bright, and these younger players have an opportunity to develop and there are less practices now and less time they can spend at the facility, so there are different challenges that they’re facing.”

—Bill Belichick said that one of the most important things he got out of joint practices is the ability to work in special situations. During the preseason the first team might get into only a few red zone situations or a handful or third and short. In this setup, Belichick and Gruden can work on them as much as they want to. “Absolutely awesome, it really is,” said Gruden. “You can’t underestimate the reps that we got today and yesterday -- situational. Third down and short, third down and medium, third down and long, red zone opportunities, we had some ‘move the ball’ opportunities, we had two-minute today three or four times, we had to use a timeout, all that stuff, man. That’s something that’s not only good for our players but good for us to watch the situations and make good decisions with the clock – spiking it, when to call timeout, are we in field goal range?”

If you have any questions about what's going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Patriots 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability after practice; Player availability coming off the field; Bill Belichick availability TBD

—It’s been 220 days since the Redskins played a game; in 32 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Bills 12; Final cuts 25; Home opener vs. Jaguars 39

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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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