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Need to Know: Bye is coming at the right time for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Bye is coming at the right time for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 27, 12 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Tandler’s Take Two Tuesday: Into the bye on a high

One of the topics that is bound to come up in the afterglow of the Redskins’ remarkable, improbably, historic comeback win over the Bucs on Sunday is that it’s a shame that the Redskins are taking a bye after such a big rally to win. Taking a week off will blunt their momentum, this line of thinking will go.

Well, in reality it doesn’t quite work that way. Momentum from game to game is not necessarily a reality in the NFL, at least not in terms of building off of a comeback win. Let’s look at the three times the Redskins came back from 21 points down to win:

—In 1999, they overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the Panthers in Week 4. They have a bye in Week 5 and beat the Cardinals 24-10 upon returning.

—The Redskins visited the Lions in 1990 and were behind 35-14 in the third quarter. Jeff Rutledge came in at quarterback and led a rally to an overtime win. If any win should build momentum it would be that one. But they went to Philadelphia the following week and lost 28-14. If you’ve been following the team for a while, you’re familiar with that game as the Body Bag Game.

—They followed up Sonny Jurgensen’s greatest comeback, a rally from 21 down to beat Dallas at what was then D. C. Stadium in 1965, with consecutive losses to Browns and Giants.

Yes, that is a small, limited sample size and Sonny and Rutledge don’t play for the 2015 Redskins. But whatever momentum advantage the Redskins might have will be outweighed by the need for the team to return to good health, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Here are some players who have missed multiple game who could return after the bye:

—WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) seems to be the most likely to return for the Redskins game against the Patriots. He didn’t really have a setback prior to the Jets game, he just had some tightness due to breaking up some scar tissue. He has missed six games since going out in Week 1.

—Nobody is quite sure what is up with Chris Culliver (knee). Jay Gruden has said that an MRI on it was negative and that the issue is not structural. If rest is the prescription he could be ready as he will have missed three games plus the bye week. This will be something to watch when practice resumes a week from tomorrow.

—CB DeAngelo Hall missed his fourth game after what Gruden said was a toe injury that would have him out three or four weeks. But some wiggle room was left in the timetable so it could be longer. In any case, the extra week should help.

—C Kory Lichtensteiger is another injury surrounded in some mystery. Gruden said it was a disc issue and that there is concern about strength on his left side. We never have been given a timetable for his return so it’s also wait and see.

And then there were a couple of injuries that two key defenders suffered during the Bucs game.

—LB Ryan Kerrigan has had surgery to repair his broken right hand. If there was a game on Sunday there is a chance he would have to miss it. There seems to be a pretty good chance he will be back to play New England, although it's too early to know for certain.

—The most troubling injury of all could be CB Bashaud Breeland’s hamstring. He strained it while he was in the process of chasing down the Bucs’ Doug Martin to make a game-saving tackle. The second-year player has been the glue that has held the back end of the defense together with Hall and Culliver out. He might need to remain that even after the veterans return. We don’t know how severe the injury is but certainly an extra week for it to heal will help.

The Redskins coaches could also use the bye to revamp, or at least tweak, the rushing attack that has been so anemic for the last month or so. Gruden said the coaches would do some self-scouting to clean out some tendencies that other teams have figured out.

In other words, it’s time. The players and coaches have been grinding since training camp started in late July. Even the few players who don’t need a physical break from the game need some mental time off.

We won’t stop grinding here, though. Check here and on CSNmidatlantic.com for some looks back at the first part of the season and some articles looking ahead not only to the final nine games but to the 2016 offseason as well.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 10 a.m.; player availability after practice

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 12; Saints @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Panthers 26

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back