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Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

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Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 4, one day before the Washington Redskins make their final cuts.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

The preseason is officially over and the next time the Redskins take the field it will count. Here are some thoughts on Redskins’ opponent for their opener, the Miami Dolphins

—Remember the 2013, when Robert Griffin III was so bad he was deactivated for the last three games? Well, you could take his numbers from that year, project them over 16 games, throw them into Ryan Tannehill’s career, and you’d never know the difference. The reasons Griffin is benched and on the roster bubble and Tannehill just got an extension worth $96 million is that Tannehill has been durable, never missing a start, and he has improved in most major areas from year to year in each of his three seasons. He’s not a guy to be scared of necessarily but he is a competent NFL QB.

—The line that will protect Tannehill is very much in flux. They likely will be starting a rookie right guard in Jamil Douglas, and may be without left tackle Brandon Albert, who is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered last November. With a shaky secondary the Redskins’ ability to get pressure on the passer will determine in large part how well they defend the pass. A shuffled Dolphins offensive line could help.

—Welcome to the NFL, Brandon Scherff. You get to line up against Ndamukong Suh in your first official game. The fifth overall pick has struggled with his technique all summer and he will have to play well to keep Kirk Cousins upright. It seems likely that he will get some help from center Kory Lichtensteiger. At right tackle, Morgan Moses will have his hands full with left end Cameron Wake.

—Like the Redskins, the Dolphins are kind of scrambling at safety. They lost Louis Delmas for the year earlier and the competition to replace him is ongoing. They could be like the Redskins in that if the pass rush doesn’t hit home the defensive backs will be vulnerable. Kirk Cousins has shown a good knack for being able to evade pressure in the pocket; if he can do it for four quarters on September 13 he could have a chance to make some plays.

—This game offers the Redskins a chance to change the negative vibe that has surrounded the team in the past couple of weeks. With a win the Redskins would do a lot to push aside “I feel like I’m the best QB”, concussion clearance-then-reversal, “I just work here, man”, intern Instagram likes, QB controversy, the GM’s wife’s tweets, and whatever else might pop up between now and game time. The Dolphins will be favored by about a field goal but if Scot McCloughan’s work over the offseason has truly improved the team to a significant extent this is a winnable game for Washington.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

—It’s been 250 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 9 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Final cuts 1 Rams @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 20

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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!