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Need to Know: Five offensive players with work to do during Redskins OTAs

Need to Know: Five offensive players with work to do during Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.

Nickel coverage

OTAs get underway on Tuesday at Redskins Park. Here are five offensive players who will have a lot at stake during this phase of the offseason.

—G Chris Chester—He had Spencer Long breathing down his neck all last year and now Arie Kouandjio could provide a little extra heat on him. At 32 with a salary cap number north of $4 million and the team switching to running scheme geared towards power blocking, Chester will have to adapt quickly.

—WR Andre Roberts—Last year Roberts was a free agent disappointment. It wasn’t all his fault since they brought in DeSean Jackson after signing him, decreasing his role. Still, he caught just 36 passes and dropped seven. The Redskins are very high on fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder, who does what Roberts does—plays slot receiver and returns punts and kickoffs.

—G Josh LeRibeus—When you were drafted by the guy who was around two regime changes ago (Mike Shanahan), have spent three years as a backup and your team spends third- and fourth-round picks on players at your position in consecutive drafts you should start feeling uncomfortable. If LeRibeus is going to hang on it starts with being in top shape for OTAs and making a solid impression.

—WR Ryan Grant—He’s not in any danger of being cut but his situation is similar to that of LeRibeus in that he was picked by the old guy (Bruce Allen) and new guy Scot McCloughan grabbed two wide receivers, Crowder and Evan Spencer, in this year’s draft. Grant was taken as something of a project who would improve over the years but he needs to take some big strides or the two rookies could pass him on the depth chart.

—TE Jordan Reed—Like Grant he’s not going anywhere and Reed is probably not in any danger of losing his starting job. But he desperately needs to stay on the field or the organization will start planning for a long-term future without him. Reed needs to avoid the nagging injuries that have kept him sidelined during offseasons and training camps in the past so that Gruden and McCloughan have some confidence in him.

Timeline

—It’s been 145 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 114 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 25; Redskins training camp starts 69; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 125

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

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

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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