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Need to Know: Five questions about Redskins vs. Texans

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Need to Know: Five questions about Redskins vs. Texans

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 3, four days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Here are five questions about the Redskins-Texans matchup this Sunday

How will they control J. J. Watt? The $100 million man probably is going to pressure Robert Griffin III on multiple occasions but the Redskins aren't completely helpless. Jay Gruden’s Bengals did pretty well against him. In three games, one regular season and two in the playoffs Watt recorded two sacks of Andy Dalton. Gruden will have a plan for dealing with him. But the best way to control a pass rush from any player? Run the ball.

Can they exploit QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? The last time Fitzpatrick faced the Redskins was one of the best days of his life. On October 30, 2011 he signed a big contract extension with the Bills and they he went out and led Buffalo to a 23-0 win over Washington. Things haven’t been so good for him since and now he has a tenuous hold on the Texans starting job after they traded for Ryan Mallett over the weekend. Fitzpatrick is known for putting the ball up for grabs (3.6 percent career interception rate) and the Redskins, who did not get a takeaway by their first team during the preseason, would love to take advantage.

What about Arian Foster? He had a lost season in 2013, missing the last eight games due to a back injury. He didn’t play at all during the preseason so this will be his first game action since November 3, 2013. Will Foster, who rushed for at least 1,200 yards each season from 2010-2012, be rusty or will he be refreshed? Foster said yesterday that he is feeling “wonderful” physically. We will see.

What can Jadeveon Clowney do? The first overall pick in the draft made some hits during this time at South Carolina that made you recoil and feel the pain no matter how many times you watched them. He may not know what he’s doing yet as he adjust to the NFL game but he appears to be capable of doing some damage while he’s learning. Keep your head on a swivel, RG3.

Will Andre Johnson ever age? They say that Father Time is undefeated but the 33-year-old Johnson is fending him off pretty well. Last year, with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum (both of whom are now ex-Texans) throwing him passes he still managed to catch 109 passes for over 1,400 yards. This is one of those “you can’t stop him you can only hope to contain him” situations. DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson will try.

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, 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: Open locker room player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 open to media for first 30 minutes; Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 3:00)

—It’s been 248 days since the Redskins played a game; in four days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 11; Redskins @ Eagles 18; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 23

In case you missed it

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!