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Need to Know: Five Redskins starting jobs that could change hands this season

Need to Know: Five Redskins starting jobs that could change hands this season

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 6, seven days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Five starting jobs that could be up for grabs this year

Although there could be some juggling around the edges in the coming hours, the Redskins have finalized their 53-man roster. They also have their starting lineup set but, like the roster, there are some changes possible. Here, however, they will take place over the next couple of months, not days. Here are five starting jobs that cold change hands at some point this season.

Quarterback—It would be great if Kirk Cousins could hold on to the job the entire season. But unless he has managed to turn around his interception problem there is a good chance that Robert Griffin III and/or Colt McCoy will start at least a few games. In fact, a change could be made without Cousins really doing anything wrong; a losing streak could prompt Jay Gruden to make a change to light a spark.

Left guard—Shawn Lauvao had a decent camp and he’s better than most fans give him credit for. But the coaches are high on rookie Arie Kouandjio. It would take some struggles by Lauvao and outstanding performance in practice by Kouandjio but the rookie could move in at some point this season.

Right outside linebacker—That is up for grabs now; it is very possible that Preston Smith will be in for the first snap against the Dolphins. But Smith and Trent Murphy are likely to go back and forth with the starting role and probably will end up playing an equal number of snaps.

Cornerback—Chris Culliver will start 16 times. But I’m dubious that DeAngelo Hall, who will turn 32 before Week 11, will stand up to the pounding of 1,000 snaps or so. I think that Bashaud Breeland or perhaps David Amerson will be in the starting lineup before Hall blows out the candles on his birthday cake.

Strong safety—Duke Ihenacho pulled away from Jeron Johnson and won the job, aided by a hamstring injury that sidelined Johnson for some of camp and part of the preseason. But Ihenacho has issues in coverage and Johnson will get some snaps with the defense. That could give Johnson an opportunity to prove himself over the course of the season and grab the starting job.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 10:40 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice.

—It’s been 252 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 7 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 18

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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!