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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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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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