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Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 17, three days before the Washington Redskins host the St. Louis Rams.

Five Redskins who are under the gun on Sunday

QB Kirk Cousins—He probably has a longer leash than most people think he does. But it’s not unlimited and at some point he has to play a clean game, make plays in the clutch, and, for the first time since 2012, have the team win a game that he starts and finishes. No better time than the present, although the Rams have a tough defense from front to back. Cousins likely will appear on this list every week until he puts together a solid performance.

P Tress Way—Rarely does the punter appear on a list like this but he admitted that he outkicked the coverage on Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return on Sunday and Tavon Austin is coming to town. Way likes to let it rip but he will need precision punting if they are going to keep Austin out of the end zone. Whether he needs to go to a higher and shorter when kicking to Austin or just boot it out of bounds, he needs to execute whatever the call is.

G Brandon Scherff—Aaron Donald is not as big as Ndamukong Suh but he is quicker and more active. He will be a different kind of challenge for Scherff, who did pretty well against Suh. If Cousins is going to have a chance to get going, Scherff keeping Donald under control will be critical.

CB DeAngelo Hall—It may be unfair to put this on Hall but the veteran corner—or somebody—needs to get a takeaway or two. The Redskins had their hands on three interceptions and a fumble on the second-half kickoff. They came up empty. The last time Hall played a full season in 2013 he had four interceptions with two returned for touchdowns and a fumble recovery for a TD. If he can bring one back this week it could be contagious.

WR Ryan Grant—He is likely to get most of the snaps that will be available to the backup wide receivers with DeSean Jackson sidelined. Jay Gruden is always singing his praises so it is time for him to produce. Grant has Jamison Crowder and Rashad Ross behind him so he needs to show what he can do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 7; Eagles @ Redskins 17

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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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. 

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