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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need good games against the Lions tonight

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need good games against the Lions tonight

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 20, the day the Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

Five players who need to succeed against the Lions

Here are five players who need to have good games tonight against the Lions.

QB Robert Griffin III—I used to compile these lists and omit Griffin as being obvious. But got flack from the comments section so I’m including him now. He needs to be much better than he was in the second preseason game a year ago when he lost a fumble and threw an interception in three series against the Browns. The starting offense is now at four games and counting without a touchdown in the preseason and that skid needs to come to an end soon.

RB Trey Williams—It seems unlikely that he will make the Redskins team but he could land a spot on the practice squad or with another NFL team. But after gaining five yards on four carries last week he needs to have a breakout game. The Redskins or another team would be interested in him as a home run hitter but he can’t keep hitting singles. He should get some playing time this game to break loose. After tonight he’ll probably have to wait until the preseason finale on September 3.

S Jeron Johnson—He was brought in to be the starting strong safety but Duke Ihenacho gave him a run for his money in OTAs and minicamp. In training camp a hamstring injury cost Johnson the better part of a couple of weeks. If he is going to get the starting job he needs to start impressing now.

TE’s Je’Ron Hamm/Chase Dixon—The Redskins brought in a couple of free agent tight ends but they are still just learning the offense. Hamm and Dixon both spent most of last season on the Redskins practice squad and should have a handle on the system. This will be their big chance to show what they can do. If one or both has a good game the Redskins might stand pat. If they falter, perhaps the organization will further scan the waiver wire or perhaps even try to swing a grade.

CB David Amerson—He missed the first preseason game with a shoulder injury. The 2013 second-round pick probably is not in danger of not making the team but the return of DeAngelo Hall, the acquisition of Chris Culliver, and the 2014 emergence of Bashaud Breeland have left him fighting for relevance and a spot in the rotation. Hall will play tonight but may exit early, giving Amerson the chance he needs.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Lions at Redskins 7:30 p.m., FedEx Field

—It’s been 235 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 24 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 9; final cuts 16; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 35

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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