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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need good practice weeks

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need good practice weeks

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 24, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Five players who need good weeks in practice

After a day off today, the Redskins start preparation for their preseason game in Baltimore on Tuesday. Here are some players who need to have good weeks in practice.

QB Robert Griffin III—This is quite obvious but too essential to leave out. After playing fairly well against the Browns, Griffin had plenty of issues with his mechanics on Thursday. Of course, he didn’t have much of a pocket to work from.

RG Brandon Scherff—He now knows that the days of being able to physically dominate the guy lined up across from him are over. The No. 5 pick in the draft will have to work overtime with line coach Bill Callahan to polish his technique.

OT Willie Smith—Scherff needs a lot of work but he is going to make the team. Smith needs to do something to erase the stain of his poor performance against the Lions if he is going to go from the bubble to the 53-man roster on September 5. The thing is, he might not get into the Ravens game and first cuts are a few days after that. A good showing in practice this week would help his chances of surviving until the fourth preseason game.

TE Derek Carrier—Yes, he just got to town so he doesn’t have any errors he has to atone for. But he needs to learn the offense in a hurry so he can step in and contribute right away. It would be good if he can get some offensive snaps in on Saturday against the Ravens. With Jordan Reed constantly ailing he might be needed to start sooner rather than later.

OLB Houston Bates—He has had three sacks in the two games so far. A roster spot a linebacker came open when Adam Hayward was lost for the season with a knee injury. It’s all there for him to grab but he needs to show that he’s not a flash in the pan.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

—It’s been 239days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 20 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 5; final cuts 12; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 31

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back