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Need to Know: Five Redskins with a lot to prove as training camp approaches

Need to Know: Five Redskins with a lot to prove as training camp approaches

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 26, two days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. It will be 48 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 16; Final roster cut 39; Cowboys @ Redskins 54

Five Redskins with a lot to prove in 2016

QB Kirk Cousins—If you need any explanation here you haven’t been paying much attention this summer. He’s on a one-year contract that he could turn into a very lucrative long-term deal. Or he could end up being a journeyman.

RB Matt Jones—With four lost fumbles and a league low of 3.4 yards per carry last year, Jones didn’t really do much to justify getting handed the starting job. But that is what is happening so it’s up to him to keep it and perform up to his abilities. Either he establishes himself as a solid starter or the Redskins will begin the search for alternatives.

C Kory Lichtensteiger—It is likely that Lichtensteiger heard the talk that the Redskins would have drafted Alabama center Ryan Kelly if he had been available in the first round. Combine that with the fact that he missed 11 games with a neck and shoulder injury last year and you have a player who has to prove that he still belongs. He’s probably safe for this year but if he wants to continue his career beyond 2016 he needs to stay healthy and perform this season.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—After signing a big contract extension just as training camp started Kerrigan struggled with an ailing knee and, later in the season, a broken hand. With Junior Galette now out for the season he will be under the gun to come up big to make sure that the Redskins keep the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

S DeAngelo Hall—Hall is undergoing a position switch and he has a lot to learn. At age 32 he has two years left on his contract and with cap hits of $5 million per season his learning curve is expected to be short. This season will go a long way towards determining whether or not Hall can extend his career for a few more seasons or if this season will be the end of the line.

Note: When I wrote the first draft for this post yesterday afternoon I included OLB Junior Galette, who was on a one-year contract and out to prove that he had returned to his 2013-2014 form. Now he has to rehab a torn Achilles for the second offseason in a row.

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

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

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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