Washington Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: Five things to watch for tonight in Redskins vs. Browns

Need to Know: Five things to watch for tonight in Redskins vs. Browns

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 13, seven days before Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

What to watch for

CLEVELAND—Here are five things to watch during the Redskins’ preseason game against the Browns:

Robert Griffin III—Yeah, this one is pretty obvious. He should play more than he did a year ago in the preseason opener against the Patriots (10 snaps, four pass attempts). Griffin has looked much better in training camp this year that he did in 2014, his first season working in Jay Gruden’s offense. But it’s a big leap from training camp to a full speed, live contact preseason game.

The backup quarterbacks—Jay Gruden said that the competition between Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins will be decided in the preseason games. Cousins gets first crack at it, taking over after Griffin plays for about a quarter. McCoy will probably take over in the fourth quarter. Both will have to do quality work with some players who are unlikely to make the team.

The rushing attack—We’ve heard a lot about more power running and we’ve seen a lot of it in Richmond. It has worked pretty well but the Browns will test it tonight. It also will be fun to see Matt Jones get some physical contact and finish off some runs.

An attacking defense—Joe Barry is bringing an attacking, one-gap scheme to the defense. The problem with such a scheme is that it can lead to some big plays by the opposing offense if it’s not executed correctly. They will have to be fundamentally sound and stick with their assignments from the starters, who should play about a quarter like their offensive counterparts, to the reserves.

Talent at tight end—Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen both are out for tonight’s game and Niles Paul will play briefly, if at all. Gruden said that the TE snaps will primarily go to Je’Ron Hamm and Chase Dixon. Paulsen’s toe injury could be more than a short-term deal so this is a chance for both Hamm and Dixon to make their cases for roster spots.

Timeline

—Redskins Hall of Fame linebacker Chris Hanburger was born on this date in 1941.

Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Browns, preseason, 8:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet

—It’s been 227 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 32 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Lions @ Redskins 7; final cuts 23; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 42

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Quick Links

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

 

Quick Links

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

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.