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Need to Know: Fletcher's streak will be his legacy

Need to Know: Fletcher's streak will be his legacy

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 19, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Nickel Coverage

Three news conferences and two conference calls at Redskins Park on Wednesday makes for a perfect Nickel Coverage package. Here’s one quote from each of them.

1. Mike Shanahan said that he was amazed at how London Fletcher came back after suffering an injury in a game earlier this season. ““Well, it’s really hard to say because normally you’re not up close to see an ankle like that. But it was so awkward, how he got hit that I said, ‘There’s no way.’ I said, ‘I just saw something happen that hasn’t happened in a lot of years. This is going to knock him out of the game.’ Then he comes Wednesday and he’s walking through.”

2. The consecutive games played streak, which will end at 256 assuming he plays the remaining two games will be what Fletcher is most remembered for. “Obviously, that’s a part of my legacy. That’s the thing that’s talked about most because when you look at it, it’s hard for me to really grasp it because I’m still in the midst of it. Really the way I’ve approached it is to go about my business, being accountable and not wanting to let my teammates down and the coaching staff.”

3. Kirk Cousins said that while he did his best to be prepared to play every game when he was the backup quarterback, those first-team reps sure do help. “Well, it’s very helpful to get reps. I find that I walk off the practice field today and last week and have a much greater confidence as to my preparedness for that coming game because of the reps I’m able to get during practice.”

4. We asked Dallas coach Jason Garrett about his team trying to put that ugly loss to the Packers behind them. He said that putting the good and the bad that comes in the game is an ongoing process. “We have that a lot in our game — you’ve got to get rid of the last play, get rid of the last series, forget what happened in the first quarter, let’s get on to the second quarter — and you certainly have to do that from game to game over the course of the season. It’s about forgetting about the last play that was successful or the last game that was successful and similarly if it didn’t get well for you, and we have to do that each and every week as does everybody around the league and we certainly have to do it this week and get on to the focus, which is the Washington Redskins.”

5. DeMarcus Ware, one of the best pass rushers of his generation, said that you don’t need a bunch of moves to be effective. “Let’s say you have two moves; every move has got to have a counter move. So let’s say you have four moves, and I think that’s all you need to be effective in this league, and then now, OK, you make it simple for yourself and figuring out how the tackles are going to attack you every single week and how your moves are going to work, because you don’t want to change up every single week because then you get inconsistent. So you’ve got to make it simple on yourself, be able to play aggressive each and every play and be able to read your keys.”

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins have five games where a players has caught passes for 100 yards or more. Four of those games are by Pierre Garçon and one is by Jordan Reed.

Timeline

—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Giants 10; NFL free agency starts 82

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and Jim Haslett news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 1:30)

In case you missed it

Can Shanahan keep players focused amidst turmoil? 

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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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