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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 22, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens

Small sample size

Please do not interpret this post to be an attempt to blow sunshine, well, you know where. It is simply an attempt to bring some perspective to the game on Thursday. I am well aware that there are plenty of issues with the team.

But those issues were not necessarily identified during the game against the Lions on Thursday. Kory Lichtensteiger said it best. He was asked if this game was a measuring stick for the offensive line.

“I think it’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter,” he said.

Griffin and the first team offense were on the field for 16 snaps. Every Sunday during the regular season teams struggle during the first quarter. But they adjust, they make counter moves and eventually they find their footing.

In fact, offenses almost never play as poorly as Griffin and the Redskins did over the course of an entire game. If you project Griffin’s stats out over 64 snaps he would be eight of 20 (40 percent completions) for 32 yards with 12 sacks. No quarterback since 1974 has attempted at least 20 passes in a game for 32 or fewer yards with a completion percentage of 40 percent or lower. If that’s too much to plough through, suffice it to say that history says that Griffin and the offense would not have played that poorly for an entire game.

That doesn’t mean that they would have played great, or even competently. There would have been improvement over the course of the game but we don’t know if it would have been enough to be competitive.

The whole point is, we don’t know. It’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter. And even if you add in the 18 snaps Griffin and the starting offense played in Cleveland you have 34 snaps, a total of about 30 minutes of play. The Redskins offense has a quarter of OK work (Browns) and one of bad work (Lions) in the book That is really not enough to make even a, well, snap judgement.

I will inject one more thing to think about here. Scot McCloughan is building the Redskins to be a tough, physical team featuring power run blocking and an attacking defense. That style of football is designed to wear teams down over four quarters. In the preseason, with players shuffling in and out from beginning to end, the physical nature is less of an advantage.

To be sure, there is concern among fans that what we saw on Thursday was a continuation of what we have seen for the past two seasons, when the team combined to win seven games. There is some validity to that; however that ignores the addition of McCloughan, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, and about 15 draft picks and free agents that should upgrade the team.

We won’t see the Redskins’ best football until the regular season starts. Again, their “best” may still not be good enough to be a competitive NFL team in 2015. But it is not going to be revealed over the course of just 16 snaps.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Closed practice at Redskins Park

—It’s been 237 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 22 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 7; final cuts 14; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 33

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”

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Jay Gruden won't commit but Jordan Reed 'confident' he will play vs Eagles

Jay Gruden won't commit but Jordan Reed 'confident' he will play vs Eagles

After missing the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a left shoulder injury, tight end Jordan Reed sounds like he will return this Sunday in Philadelphia. 

"I feel confident," Reed said of playing against the Eagles. 

The injury came in the first half against the Cowboys on Thanskgiving Day. Reed went up high to try and grab a Kirk Cousins' pass in the end zone. The ball fell incomplete, and Reed landed hard on his shoulder. The diagnosis was bad: an AC joint sprain. Even with that, Reed returned in the second half against the Cowboys and caught two touchdowns.

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Last week, Reed did not practice once and the team ruled their star tight end out for the Cardinals game on Friday. This week, facing a division foe in the Eagles, Reed said he's feeling much better and the range of motion in the shoulder has improved significantly.

"Today I just felt a lot better. It's painful but something I can deal with," Reed said. "I'm pretty good with range of motion, I almost got all my range of motion back."

While Reed is still fighting through a lot of pain, he practiced on Thursday in a limited role. Going through practice while the media was present, Reed looked athletic and fluid going through drills, but also seemed to show discomfort in between reps. 

"He looked good today, but we'll see," Washington coach Jay Gruden said of his tight end. 

The coach did not express the same confidence that Reed would play Sunday as the 'Skins look to halt a two-game skid. 

"I have absolutely no idea," Gruden said. "But it is good to see him out here running and catching the ball."

Faith plays an important role for Reed, just as it did coming back from a concussion earlier this year. Reed proved his willingness to play through pain when he returned for the second half in Dallas.

"It's definitely some worries," Reed said about pushing through the pain. "I just leave it in God's hands and I just go out there and do my job."

He's made clear that the shoulder is still hurting him, but that he is willing to fight through that to be on the field with his teammates.

"We can't predict that or guess how he actually feels come game time," Gruden said of Reed. "Ultimately, it will be his call."

On the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns. 

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