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Need to Know: Gruden—Redskins 'have a lot of work to do'

Need to Know: Gruden—Redskins 'have a lot of work to do'

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 28, the day that the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. It will be 46 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 14; Final roster cut 37; Cowboys @ Redskins 52

—Former Redskins Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels was born on this date in 1977.

Gruden happy with progress but warns of work to be done

Some notes and quotes from Jay Gruden's Wednesday press conference to kick off Redskins training camp.

—After giving the team a glowing report for how it performed during OTAs and talking about what a good mix of veterans and young players are on the team Gruden came up with the “yeah, but”. “We were 9-8 last year, lost to the Packers at home in a big game obviously in the playoffs and we have a lot of work to do, no question about it,” he said, repeating the reality that he touched on a few times when meeting with the press during this offseason. Redskins fans should feel good if he is pounding the 9-8 concept to his team whenever the opportunity arises.

—Gruden wouldn’t talk about injuries or the PUP list. The team was just finishing up the conditioning best and Gruden said that the coaches would meet (presumably along with medical staff) last night and decide what to do. It’s appears to be a given that TE Derek Carrier will start on PUP but beyond that it's up in the air.

—The coach did talk about G Shawn Lauvao’s situation, saying that he is “very close” to being able to go after missing all of the offseason program with foot and ankle injuries. I think he feels pretty good. I imagine he’ll be a couple of days still but I think he’ll be ready to roll shortly.” So it will be a few more days until the Lauvao-Spencer Long battle at left guard can commence. If Lauvao’s situation pushes it much beyond that Long will start to have a decided edge in the competition.

—Another offseason theme was a lack of concern about the depth chart at running back. That continued in Richmond. “We have some guys in the building we’re going to look at,” Gruden said. He was referring to Chris Thompson, Mack Brown, Keith Marshall, and Robert Kelly. None of them seems like a suitable substitute should Matt Jones get injured or struggle with turnovers. We will see how it turns out.

—Gruden wasn’t asked about Josh Doctson but there has been talk that the rookie wide receiver might not be ready to go full in practice due his ailing Achilles.  Even if he isn’t quite good to go they may keep him off of the PUP list. If a player is on that list he can’t practice at all, not even to the point of playing catch with a teammate. Assuming they believe he will be ready to go soon there really isn’t any advantage to not letting their first-round pick learn what he can while recovering.

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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

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

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, 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

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

redskins_talk_podcast-ep76-16x9.png

#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<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