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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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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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