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Need to Know: How many catches for Redskins WR Crowder in 2016?

Need to Know: How many catches for Redskins WR Crowder in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 8, 50 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 150 days ago. It will be 96 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 50; Preseason opener @ Falcons 64; Final roster cut to 53, 87

Player quick hits

Here are some more quick thoughts on some Redskins players based on what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen in OTAs and rookie camp.

—I wonder if Jamison Crowder will catch as many as 59 passes again this year. The Redskins attempted 555 passes last year and while they may throw a few dozen more this year there also are additional potential targets in Josh Doctson and Vernon Davis and, presumably, DeSean Jackson will have more thrown his way if he stays healthy all year.

—I don’t know whether or not Kirk Cousins will end up signing a contract extension prior to July 15 but I am pretty confident that there are no active negotiations (defined as both sides exchanging proposals and moving towards a resultion) taking place. There is simply no reason for either side to give anything right now.

—I see Su’a Cravens taking the roster spot that was used for a defense lineman last year. They carried seven DL last year and considering that only three line up at a time that always seemed to be excessive. He’ll take a DL spot but will actually be a sixth inside linebacker and/or a fifth safety.

Shawn Lauvao sure is receiving a ton of praise for playing OK (run blocking adequate, gave up a sack and five hurries) in a very small sample size of two games last year. A lot of people assume that when he is healthy, which reportedly will be for the start of training camp, the left guard spot is his to lose. I disagree, I believe that Lauvao will have to clearly beat out Spencer Long to get the starting job.

Preston Smith won’t have a sophomore slump if only because his rookie year wasn’t that spectacular, for the most part. He finished strong and it looks like he has what it takes in terms of work ethic to keep it up. I think you can take double digit sacks for Smith this year to the bank.

Stat of the day

How pass happy were the 2015 Redskins? They passed an average of 34.7 times per game. Nineteen other teams took to the air more frequently.

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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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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