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Need to Know: Injury to Redskins' Doctson appears to be no cause for concern

Need to Know: Injury to Redskins' Doctson appears to be no cause for concern

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 5, 53 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 147 days ago. It will be 99 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 53; Preseason opener @ Falcons 67; Final roster cut to 53, 90

Hot topics from the Redskins week that was

I’m in catch-up mode after being on vacation last week. Here are a few observations on what I’ve learned while getting back up to speed.

—It doesn’t seem that Josh Doctson’s foot injury is anything to worry about. This group, like many teams out there, is ultra cautious when it comes to pushing players with even minor injuries at this time of year. They would rather have him watch now and not risk having him watching in July because the injury got worse. I don’t have access to the medical reports but this seems to be something that we might not even hear about if it happened in October.

—The CBA oddity that makes it harder to sign third-round draft picks than players selected in any other round ceased to be a concern for the Redskins when Kendall Fuller signed his four-year rookie contract. What took so long? Nobody really can explain the nature of the CBA quirk that gives room for negotiations in the rookie deals of third-round picks but it’s real. As of two days ago there was a total of 34 unsigned draft picks and 14 of them were third-round picks.

— While it’s good to have it done, there was no urgency to get Fuller signed. He had signed the waiver that allowed him to practice with the team and committed the Redskins to giving him a fair-value contract even if he had sustained further injury while practicing. An unsigned Fuller would not have missed anything until the start training camp.

—And we now know the full training camp schedule. The main takeaway from the schedule, which allows fans to watch 22 practice sessions, is that only the Redskins will be involved. Unlike the past two years, when the Patriots and Texans came to Richmond for joint practices, there will be no joint practices with other NFL teams. One of the disadvantages of holding camp in Richmond is that the team is committed to holding a minimum number of practices at the Bon Secours training facility. That means they can’t visit another team for joint practices, severely limiting their options.

—Probably because his season here were generally unsuccessful ones for the team, I don’t think that Stephen Bowen was appreciated by the fans here in Washington. He was a solid player from when he signed with the team in 2011 until about midway through the 2013 season, when knee issues pushed him to the sideline and eventually led to his release. He did not live up to the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed with the Redskins as a free agent but that is more a lesson on the perils of free agency than it was any fault of the player’s. Bowen was a terrific presence in the locker room, almost always smiling and cracking jokes. He established Skyler’s Gift, a foundation that helps cover funeral expenses for families that have lost a child. I wish him well in the future.

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Need to Know: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

Need to Know: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 23, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on May 22.

Timeline

It’s been 142 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 110 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 21
—Training camp starts (7/27) 65
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 79

Who will surprise in 2017?

As OTAs start today, all 90 players on the roster have something to work for. But few dozen of them don’t have to work for a job. These are players who either because of their contracts or draft status or importance to the team who are locks to make the 53-man roster. Here are the 2017 roster locks.

Offense (18)

Backs: QB’s Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, and Nate Sudfeld; RB’s Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine.

I’ve had Sudfeld on the bubble ever since the Redskins drafted him but he’s past the point where they are going to give up on him and risk putting him on the practice squad. A year ago, Kelley was on the outside of the bubble and now he is a mortal lock.

WR/TE: WR’s Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder; TEs Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis

Receivers Maurice Harris and Robert Davis are close to being locks but there is a lot of competition going on in the bottom of the depth chart. Jeremy Sprinkle is likely to make it as a tight end but he may have to beat out special teams stalwart Niles Paul.

O-line: OT’s Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, G’s Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio; C Spencer Long

You can argue about Lauvao but the fact that the team did not draft or sign serious competition for him tells me he is safe. Someone who can back up a center is a lock to make the roster. That could be sixth-round pick Chase Roullier or a veteran plucked off waivers.

Defense (18)

D-line: Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, Jonathan Allen, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Lanier will still be a project but after keeping him last year the Redskins will hang on to him again to see if he can develop into a pass-rushing threat. Matt Ioannidis could be the sixth defensive lineman but he could get beaten out.

Linebackers: OLB’s Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Junior Galette, Ryan Anderson; ILB’s Will Compton, Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Trent Murphy will be suspended for the first four games so he won’t be on the initial 53. Martrell Spaight is close to being a lock but competition will be fierce for that last inside linebacker spot.

Backs: CB’s Greg Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar; Safeties Su’a Cravens, D.J. Swearinger

Five or possibly six positions are up for grabs here. Third-round pick Fabian Moreau is a lock to be with the organization but he could be on the PUP list.  

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, K Dustin Hopkins

It would be very surprising if they brought in competition for Hopkins.

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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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM IS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH PLANS FOR NEW STADIUM

He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

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