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Need to Know: Is age an issue for Redskins' DE Jason Hatcher?

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Need to Know: Is age an issue for Redskins' DE Jason Hatcher?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 26, 28 days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

—Jason Hatcher seems to be doing well. He tweeted on Tuesday that he is off of crutches and starting his rehab at Redskins Park. It seems to be too early to completely cross him off the list of pre-camp concerns but certainly this has to be considered a good sign.

—Hatcher is going to turn 32 between now and the start of training camp. Is age in and of itself going to be a problem? It shouldn’t be. Since they started keeping sacks as an official statistic in 1982 a player age 32 or older has recorded 10 or more sacks in a season 63 times. The Colts’ Robert Mathis was 32 last year when he led the NFL in sacks with 19.5. Of course, a lot of older linemen have played entire seasons and have not posted double-digit sacks. There is no guarantee that Hatcher will succeed.

—“They’re going to do a lot of stuff they did with me in Dallas,” Hatcher told me early in OTAs. “They’re not going to take my strengths away, what I do to help this defense.” In other words, fans shouldn’t be concerned that Hatcher was just OK playing in the Cowboys’ 3-4 defense and didn’t make a Pro Bowl until they went to the 4-3. The Redskins only run a true 3-4 about half of the time anyway and they are lining up Hatcher in places where he can be most effective.

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Timeline

—It’s been 179 days since the Redskins played a game; in 73 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Training camp 28; Preseason opener vs. Patriots 42; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 80

Tandler talks 53-man roster on Redskins Nation

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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