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Need to Know: Is Reed pushing Davis out?

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Need to Know: Is Reed pushing Davis out?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 19, three days before the Redskins play the Lions at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. The Redskins have their kicker health issues but the Lions seem to be the less healthy of the two teams. Three Lions starters didn't practice on Wednesday—Reggie Bush (left knee), FS Louis Delmas (knee) and RT Jason Fox (groin). The absence of Bush would be a big blow to the Lions’ offense; they had difficulty moving the ball when he left the game after hurting his knee last Sunday against the Cardinals.

2. I gave you some incomplete information here yesterday. I said that the last team to start a season 0-2 and still make the playoffs was the 2008 San Diego Chargers. That same year the Vikings started 0-2 but finished the season 10-6 to take the NFC North. And the ’08 Dolphins also went winless in their first two games but rallied to finish 11-5 and take the AFC East title.

3. I think the defense has bigger issues but the offense is a little ways off. Here’s what Robert Griffin III said:

“I feel like, just as a group, we’ve all been off a little bit. We’ll figure that out and we’ll get it going. We’ve been hitting in practice, in the games at times we are hitting, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem. It’s showing up, especially on third down, we just have got to execute better and we will.”

4. A week ago Jim Haslett was a bit testy during his weekly press conference last week (although it wasn’t a potential Coors Light commercial as some outlets inferred). After another game where his defense got torched, it will be interesting to see if his mood has improved.

5. Is Fred Davis being relegated to a reserve role? It’s too soon to tell but the situation bears watching Against the Packers he played just 16 snaps while rookie Jordan Reed played 29. Shanahan was asked why and he spoke generically but it was clear why Reed got the call and Davis watched most of the game.

“Most of the decisions we make are based on how people practice and what gives us the best opportunity to win. So if a guy goes into those situations, it means that he’s done a great job during the week and we feel like he deserved that opportunity. Or it could be a guy drops a ball during a game, the other’s guy is hot, and you go in that direction. There are a lot of factors that are involved. You’re trying to do what you think gives you the best chance to win.”


Stat of the day

—On average the Redskins have started their possession on their own 22-yard line; their opponents have started their drives at the 33.

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Timeline

—Former Redskins running back Larry Brown was born on this day in 1947

—Days until: Lions @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Raiders 10; Redskins @ Cowboys 24

—Today’s schedule: Player availability in locker room 11:15; Jim Haslett press conference 12:00; Practice 1:00 (closed to media after first 30 minutes); Kyle Shanahan and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00; streamed on CSNwashington.com)

Shanahan: There’s room for everybody to improve

In case you missed it

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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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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

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