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Need to Know: Light workload for starters on Saturday

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Need to Know: Light workload for starters on Saturday

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 23, one day before the Redskins take on the Bills at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five items from Redskins Park:

1. The dress rehearsal will feature a lot of understudies. Mike Shanahan said that the starters will play about 20 snaps on Saturday. That’s considerably fewer than most teams around the league will have their front-line players in. And although he did leave himself some wiggle room, it looks like the starters will sit out the fourth preseason game as they usually do. That means that the starters will play a total of about a single game’s worth of football in practice games.

2. Maurice Hurt is still on the PUP list and it doesn’t look like he’ll be off of it anytime soon. “We’re just going to keep on working him,” said Shanahan. He’s got a knee. We’re trying to get him in football shape. I’m afraid if we put him in there too quick there will be a setback, especially with a short week, so we’re constantly evaluating him day-by-day.”

3. The annual Welcome Home Luncheon is today at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. It’s always a nice event with some alumni and all of the players there and some awards given out. I wonder who is the favorite to win offensive player of the year?

4. Nick Barnett has yet to play a down but he may have locked up the award for the best quote of the year: “If they let the lion off the chain, I’ll be out there roaming the jungle.” Jim Haslett said that he should be let off the chain, rather, that he should play, on Saturday.

5. It sounds like Robert Griffin III is doing more than he did last week in Richmond. “It has been a full practice for him,” said Shanahan. “He’s had two excellent days, same thing he would have during the regular season.

Stat of the day

The Redskins were the worst defense in the league on third down last year, allowing conversions 44.2 percent of the time. So far in the preseason they have allowed just five of 20 third downs to be converted, a rate of 25 percent. Of course there is huge caveat in the quality of the opposition. They faced Charlie Batch Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones for a good chunk of Monday’s game, not Big Ben. But it’s a step in the right direction if they can get into a habit of shutting teams down on third down.

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Timeline

One week from today the Redskins will be done with their preseason and a day away from having their 53-man roster finalized.

Days until: Bills @ Redskins 1; Final cuts 8; Eagles @ Redskins 17

Today’s schedule—No availability, Bills at Redskins tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet

Tandler and Tarik talk about the Bills game

In case you missed it

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Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

MOBILE – Jay Gruden provided a glimmer of optimism for Redskins fans freaked out about Kirk Cousins' contract situation. 

"I totally anticipate him coming back to the Washington Redskins," Gruden said. 

The Redskins coach talked from the sidelines of the Senior Bowl where he and much of the team's staff were scouting college seniors. 

Gruden explained he had texted back and forth with Cousins a few times this offseason and looked forward to watching him play in the Pro Bowl. 

Since Gruden named Cousins starter in 2015, the quarterback had passed for more than 9,000 yards and twice broken Skins franchise passing records. 

Some indications of a long term deal for Cousins land in the $120 million range, but the Washington organization also has the flexibility to use the franchise tag this season at a cost of nearly $24 million. 

MORE REDSKINS: Who else might want to trade for Cousins?

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!