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Need to Know: McCloughan, Redskins play 3D chess in free agency

Need to Know: McCloughan, Redskins play 3D chess in free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 26, 33 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 76 days ago. It will be about 169 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 23; 2016 NFL draft 33; Redskins training camp starts 124

Hot topics

A look at five of the most popular posts of the week here and on CSNmidatlantic.com.

Robert Griffin III signs with new team—It’s much easier to wish Griffin well in Cleveland, an AFC team. The Browns do appear on the Redskins’ schedule this year, a game that will be at FedEx Field. My prediction is that it would make for a good Week 2 Thursday night game. It has to be scheduled fairly early in the season because if the Browns draft a quarterback Griffin may not start for very long.

NFL Mock Draft 6.0: The two-round version—Our Ben Standig has the Redskins going with back-to-back defensive linemen with their top two picks. Considering the extent to which the team has neglected the defensive line in the draft in recent years decades, it would be hard to object too strenuously. However, I do think that the wide receiver position has been equally neglected so that should be some attention in the first two rounds as well.

You don't know pain until you see Alfred Morris Cowboys jerseys—It was one thing to have Morris leave and join the hated Cowboys. It was another to see No. 46 Dallas Jerseys with Morris’ name on them. It had many fans wishing him well—but not too well.

Saving cap dollars for 2017?—Scot McCloughan doesn’t like to do much in free agency as a rule. But he has been particularly quiet this year, signing just three players from outside of the organization. It appears that the strategy is to save cap money for 2017, when six key players are set to be free agents. It’s indicative of the multi-dimensional game of chess that building a team with a salary cap has become.

Redskins seem confident in Matt Jones as the No. 1 back—At the time this was written, I was reading tea leaves and my take was based on the fact that it looked like Alfred Morris was going to depart and no other back had been brought in as a free agent. Then at the owners meetings, Jay Gruden said that they were going to go with Jones. “We’re taking a bit of a gamble here, but based on our professional opinion, we believe he can handle it and be very, very effective at it, toting the rock,” said Gruden.

Stat of the day

The 2014 Redskins were outscored by 137 points; last year they outscored their opponents by nine points. The year-to-year improvement of 146 net points was the second best in team history.

In case you missed it

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Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

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USA Today Sports Images

Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

Here is a recap of Jay Gruden’s press conference on Wednesday:

—The injuries are covered in a separate post here. Jordan Reed was the only non-participant. Gruden said his status is “wait and see.”

—Gruden doesn’t see them playing Chris Thompson more than they do now. He noted that in addition to being the third-down back he also returns kicks and comes in on second and long plays. “It’s important for us to keep him healthy,” said Gruden. “He’s not a guy that I personally want to give him 30 carries a game.”

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

—In a year, Matt Ioannidis has gone from being on the practice squad to being a key member of the defensive line. Gruden was impressed with his play against the Rams. “Against the Rams, he played very well,” he said. “He had pressured the quarterback four or five times, he hawked down Tavon Austin on a jet sweep, which was a big play on the first play of the game. If he gets out of there, it could’ve been a 70-yard touchdown.” Gruden said that work in the weight room with help from fellow DL Ziggy Hood helped in Ioannidis’ transformation.

—Gruden said that the Rams game might have been the best of Jordan Reed's career despite gaining just 48 receiving yards on six catches. “Yeah, Jordan was awesome,” he said. “I thought he had the best all-around game he’s had in a while. I think, not just route-running, but blocking. He was outstanding in blocking. Had a key block on the touchdown Chris Thompson had on the second series of the game, was physical and did a great job.”

MORE REDSKINS: FIRST LOOK AT REDSKINS VS RAIDERS

—The Su’a Cravens situation was dismissed rather quickly. The Redskins will not be adding another safety to the roster. “No, we have Fish [Smithson] already as our fifth guy on the practice squad and he’s doing a good job, so we’re OK at safety spot,” said Gruden. “As far as Su’a’ is concerned, we just have to put it behind us, move forward and let him take care of his personal life and let us take care of this season.”

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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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

There were a lot of wounded Redskins on the practice field on Wednesday as the team started preparations for their game against the Raiders on Sunday.

One injured player was not on the field. Jordan Reed was out with a chest injury. Obviously, there is concern but Jay Gruden said that it is too early to rule him out of the game.

A half dozen players were limited: RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder), OT Morgan Moses (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (knee), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder).

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

While none of the injuries seems particularly serious, they still could affect each player’s status for the game.

Foster suffered a separated shoulder during the game, popped it back in, and continued without missing a snap. He said that said that he was letting the athletic trainers handle it. “I’m going in, getting my treatment, doing what they tell me to do,” he said.

Kelley suffered a rib cartilage injury in the second quarter on Sunday. He said that the pain was very high that day but that it has subsided since.

MORE REDSKINS: FIRST LOOK AT REDSKINS VS RAIDERS

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.