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Need to Know: Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

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Need to Know: Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 18, two days before Washington Redskins play the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.

Moses’ performance forced changes to right side of Redskins O-line

RICHMOND—Coming into training camp the expectations for Redskins offensive tackle Morgan Moses cold not have been much lower. He got a little bit of game experience with one start at left tackle in 2014 but a Lisfranc injury he suffered in practice late in the season appeared to be costly. Moses spent the entire 2015 offseason program rehabbing instead of refining his blocking technique.

Moses’ chances of contributing this year seemed to further diminish when the team drafted Brandon Scherff fifth overall and said that he would be the starting right tackle. With Trent Williams ensconced on the left side it didn’t look like there was a spot for the 2014 third round pick.

But as the Redskins entered the second week of training camp, the first-team offense featured a new alignment with Scherff moved in to right guard and Moses at right tackle. At first the company line from the coaches was that the shift was an experiment and cross training in case of injury. As the days wore on, however, and the lineup didn’t change it become more and more apparent that the change was permanent, or as permanent as things get in the NFL.

The revamped right side of the line played well in the team’s preseason opener and it appears virtually certain that Scherff and Moses will anchor the right side in Week 1 when the Dolphins come to town.

According to Jay Gruden, Moses essentially forced the change.

"Well, I think Morgan, his emergence really, watching him in one-on-ones and watching him in pass pro and watching him in the team drills at right tackle when he was asked to do that,” said Gruden. “He was playing extremely well, and obviously when we moved Brandon inside to guard he looked very comfortable in there. With Morgan's emergence at right tackle and Brandon's comfort level at right guard, it was a natural fit and so far they've worked out very well together. We are happy with the transition Morgan has made and obviously Brandon."

It seems to be a pretty good bet that the Redskins were not anywhere near convinced that Moses would be ready to become a starting right tackle this year when the turned in the card for Scherff on April 30. If they had known that they would be moving Scherff to guard after a week of training camp they might have gone in another direction with their top pick and perhaps would have targeted a guard later in the draft.

But now they have spent the No. 5 pick on a guard and Scherff, as Gruden said earlier in training camp, has to be “really, really good” to justify the pick. That means Pro Bowl at least, perhaps even All-Pro. Whether or not he turns out to be that good, I do think that the organization deserves some credit for taking the action they believe is best for the team, potential criticism be damned.

Timeline

—Former Redskins running back and kick returner (and current CSN colleague of mine) Brian Mitchell was born on this date in 1968.

Today’s schedule: Practice at Redskins Park 3:00

—It’s been 233 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 26 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Lions @ Redskins 2; final cuts 18; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 37

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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

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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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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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back