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Need to Know: Not yet mission accomplished for RG3

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Need to Know: Not yet mission accomplished for RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 30, 10 days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park:

1. The next day and a half will be nerve racking for a few dozen players who are on the bubble. Some of the players who will be cut already know that they are likely to be released. Some have a pretty good idea that they will be but are holding out hope that they somehow will stay around. And some will be floored by being told to go see the coach and bring their iPads even though they were fourth string on the depth chart all during training camp. In any case, it’s a process that any coach will tell you is the worst part of his job.

2. In some cases tomorrow, no news will be good news. I remember Logan Paulsen talking about his experience on cutdown day when he was an undrafted rookie in 2010. He said that nobody came up and told him that he had made the team but when the deadline came and went and he still had not received a visit from The Turk he figured he was safe. He was and now he’s entering his fourth season.

3. Despite Chris Thompson’s scintillating 69-yard punt return against the Bucs last night I’m not 100 percent convinced that he will be the punt returner against the Eagles. I think Mike Shanahan would like to be able to trust Thompson with the job but his fumbles and general awkwardness in fielding some punts have to spook the coach to some extent. Perhaps he will put Santana Moss back there against the Eagles and for the first few weeks of the season while Thompson fields a thousand or so punts off of the JUGS machine and carry’s a football with him everywhere he goes to remind him not to fumble. Then Thompson goes out there in Week 4 or maybe after the bye and starts returning the punts.

4. I don’t want to wade too deeply into the settlement of the NFL concussion lawsuit but I do have a couple of points here. While the $765 million the league will pay out over the next 17 years represents just a small portion of its profits the purpose of the suit and settlement were not to sock it to the owners, it was to provide medical care and financial compensation to players who saw the quality of their post-retirement lives adversely affected by concussions. If it’s enough to do that then it was enough. Also important is the element of time. The plaintiffs could have gone to trial and maybe the could have received a huge settlement. But that could take years in court meaning more years without treatment and a number of the players might no longer be around to see any benefits.

5. Operation Patience has not quite become Mission Accomplished. Not yet anyway. We will have to wait until Monday to find out that Shanahan has named Robert Griffin III the starting quarterback against the Eagles on Sept. 9. There is a little bit more process to go through, some “concerns” that coach and quarterback need to discuss. It’s part Shanahan showing who’s boss and forcing Griffin to extend his patience a little farther and part taking some time to make sure he has one last chance to talk to his quarterback about the problems he will face if he doesn’t better protect himself when danger is near. Remember in training camp when it took an extra day for Shanahan to OK Griffin to do 11 on 11 drills? Didn’t think so. There are no serious game preparations going on until Wednesday anyway so a few more days to nail down the starting quarterback won’t matter.

Stat of the day

The Redskins allowed opponents to convert just 10 of 50 third down situations during the preseason. That’s 20 percent compared to a whopping (and league worst) 44.2 percent last year. It should be noted that of the 16 quarters they played only two were against quarterbacks who are likely to see NFL action this year in Jake Locker of the Titans and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger.

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Timeline

—Days until: Final cuts 1; Eagles @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Packers 16

—Today’s schedule: No availability

Royster with real talk about being on the bubble

In case you missed it

@Rich_TandlerCSN on Twitter
I guess Potter being around motivated Kai to work on his kickoffs. He's been booming them. #RedskinsTalk

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) August 30, 2013

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.