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Need to Know: Other positions could squeeze Redskins' numbers at linebacker

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Need to Know: Other positions could squeeze Redskins' numbers at linebacker

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 26, nine days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 11:00 at Joint Base Andrews; open to invited guests, not open to the public

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 228 days ago. It will be 18 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 24; Browns @ Redskins 38; Redskins @ Ravens 45

Other positions could squeeze numbers at linebacker

The Redskins’s 53-man roster appears to be pretty well set at one linebacker position, at least in terms of numbers. But the other area has a number of scenarios with both names and numbers.

The area that doesn’t have much mystery is outside. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and Trent Murphy are locks. Houston Bates has the inside track for the fourth and what likely will be the final OLB spot but Lynden Trail and Willie Jefferson will give him a run for his money.

On the inside, very little is that clear cut. Will Compton and Mason Foster are the starters. Martrell Spaight will stay as Compton’s backup and a possible future starter.

Beyond that there are question marks. Perry Riley has lost his starting job and he carries a cap hit slightly over $5 million. Terence Garvin is good on special teams but he probably is not a player you want doing too many snaps at linebacker.

Second round draft pick Su’a Cravens will be on the roster, of course. He has been operating mostly as an inside linebacker although defensive coordinator Joe Barry wanted him listed on the roster as an “H”, for hybrid. Cravens’ job designation really only matters to fans but it’s still one spot among the 53 that has to be accounted for. Since he has been playing inside linebacker it makes sense to count him as one.

So that makes a total of six names at inside linebacker. They could keep six but that would constrain them in the secondary, where they have half a dozen corners and five safeties worthy of roster spots.

If they go to five then either Riley or Garvin will have to go. Riley has the experience you like in a backup but the financial factors ($4 million in cap savings if he is let go) make that a tough call. Garvin is much less experienced but, at a cap hit of $750,000, he is also much more cost effective.

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In case you missed it 

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line, and tight ends, under the microscope. Today the focus turns to quarterback.

2016 final game starter: Kirk Cousins

Has started all 32 games in two seasons since he was named the starter. Cousins played every offensive snap last year.

Departures: None

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starter: Cousins

Trade talk that was all over the place in February and early March is all but gone. It appears that Cousins will be the starter for 2017. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

2017 reserves: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

For a while in 2014, McCoy was ahead of Cousins on Jay Gruden’s depth chart, starting three games over a healthy Cousins. McCoy is under contract through 2018 and it will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at starting if Cousins leaves as a free agent. But for 2017 McCoy will continue his role as an insurance policy.

Sudfeld will find out a lot more about his future in burgundy and gold in the next several days. Former general manager Scot McCloughan was very high on Sudfeld’s potential as a future starter. If others in the building were as convinced as McCloughan was they likely will bypass the position in the draft. Taking a QB, especially somewhere in rounds three or four, would be a sign that they don’t like Sudfeld nearly as much as McCloughan did.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often  

Where can the quarterback position find improvement?

Cousins had another big statistical year, breaking his own team record by passing for nearly 5,000 yards. But he can improve in the red zone, where his completion rate plummeted to 47.5 percent after completing 64.1 percent in 2015. Cousins also saw his third-down completion percentage drop from 69.2 percent in 2015 to 61 percent last year. Not surprisingly, the offense struggled in both areas.   

Locks and bubble players

If no quarterback is drafted all three are locks. If one is taken, Sudfeld should start looking at how he can break his lease.  

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

How plausible is a draft day trade? Could the Redskins move up? And what to do about all those 'diluted samples'? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler break it all down.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!