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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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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

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

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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