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Need to Know: Preseason games loom large for Redskins backup QBs

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Need to Know: Preseason games loom large for Redskins backup QBs

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 7, six days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what's happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Preseason games loom large for backup QBs

RICHMOND—During practices here, observers keep a close eye on Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins. They are competing for the job of backing up starting quarterback Robert Griffin III. That is an important since history tells us that the backup could end up being the starter due to injury or ineffectiveness.

McCoy and Cousins have both had good plays and bad. Cousins does seem to be doing a better job of protecting the ball; interceptions have been few and far between after being at least a daily occurrence last year. McCoy struggles at times but when he gets into rhythm he can complete several in a row.

But after hearing what Jay Gruden had to say about how the backup jobs will be determined there may not be much of a point in making detailed notes about what goes on here at the Bon Secours training center.

“We’re going to let the preseason games really be the factor in how many we keep and who’s No. 2 and who’s No. 3,” said Gruden when asked about the quarterback depth chart.

As to how many quarterback they keep, it seems that Gruden is strongly leaning towards keep three, as the team did last year. He said that keeping three “is not etched in stone” but that it is “a good possibility”.

Gruden didn’t want to undersell the importance of having good practices but the real competition will start a week from today, Sept. 13 when the Redskins open their preseason in Cleveland.

“Right now they’re just going to continue to compete and take advantage of the reps they get,” he said. “But really once the games start – the Texans we’ll be a good test for them also – and then we have four good preseason games to make that determination.”

Of course, preseason games aren’t necessarily “good” to anyone except football coaches and players trying to make the team. But they will take on a higher level of interest this year as the possibility exists that the backup quarterback who plays the best in August will be under center with the starters at some point in October.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Texans, 8:35

—It’s been 222 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 37 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 7; final cuts 29; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 48

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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