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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 23, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 165 days ago. It will be 81 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 35; Preseason opener @ Falcons 49; Final roster cut 72

Should the Redskins go after Arian Foster?

The Redskins are still in need of a running back to back up Matt Jones and to take some of the load off of the second-year back. A good option may have just become available.

According to ESPN, Arian Foster, formerly of the Texans, has put out the word that he will be ready for training camp and that he is “hungry” to regain his previous form. According to the article three unnamed teams have expressed interest.

That previous form was pretty good. He four seasons with at least 1,200 yards rushing and three with 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Foster is also a good receiver out of the backfield with 249 career receptions and 14 receiving touchdowns.

The problem is, we haven’t see that form much lately. Foster has missed 23 games in the last three seasons. In 2013 he spent the last half of the season on injured reserve with a back injury. He was reasonably healthy in 2014, missing three games with hamstring and groin injuries. But the injury bug bit again last year as he missed three games early with a groin and then after struggling for four games he tore his Achilles and was out the rest of the season.

The Achilles injury happened in late October so when training camp starts he will have had about nine months of rehab. That’s a fairly aggressive schedule but it’s certainly possible that Foster could be ready, although it should be noted that all players heal at different rates.

If he is ready should the Redskins bring him in? There certainly is no reason not to conduct due diligence but there are plenty of questions hanging out there. As noted above, he struggled when he played last year, gaining 163 yards on 63 carries, a paltry average of 2.6 yards per carry. Was he still recovering from the groin injury? Or at age 29 was it just what tends to happen to running backs as they get older? In either case it’s a red flag for any team looking to sign him.

Another question is what kind of money Foster is looking for. In 2012 he signed a five-year, $43.5 million extension with the Texans. He collected on a good chunk of that money before they let him go in March. The Redskins likely would not want to pay a back with Foster’s recent injury history much more than the vet minimum, perhaps with some incentives. Sometimes players who are used to collecting big paychecks have a hard time lowering their salary expectations.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins get past the injury issues, the tepid performance last year, and the money to reach a deal with Foster by the start of training camp. But as the preseason goes on desperation on both sides could push them to a contract. I doubt it but you can’t rule it out.

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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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