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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 2 notes--Moss survives the mental grind

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Need to Know: Redskins camp, Day 2 notes--Moss survives the mental grind

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 26, 12 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

News and notes from the second day of training camp for the 2014 Redskins, which played out under cloudless skies and mile late-July temperatures.

—DeAngelo Hall had no problem counting himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the game. Trent Williams think he has some work to do if he wants to be called one of the best left tackles in the game. “I’m too hard on myself to say that I’m the best right now,” he said. “There’s some outstanding tackles in this league and I plan on being mentioned as one of them for a long time to come. But I have a long road ahead of me.”

—We don’t have a timetable for the return of Leonard Hankerson. He suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee about eight months ago, during the Redskins’ loss to the Eagles. He is on the PUP list, not a good place to be when you got knocked at least two spots down the depth chart after the team acquired both DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. He’s prepared to compete when the can take the field. “I’ve been battling all my life,” he said. “That’s how it is in the NFL. One day you can be the starter, the next day you got to go out and prove something.”

—DeSean Jackson seems to be relaxing and settling in. He had a pretty good presser on Friday, giving several expansive and insightful answers. I’ll have more coming from that over the next day or so but here’s what he said when asked if he wanted to show the Eagles that they made a bad football decision when they released him. “You know, my focus is more on my new team, my teammates and doing things that I need to do here to help my team win,” he said. “As far as what the Philadelphia Eagles are doing, that’s in the past and that’s on them. So I don’t get caught up in really worrying about what they have going on out there.”

—Santana Moss has survived in the NFL for 13 years in large part because of his physical talent. But you don’t last that long without knowing how to deal the all of the various mind games that are a part of life in the NFL. “The mental aspect wears on a lot of people,” he said. “At the end of the day, the guys who are here know how to handle it. If feel like this game can be 50-50—50 percent mental and the rest on your ability. If you let the mental part mess with you then it’s going to stop what you do physically.”

—If there was any doubt that Alfred Morris would get the bulk of the carries for the Redskins, Jay Gruden killed it on Friday. "Alfred has proven that he can handle the workload and he's our guy right now,” said Gruden. “Obviously, different situations are going to call for a different type of back, so I imagine we're going to play two, maybe three backs throughout the season."

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 209 days since the Redskins played a game; in 43 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 12; Final cuts 35; Redskins @ Eagles 57

Gruden energizes Trent Williams

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<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!