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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.

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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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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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