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Need to Know: Redskins could try inexperienced options in Breeland's absence

Need to Know: Redskins could try inexperienced options in Breeland's absence

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 2, 12 days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns.

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. 

Redskins deep at corner—for now

RICHMOND—Somehow, Bashaud Breeland escaped major injury on Friday when he slipped while in coverage and bent his knee at an unnatural angle. It didn’t look good after it happened, as Breeland stayed on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field. He was in obvious pain as he the cart headed to the locker room.

The prognosis that came back, however, was quite optimistic given initial expectations. Jay Gruden said on Saturday that they expect him to be out four to six weeks with a sprained MCL. The Redskins’ season opener is six weeks from today. Breeland has been suspended for that game so he is first eligible to play on September 20 in Week 2 against the Rams. Should there be a setback he could miss that game and return the next Thursday night against the Giants or, since that is a short week, possibly on October 4 against the Eagles.

The Redskins’ depth chart at cornerback should be able to handle a one to three-game Breeland absence. Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall are the starters. With Breeland out many thought we might see David Amerson work in at the nickel spot. But Justin Rogers, who played some for the Redskins last year, lined up in the nickel spot after Breeland went out on Friday.

Jay Gruden said the team would sort through some options.

“We have Justin Rogers, we drafted Tevin Mitchel. He was a nickel in college at Arkansas and he's going to get some reps,” said Gruden. “We're going to try Kyshoen [Jarrett] in there a little bit today so we’ve got some guys in there to fill in.”

The surprise name in the mix was Jarrett, who was drafted out of Virginia Tech as a safety. It would be surprising if the team used a rookie who is a converted safety as their first option at nickel back with Breeland out. But he may be their best option

Gruden said that the team viewed Amerson as more of an outside corner. As a rookie, Amerson usually came in for passing situations but he would go to the outside with Josh Wilson taking the slot receiver.

Whichever inexperienced corner gets the roster spot that will be vacated by Breeland’s Week 1 absence from the roster will have to get up to speed in a hurry. The fourth corner on game days usually takes at least a handful of snaps and, of course, he has to be ready if any of the top three goes down with an injury.

Like most teams, the Redskins can survive one short-term injury at a position. The issues come with multiple injuries at a position. The Redskins will hope that the rest of the group stays healthy. They will be keeping a particularly close eye on Hall’s twice-torn Achilles tendon. It might be wise to give him a few extra days off to increase the chances that he remains on the field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins walkthrough, 10:35 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference approx. 2:45; Redskins practice, 3 p.m.

—It’s been 217 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 42 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 11; final cuts 34; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 53

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

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: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

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?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<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 iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<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!