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Need to Know: Redskins' Hatcher looking for a bounce back year

Need to Know: Redskins' Hatcher looking for a bounce back year

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 11, two 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. 

Hatcher looking to bounce back

RICHMOND—Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher had a tough time last summer after signing a free agent deal with the Redskins that paid the then 32-year-old over $10 million guaranteed. He had to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his knee, forcing him out of some of OTAs and minicamp. The injury lingered and he was out for part of training camp.

He was never quite right all season. A hamstring injury hampered him in the early going and another issue with his knee sidelined him the last three games of the season. Brought in to help the Redskins bolster their pass rush, he recorded only 5.5 sacks.

It has been a different story this year. Hatcher has not missed a single day this year due to injury. The coaches have been generous in giving him “veteran’s days off” in order to keep him fresh for when the games start counting.

"This training camp’s been easy for me, I’ve had days off here and there it’s been good, actually flew by," he said. "This probably was the easiest training camp I’ve ever been through."

He is looking forward to getting the preseason underway on Thursday when the Redskins go to Cleveland. Hatcher said he did not know how much the starters will play but he will put an emphasis on fundamentals.

“I just want to see where I’m at physically, try to stay low, keep my pad level, be where I’m supposed to be at,” he said. “Don’t try to be a hero because it’s preseason but go out there and play hard and use this as a measuring stick of where the first team’s at right now.”

Despite the injuries, Hatcher actually played better than his sack total indicated last year. He was second on the team in hurries and quarterback hits, just missing many sacks. If Hatcher, now 33, can stay healthy and get a little help from what should be an upgraded secondary he could have the double-digit sack total that many were looking for last year.

We will have to see how things develop but it starts with Hatcher staying healthy. On that front it’s so far, so good.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1:35

—It’s been 226 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 33 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 2; final cuts 25; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 44

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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