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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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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!