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Need to Know: Redskins personnel decisions top camp priority for Gruden

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Need to Know: Redskins personnel decisions top camp priority for Gruden

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 24, 14 days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots..

Nickel coverage

Training camp starts today so three and out goes out the window and we are back to doing things in groups of five as standard operating procedure. Jay Gruden addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon; here are some quotes and notes on what he said.

—Maurice Hurt was placed on the non-football injury list. “He came in a little bit out of shape,” said Gruden. “We’ll just go from there and make sure we monitor his condition moving forward.” Hurt was not in shape last year, either. He spent the entire season on PUP after getting a knee scope before minicamp. I don’t see any way he makes the roster; in fact, I’m not sure why they are even keeping him now. If he comes back and then gets injured the team could be on the hook for his entire 2014 salary.

—Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and Leonard Hankers were all put on PUP. Asked if he expected Hatcher to be back sooner than the other two, Gruden said, “It probably is. I think he’ll be ready quicker than the others.” Bowen and Hankerson have more serious knee injuries and it will be a while before we even get a good handle on what the status of each of them is.

—His most important job during training camp? “I want to make sure we make the right decisions on players, No. 1,” he said. “We have to make sure we get a good look at all the young guys, all the free agents, all the undrafted free agents, the draft picks, the veteran free agents, and make sure when we make our final cut-down we make the right choices and hopefully these players will make it very difficult on us in making those decisions.” Earlier this week I wrote a list of the players I believe are locks for the roster. There are 21 spots up for grabs and 58 players fighting for them. Gruden doesn’t want anyone he released to come back and “kick [our] ass”.

—Gruden does not expect to have any problems motivating his players. “Any time you lose the last one – whether you go 2-14 or we were 11-5 in Cincy and lost the last one – you should have a chip on your shoulder,” he said, referring to the Bengals’ first-round playoff loss. “You should want to get back on the saddle and compete.” He said that the team didn’t bring in anyone from the champion Seahawks so all 90 players on the roster should have chips on their shoulders. The Redskins have seem complacent some seasons even when their performance the year before didn’t warrant it. We’ll see if Gruden can make this a thing of the past.

—Gruden doesn’t have his own mistakes as a head coach to learn from yet so he has to learn from others. “You try to learn from history, coaches’ past mistakes, not only here but every other franchise in the NFL,” he said. “And you learn as a coach. We’ll learn from what we did in Cincinnati, what we did right, what I think we did wrong, how we ended the season, how poorly we finished and what we can do to rectify that.” The last coach gave the impression that he had all the answers and, given his experience, that’s not surprising. Gruden doesn’t know everything but he seems to know what he doesn’t know and that’s a good start.

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Timeline

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

—It’s been 207 days since the Redskins played a game; in 45 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 14; Final cuts 37; Redskins @ Eagles 59

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.