Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins roster battles looming a week before camp

Need to Know: Redskins roster battles looming a week before camp

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 17, seven days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

Here are a few roster thoughts a week from the start of Redskins training camp.

—Before OTAs, I had Santana Moss on the wrong side of the roster bubble, figuring that a team with a new coach would want to go younger at the position. But then I asked Jay Gruden about Moss after one of the OTAs and the coach was effusive in his praise. “He’s working out hard,” said Gruden. “He’s the first one out there today again, I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games.” That changed my mind on his roster status. Still, he’s going to have to battle, especially if Leonard Hankerson is healthy enough to play. Words uttered in early June don’t carry much weight when cuts come around in late August. I still think Moss is one the bubble; he’s on the good side of it but still no sure thing.

—Chris Thompson or Lache Seastrunk as the third running back? I’ve been favoring Seastrunk simply on the basis that he’s the current group’s draft pick and Thompson was taken by the old regime. But Thompson has some punt returning experience and although he had a 5.1-yard average, last year’s return unit didn’t exactly provide him or anyone else they tried at punt returner any gaping holes to run through. I wonder if they might try to stash Seastrunk on the practice squad for a year to get him to speed as a pass catcher and go with Thompson as the punt returner and receiver out of the backfield. The big concern with Thompson is his injury history. But if that pops up they could simply bring Seastrunk up from the practice squad.

—It seems likely that rookie offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Spencer Long will be starters—in 2015. But if one or both should break through and beat out the veteran incumbents to win a starting job you have to wonder what would happen to Tyler Polumbus and/or Chris Chester. Would they be kept as reserves? Or would the organization opt to jettison them and their substantial salaries ($3 million for Chester, $2.5 million for Polumbus) and go with younger and cheaper backups? I think that the chances of either one not being a starter are slim but if Long or Moses breaks through I have to think the veteran being displaced will get bumped all the way to the waiver wire.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Timeline

—It’s been 200 days since the Redskins played a game; in 52 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 21; Final cuts 44; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 60

 Tandler previews training camp

Your browser does not support iframes.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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!

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.