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Need to Know: Redskins searching for back to back playoff spots

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Need to Know: Redskins searching for back to back playoff spots

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 8, four days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Note to readers: This is Need to Know edition No. 1,500. Every morning since July 31, 2012 I've had a great time providing fans some fresh Redskins content to peruse with their morning coffee or to make the morning commute a bit more tolerable. Thanks for reading and supporting all of my content over the years.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conference and player availability after practice approx. 3:00

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 242 days ago. It will be four days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 10; Browns @ Redskins 24; Redskins @ Ravens 31

The 2016 Redskins by the numbers

17—The NFL rank of their strength of schedule in terms of opponents’ 2015 winning percentage. Part of the reason it’s in the middle of the pack is because they play the rest of the teams in the NFC East twice.

.563—The Redskins’ winning percentage in 2015 (9-7)

.354—The combined winning percentage of the other three teams in the NFC East (17-31).

24—The number of years it has been since the Redskins made the playoffs for a second consecutive year (1991-1992). This is why it’s difficult to argue with those who are skeptical of the Redskins’ chances this year. The organization simply hasn’t been able to build anything approaching a consistent winner.

32—The number of years it’s been since the Redskins won consecutive NFC East titles (1983-1984)

19—The number of years since the Redskins have had a winning season for a second straight year (9-7 in 1996, 8-7-1 in 1997). They have been unable to get over ever this low bar.

13—The number of Redskins on the current 53-man roster who are new to the organization in 2016. Last year the number was 16.

4—The number of 2016 draft picks who made the 53-man roster (Josh Doctson, Su’a Cravens, Kendall Fuller, Nate Sudfeld). Last year seven draft picks made it.

74.7—Kirk Cousins completion percentage in regular season home games. That’s the highest home completion percentage in NFL history by a player with at least 100 attempts.

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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