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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 3, two days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

A six pack of thoughts on the Redskins

I have not yet emptied my brain of miscellaneous thoughts about the Redskins (blame the long layoff between games). Let’s roll with another six pack of them.

1.I look at Brandon Scherff and I see a pretty good guard at this point. Maybe he can become dominant in a few years to justify the No. 5 pick. But I can’t help but look at the troubles the Redskins are having getting pressure on the passer rushing four and think that Vic Beasley of the Falcons might have been a better pick. But we’ll see how it plays out.

2. Speaking of which, Preston Smith also could help generate more pass rush. He played 28 snaps against the Giants, almost as many as he played in the first two games combined. But it still was fewer than half of the defensive snaps. Smith probably should have beaten out Trent Murphy to start the season. He’s not a magic solution to what ails the pass rush but he would be an upgrade.

3. Perry Riley is going to miss another game with a strained calf. There’s nothing he can do about it but you have to think that he is anxious to get back. Will Compton is playing well in his place. Next year, Riley’s cap number will be over $5 million in the last year of his contract. Compton will get the third-year minimum. The Redskins could save about $3 million by going with Compton over Riley (considering about $1 million in dead cap for letting Riley go). It will be something they will ponder when the season is over.

4. I posted on the Redskins’ issues generating sacks and takeaways yesterday and I didn’t have the space to get into one of the major factors that have make big plays difficult. The Redskins haven’t played with a comfortable lead much. Being ahead allows the defense to tee off on the quarterback and gamble for interceptions. This was an issue last year as well. It’s a bad cycle, where they can’t get ahead, so they don’t get takeaways, setting up field position that is continually challenging. The need to break through it.

5. The Redskins will start just three players who are 30 or older on Sunday; S Dashon Goldson (31), C Kory Lichtensteiger (30), and the oldest player on the team at age 33, Jason Hatcher. Nine starters will be 26 or younger. In addition, the kicker, punter, kickoff returner and punt returner are all 25 or younger.

6. In Week 4 a year ago, the Redskins started just one offensive lineman who was drafted by the team, Trent Williams. The other four, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus, arrived as free agents. On Sunday, the line will have just one free agent, Lichtensteiger, and four draft picks; Williams, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Falcons 8; Redskins @ Jets 15

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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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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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