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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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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back