Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 27, seven days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.
—Today's schedule: Off day, no availability
—The Redskins last played a game that counted 230 days ago. It will be 16 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 22; Browns @ Redskins 36; Redskins @ Ravens 43
Stock up-Stock down vs. Bills
Here is who gained ground in the Redskins’ preseason win over the Bills and who slipped.
Up—Ziggy Hood has gone from a longshot to make the roster to a virtual lock. He helped his case tonight with a sack of Tyrod Taylor and some impressive run stops.
Down—Rashad Ross returned both punts and kickoffs. On one of the few opportunities he got he muffed the ball and in the ensuing scramble teammate Quinton Dunbar was injured. He’s safe on the roster but his chance of winning the punt return job may be gone, at least for now.
Up—Jay Gruden said that he could “feel” the presence of Preston Smith from the sideline, disrupting plays and setting the edge. That some very high praise and an indication that Smith could be on the verge of a true breakout season.
Down—Kory Lichtensteiger did not have a good week. The team traded for his possible successor in Bryan Stork and then he went out and drew three penalties.
Up—Robert Kelley had a good night (12 carries for 51 yards) when he needed it, probably locking up a spot on the 53-man roster.
Down—Matt Ioannidis didn’t play his way off of the 53 but he was mostly invisible with no solo tackles and three assists.
Up—Like Hood, Greg Toler was supposed to be on the outside looking in when it came to making the 53. But he has played well enough to force his way on and he recovered a fumble that Will Blackmon forced to set up a touchdown.
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In case you missed it
As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”
He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.
Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).
Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.
“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”
“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”
Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).
Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.
RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.
Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.
Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.
In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.
Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.
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