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Need to Know: Retooling the Redskins' identity and other NFL draft thoughts

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Need to Know: Retooling the Redskins' identity and other NFL draft thoughts

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 13, three days before the Redskins’ hold their rookie minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Here are five final thoughts on the 2014 NFL Draft (just don’t hold me to the “final” part).

—The selection of Trent Murphy was all about leverage in 2015. Rewind to the owners meetings when Gruden said that he would be fine with letting Brian Orakpo play out the season on the franchise tag. “At the time we did it we weren’t sure who would be available” in free agency. In other words, if they had an alternative they might not have tagged Orakpo. Enter Trent “Alternative” Murphy. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

—“Tough, high-character guys, high motor guy are what you want to add to your football team and we feel like we’ve done a good job,” said Gruden about the team’s top three draft picks. But that description fits almost the whole group. We’ve heard the Redskins called a talented team. But have you ever heard someone say that they are the toughest group you’ll face all year, won’t quit, will scrap and fight until the clock reads 0:00? Anyone? Didn’t think so. This is something that they are trying to change.

—The selection of a kicker always draws some snickers and that’s understandable. But while I have no particular inclination to run Kai Forbath out of town, the 2013 numbers are what they are—24th in field goal percentage, 30th in touchbacks, and 32nd in net kickoff average. That performance warrants a strong challenge and if you have to burn your second 7th-round pick to do so I can’t work up much disagreement with it.

—It will be interesting to compare the career tracks of Cyrus Kouandjio and Morgan Moses over the next few years. Kouandjio, the offensive tackle out of Alabama, was gone before the Redskins actually picked, taken by the Bills just a couple of selections before Washington took Murphy with the second-round pick they acquired from Dallas. I always thought that Kouandjio would be the better player if his knee stayed stable and perhaps the better way to proceed would have been to keep the 34th pick, take Kouandjio, and then perhaps Murphy at 66. According to reports he was off of the Redskins’ board due to the knee so it wasn’t going to happen. But teams are sometimes wrong about medicals, we’ll see how it plays out.

—Since it’s never too early to look ahead, the Redskins finally have a first-round pick in 2015. They have all of their own picks so one selection each in rounds 1-7. Washington is unlikely to get any compensatory picks since more free agents were signed than lost.

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Timeline

—It’s been 135 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 117 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 3; Training camp starts 71; Preseason opener Patriots @ Redskins 86

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 493 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Matthew had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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