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Need to Know: RG3 conversation will shift to games

Need to Know: RG3 conversation will shift to games

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 4, five days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. I have been getting some Twitter comments from fans that range from annoyed to borderline hostile to RG3 because they were tired of hearing him talk about his knee rehab and talking about/creating the surrounding drama. Griffin has his first press conference in two weeks this afternoon at about 3:00. There will be some talk of that in today’s press conference and some questions about all of the parties involved not being on the same page (or reading from the same book, for that matter). But there will be questions about the upcoming game against the Eagles. After this afternoon, the next time we talk to him will be at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday and there will be a game to talk about. If plays as well as I think he will all the talk of concerns and being superhuman and not understanding the program will quickly become distant memories. (Note: You can see RG3's press conference today live on Comcast SportsNet at 3:20.)

2. Meanwhile, amidst all of the noise surrounding the quarterback position and the speculation over who the backup running backs will be, Alfred Morris is, well, being Alfred. We didn’t have a chance to hear much from him in training camp because he was out on the field signing autographs for kids long after the media had to go to attend press conferences. He’s been available in the locker room, just one of the guys, praising RG3’s rehab and the offensive line and the coaches and everybody but himself. He hasn’t been on the top of fans’ consciousness this offseason and that suits him just fine. Everyone will be reminded what a big part of  this team he is when Monday night rolls around.

3. It is likely that the Redskins will have to make one of their four running backs inactive for Monday’s game against the Eagles. The unofficial depth chart lists Chris Thompson as the fourth-string tailback but don’t look for him to be watching in sweats on Monday night. Thompson is at the top of the chart at both punt and kickoff returner. He might not do both but he is likely to be the punt returner. If that’s the case, then Evan Royster, the No. 3 running back, is a candidate for the inactive list.

4. I don’t talk much with power ratings but for those of you who get worked up when the Redskins end up getting ranked lower than you think they should here is one that should soothe you to some extent. The ESPN power ranking poll has the Redskins 10th, fifth best in the NFC and ahead of all of the other teams in the NFC East (Giants 12th, Cowboys 18th, Eagles 25th). Every team ahead of them had at least as good a record as the Redskins did last year and all but one advanced further in the playoffs. That seems pretty reasonable to me. They could well end up outperforming that ranking once they start playing but based on last year and everything we know it’s hard to give them a higher ranking right now.

5. Mike Vick may not be the ideal quarterback for Chip Kelly’s offense. Not too long after Kelly became the Eagles’ head coach he discussed his offensive philosophy. Part of it was a quick passing game. Kelly said that he wanted his quarterback to get his passes off in 1.6 seconds. According to Pro Football Focus, Vick took an average of 3.6 seconds to get his passes out of his hand during the preseason.

Stat of the day

—Of the 53 players who are on the Redskins’ roster, 11 are new to the organization since the end of last season. A total of 17 were not on the opening 53-man roster in 2012.

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Timeline

—It’s been 241 days since the last Redskins game; there are five days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Packers 11; Lions @ Redskins 18

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; practice 1:00; Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan press conferences after practice (approx. 3:00)

Florio expects the Redskins to contend

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 24, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 48 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 17
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The offense is up today, the defense tomorrow.

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Cousins and the team didn’t agree on the contract but that changes nothing for 2017. The elimination of two-a-day practices makes a fourth “camp arm” QB unnecessary so these three will handle all the snaps from now until when the season ends.   

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

Bubble: Mack Brown, Keith Marshall

Kelley skipped the drive-through window meals during the offseason, switching to a healthier diet to get himself in better shape. He will need to be strong to hold off Perine, who will make a push for playing time. Brown could be on or off depending on numbers elsewhere on the roster. If Marshall can stay healthy, he could force his way into the picture but the health is a big “if”.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Bubble: Brian Quick

I’m not sure if Grant, who caught nine passes while playing in all 16 games last year, should be a lock but it appears that he is. Davis is a projection; he has a lot to learn but if he is showing significant progress he could push out the veteran Quick, who was not impressive during the offseason practices.    

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Bubble: Derek Carrier

Paul and Sprinkle could be considered on the bubble as well. The normal allowance is for three tight ends on the 53-man roster. Reed and Davis are locks, they need Paul for special teams, and Sprinkle is slated to be the blocking tight end. But Sprinkle needs to add a lot of polish to his game and Paul has the injury bug to fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Vinston Painter, Chase Roullier

Bubble: John Kling

The starters are locked in unless Kouandjio can come up with a huge camp and push Lauvao out of the starting job. Roullier could be the backup center but if he’s not ready the Redskins could look for a veteran off the waiver wire for that spot.

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to 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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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP