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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: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

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).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

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.