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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' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?