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Need to Know: Some Redskins focus on Bucs, others on Steelers

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Need to Know: Some Redskins focus on Bucs, others on Steelers

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 31, three days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Bucs, Raymond James Stadium, broadcast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 232 days ago. It will be 12 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 18; Browns @ Redskins 32; Redskins @ Ravens 39

The Redskins week that was

You know how in spring training baseball teams will have split-squad games? The top line players will go to one site and play a game while the bench warmers and likely minor leaguers go play at another site.

The Redskins have their version of that going on today.

The second and third string, the reserves and players trying to make the team, will be flying to Tampa to play the Bucs in preseason game No. 4. They are concerned with putting on a good show in hopes of either making the roster or practice squad in Washington or hoping that they put enough on film to get a call from another NFL team.

Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Norman, DeSean Jackson, and the rest of the starters and top reserves aren't going to a game; they will be going to lunch. They will be attending the annual Welcome Home Luncheon at a hotel at Tyson’s Corner.

The plan was for the the whole team to attend the lunch event, a tradition for over 50 years, and then fly to Tampa, check into the hotel, and go into their usual routine before playing the Bucs on Thursday night. But Mother Nature got in the way and the threat of a major storm coming out of the Gulf of Mexico forced the game to be moved up and forced the Redskins to alter their plans.

Jay Gruden said that the change was not a major disruption to their planning.

“We just had to speed it up a little bit,” said Gruden. “We didn’t plan on doing a lot of Tampa early in the week anyway, but we’re going to try to do something today and tomorrow. We just have to speed up our preparation a little bit.”

The Redskins were not really game planning for the Bucs; that’s what Gruden meant by “not going a lot of Tampa”. That’s typical for a fourth preseason game and why the change in schedule is no big deal. Moving a regular-season game up and taking 24 hours of preparation time away from a team would be a lot tougher to deal with.

Meanwhile, the players who are staying behind are getting ready for when the game start counting.

“We have started our preparation for Pittsburgh,” said Gruden. “We started meeting on that this past week.”

While it would be great to have all of the players there for support, perhaps just sending the players who will participate to Tampa is not such a bad thing. It gives the front-line players a day or so extra to get ready for the real thing a week from Monday.

Tandler on Twitter Instagram

Josh Doctson with a helmet. No jersey or announcement of removal from PUP. #Redskins

A post shared by Rich (@richtandler) on


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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!