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Need to Know: Surprise contributors helping the Redskins

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Need to Know: Surprise contributors helping the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 19, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Carolina Panthers.

Five thoughts and observations from Redskins Park

—There is no reason to get all nervous about Matt Jones fumbling. Alfred Morris had four in his rookie year, three of them recovered by the other team, and nine in his first two seasons combined and nobody was screaming for him to get glued to the bench.

—I’m keeping my eye on the inside linebacker spot this week. Will Compton seems to have one of the spots locked down but not necessarily for every snap. Last week I thought that Perry Riley was only playing because Keenan Robinson was injured but he responded with his best game of the year, including an acrobatic interception. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three of them rotate situationally through the game.

—I’m going to do a post on what Trent Williams said about Morgan Moses’ play in the next day or two but the second-year player is getting high praise from both players and coaches. “I think he’s playing at a level of right tackle as good as anybody in the National Football League,” said Jay Gruden said of Moses after the Saints game. When training camp started nobody figured he would play much of a role at all this year. It goes to show you how much and how quickly things can change in the NFL.

—Speaking of unanticipated contributors, Will Blackmon wasn’t even on the roster Week 1. His play has essentially pushed DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins starting cornerback since the middle of the 2008 season, to safety. It’s hard to think of what a disaster the secondary would have been with Hall and Chris Culliver missing significant time with injuries had they not found Blackmon.

—Gruden said that there were “a couple of little skirmishes out there” during practice on Wednesday. "We’re just competing, man, that’s it," said Blackmon. "Nothing crazy, just a lot of testosterone out there." Perhaps this has happened at this time of year before but I don’t recall it happening often. This is a good sign; you have to like the feistiness out there a week before Thanksgiving.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 3; Giants @ Redskins 10; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 18

In case you missed it

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NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

On the field, Fabian Moreau makes plays from his cornerback slot that translate to the NFL game. Staying on the field has been a different matter though. 

In five seasons at UCLA, Moreau dealt with his fair share of adversity. He took a medical redshirt year in 2015, suffering a Lisfranc injury three games into the year. More devestating to his draft status, however, was an injury suffered during his Pro Day in late March. Moreau tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.

For many, that injury caused his slip from a possible fringe first rounder to Washington's prize with the 81st pick. It's possible Moreau will be back from injury by the time training camp opens, but it seems likely he begins the summer sessions in Richmond on the PUP list. 

At the combine, Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Serious speed, and it instantly makes the 6-foot, 206 lbs., Moreau the fastest corner on the Redskins.

In his senior season, Moreau grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumble and made 31 tackles. Not scared to get physical and play press coverage, Moreau's mindset should mesh well with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland as he looks to force his way to playing time. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

After taking Alabama DL Jonathan Allen in the first round and Crimson Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second, the Redskins drafted UCLA corner back Fabian Moreau in the third.

Moreau may have been drafted earlier but he suffered a torn pectoral lifting weights during his pro day. Although medical evaluations have said he should be ready to participate in training camp, he lasted until the 81st pick.

Moreau has good size at 6-0, 206 and he is a plus athlete. At the combine he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash. In 2016 he led the Bruins with six pass breakups and also two interceptions. He is also considered to be a good run defender.

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.