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Need to Know: The five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2015 schedule

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Need to Know: The five pivotal games on the Redskins' 2015 schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

What are the pivotal games for the Redskins in 2015, the contests that could send the season in one direction or the other? Glad you asked, here are five of them:

—Rams, Week 2—The 2012 RG3 trade is going to be a storyline if only because Rams coach Jeff Fisher still wants to make it one. But what really matters here is that this is a home game against a sub-.500 team that embarrassed them 24-0 at FedEx Field last year. And Washington goes on the road for three of its next four games.

—@ Giants, Week 3—It’s a quick turnaround as the Redskins hit the road for a Thursday night game. Last year New York won six games and two of those victories came against Washington. A win in their first division game (they were 2-4 vs. the NFC East last year) would be a good start towards becoming more competitive.

—Bucs, Week 7—This is a similar scenario to the Rams game, a home contest against a bad team that beat them handily in front of the home fans in 2014. If the Redskins are an improved team this year these are games they have to win.

—@ Panthers, Week 11—They’re a playoff team that won a postseason game, even though they finished the season with a losing record. This is a good test for a Redskins team that could be teetering on the brink of either contending or falling by the wayside.

—Cowboys, Week 13 (Monday night)—This is another situation where they are at home before heading out for a stretch of three out of four road games. They managed to split with the Cowboys last year, pulling off a Monday night win in Dallas. A win against the Cowboys at home, whether it’s for the division title as it was in 2012 or just because, always makes the fans happy.

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Timeline

—It’s been 116 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 143 days until they play another one.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 7; Redskins minicamp starts 54; Redskins training camp starts 98

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Rookie hazing: DeSean Jackson turns Kendall Fuller around in 1v1 drills (VIDEO)

Rookie hazing: DeSean Jackson turns Kendall Fuller around in 1v1 drills (VIDEO)

Beating up on Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller has become normal on social media the last few weeks, but the rookie still has a bright NFL future, not to mention he opened the season with a string of strong games. 

That said, Fuller has had a rough last few weeks for the 'Skins. Manning the slot corner role, the rookie has faced tough matchups and been caught out of position a few times. Coaches always talk about Fuller's work ethic in practice, and he goes hard each session. But on Wednesday, Fuller was put in a tough spot, facing off against DeSean Jackson in one-on-ones.

One-on-one drills between defensive backs and wide receivers are inherently titled toward the offensive side of the field. There are no linebackers, no pass rush, no safety help. Generally, receivers should catch the pass in one-on-one drills. 

Few corners perform well against Jackson in one-on-ones, but it's worse when the cameras are rolling. Watch the full video above. 

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Williams, Lichtensteiger back at practice for Redskins

Williams, Lichtensteiger back at practice for Redskins

The Redskins had two offensive linemen return to practice today and they had some others out of practice, nursing injuries.

Back were left tackle Trent Williams and center Kory Lichtensteiger. Williams has finished serving a four-game suspense for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Lichtensteiger has been on injure reserve with a calf injury since Week 4. Just before practice the team announced that he has been designated to return from IR and that his three-week practice window before the team needs to activate him starts today.

His window is unlikely to be that long. Starting center Spencer Long is in the league concussion protocol after leaving the Cardinals game on Sunday. John Sullivan finished up the game in place of Long and he is the likely starter if Long can’t play against the Eagles this Sunday. However there is not another backup center on the roster and if Long is out in Philadelphia Lichtensteiger probably will be activated to play should something happen to Sullivan.

Left guard Shawn Lauvao and tackle Ty Nsekhe were not participating in practice either. Nsekhe has been fighting through an ankle injury as he was subbing for Williams. The nature of Lauvao’s injury is unclear.

On defense, safeties Will Blackmon and Donte Whitner were absent from practice. Blackmon is in the concussion protocol. The reason for Whitner’s a sense is unknown.

Jay Gruden will update the media on the various injuries after practice.