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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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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.