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Need to Know: The next five things on Gruden and the Redskins' to-do list

Need to Know: The next five things on Gruden and the Redskins' to-do list

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 4, three days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things that are next for the Redskins after the DeSean Jackson signing.

Get on the field—Offseason workouts start on Monday. The first phase is conditioning and the only use of a football can be a quarterback throwing to a receiver without a defender. They will progress to the point where the offense and defense can run plays but they can’t line up against each other. So what will be going on at Redskins Park won’t look much like football but it will be something of a landmark in Jay Gruden’s first season with the Redskins.

Pre-draft minicamp—We don’t have a date for this yet but it should be around the first of May, about a week before the draft. It will give Gruden a chance to evaluate the players he has working within his system prior to going into the draft.

The draft—It starts on May 8 but since the Redskins are unlikely to trade up into the first round the key date will be the next day. Bruce Allen and Scott Campbell, running their first Redskins draft without Mike Shanahan having the final say on the picks, will try to pluck two players who can start at some point in 2014 in rounds two and three. The next day will be about depth and special teams.

Post draft signings—They will sign some undrafted free agents immediately after the draft is over. That process will continue during a rookie minicamp shortly after the draft when undrafted players will be invited to try out.

OTAs and minicamp—Right after the rookie camp the team will commence OTAs. Those will go on for a few weeks as what was learned in the early workouts will be used to actually run plays in Gruden’s offense. We don’t have the schedule yet but most teams will run their OTAs into June and finish them up with a four-day minicamp. Then they will break until training camp starts in late July.

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Timeline

—It’s been 96 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 156 days until they play another one.

Days until: Offseason workouts start 3; NFL Draft 34; Training camp starts 110

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.