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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 19, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 7:30 pm, FedEx Field, telecast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 222 days ago. It will be 24 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 15; Cowboys @ Redskins 30; Browns @ Redskins 44

The Redskins week that was

Cousins' goals for Redskins: win games, be boringI’m not sure if they will ever get to be the San Antonio Spurs, as Cousins said his goal is. Since the 1998-1999  season the Spurs have won five titles. The Redskins have not made an appearance in their conference championship game in that time span. Even if the Redskins did get to be a powerhouse, the NBA is better set up to have a dynasty that is the NFL. But the part about being boring as far as distractions is absolutely possible. It's the way most NFL teams operate.

NTK: Cousins thinks he missed a chance—Against the Falcons, Cousins said that one of the running plays that didn’t go much of anywhere while he was in the game could have been avoided had he audibles to a different play. He didn’t say why he didn’t audible when he was at the line, whether he didn’t recognize the bad matchup at the time or if he left the play as is for another reason. In either case, it’s part of the learning process for Cousins. If he starts catching defenses cheating up to the line often enough and burns them through the air, things may open up in the running game.

Michael Crabtree? Josh Doctson? What's the connection?—An interesting post by JP Finlay, looking at how Scot McCloughan may be using history (part his history, part not his) in guiding the team as it navigates the Doctson injury.

Sloppy Redskins practice requires Gruden's loud correction—The book on Jay Gruden as a head coach is not yet written; his persona is very much a work in progress. He let loose on the team with an expletive-laden rant during a sloppy practice at Redskins Park. Gruden has the credibility to be able to do this because the team is headed in the right direction, with a division title last year. A first-time head coach who had posted, say, double-digit losses in his first two seasons at the helm might not have the credibility to off on the team and have it have any effect.

NTK: Room on the Redskins roster for Toler, Sudfeld?—The one hard and fast rule about putting together a roster is that only 53 players can be on it at any given time. That means if you want to add somebody to it, somebody must be removed. To get players like Greg Toler, a veteran cornerback on a team loaded with young talent at the position, and Nate Sudfeld, a promising but raw rookie quarterback who likely won’t see the field this year, you have to cut players you may want to keep.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back