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Need to Know: The top five wide receivers the Redskins will face in 2015

Need to Know: The top five wide receivers the Redskins will face in 2015

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 12, 18 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

Earlier this week I looked at the top five quarterbacks the Redskins will face this season and yesterday it was the top five running backs. Today, let’s look at the top five wide receivers on the schedule according to receiving yards gained in 2014:

1. Julio Jones, Falcons (1,593 yards, 3rd in NFL)—There was plenty of chatter that the Redskins were going to draft Jones in 2011 but the Falcons traded up and grabbed him with the sixth overall pick. At 6-4 he’s a handful and is coming of his best seasons.

2. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (1,320 yards, 8th)—The Redskins kept him under control in their first meeting, limitng Bryant to three catches for 30 yards. But in their second meeting he had four for 99 yards and two touchdowns. He posted a total of 16 touchdowns on the year.

3. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (1,305 yards, 10th)—As I’m sure you know, Beckham put up his numbers after missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury. That limited him to one game against the Redskins but he put up a few games’ worth of production, with 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Alshon Jeffery, Bears (1,133 yards, 14th)—Chicago doesn’t have Brandon Marshall any more but the 6-4 Jeffery will be a handful for the Redskins’ defensive backs.

5. Mike Evans, Bucs (1,051 yards, 19th)—Here’s another rookie receiver who put up some serious numbers against the Redskins last year. Evans caught seven pass for 209 yards and two touchdowns in FedEx Field.

Note: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had 1,124 receiving yards last year and he is on the Redskins’ schedule. But this list only includes wide receivers.

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Timeline

—It’s been 196 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 63 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 18; Preseason opener @ Browns 32; final cuts 55

 

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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

 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

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.