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Need to Know: Tracking the lineup changes around Redskins Park

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Need to Know: Tracking the lineup changes around Redskins Park

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 30, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Cleveland Browns.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay  news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Ravens 9; Eagles @ Redskins 16; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 31

Around Redskins Park

—It appears that the left side of the starting offensive line for Sunday is set. Trent Williams will stay at left tackle (the move that was the people’s choice), Arie Kouandjio will get is first NFL start at left guard and Spencer Long will play center. John Sullivan is likely to be active but he will play center only if Long can’t. I know that there is some trepidation about Kouandjio since he has only one NFL snap on his resume. But if a fourth-round pick can’t play guard after two offseason programs, two training camps, and a lot of practices and meetings something is very wrong.

—The Redskins have to find out if Kouandjio is a viable option at left guard for the long term. It will be surprising if both Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger are back next year and it’s possible that both will be gone. Week 4 is not necessarily the time for tryouts and experimenting but when two starters in the interior of the line go down you are forced to make moves that are less than ideal.

—It’s possible that 2015 draft pick Austin Reiter would be starting at center on Sunday if he was still on the team. But the Browns signed him off of the practice squad and he could start for them against his former team. They like the way he progressed over the offseason but it appears that he was on the first 53-man roster only because Long was dealing with an ankle injury and they wanted Reiter available. Gruden said that he was let go after Long was healthy because he was the third center and he didn’t play much guard.

—We will have to see how things shake out at cornerback with Bashaud Breeland (andkle) definitely out and Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) likely sidelined. Josh Norman (who is unlikely to follow Terrelle Pryor) obviously is the one starters but we may not find out what the rest of the lineup is until they line up for the first snap on Sunday. Greg Toler started against the Giants as the third CB so he might start opposite Norman. Or it could be Quinton Dunbar, who is best suited to play on the outside. Third-round pick Kendall Fuller will be active and he should see some snaps in the slot.

—The picture at safety seems to be clear with DeAngelo Hall out for the year. Will Blackmon is the starting free safety and David Bruton remains at strong. That’s not exactly a tandem that inspires a lot of confidence, with Blackmon still learning his spot after nine years as a cornerback and Bruton struggling to adjust to the defense. Should Duke Ihenacho play more? I think he should at some point but his injury history makes it hard for the team to have much hope that he can contribute long term. But it’s a long season and it seems likely that Ihenacho will get his shot somewhere along the line. The fourth safety, Deshazor Everett, is still viewed as primarily a special teams player.

Tandler on Instagram

Crowder with a nice grab. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on


In case you missed it 

 

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!