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Need to Know: Under the radar Redskins storylines

Need to Know: Under the radar Redskins storylines

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 4, 24 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Happy Independence Day!

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago. It will be 70 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 11; Preseason opener @ Falcons 38; Final roster cut 61

The Redskins week that was

Some under the radar storylines as we head towards the start of training camp.

Who starts at right DE?—There is plenty of chatter about what they are going to do at nose tackle but Pot Roast Knighton isn’t the only starting D-linemen gone from last year. Jason Hatcher was cut and he doesn’t have a ready replacement. Kendall Reyes took a lot of snaps there during offseason practices that were open to the media. It seems like the team would like Stephen Paea, who signed a four-year, $21 million free agent contract last year, to take control of the job. He could but we won’t know until they put on the Pads down in Richmond.

Who plays nickel cornerback?—It looks like it’s Kendall Fuler’s job to lose but he might lose it. His surgically repaired knee seems to be doing well but we will see how it holds up. Quinton Dunbar had a nice rookie season and he isn’t going to let Fuller move ahead of him on the depth chart without a fight. Dashaun Phillips got some snaps at nickel corner in OTAs and looked pretty good. And veteran Greg Toler isn’t going to fade into the sunset. It will be a fierce competition. Fuller is the favorite but he is by no means a lock.

How many O-linemen will they carry?—They’ve carried as few as eight in recent seasons and there were 10 on the roster last year. One of the determining factors will be who wins the competition at left guard. If it’s Shawn Lauvao then Spencer Long stays around as a reserve. If Long wins then they may not want to keep Lauvao (with his $5 million cap hit) around as a backup. It also will depend on whether they are comfortable with Ty Nsekhe as the lone backup tackle on the 53 or if they want to keep a second one like first-year player Takoby Cofield.

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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.

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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

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

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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