Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 12, 46 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.
—The Redskins last played a game 154 days ago. It will be 92 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Redskins training camp starts 46; Preseason opener @ Falcons 60; Final roster cut 83
—There will be more on this in the weeks to come, but I’m starting to think that the Redskins will exceed expectations. What are expectations for the 2016 team? I think it’s somewhere around seven to nine wins. Fewer wins than that would be legitimate grounds to be disappointed and reevaluate how they are doing things; more than nine wins would be cause for celebration.
—What is their path to 10 wins? Going 4-2 in the division, 3-1 against the AFC North (the London game against the Bengals will be key there) and splitting their other six games against the NFC North, the Cardinals, and the Panthers. The last part is not easy but doable with the two toughest NFC North games coming at home against the Vikings and Packers.
—Could they do better than 10? Sure but right now it would be a very tall order. They would have to win a game like the one in Arizona and/or upset the Steelers in the opener. At the moment getting 11 or 12 wins looks like drawing to an inside straight.
—The more I see of David Bruton, the more I think that he will hold on to a starting safety job into the season. At 6-2, 225 he looks like a linebacker who lined up a little deep and in the no-pads phase of practices he has looked good. To be sure, a player who has just eight starts in seven seasons in the NFL still has a lot to prove.
—Every time I look up to see the running backs doing individual drills, Matt Jones is hustling up to the front of the line. That doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to add a yard to his 3.4 per-carry average from last year or develop a stickier grip on the football. But it is a sign that he is genuinely interested in improving and that’s not always a given.
In case you missed it
The Redskins offensive line struggled through the first two games of the 2017 preseason, and more bad news arrived Monday night when CBS Sports reported that center Spencer Long underwent a knee scope and is expected to miss the next two weeks.
Long moved to center last season when Kory Lichtensteiger got injured, and the results were solid. In 2015, Long started a number of games at left guard, but at center in 2016, he seemed a natural fit as a leader and a quick learner calling the Redskins protections.
With Long expected to miss some time, rookie Chase Roullier will take over the top center job. Rouillier played center his senior season at Wyoming and earned All Mountain West honors. At 6-foot-4 and 312 lbs., Roullier has comparable size to Long, who goes 6-foot-5 and 320 lbs. Both players also played some guard in college.
Washington coach Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about the importance of a backup center, and with Roullier now moved to the top line, expect the Redskins to move quick to bring a veteran in for depth. This will make sorting out the offensive line roster even murkier as the Redskins approach roster cuts after their fourth preseason game.
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NFL preseason games usually don't cause a stir on the Internet. That is, until a very important player suffers an injury in one.
That's exactly what happened during Monday night's Giants-Browns game in Cleveland. While going up to snag an Eli Manning pass, Odell Beckham Jr. was cut down by Briean Boddy-Calhoun on what was a gruesome-looking play:
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At first, Beckham Jr. somehow looked like he was going to be OK. But he eventually had to head to the New York locker room, and the team later said his ankle is what they were concerned about:
If that's all it turns out to be, consider the receiver and the Giants lucky. In looking at replays of the hit, it's remarkable to think that he could emerge from it with no knee issues.
New York will surely update his status once they find out more.
UPDATE - 10:26 P.M.
The entire Big Apple sighs a giant sigh of relief:
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