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Need to Know: Who has the upper hand in the Redskins' left guard competition?

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Need to Know: Who has the upper hand in the Redskins' left guard competition?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 30, four days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice approx. 1:00

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 233 days ago. It will be 13 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 19; Browns @ Redskins 33; Redskins @ Ravens 40

Some thoughts from Redskins Park

—I’m not sure if the Redskins are going to go after the recently released Pot Roast Knighton or not. But I do know that his departure was more a matter of performance than it was of money. They did make a late bid to keep him right before he signed with the Patriots but it wasn’t all that serious. I know that even after signing Cullen Jenkins they still could use help but in some cases you have to move on, not reach back.

—Jenkins is not a lock to make the roster but he is a solid favorite to stay around. He told me yesterday that being able to rush the passer is his main calling card and the Redskins can use that on the defensive line. Bottom line, I don’t think they sign him unless they intend to keep him. Barring a massive failure on his part I think he stays.

—Did Shawn Lauvao get the break he needed to secure the starting left guard job? Spencer Long has started all three preseason games so far and according to Gruden he was doing well. The competition for the starting job was still a coin flip per the head coach. But now Long is suffering from an ankle injury and Lauvao is getting all of the first-team reps. It’s not known how many days Long will have to spend on the sideline but it could well be long enough to give Lauvao a chance to lock the job down. Gruden said that he anticipates announcing who will start against the Steelers the Wednesday or Thursday before the game.

—Jay Gruden said yesterday that they are considering putting injured RB Keith Marshall on injured reserve. In fact, the decision may already have been made. Yesterday afternoon Gruden said that he, Scot McCloughan, and head trainer Larry Hess would talk about Marshall “in the next couple of hours”. Even if they have decided to put him on the shelf they likely will wait until after 4 p.m. today to do it. By waiting until after squads have been cut to 75 they will avoid the need to expose Marshall to waivers.

—Gruden said that regardless of what they do with Marshall they are not looking to add another running back right now. He said that Mack Brown and Robert Kelley would play against the Bucs on Thursday and they will take it from there. They still could claim a back if they see one they like on the waiver wire or sign a veteran before the season starts but for right now they are standing pat.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

 

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

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: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

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?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<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 iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<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!