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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.

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”

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Jay Gruden won't commit but Jordan Reed 'confident' he will play vs Eagles

Jay Gruden won't commit but Jordan Reed 'confident' he will play vs Eagles

After missing the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a left shoulder injury, tight end Jordan Reed sounds like he will return this Sunday in Philadelphia. 

"I feel confident," Reed said of playing against the Eagles. 

The injury came in the first half against the Cowboys on Thanskgiving Day. Reed went up high to try and grab a Kirk Cousins' pass in the end zone. The ball fell incomplete, and Reed landed hard on his shoulder. The diagnosis was bad: an AC joint sprain. Even with that, Reed returned in the second half against the Cowboys and caught two touchdowns.

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Last week, Reed did not practice once and the team ruled their star tight end out for the Cardinals game on Friday. This week, facing a division foe in the Eagles, Reed said he's feeling much better and the range of motion in the shoulder has improved significantly.

"Today I just felt a lot better. It's painful but something I can deal with," Reed said. "I'm pretty good with range of motion, I almost got all my range of motion back."

While Reed is still fighting through a lot of pain, he practiced on Thursday in a limited role. Going through practice while the media was present, Reed looked athletic and fluid going through drills, but also seemed to show discomfort in between reps. 

"He looked good today, but we'll see," Washington coach Jay Gruden said of his tight end. 

The coach did not express the same confidence that Reed would play Sunday as the 'Skins look to halt a two-game skid. 

"I have absolutely no idea," Gruden said. "But it is good to see him out here running and catching the ball."

Faith plays an important role for Reed, just as it did coming back from a concussion earlier this year. Reed proved his willingness to play through pain when he returned for the second half in Dallas.

"It's definitely some worries," Reed said about pushing through the pain. "I just leave it in God's hands and I just go out there and do my job."

He's made clear that the shoulder is still hurting him, but that he is willing to fight through that to be on the field with his teammates.

"We can't predict that or guess how he actually feels come game time," Gruden said of Reed. "Ultimately, it will be his call."

On the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns. 

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