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Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 8, the day the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Patriots

PROVIDENCE, RI—Reporting from here this morning before heading over to Foxborough for the game.

—It is not a complete surprise that Terrance Knighton is out of today’s game with cluster headaches, similar to migraines.   Earlier this week he said that he didn’t do much during the days off for the bye because he was suffering from them. One option to replace him in the line would be to move Chris Baker to nose tackle and use Stephen Paea at left end. Or they could put Paea in at nose and leave Baker where he has been so effective this year.

—Before every game I write a report on the inactive players for CSNmidatlantic.com. I can usually write most it in advance because I know who the inactive players are going to be, between those already declared out due to injuries and the players who are usually inactive. But with seven players listed as questionable and many of them who will have their statuses decided this morning it’s not that easy. Of the questionable players, I think that DeSean Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, and Keenan Robinson will play, DeAngelo Hall and Kory Lichtensteiger will not and Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland are coin tosses.

—The move of Jackson Jeffcoat to injured reserve is as much a surprise to those of us who are at Redskins Park every day as it is to anyone. He was on the injury report with a thigh problem for Weeks 1 and 2 but he has been fine since. We will find out what the thinking was tomorrow. In any case, Houston Bates, who impressed during the preseason, gets a spot on the 53-man roster and he should be able to hang onto it the rest of the season.

—If Jackson does play today, how much impact can he have? His snaps are likely to be limited as he has not played in a full game in more than 10 months. But Jackson doesn’t have to play a whole lot to have an effect on the game. If he can grab one or two deep passes that will help. But whatever he can do to loosen up the rushing defense up front is unlikely to materialize for a week or two. It’s likely that they will be throwing the ball most of the time when Jackson is in the game.

—Like most, I can’t find a pathway for the Redskins to pull off the upset today. Rob Gronkowski will give them a world of problems and, of course, Brady is an unstoppable force. The Patriots won’t score at will but they will put up somewhere between 30 and 40 points. Maybe the Redskins can get into the 30’s but, as I said yesterday, they won’t be able to do it on the ground. They will have to move the ball with Cousins throwing to Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jordan Reed. I see them keeping it respectable that way but ultimately the Patriots are way too much to handle. I’ll take Patriots 38, Redskins 17.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Patriots 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Saints @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Panthers 14; Giants @ Redskins 21

In case you missed it

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Scot McCloughan jokes about not being much help to wife's fantasy league draft

Scot McCloughan jokes about not being much help to wife's fantasy league draft

Scot McCloughan helped the Redskins with their draft picks as the General Manager of the team for almost two years. He's considered to be one of the best in the league at evaluating talent.

Prior to the Redskins, he was the GM of the San Francisco 49ers and a senior personnel executive for the Seattle Seahawks. He's helped draft the likes of Russell Wilson, Frank Gore, Golden Tate, Richard Sherman and Jamison Crowder.

RELATED: REDSKINS OUSTED GM TAKES TO TWITTER

But one draft McCloughan doesn't expect to be good at is his wife's fantasy league draft.

"My wife is [in a league] this year and I'm going to try to help her with the draft but I'll probably screw it up, I'm sure. But I'm going to try," McCloughan told ESPN's Adam Schefter during his 'Know Them From Adam' podcast. 

Schefter warned McCloughan that being apart of a fantasy league changes the way you watch the game, how you follow the game and how you root for a team.

Anyone who's been apart of one can understand the stress it brings on game days.

"I can believe it because some teams you've played against for a long time and never really liked them because they're better than you or whatever. Now you're pulling for one guy so you're pulling for them to win. I can only imagine. It will be very interesting."

McCloughan said he didn't even have a successful track record with helping his son pick college games. 

"When I was an area scout I'd help my son out with picking college games each week, not for betting but just like little club, and I was awful on it. I'd do a school call that week and I'd know exactly the team. They're playing well or not playing well or who's playing or not playing, and I was awful at it. You stick yourself, I'm done." 

Luckily for McCloughan, who is running his own scouting service after being fired by the Redskins in March, is really good at drafting when it matters.

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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Offensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Offensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Offensive line

Starters: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Other roster locks: Ty Nsekhe, Chase Roullier
On the bubble: Vinston Painter, Arie Kouandjio, Kyle Kalis,

How the offensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: Over the course of 16 games they should be better because Williams is unlikely to get his with another four-game suspension. He may miss a game or two with an injury as he did in 2014 and 2015 but they can manage that. With all five starters returning, they may be only marginally better on a game-to-game basis. Lauvao was hampered by injuries last year and he looks healthier. Long will be going into his second season at center so he could learn more and improve. Still, the improvements will be marginal. They were a top 5-10 unit last year and they should be this year. Marginally better

To the rest of the NFL: As noted, it’s a top 10 unit easily and you could make the case that it’s in the top five. Yes, even though the Redskins were 21st in the league in rushing last year. The thing is, they were eighth in the league with 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. When they ran the ball, they ran it well. And their sack percentage was fourth in the league. They should set aside the "Hogs 2.0" nickname until the accomplish more as a team but they are very good right now.  Top five

RELATED: 2017 REDSKINS--5 REASONS FOR CONCERN

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Scherff was the fifth pick of the 2015 draft. He nominally was taken as a tackle although many analysts, including some at Redskins Park, figured he would end up as a guard. He is off to a good start in his career, playing nearly every snap over his two seasons and making the Pro Bowl last year. But he can get better and he has the mindset to do it.

Most to prove: Long is injured right now and that has been a minor issue with him since he became a starter. Last year he played well after taking over at center when Kory Lichtensteiger was injured but he still has a lot to learn. His contract is up after this year and if he is going to earn a solid contract from the Redskins or from any other team he must take a couple of steps up and show that he is worth a significant financial investment.

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Rookie watch: With Long sidelined until the season opener, the focus turns to Roullier. Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan have shown extraordinary confidence in the sixth-round pick, not shopping for a veteran backup center after seeing Roullier in the offseason program and in training camp. They have a better idea of what they have in him after he starts against the Bengals’ first-team defense on Sunday.

Bottom line: The offensive line is one of the strengths of the team. Williams and Scherff could go back to the Pro Bowl. Moses won’t but that’s primarily because right tackles don’t get Pro Bowl invitations. They will keep Kirk Cousins upright and on what is likely to continue to be a pass-first team, that is critical. Run blocking could be better but that top-10 average of 4.5 yards per carry last year points to issues in the run game beyond the O-line.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Trent Williams:

I think he’s going to get better. He’s lost a little bit of weight and I think he might even be a vegan, whatever that means. The things that he can do with his body and athleticism is incredible. He’s by far I think the best tackle in the league and we’re glad we have him. But it’s also good to see a guy with that type of talent and skill set work as hard as he does. That rubs off on the younger guys, the guys that are up and coming young players. They see a guy like that with much talent, that much production over the years – and Pro Bowls – work that hard, you know, it makes the other guys say, ‘Hey, I better work harder because I’m not as talented as him.’

2017 Redskins position outlook series: Wide receiver | Defensive line |

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.