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Need to Know: Who's in-out for Redskins-Steelers

Need to Know: Who's in-out for Redskins-Steelers

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 19, five days before the Redskins take on the Bills at FedEx Field.

Game chat tonight

We had a great turnout for our first game chat of the year so tonight should be a lot of fun as well. Tarik, JP, and I will all be at FedEx Field for Redskins vs. Steelers. We'll get the chat going right here at 7:30 getting ready for the 8:00 kickoff.

See you there!

Playing time estimate roundup

Mike Shanahan is well known for keeping estimates for playing time in preseason games a closely guarded secret. He has, however, been more forthcoming lately. Here is the information I’ve been able to glean from various comments by players and by Shanahan.

Starters: “Normally, going into the second game, we double the reps of the first game,” said Shanahan. This might be a little bit more depending on how the game goes but in that 25-30 play range is what we normally do in the second game. We’ll just have to kind of get a feel as the game goes, but it’ll be somewhere in that area.”

For reference/comparison purposes, the Redskins ran 35 snaps on offense against the Titans while Tennessee ran 26.

Here is what was said about some specific players:

Brian Orakpo: Missed practice with a bruised quad but Shanahan said he could play “barring a setback”.

Rookie running backs Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison: Shanahan gave a somewhat vague answer when asked if these two would play. “A lot has to do with kind of the flow of the game, how the game’s going,” he said. “Yeah, we’re going to try to evaluate all our players over the next three games, get everybody a chance, but it’s kind of hard to tell you exactly what’s going to happen because I’m not positive at this time.” Thompson did tell Tarik El-Bashir that he will play.

QB Kirk Cousins: Shanahan said that Cousins, who is both the No. 1 and No. 2 QB for the time being, will play a half, which could carry him beyond the 25-30 snaps the starters are schedule to play.

QB’s Rex Grossman and Pat White: Shanahan said both are likely to play, depending on how many snaps the offense runs.

RB Roy Helu Jr.: After having a strong game against the Titans, Helu will get some more snaps this week. “He’ll get some playing time this week,” said Shanahan.

TE Fred Davis: Might play past when the other starters exit. “He will probably play close to half,” said Shanahan.

TE Jordan Reed: It looks like Reed will make his debut on Monday. “I think so,” Shanahan said when asked.

WR Donte Stallworth (hamstring): He did not practice all week. “He’s getting a little bit better, but not good enough to play,” said Shanahan.

ILB Rodderick Muckelroy (shoulder): “Muckelroy right now, his shoulder is still sore,” said Shanahan. “We’ll see how it is over the next couple of days. It’s probably a long shot.”

CB Ryan Mouton (hamstring): “Mouton is a longshot as well,” Shanahan said.

LB Nick Barnett: The in-camp signee is still working his way into shape and recovering from offseason knee surgery. “He will not play” against the Steelers on Monday night, Shanahan said. “Hopefully there is an outside chance that he might take a few reps against Buffalo.”

Reports out of Pittsburgh indicate that the Steelers will play their first offensive unit for about a quarter but their starting offensive line may play the entire first half, depending on snap counts.

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Today’s schedule

Steelers at Redskins, FedEx Field, 8 p.m., ESPN

Minnifield turning heads in camp

In case you missed it

Days until: Bills @ Redskins 5; Final cuts 12; Eagles @ Redskins 21

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?