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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins keep three quarterbacks?

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Need to Know: Why did the Redskins keep three quarterbacks?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 6, six days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day, no availability

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 240 days ago. It will be six days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 12; Browns @ Redskins 26; Redskins @ Ravens 33

Read and react: Jay Gruden

Here are some quotes from Jay Gruden’s news conference on Monday and my reaction to them.

On keeping three quarterbacks:
“I think that was pretty much the plan. You want to have three. Some teams go with two and a practice squad guy. We thought that Nate [Sudfeld] showed enough in the preseason where somebody might give him a chance.”
I go back and forth on this on the wisdom of using a roster spot for your third, developmental QB. But I think the bottom line is that if you want to keep him don’t risk losing him and the 53rd spot on a roster when you can only activate 46 on game days is an acceptable cost for doing so. We saw the value of a quarterback when the Vikings gave up a first and a fourth for career mediocrity Sam Bradford. It’s supply and demand and if you have a guy you think can be a competent QB in a year or two you should hold on to him.

On keeping 11 defensive backs and how that fits into the game day active 46
“That’s what it will come down to – special teams will be huge. We’ll sit down and talk about it. Starting Wednesday we’ll probably start to try to figure out what we’re going to do as far as that 46-man is concerned.”
Gruden and company might wait until Wednesday to ponder the inactives but I won’t. Here is my early call of the seven who will sit: QB Nate Sudfeld, G Arie Kouandjio, C Austin Reiter, WR Josh Doctson, CB Quinton Dunbar, S Will Blackmon, and LB Terence Garvin. The first three are obvious, and I don’t think that Doctson will quite be ready to play. On defense, Garvin is good on special teams but I’m not sure if he can play Mike LB if Will Compton gets hurt. Assuming Deshazor Everett is up for special teams, I think that right now Dunbar and Blackmon are the DBs on the bottom of the depth chart. If they want another DB against Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown they could sit DL Anthony Lanier and activate Dunbar.

On keeping undrafted DL Lanier over 5th-round pick Matt Ioannidis:
“It was very close. They’re different players. Lanier really showed throughout training camp and throughout the preseason games… he’s six-foot six, he’s very young, very raw. We didn’t want to risk losing a big defensive lineman that has some pass rush ability.”
Really, it comes down to pass rush ability. Pass rushers are not unlike quarterbacks in that if you have on you keep him. It had to be disappointing to have to cut their fifth-round pick and the only D-lineman they have drafted in the last two years. But they hope he will learn on the practice squad and contribute either later this year or in 2017.

On Rashad Ross’ progress:
“As a receiver, he has done good. He was a one-trick pony early on in his career. He played one position; now he’s kind of moved over and flipped on the other side. The versatility is getting a lot better, his knowledge of the offense is getting a lot better but the one thing he has that you can’t coach is his speed. He can still run very, very fast.”
The ability to play quarterback, the ability to rush the passer, and speed will all keep some players on NFL rosters longer than others. You can coach the first two to an extent but not speed. Ross got a degree of patience that other receivers might not have due to his ability to get from Point A to Point B faster than most humans can.

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In case you missed it 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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