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Need to Know: Why will Pat White go the distance on Thursday?

Need to Know: Why will Pat White go the distance on Thursday?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 28, one day before the Redskins finish up their preseason at the Bucs.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park:

1. I’m sure that most of you watched the RG3 documentary “The Will to Win” on ESPN last night. It was the story of his rehab from knee surgery and it took us to Redskins Park, FedEx Field, gyms in Las Vegas and Boulder, Colorado and other stops along his journey. Very well done and Griffin does indeed come off as fitting the “superhuman” label that Dr. James Andrews gave him in the spring. Your skeptical side may wonder if this was an accurate portrayal of Griffin or if it was just so much ESPN-generated hype. I can’t answer that, but I can tell you this. When I walked out of Redskins Park yesterday evening there was one player’s car left in the parking lot. I think you can figure out who it belongs to.

2. Mike Shanahan announced on Tuesday that Pat White will start at quarterback against the Bucs on Thursday and will play the entire game. This could mean one of three things. He might have a shot at making the 53, as one national writer suggested. That seems unlikely as it appears that the more experienced Rex Grossman has the third QB job wrapped up. Or perhaps they are putting him out there in hopes that he performs well enough to convince another team to give up a draft pick for him. That would be great for the Redskins but it’s hard to see an NFL GM giving up a draft pick for a quarterback who was on the street for three years. My guess is that Shanahan wants to protect his other quarterbacks from injury.

3. Those of you who think the Field Turf is safer for players’ knees that natural grass, see the knee injury suffered by the Giants’ Stevie Brown. He picked off a pass and, without being contacted, he suffered a torn ACL during the return. It happens. A grass field that is well maintained (that’s the key) is just as safe as the fake grass. In fact, a study of NFL games played from 2000-2009 showed that the rate of ACL injuries on Field Turf is 67 percent higher than it is on real grass.

4. There has been a lot of talk about who the Redskins’ punt returner is going to be. The most talked about names are Chris Thompson, Santana Moss, DeAngelo Hall and, if a spot can be found for him on the 53, Skye Dawson. But don’t rule out a surprise. In 2010 the punt returner to start the season was cornerback Phillip Buchanon. He did not return any punts during the preseason but there he was in Week 1 against Dallas. In three games Buchanon returned two punts for one yard and he had three fair catches. The Redskins then pulled Brandon Banks from the practice squad and gave him the return duties.

5. There is also some intrigue as to who will return kickoffs. Niles Paul replaced Banks at the end of last year. He and a few others, including Thompson, have been sharing duties in the preseason. Paul wants to keep the job. “I love doing kickoff returns,” he told me yesterday. “I love to start the game off or start the half off.”

Stat of the day

Nobody on the Redskins has been busier this preseason than backup center Kevin Matthews. He has played a team high 167 snaps in the three exhibition games. The rest of the second-team O-line is right behind him—guards Adam Gettis (142 snaps) and Josh LeRibeus (140) and tackles Tony Pashos (133) and Tom Compton (124). The defenders with the most snaps are safeties Bacarri Rambo and Jordan Pugh, who have 103 each.

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Timeline

—It’s been 234 days since the last Redskins game; there are 12 days to go until the next one.

—Days until: Redskins @ Bucs 1; Final cuts 3; Eagles @ Redskins 12

—Today’s schedule: No availability, team travels to Tampa for tomorrow’s game

New Redskins linebackers look to make an impact

In case you missed it

Tandler on Twitter
Haz on Tanard Jackson in June: Welcome him back "with open arms". Today: "Don't know where he's at, what he's doing." #RedskinsTalk #newtone

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) August 27, 2013

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Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

Jay Gruden at Senior Bowl: Redskins 'totally anticipate' Kirk Cousins will return in 2017

MOBILE – Jay Gruden provided a glimmer of optimism for Redskins fans freaked out about Kirk Cousins' contract situation. 

"I totally anticipate him coming back to the Washington Redskins," Gruden said. 

The Redskins coach talked from the sidelines of the Senior Bowl where he and much of the team's staff were scouting college seniors. 

Gruden explained he had texted back and forth with Cousins a few times this offseason and looked forward to watching him play in the Pro Bowl. 

Since Gruden named Cousins starter in 2015, the quarterback had passed for more than 9,000 yards and twice broken Skins franchise passing records. 

Some indications of a long term deal for Cousins land in the $120 million range, but the Washington organization also has the flexibility to use the franchise tag this season at a cost of nearly $24 million. 

MORE REDSKINS: Who else might want to trade for Cousins?

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!