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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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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.