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Need to Know: Will Barnett play special teams?

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Need to Know: Will Barnett play special teams?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 3, five days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Will Barnett play special teams?

Usually, backup linebackers play special teams. They are some of the best athletes on the team and have a combination of size and speed that makes the perfect for sprinting downfield to cover kicks.

However, Nick Barnett may not play special teams. He has started every NFL game in which he has played, all 139 of them, and special teams is not a role that starters are expected to fill.

When asked if he had ever played special teams in his career, Barnett initially joked that he hadn’t. The then said that he played punt team his first for years in the NFL.

He started his NFL career in 2003 so his last year on the punt team would be 2006 when he was in Green Bay. George W. Bush was still president, Bret Favre was the Packers’ QB, and Joe Gibbs was in the middle of his second run as the Redskins’ head coach.

It remains to be seen if Barnett will play teams with Barack Obama serving as president, Robert Griffin III as his team’s quarterback (RG3 couldn’t vote for president in 2006), and Mike Shanahan as the Redskins’ head coach.

It doesn’t appear that playing special teams was a condition of Barnett’s employment with Washington. When asked if playing teams came up Barnett said, “Yes and no. We are going to see where we are at when the season starts. I am here to do whatever I am told to do, play, and be the biggest impact I can for this team.”

It would be difficult to carry a linebacker who doesn’t play special teams on the 53-man roster and it would be even tougher to have among the 46 game day actives. But it can be done and the Redskins just might do it.

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Today’s Fan Appreciation Day schedule

9:00—Gates open

12:00—Practice begins

2:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

According to Redskins.com there will be performances by the Redskins Marching Band and the Redskins cheerleaders prior to practice.

Tarik talks rookie DB’s

In case you missed it

Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 5; Preseason Monday night vs. Steelers 16; Redskins @ Packers 43

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

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. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

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!