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Need to Know: Will Santana Moss make the Redskins' roster?

Need to Know: Will Santana Moss make the Redskins' roster?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 15, 23 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five thoughts on the state of the Redskins as we wait for the draft (May 8) and the release of the 2014 NFL schedule (date prior to May 8 TBA):

DeSean Jackson has reported to Redskins Park. The team tweeted out a picture of him hard at work in the weight room. Now we can all get along with our lives. Some will search for other molehills to build into mountains.

Long snapper Nick Sundberg is one of the best in the business. It’s good news that he has been cleared to participate in offseason workouts. It’s bad news that clearance was necessary. In the past two seasons he has played in just 13 games. A broken arm interrupted his 2012 season as he spent a stint on injured reserve and last year he suffered a torn meniscus in the fifth game of the season. Since a team only carries one snapper availability is critical and another spell on the injured list could encourage the Redskins to seek other options.

Some are questioning if David Amerson is “ready” to start at cornerback for the Redskins. Looking at him at the end of last year, the answer is probably no. But he has offseason workouts, OTAs, two minicamps, training camp and three preseason games to learn. He was close enough that he should be able to polish out the rough spots over the next five months.

There’s no doubt that Keenan Robinson faces longer odds than Amerson of being ready to take a starting role but I’m not ruling him out entirely. From the time he was drafted in 2010 until he took over as the starter at inside linebacker half way through the 2011 season Perry Riley played just nine snaps on defense. Robinson played 69 snaps as a rookie. Of course, Riley had practice time that Robinson has been unable to get during his season and a half on injured reserve. But if he has been studying film like Riley did as he waited for his opportunity he could make a push for the top of the depth chart.

It’s hard to figure out if Santana Moss will be on the roster when the season opener comes around. His contract, which was for the veteran minimum with a $65,000 signing bonus, means that he could either stay on the roster carrying a small cap hit or get released. Obviously Pierre Garçon, Jackson, and Andre Roberts are the top three wide receivers. If Moss isn’t one of the top three will he have to play special teams (beyond an occasional punt return) in order to stay on the roster. Under Mike Shanahan too many reserve running backs and wide receivers didn’t play special teams. Will Moss learn or be given a pass? It may make or break his chances of sticking around.

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Timeline

—It’s been 107 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 145 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 14; NFL Draft 23; Training camp starts 99

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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

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