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Need to Know: Will the Redskins go running back by committee?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins go running back by committee?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 2, one day before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day, no availability

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 236 days ago. It will be 10 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 16; Browns @ Redskins 30; Redskins @ Ravens 37

Stock up/stock down vs. the Bucs

—I like Mack Brown and I think he could be a helpful player to have on the roster. But I just don’t see a spot for him. If they do take on a fourth running back I think it will be someone from outside of the organization, a veteran or an experienced back cut by another team. But I’d say they should stick with three; a fourth running back is like a fifth wheel. Keep Brown on the practice squad in case someone gets injured.

—The bigger implication of Wednesday night at running back may be in the division of carries. It seems that the offseason plan has been to give Matt Jones the vast majority of the carries, upwards of 75 percent of them. But the way that Robert Kelley ran, and the way he ran throughout the entire preseason, may prompt Jay Gruden and company to call his number more often. Jones will still get most of the rushing attempts but it may be more like a 60/40 split with Kelley and maybe Chris Thompson getting the other carries.

—If I was making the decision I probably would put Nate Sudfeld on waivers and try to get him through to the practice squad. If he gets claimed, oh well, find another developmental quarterback. But I don’t make those decisions and I think that the people in the Redskins organization who do will keep Sudfeld on the 53. It’s a defensible position, certainly. For one thing, a few teams needed three quarterbacks last year. For another, they have invested a lot of time in training Sudfeld in their system and they don’t want to start from scratch with another QB with the regular season getting underway.

—As of this writing, Josh Doctson is on the PUP list. He won’t be when Saturday rolls around. He has not practiced yet but they are not going to put him on the shelf for six weeks. I would look for him to be limited in practice the week leading up to the Steelers game and then inactive for the game. That pattern will continue for a few weeks until he gets up to full speed.

—On my final projection I have the Redskins keeping seven defensive linemen and 10 defensive backs. They could change that to keep Deshazor Everett on the roster. I don’t think that they really like their D-linemen beyond Chris Baker and maybe Ziggy Hood. If they think that their best 11 defensive backs are better football players than their best six D-linemen, why not set up the roster that way and keep Anthony Lanier and Corey Crawford on the practice squad.

Tandler on Twitter

The answer was yes, I made it out. But it was close.

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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