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No cause for alarm

No cause for alarm

CampCampbell was 3 for 6 for 38 yards

In yesterday's Washington Examiner, Rick Snider made the argument that the NFL needs to go from four preseason games to two and to increase the regular season from 16 to 18 games. I wholeheartedly agree with my friend and I will add one more reason to his list. Two fewer preseason games will give Redskins fans two fewer occasions for irrational fretting.

It's not that there aren't reasons for some concern. Getting shut out is not good. The Ravens' first-team offense moved the ball with ease against the front-line Washington D (minus Albert Haynesworth and Carlos Rogers). Justin Tryon, who was much hyped here and in other places, was burned a few times.

And the two teams played at different levels. The Redskins showed effort; the Ravens displayed intensity.

But some perspective is necessary. It was the first of four preseason games, glorified practices with lights, a clock, and referees. The starting offense, such as it was minus its Pro Bowl running back and top wide receiver, played two series. Jason Campbell was three for six for 38 yards. If in, say, Week 6 the Redskins go out and their starting offense gains 40 yards and three first downs we would say that they're off to a bit of a sluggish start but it wouldn't be any cause for major concern, especially against a top-flight defense such as the Ravens'.

But because the starters hit the bench after that, it's all we have to go on and so numerous participants in my live blog last night already have abandoned hope for the 2009 season and are ready to draft an offensive tackle with the 2010 top-five pick the Redskins surely are going to have.

Just do yourself a favor and take a deep breath and put down the sharp objects. The 2009 Redskins won't make anyone forget about the '08 Patriots or anything but they aren't going to get shut out for the season, either. The defense will give up fewer yards when Albert Haynesworth is in the lineup.

If you want a good recap of what really matters in these "games"—the individual performances and matchups—go check out John Keim's blog in the Examiner. Outstanding analysis by the writer who is, by far, the best one covering the Redskins when it comes to breaking down techniques, X's and O's, and the like. (Hint: click on the "continue reading" link first, it's much easier to read.)

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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!