Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 21, 12 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.
The Redskins last played a game 232 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 20 days.
Today’s schedule: Off day
—Preseason national TV vs. Bengals (8/27) 6
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 27
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 34
Redskins hot topics
—If you want to get a taste of just how close we are to the start of the regular season just look at the Redskins’ schedule this week. With their preseason game against the Bengals coming on Sunday, they get into a normal rhythm this week, with heavy practices on Wednesday and Thursday and lighter preparations on Friday. The times are the same as they were for regular-season practices last year. Kirk Cousins, Greg Manusky, and Matt Cavanaugh will speak at the podium. The main difference between this week and the regular season is that the focus will remain on fundamentals. There will not be hours of film study and game planning to beat the Bengals.
—Yesterday I noted that Trent Williams, among others, was not very worried about the Redskins’ lack of a running game. They are averaging 2.6 yards per carry and Williams said that the lack of production is due in part to a lack of live practice in the running game, among other things. But last year they had essentially the same preparation and through two games they averaged 3.3 yards per carry, more than half a yard per carry better. Certainly, it’s not time to panic but there might be some reason to think that the problems running the ball are more than business as usual.
—I didn’t have TE Niles Paul on my “stock up” list from the Packers game but that was because his stock already was high in the eyes of the coaches after he had a great camp. He had a heavy hand in 10 of the 14 points that the Redskins scored, recovering a muffed punt to set up a field goal and making a superb catch of a Colt McCoy pass for a touchdown. Injuries have limited Paul to eight games over the past two seasons and there was speculation that they team might move on from him and his $2.2 million salary cap number. But he is now locked into roles as the fullback, on special teams, and at tight end.
—I did have rookie CB Fabian Moreau in the “stock up” category but I did not mention his fellow rookie defensive back. S Montae Nicholson also made his NFL debut against the Packers after rehabbing an injury (shoulder) also played well. He played 30 snaps, more than all but two other defensive players, and he was in on three tackles on defense plus one on special teams. Playing mostly free safety, he showed why the Redskins drafted him in the fourth round, exhibiting his athleticism, speed, and range. The fourth-round pick has a long way to go still but it will be interesting to watch him develop and see what he contributes.
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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