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Position change, option could neutralize Eagles' Cole

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Position change, option could neutralize Eagles' Cole

When Chip Kelly took over as the Eagles’ head coach he did one thing that Mike Shanahan did when he took the reigns in Washington. He junked the 4-3 defensive scheme in favor of the 3-4. It is one of those moves that is designed to pay off in the long run but may create some short-term pain as players learn new roles.

One of those players adjusting to a new position will be Trent Cole, who is going from right defensive end to right outside linebacker. He has made a couple of Pro Bowls at DE since coming into the league in 2005. Against the Redskins he has racked up six sacks.

There is talk in Philadelphia that Cole’s role initially will not involve much coverage and that he will do a lot of what he’s been doing, rushing the quarterback. In any case, there is a good chance that where we will see the number 58 on his jersey, the Redskins will see a big, red target.

When thinking about Cole facing Robert Griffin III and the Redskins option offense attack, I think of DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys. He converted from college defensive end to NFL outside linebacker when he came into the league in 2005. That experience didn’t do Ware much good when the Redskins played the Cowboys last year. Ware was largely a spectator in those two games, especially in the two teams’ second meeting. They left him unblocked and as RG3 (hobbled in the season finale) put the ball in the belly of Alfred Morris and rode it through the mesh point he froze, not sure at all if Griffin was going to give it to Morris, keep it and run or keep it and pass.

It’s easy to see Cole, with far less experience at linebacker than Ware, facing the same dilemma as the Dallas LB, not knowing where to go or who to hit. We will see if he and the Eagles can adjust and what counter adjustments Kyle Shanahan might make in return.

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Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

Redskins Playbook: Beyond Jordan Reed, questions mount as training camp opens

RICHMOND - Everything seemed cool at the Bon Secours training facility when Jay Gruden left the podium on Wednesday, but that quickly changed when the Redskins released their  Physically Unable to Perform list a few hours later. Jordan Reed landing on the PUP list was an unexpected bomber, a big deal even if the star tight end returns to the field quickly.

On Thursday, the Redskins will take to the field for their first day of training camp. There will be plenty of questions:

  1. When and why? Reed on the PUP list for the first day of camp does not mean Redskins fans should panic, but it also doesn't mean there isn't reason for alarm. Reed has a distinct injury history and it seems the team is being smart trying to handle an injury rather than let it linger. The Washington offense is at its best with Reed on the field. Jay Gruden will be asked about Reed a lot in his Thursday press conference; perhaps their will be some clarity.
  2. D-Line questions - Rookie Jonathan Allen should immediately help the 'Skins up front defensively, but beyond that, there are no sure things in the trenches. The Redskins added Stacy McGee from the Raiders and Terrell McClain from the Cowboys in free agency, and both are expected to have a significant role right away. Those guys have had productive flashes in their past, but injuries have been an issue. The Redskins need them to be good, and healthy, right away.
  3. Time to shine - Josh Doctson hardly had a rookie season as he dealt with Achilles injuries. He played just two games in 2016. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the Redskins need last year's first-round draft pick to produce in 2017. A strong training camp, develping chemistry with Kirk Cousins, could help calm fears about the revamped 'Skins offense. 

Stay with CSN all day for updates from the Redskins first training camp practice of the 2017 season. Football is finally here.

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Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet

RICHMOND—Redskins fans got into a panic when the news that Jordan Reed will start the season on the PUP list with a sprained big toe. But the injury is no cause for great concern. At least not for now.

It’s not that Reed isn’t an important cog in the offense. Of course he is. He was No. 2 in our ranking of the Redskins who will have the most impact in 2017. But there is every indication that the move is precautionary. History indicates that toe injuries tend to linger. Similar to hamstring injuries, the best path often is to rest and rehab until the pain is gone and then rest and rehab a little while longer. That minimizes the chances of the injury coming back.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

The irony here is that Reed did not go to OTAs in order to work on conditioning in Miami. Most areas of his body probably are bullet proof. But there is not a lot you can do to prevent a toe injury; it’s just not one of those areas of the body you can fortify with conditioning.

We don’t yet have a timetable for Reed’s return. They will not be in any hurry. Reed knows the offense and he has good timing and rapport with Kirk Cousins. After missing OTAs he came in a dominated the two-day minicamp. The Redskins could choose to have him work on rehab and conditioning until the third preseason game one month from today. They can let him get a little tune up against the Bengals and then put him back in bubble wrap until they open the season against the Eagles on September 10.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

That sounds like a good plan but there is always the possibility of a relapse. These injuries are tricky. And while it’s too soon to panic, some great concern would be warranted if Reed still is on PUP in a month.

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.