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Redskins Tuesday minicamp report, defense: Some easy INT's

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Redskins Tuesday minicamp report, defense: Some easy INT's

The Redskins held the first day of their three-day mandatory minicamp with temperatures hovering near 90 and under skies that looked threatening but stayed dry.

Here are my observations on defense and special teams.

—They started off with special teams like they have been doing since last year. Among those running out when the coaches called for the first team kickoff coverage unit were DaMon Cromartie-Smith, Jeron Johnson, Evan Spencer, Trey Wolfe, Duke Ihenacho, Trevardo Williams, Akeem Davis, Trenton Robinson, and Will Compton.

—With the second-team kickoff unit were Phillip Thomas, Matt Jones, Darrel Young, Justin Rogers, Tevin Mitchel, Ja’Gared Davis, Kyshoen Jarrett, and Martrell Spaight.

—I wouldn’t read too much into who is lining up where; at this point it seems that a lot of second- and third-team players are interchangeable so it likely is the same with special teams.

—It’s been pretty rainy in Ashburn lately, making the field soft. Some big chunks were torn out early in the proceedings (insert your own “feeling right at home”/FedEx Field joke here).

—Kirk Cousins threw a swing pass to full back Jordan Campbell. Linebacker Adam Hayward came running over late yelling, “Who the f*** was supposed to be covering the flat?” Evidently it wasn’t Hayward.

—Cornerback Tajh Hasson had two of the easier interceptions a DB can get. On one, a Cousins pass hit receiver Colin Lockett right in the hands. It bounced out and into the arms of Hassan. Later, on the last play of team drills, Colt McCoy threw to the sideline. Hassan was the only player with 8 yards of the pass and he got another pick.

—Among those on the first-team punting unit were Silas Redd, Adam Hayward, Trevardo Williams, Young, and Niles Paul.

—The coaches had the returners field punts while holding onto a second football with one arm. It’s not easy to do and it really makes the players focus.

—The only punt that I saw fumbled was a boomer by Tress Way. Rookie Trey Williams, who was not holding on to a ball with one arm, had it go through his hands.

—Tom Compton was matched up blocking Keenan Robinson on an outside run. Robinson apparently was not pleased with Compton’s technique. “You gonna hold me the whole time?” the linebacker yelled at the tackle.

—The final session of practice was field goal kicking. On the first attempt, Kai Forbath was wide left from about 35 yards.

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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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In case you missed it

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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. 

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