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The Week That Was: Redskins' OL continuity rare in today's NFL

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The Week That Was: Redskins' OL continuity rare in today's NFL

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday August 17, one day before the Redskins take on the Steelers at FedEx Field in preseason game No. 2.

That Was the Week That Was

—Going into this round of preseason games, 55 NFL players had suffered season ending injuries. That means that the Redskins, who lost Phillip Thomas (foot) and Keenan Robinson (torn pectoral), are right around the league average. They have yet to lose a projected starter for even a game yet, however, so their luck is holding out there just over three weeks before the start of the regular season. Last year the Redskins had the second highest total of games missed by projected starters in the NFL.

—One are where the Redskins are particularly solid is on the offensive line. When the 32 NFL teams take the field for their openers they will average 1.75 changes on their starting offensive lines. That includes both players new to the team and 2012 starters who switched positions. Eight teams will have at least three changes. The Redskins will have zero changes. And they have all five starters under contract for 2014. Continuity on the line isn’t everything but it helps and the Redskins have the potential to be in good shape there for a few more years.

—Fred Davis wasn’t the only Redskin fined after drawing a 15-yard flag in last week’s preseason game in Tennessee. Bacarri Rambo was hit for $7,875 for shoving Shonn Green after the running back had scored a second-quarter touchdown. Chris Baker was hit for $15,750 for hitting QB Rust Smith in the knees in the fourth quarter. For Rambo, who is earning the rookie minimum, the fine will eat up 33 percent of his first weekly paycheck of about $23,800.

—Jordan Reed has shown some flashes of outright brilliance during training camp. His twisting, over the shoulder catch of a Robert Griffin III pass last week was stunning. But he also has moments where he seems to be lacking in effort like when he has a chance to knock the ball away from a defensive back to prevent an interception or when a ball is thrown that perhaps could be caught by diving for it. It seems to me that he is concerned about getting injured, perhaps a justified fear since he missed all of minicamp with one injury and about a week of practice with another one. He should play on Monday, perhaps extensively, so it will be interesting to see if his, well, cautious ways continue in a game situation.

—When Bruce Allen spoke in Richmond on Friday, he said that the salary cap penalty the team was hit with for 2012 and 2013 will have “repercussions . . . down the road.” And it’s clear that the Redskins will still be paying the price next year and the new two or three if they have to renegotiate contracts in order to get under the cap this year. That will push cap dollars from this year into future years, giving them less to spend in future years. Certainly, the effects won’t be as pronounced as they have been the last couple of years but it still will shrink their available cap room by several million dollars, perhaps more.

In case you missed it

For your Sunday morning reading pleasure, here are links to all 42 Redskins posts from the past week from here and CSNwashington.com.

Sunday 08.11

Monday 08.12

Tuesday 08.13

Wednesday 08.14

Thursday 08.15

Friday 08.16

Saturday 08.17

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Despite one-year contract, Gruden unequivocal about Kirk Cousins' position

Despite one-year contract, Gruden unequivocal about Kirk Cousins' position

RICHMOND - Looking at the contracts for the two most important people associated with the Washington Redskins, a clear discrepancy arises. The head coach, Jay Gruden, is under contract until 2020. The quarterback, Kirk Cousins, is only under contract for 2017. 

Some speculation suggested that, given the diverging deals, at some point Gruden might look to develop another passer that's locked in with the Redskins for the long-term. Backup QB Colt McCoy is under contract for the next two seasons, and second-year passer Nate Sudfeld is under team control through the 2019 season. 

Gruden made clear that isn't the case. Crystal clear. 

"We're focused on Kirk," the head coach said. "He's our starter and he's going to get all the starter reps. Period."

Cousins should obviously be the focus. In the past two seasons he's twice broken the Washington single season passing yards record, and his rise has coincided with the Redskins first back to back winning seasons in 20 years. 

As for practice reps, Cousins will get the vast majority. McCoy will get work, and Sudfeld too, but this Redskins team is focused on winning this season. 2018 contracts are not on the coach's mind in July of 2017, nor should they be. 

"Colt [McCoy] will take advantage of his reps, I'm sure he will. And Nate [Sudfeld] will get a few sprinkled in there. We're trying to develop Nate also for the future. But, this is Kirk's team right now, and it's our job to get him ready for Philadelphia and really surround him and make him feel good about the people around him. Trying to get him used to [Josh] Doctson, get him used to [Terrelle] Pryor, we have some new weapons around him, so it's a matter of getting him ready. But Kirk will get all of them."

With a rebuilt defense and plenty of options offensively, the Redskins should compete for a playoff spot this year. Is there a scenario where the team sputters and spirals into a lost season? Maybe. And in that hypothetical scenario, perhaps at some point it makes sense to see what another passer can do. It's a long shot. 

For Redskins fans, know that Cousins is the unequivocal starter. Period. 

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Focus will be on Redskins' tight end depth during Jordan Reed's absence

Focus will be on Redskins' tight end depth during Jordan Reed's absence

RICHMOND—The Redskins will be without Jordan Reed in training camp for an unknown period of time. Although his toe injury does not appear to be serious, others will have to fill the gap until he is able to return. And the Redskins just so happen to have one of the deepest tight end groups in the NFL and they added another one with NFL playing experience on Thursday.

Jay Gruden said that the Redskins needed to sign E.J. Bibbs, who has one NFL catch in his career, because Vernon Davis, the backup tight end, has “a little bit of a tweaked hamstring.” Davis, who caught 44 passes for 583 yards last year, seemed to me moving fine in practice after Gruden spoke to the media but he could need some reps off on occasion so they brought in Bibbs to fill in the gap. There is no point in pushing the 33-year-old Davis if it’s not necessary.

RELATED: Redskins camp hot topics

The Redskins have even more options at tight end. Niles Paul is back and he appears to be fully recovered from the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the last eight games in 2016. Paul is going into his seventh season and while he is mostly relied on for special teams play he does have a 500-yard season on his resume (2014).

During offseason practices fifth-round rookie Jeremy Sprinkle looked like he had a lot to learn as he goes from a run-based offense at Arkansas to the Redskins’ sophisticated pass-first scheme. He will need to find his comfort level before he takes any snaps in Reed’s place.

The forgotten veteran is Derek Carrier, who now appears to be fully healthy after he missed the first half of last season with a knee injury he suffered late in 2015. He had just two receptions for 10 yards last year in limited playing time on offense.

MORE REDSKINS: Live practice report, Day 1

Joining Bibbs in the long shot category is Manasseh Garner, a first-year player out of Pitt. While neither player seems to have a shot at the 53-man roster, the Redskins could carry one of the tight ends on the practice squad.

Depth is a good thing to have and the Redskins have done a good job assembling a backup plan at tight end. But you just can’t replace Reed, one of the best few tight ends in the NFL, without a significant drop off in production. The Redskins will let the backups compete and learn in training camp and will keep Reed either on the sideline or doing very light work until he is fully ready to go (and then some).

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.