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Need to Know: Redskins will work through Jamison Crowder's return issues

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Need to Know: Redskins will work through Jamison Crowder's return issues

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 26, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 10
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 28

State of the Redskins, Week 8

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 8 of the NFL season.

Top three storylines:

Walking wounded—It’s gotten worse since this was a top storyline last week (and the week before). Trent Williams is barely hanging on with his knee injury, three other offensive line starters are dealing with injuries, Jonathan Allen is out for the season, and Preston Smith could miss the coming game. The good news is that it looks like Josh Norman is ready to go.  

Pryor demoted—Terrelle Pryor has been a disappointment. Other than a play here and there he has had almost zero impact. That’s not what the Redskins were hoping for when they signed him in the offseason. He went from playing an average of 53 snaps in the first five games to 30 against the Eagles. It looks like they will give Josh Doctson an extended chance to make something happen now.  

Punt return problems—Jamison Crowder is having problems with punt returns. Most importantly, he has now put the ball on the ground three times. Two muffs earlier this season were recovered by the other team. On Monday, it was good fortune that a fumble after he was hit was recovered by the Redskins. And when he holds on to the ball he averages just 5.8 yards per return, 21st among the 24 players with enough attempts to qualify. Gruden said on Tuesday that they don’t really have anybody else to return punts. Apparently, all they can do is hope Crowder puts his problems behind him.  

Record: 3-3, T-2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-2
vs. NFC: 2-2
vs. AFC: 1-1
Home: 2-1
Away: 1-2

Rankings  and changes from Week 7

Offense (yards/game): 369.2 (8th, -1 from Week 6)
Defense (yards/game): 325.2 (12th, no change)
Points for: 141 (11th, +3)
Points against: 147 (25th, -6)

Passer rating offense:  107.2 (3rd, no change)
Opp passer rating: 88.9 (16th, -7)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (18th, -1)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.0 (17th, No change)
Third down conversions: 39.5% (17th, -5)
Opp. Third-down conversions: 41.8% (24th, -4)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 15.2% (9th, -3)
Playoff chances per FO: 39.2%, -12.5 percentage points from last week

Trending in the right direction: Well, nothing, really. The passing game is keeping things afloat on offense as the passer rating is staying even and as Kirk Cousins keeps on throwing for 300 yards every week. But the numbers are empty if they can’t run and their average yards per rush attempt has tumbled from the top 10 to below average.

Trending in the wrong direction: Carson Wentz and the Eagles put a dent in just about every defensive category. And a Redskins team that was second overall in DVOA just a few weeks ago is now trending out of the top 10.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST:
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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.