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The 53: Who benefits from Minnifield's departure?

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The 53: Who benefits from Minnifield's departure?

The Redskins announced yesterday that they have released rookie free agent cornerback Chase Minnifield. His agent said that he reinjured the same knee on which he had microfracture surgery earlier this year.It was reported last week that Minnifield had been placed on the physically unable to perform list. Other teams will have 24 hours to claim Minnifield. If, as his agent believes, he goes unclaimed he will revert to the Redskins injured reserve list.Whether the lands with the Redskins or with another team, Minnifield is unlikely to play in 2012. A good performance in minicamp had put him in solid position to win a roster spot. Since making an NFL roster is a zero sum game one players misfortune can be a good break for another one.Here is how I had things shaking out at cornerback when I did my roster prediction earlier this month:In: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Out: Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Morgan TrentDavid Jones was signed to take Minnifields place on the roster and he, Barnes, Thompson and Trent will vie for that roster spot. In fact, you can put Crawford into the competition mix as well since he is far from a lock to make it. So that makes five players fighting for two jobs.So who has the edge? Trent and Jones have very similar backgrounds and resumes. They were born about three months apart in 1985 and both played for the Jaguars last season. They have similar builds; Trent is listed at 6-1, 193 and Jones is 6-0, 196. Both have been mostly part-time players for multiple teams during their NFL careers. They have proven to be just a guy, good enough to earn at least semi-regular NFL paychecks. It is unlikely that that either will become anything special.Perhaps the same can be said of Barnes. He was given the slot corner position last year and he struggled. The Redskins may be prepared to move on from Vinny Cerratos 2009 third-round draft pick.Crawford looked good in OTAs and minicamp and I think he has a good shot at holding on to a job. Im going to go with him and Thompson to take the last two spots. Thompson showed playmaking potential in the preseason last year but spent most of the year either on the practice squad or the bench. With an offseason program under his belt (there wasnt one last year due to the lockout) he could be ready for some playing time this year.On top of that, Crawford and Thompson are this regime's draft picks. They have shown a strong preference for keepint their guys.Of course, all of this could change when practice starts tomorrow. Perhaps Barnes will respond to the challenge and bring up his level of play a few notches. Maybe Trent or Jones will prove to be too valuable to release.We will see starting on Thursday.

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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 20, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 9
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 16
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 34

Injuries of note:
Not practicing
: OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Ty Nsekhe (core muscle)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle), OLB Ryan Anderson (back), S Stefan McClure (knee). OL Tyler Catalina (concussion protocol).
It was encouraging that Breeland and Norman practiced although Jay Gruden noted that they both took place only in individual drills. See the full injury report here.  

First look at Redskins vs Eagles

Number that pops out—LeGarrette Blount, who had a career average of 4.4 yards per carry coming into the year, is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, fourth in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be a lumbering power back. The key to stopping him is the same as it always has been, getting the north-south runner to go east-west. The Redskins did a solid job against him in Week 1, limiting him to a 3.3-yard average on his 14 carries.

The clutch gene? Carson Wentz is the MVP favorite right now and the thing is that his stats are very good but not very impressive. He ranks 10th in net yards per attempt, 25th in completion percentage, eighth in yards per game, and seventh in passer rating. But he gets it done when it counts. Seven of his 16 touchdown passes have come on third down. His passer rating of 130 on third down is 10 points better than the second-best in that category, a guy named Tom Brady. As a result, the Eagles get first downs on 53 percent of their third-down passes, also best in the league.

Third down passing the key—The Redskins allow conversions on 35.7 percent of third-down passes, 16th in the NFL. If this game ends up with third downs near the Redskins’ season performance they will be in good shape. If the Eagles convert half of their third downs or more, the visitors will be in trouble.

Protecting Kirk Cousins—The Eagles have 14 sacks on the year. They got four against the Redskins in the season opener so they have 10 in their five games since. Their leading sacker is Brandon Graham, who has four on the season. Two of those came in the opener so he has two in the other five games. He will again be lined up against Morgan Moses, who had one of his worst games since becoming a starter against Philly. If Moses plays as well as he has since Week 1 Cousins could have time to have one of his usual big games against the Eagles.

Yes, Ertz is a pain— This is kind of hard to believe but Zach Ertz, who has been in the league since 2013, is third all-time in tight end receptions against the Redskins with 54. He’s behind only Jason Witten and Jackie Smith and ahead of Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, and Jay Novaeck. Ertz has played nine games against Washington; Witten has played 28 and Smith played 27. So if it seems like Ertz is always a thorn in the Redskins’ side, it’s because he is.

Potpourri: Wentz is the Eagles’ second-leading rusher with 133 yards on 32 carries . . . The Eagles have the third-best special teams DVOA in the league. On punt returns, they are averaging 16 yards per and giving up an average of 5.6 yards. That’s a lot of hidden field position.

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.

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From the locker room

Josh Norman talking about how it felt when he put some stress on his broken rib during practice on Thursday.

Posted by Rich Tandler on Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Kirk Cousins is real nice - and 3 other things we learned from the 49ers game

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Kirk Cousins is real nice - and 3 other things we learned from the 49ers game

Kirk Cousins got mic'd up during the Redskins win over the 49ers last Sunday, and well, it confirmed a few things Washington fans already knew about their quarterback. 

For starters, Cousins is a nice guy. A real nice guy.

On one play, Cousins completes a pass downfield while facing a bit of pressure. As soon as he throws the ball, he starts shouting to his offensive line, "Good pocket! Great pocket!"

He keeps going, "Hey that was you guys. I took forever, I took forever. Hey nice job."

NFL quarterbacks like to thank their offensive lines, but not always immediately, even while the play is going on. Kirk is a nice guy.

Some other things learned from the mic'd up session:

  • Josh Doctson has a nickname. It's "Papa Doc." No idea if that's an 8 Mile reference. 
  • Trent Williams believes Kirk Cousins' shoulder is worth $200 million. And he might be right. 
  • Kirk Cousins wants to stay aggresive. He laid it out to QB coach Kevin O'Connell. Cousins explained during the Redskins early lead:

"Sometimes I get in a weird place, you get a lead like this. Where you start playing conservative, not to lose. It’s smart to do that but it also kinda hinders your ability to just go play."

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