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Need to Know: Five things we've learned from Redskins training camp

Need to Know: Five things we've learned from Redskins training camp

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 13, 20 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 224 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 28 days.

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.

Days until:

—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 6
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 35
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 42

Five things we’ve learned in training camp

RICHMOND—As we head into the last day of practice here before heading back up to Ashburn, let’s take a look back at some of what has happened and what we have learned.

—I haven’t done any sort of comprehensive studies or anything but I don’t think the Redskins have suffered significantly more injuries than any other team. Looking at this injury tracker, the Redskins have eight names on it. Scrolling through, it looks like some have more, some have fewer. Sure, it’s bad to lose Trent Murphy for the season in the first quarter of the first preseason game. But they do have some depth at the position so the impact is lessened. And, yes, getting Jordan Reed back to practice would be a big plus. But the evidence doesn’t support any assertion that the Redskins are particularly hard hit on the injury front either in terms of sheer quantity or severity.

—Even if Samaje Perine was playing well it would be tough for him to beat out Rob Kelley for the starting job at running back. Kelley is having that good a camp. He had very limited action in the preseason game but he showed growth there as well. He managed to hold on to a pass when he got smacked after catching a check-down toss from Kirk Cousins. Receiving was an issue for him last year and if he has that ironed out he will be a more versatile offensive weapon.

—Terrelle Pryor continues to impress. On Saturday, he used his length to allow Kirk Cousins to throw a pass that only Pryor, not defender Josh Norman, could catch. Pryor goes deep, he goes over the middle, he gets in there to catch shorter passes in traffic. Everyone wants to see him do it in games—Cousins’ lone pass to him against the Ravens was off target—but it’s so far, so good for Pryor in camp.

—Jay Gruden does not have his team engage in much contact in training camp. They ran a modified Oklahoma drill on their first day with pads but the ball carrier and defender started off too close to each other to generate enough speed for a big collision. They haven’t run it in the two weeks since. They did let the third team run a scrimmage with live tackling but that was maybe a dozen plays and there weren’t any loud hits. This has led to charges that his camps are too soft. Perhaps they are, but some hamstrings and other soft tissue injuries aside they have not sustained very many serious injuries in practice. But until the Redskins win at least a playoff game or two, Gruden’s camp tactics are fair game for criticism.

—The Washington defense should be better this year. The two linchpins of the improvement will be D.J. Swearinger and Zach Brown. Swearinger is a natural leader who is making plays all over the field. Brown has the speed and athleticism that has been missing from the inside linebacker spot. If Jim Tomsula can assemble an effective line rotation the unit will be noticeably improved.

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.

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In case you missed it

Redskins training camp practice blog, Day 12—Pryor continues to shine

Cousins to play vs. Green Bay

One strange turn in Redskins preseason opener

The Redskins week that was—Doctson, Galette injuries, roster cuts

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long. And they will have to do it without Josh Norman, their best defensive back.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

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.

In case you missed it

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS FOR EVERY GAME THUS FAR

Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 

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