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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 3, 10 days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns.

If you need to catch up on what's happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

A lot is riding on “developing” right side of offensive line

RICHMOND—The Redskins have made no secret of the fact that they intend to run the ball far more often than they did in 2014. But in order to do that they will need for the revamped right side of the offensive line to be effective, if not stellar. And, according to Jay Gruden, that’s not necessarily a given.

"That’s just where they are—they’re developing,” the Redskins head coach said when asked about the progress of second-year right guard Spencer Long and rookie right tackle Brandon Scherff. “Spencer’s got a little bit of a leg-up because he had all of last year. I mentioned it before, Spencer missed a lot of his senior year, so he didn’t get as many reps and he was still developing.”

Long missed a good chunk of his senior year at Nebraska with a knee injury and he played just 16 offensive snaps. He has the benefit of having a full season of being on an NFL roster. That helps, but watching film, attending meetings, and working the scout team at practice doesn’t fully prepare a player to step in and be a starter.

At least he has more experience than Scherff.

“And Brandon, he’s a rookie, you know?” said Gruden. “He’s got a lot to pick up in a short amount of time. Week 1 we have [Dolphins defensive end] Cameron Wake coming right at him, so he’s got to pick it up quickly. He’s played right tackle and right guard in training camp and he’s doing a wonderful job so far. A long way to go, a lot to learn, he’s going to learn from the best, one of the best. Ryan Kerrigan is showing him the ropes a little bit and we’re going to use that knowledge and that experience to his advantage, that’s for sure."

Wake had 11.5 sacks last year and has averaged over 10 sacks per season during his six-year NFL career.

In practice, the two have been doing just fine, although they just donned their pads on Saturday. We will be a better indication of where they are next week when the Houston Texans come to town and the line will be facing the likes of JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney (if he is off of the PUP list by then) and Vince Wilfork.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins walkthrough, 10:35 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference approx. 2:45; Redskins practice, 3 p.m.

—It’s been 218 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 41 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 10; final cuts 33; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 52

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 25, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 15
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 22
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 29

Last look at Redskins vs Giants

Defense is on again—The Redskins have not played well on defense the last couple of weeks, allowing a total of 72 points to the Vikings and Saints. But they had a solid game against the Giants, with some help from inaccurate Eli Manning passes and some drops. But the numbers are what they are and they say three points allowed (not counting the seven on the pick six) and 170 yards of offense for New York. It’s the second time this year the Redskins have held an opponent to 170 yards or fewer (Raiders got 128 in week 3). It’s the first time the Redskins have held two opponents to 170 or fewer in the same season since 2004. For the Giants, it was their lowest offensive output since 2013.

Kirk Cousins’ night—Is it fair to say that he had a solid outing? Or is that not enough? He did lead a drive to the winning touchdown in the latter half of the fourth quarter of a tie game. The Redskins have won five games and Cousins has fourth-quarter game-winning drives in four of them. On Thursday, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and an interception that only the harshest critics (and there are many out there) would pin on him. Both of the TDs were special plays in their own ways. Cousins did take six sacks—those are not all on the makeshift offensive line—and he misfired on some passes. He deserves a solid B+ grade for the game.

Hall sits—A lot of people were alarmed by what they saw out of DeAngelo Hall in New Orleans, especially in the late going as Drew Brees got hot. Apparently, the Redskins’ coaches were among them. Even with starter Montae Nicholson sidelined with a concussion, Hall did not play a single snap on defense. It will be interesting to see if he is inactive when Nicholson is ready to play, possibly as early as next Thursday.

On a streak—No, not in the big wins column. I’m talking about winning the opening coin toss. The Redskins have now won two in a row. In the nine games prior to that, the Redskins had extraordinarily bad luck, going 2-7 in the 50-50 proposition. It remains very much in vogue for teams to defer after winning the toss. That has been the choice of the winners of the toss in 10 of the Redskins’ 11 games. The only team that chose to receive after winning the toss was the Raiders in Week 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.

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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