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Need to Know: Five offensive players with work to do during Redskins OTAs

Need to Know: Five offensive players with work to do during Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.

Nickel coverage

OTAs get underway on Tuesday at Redskins Park. Here are five offensive players who will have a lot at stake during this phase of the offseason.

—G Chris Chester—He had Spencer Long breathing down his neck all last year and now Arie Kouandjio could provide a little extra heat on him. At 32 with a salary cap number north of $4 million and the team switching to running scheme geared towards power blocking, Chester will have to adapt quickly.

—WR Andre Roberts—Last year Roberts was a free agent disappointment. It wasn’t all his fault since they brought in DeSean Jackson after signing him, decreasing his role. Still, he caught just 36 passes and dropped seven. The Redskins are very high on fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder, who does what Roberts does—plays slot receiver and returns punts and kickoffs.

—G Josh LeRibeus—When you were drafted by the guy who was around two regime changes ago (Mike Shanahan), have spent three years as a backup and your team spends third- and fourth-round picks on players at your position in consecutive drafts you should start feeling uncomfortable. If LeRibeus is going to hang on it starts with being in top shape for OTAs and making a solid impression.

—WR Ryan Grant—He’s not in any danger of being cut but his situation is similar to that of LeRibeus in that he was picked by the old guy (Bruce Allen) and new guy Scot McCloughan grabbed two wide receivers, Crowder and Evan Spencer, in this year’s draft. Grant was taken as something of a project who would improve over the years but he needs to take some big strides or the two rookies could pass him on the depth chart.

—TE Jordan Reed—Like Grant he’s not going anywhere and Reed is probably not in any danger of losing his starting job. But he desperately needs to stay on the field or the organization will start planning for a long-term future without him. Reed needs to avoid the nagging injuries that have kept him sidelined during offseasons and training camps in the past so that Gruden and McCloughan have some confidence in him.

Timeline

—It’s been 145 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 114 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 25; Redskins training camp starts 69; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 125

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.