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Need to Know: Redskins know their foe in Vick

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Need to Know: Redskins know their foe in Vick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 7, two days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. Mark Maske of the Post is reporting that the Redskins are now $1.85 million under the salary cap. They recently created some cap room by restructuring the contracts of Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, and Adam Carriker. The money was needed to get the Redskins under the cap using the in-season rules. All year up until now, only the top 51 cap numbers counted towards the limit. Now, the cap charges of all 53 players plus those on injured reserve and the PUP list plus the $48,000 per week they pay the eight members of the practice squad are charged to the cap. The team’s spending was squeezed because they are in the second and final year of their cap being lessened by $18 million due to an NFL imposed cap penalty.

2. Tarik El-Bashir had this tidbit on Twitter yesterday: “A league source says the Redskins will bring in a left-footed punter to kick to rookie Chris Thompson. Eagles P Donnie Jones is lefty.” The spin of the ball is different coming off the foot of a left-footed punter and given Thompson’s inexperience—he hasn’t returned a kick in a game that counts since high school—it is a good idea to give him some practice handling those kicks.

3. Of course, Thompson has not yet been named the punt returner. On Thursday, Thompson said that he fielded two punts for every one that Josh Morgan and Santana Moss did in practice. Mike Shanahan said that the “competition” was ongoing and that Thompson had fielded so many punts due to his inexperience. I guess Shanahan just has to have something to keep secret. The world knows who the starting quarterback will be. He can’t drive fantasy owners crazy by playing musical running backs every week. Punt returner is all he has left.

4. One of the story lines floating around for this game is that the Eagles will have the same advantage over the Redskins on Monday as the Redskins did over the Saints in last year’s season opener. The Redskins surprised New Orleans and posted 40 points with the Pistol formation and option plays executed by rookie QB Robert Griffin III. The Eagles should be able to surprise the Redskins the same way, per this story line. But the difference is that Chip Kelly will be trying to mold Mike Vick into his scheme. It may not play to his strengths. The Redskins’ system was customized to fit the strengths of RG3. In short, it comes down to the player and not the scheme and the Redskins know Vick very well. They have faced him four times and there are miles of film on him. He won't be able to immediately change his tendencies and his strengths and weaknesses will remain.

5. It’s possible that Brandon Meriweather won’t be able to play on Monday due to his groin injury. If he can’t go, Reed Doughty is likely to start at strong safety. If that happens, expect Jordan Pugh to get a significant number of snaps at strong safety as well. With Meriweather out virtually the whole year in 2012, Pugh played anywhere from third to half of the snaps in most games when he first hit the field in Week 5 after he joined the team a few weeks earlier. Pugh isn’t going to make a lot of plays that you’ll see on SportsCenter but he also won’t make many mistakes.

Stat of the day

—Robert Griffin III posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the Redskins’ first meeting with the Eagles last year. The NFL did not recognize the performance as a record, however, because Griffin’s 15 attempts did not meet the minimum of 18 the league requires for such marks.

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Timeline

—It’s been 241 days since the last Redskins game; there are two days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Packers 8; Lions @ Redskins 15

—Today’s schedule: No media availability; the team will practice in late afternoon

Morgan, Biggers talk to B-Mitch

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 20, six days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five pivotal games on the Redskins’ schedule

All NFL games are important but some seem to be a little more important than others. At first glance at the Redskins’ schedule, these seem to be the five most pivotal games. 

Week 1 @Cardinals—Wait, Week 1 is pivotal? It is if you’re Jay Gruden and you are 0-4 in season openers. Starting off in an 0-1 hole again after losing a winnable game would not get things off to a positive start. 

Week 7 Cowboys—The only Redskins-Cowboys game that Kirk Cousins started in the last three years that Washington won was the 2015 season finale in Dallas, a game that was meaningless to both teams. Alex Smith needs to take advantage of his shot at the Cowboys. Beating Dallas is important for being competitive in the division and for job security in general. This is their shot at them at home.

Week 9 Falcons—Atlanta has been among the league’s big boys the last couple of years. The Redskins get them at home, on grass, when the weather could be turning a little bit chilly. It’s a good opportunity to upset a dome team. The game also ends the first part of the season and the Redskins face a second half of the schedule that has just three home games. 

Week 14 Giants—This is one of the aforementioned scarce home games in the latter part of the season. It’s preceded by road games in Dallas (9-7 last year) and Philadelphia (Super Bowl champs) and followed by roadies in Jacksonville (lost AFC title game) and Tennessee (won a playoff game). Nobody is quite sure to what extent the Giants will rebound from their dismal 2017 season but this game has the feel of a possible oasis surrounded by hostile deserts. 

Week 16 @Titans—If the Redskins are in playoff contention, this game will determine a lot even though its non-conference. As noted, the Titans are looking to improve on their playoff season last year and they will not be a pushover by any stretch. But if the Redskins want to be able to say that they are a better team than they have been the last couple of years, this is the kind of game they should win. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 32
—Training camp starts (7/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 142

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