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Need to Know: Redskins Park quick hits--Ex-QB Gruden couldn't slide either

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Need to Know: Redskins Park quick hits--Ex-QB Gruden couldn't slide either

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 21, two days before the Redskins play their third preseason game against the Ravens.

Redskins Park quick hits

The buzz from Redskins Park on Wednesday:

—There never was much of a competition but Keenan Robinson has won the job to succeed London Fletcher at Mike linebacker. “He’s the first team Mike linebacker for sure,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Robinson. “He’s done a great job, he’s flying around, and so far he’s done nothing to relinquish that.”

Chris Thompson got back to practice but Gruden did not sound too bullish on his prospects of playing against the Ravens. "Chris Thompson was limited; he went in individual drills only,” said Gruden. “Still looked a little tentative on it but he was doing it which was a good start, but he's got a little ways to go.” If Thompson missed the Ravens game his shot at a roster spot would come down to the fourth and final preseason game in Tampa Bay.

—Gruden jokingly lamented that the new illegal contact emphasis came after he was only responsible for the offensive side of the ball as the coordinator in Cincinnati. “Being an offensive coordinator the last three years, the rule [illegal contact] has always been in place,” he said. “I don’t know why they didn’t call it the last three years when I was an Offensive Coordinator.”

—The coach especially didn’t like the two false starts called against Robert Griffin III. On the press conference podium he tried to demonstrate how difficult it was to yell “hut!” loud enough to be heard in noisy stadium you almost had to bob your head. “That to me was a little insane.”

—Gruden was on something of a comic roll. Asked if he knew how to slide when he played quarterback (Louisville and the Arena League), he laughed and said, ““No. I usually just got killed. That's why I limp a lot.”

—Leonard Hankerson doesn’t think he’ll play in any of the preseason games. He thinks he’ll be ready to come off of the PUP list in two weeks but final cuts are nine days away. The odds that he will start the season on the PUP list, which would put him on the shelf for a minimum of six weeks, seem pretty strong.

—Gruden said that Jason Hatcher was good to go for his Redskins debut in Baltimore. “Yeah, he did practice and team drills today,” he said. “He’s fired up and ready to go. He looked good today. So, he’s going to play against Baltimore and we’re excited to see him in his first action as a Redskin.”

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:00 a.m.; Player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 1:00).

—It’s been 235 days since the Redskins played a game; in 17 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Final cuts 9; Home opener vs. Jaguars 24; Redskins @ Eagles 31

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

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