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Need to Know: Which Redskins running back will win a job tonight?


Need to Know: Which Redskins running back will win a job tonight?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 29, 11 days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park:

1. Griffin news fatigue is beginning to set in among many Redskins fans and, I’m sure, many others as well. The latest example was yesterday’s “RG3 is starting” from Adam Schefter and a quick “not so fast, he hasn’t been cleared yet” response from other sources. And now, when we get the “really, really, this time we promise it’s official he’s starting” story, the same analysis and debate will be rehashed and recycled. I guess all Redskins fans can do is be glad that they have a quarterback—or any player, for that matter—that people care about for mostly the right reasons. This is par for the course when you have one of the biggest stars in sports playing for your team or in your town. Get used to it.

2. Keep an eye on where the cornerbacks line up tonight. Josh Wilson is going to go about 30 snaps and will start with David Amerson. When the Bucs go the three receivers, who slides into the slot? Will it be Wilson, who was the slot corner for some of last year? E. J. Biggers, who will probably be the nickel back coming into the game? It’s not likely to be Amerson, the coaches probably want him to master the outside before trying anything different. In any case, if Biggers goes to cover the slot that might be the way they will go when the season starts.

3. If you want to see how the competition at running back shakes out, look at special teams. Chris Thompson can move from likely to lock if he busts a big return. Keiland Williams is solid on special teams; he was a solid contributor last year even though he didn’t take a single snap on offense. Evan Royster plays some special teams and he may need to play them well tonight. Here’s the thing—the Redskins are going to keep a linebacker, Nick Barnett, who does not play special teams. Those teams snaps are going to have to come from somewhere and they could come from a running back, either Williams or Royster. The best coverage man and blocker, not necessarily the best runner, may win that job.

4. It looks like Kedric Golston will be the starter at left defensive end with the suspension of Jarvis Jenkins looming starting next week. I just think the coaches trust him more than Chris Baker, who moved over from nose tackle when training camp started. Golston isn’t going to give you many big plays, but he should clear the way for Ryan Kerrigan, who lines up behind him, to make some.

5. While it doesn’t seem like anybody thinks that four preseason games are necessary it doesn’t look like we are going to see a reduction any time soon. Mark Maske of the Post wrote an article and while he was able to find great support for the idea of shortening the preseason to two games he couldn’t find a popular solution to replace the lost revenue that would result from playing two fewer games. Both possibilities, expanding the regular season by two games and expanding the playoffs by one or two teams, were met with resistance. So four preseason games is something that is here because it’s here and it’s likely to remain here.

Stat of the day

If the Redskins win tonight, they will be 4-0 in the preseason for the fist time since 1985. After that, they missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

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—If RG3 does indeed start against the Eagles it will be one year to the day after his NFL debut and eight months to the day

—Days until: Final cuts 2; Eagles @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Packers 18

—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Bucs 7:30 on Comcast SportsNet

What impact can Meriweather have on the defense?

In case you missed it

@Rich_TandlerCSN on Twitter
#RG3 situation is like you're buying a house. Money's in the bank, paperwork's set but not official until transaction's done. Will be Thurs.

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) August 28, 2013

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

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