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Position preview: Redskins looking for a Plan B at center

Position preview: Redskins looking for a Plan B at center

Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take another position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2016 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others are have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. This much, however, is not in question: A player is not on the 53-man roster until it's finalized in early September. So who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today… Position: Center

On the roster: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus, Austin Reiter

Likely to make the 53: Lichtensteiger

After the draft there was no shortage of reports that the Redskins would have drafted center Ryan Kelly of Alabama with their first-round pick had the Colts not taken him three picks before the Redskins went on the clock.

That led many to speculate that the Redskins were anxious to replace Lichtensteiger as the starting center and that his demotion was inevitable and perhaps even his release was likely. But two months after the draft it appears that Lichtensteiger is the leading candidate—perhaps the only candidate—to be snapping the ball when the Redskins take on the Steelers on September 13.

But the Redskins are wary of Lichtensteiger’s health. After going for three straight seasons without missing a game he was out for 11 games with a pinched nerve in his neck and shoulder. He was able to recover in time for the playoff game. But it does bring up the question of whether this was a one-time issue with injury or if it might become a chronic problem for him at age 31.

Regardless, it looks like the Redskins are going to ride him for as long as he lasts, for this season at least. But they want to make sure they have a solid backup plan, which leads us to the other two possible centers on the roster.

Battling for a job: LeRibeus, Reiter

When Lichtensteiger was out last year it was LeRibeus, playing center for the first time in his life, who filled in. Although there were no disasters, his shotgun snaps were inaccurate enough to detract the quarterback from focusing downfield and his blocking was subpar. He improved in both categories as the season went on but the coaches didn’t hesitate to insert Lichtensteiger back into the lineup. LeRibeus was signed to a one-year contract after briefly being a free agent but the trust in him seems limited.

Reiter was a seventh-round pick in 2015 and there was plenty of talk that the team was high on his prospects. But after they let him go in the final roster cut they let him sit on the street for three weeks before adding him to the practice squad. You usually don’t do that to players who are in your future plans. He has added some weight and will get his shot at making the team in training camp. It’s probably too early to call this a make or break year for him but if Reiter doesn’t make the 53 he might not be invited back to the practice squad.

They have been giving Spencer Long some work at center during the offseason program but he could end up being the starter at left guard. Trying him there had the feel of being more of a "break glass in case of emergency" option than any sort of real future plan. We will see. 

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

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USA Today Sports Images

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

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NBC Sports Washington

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 9/16 Colts
Week 3 9/23 Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 10/8 (Mon.) @Saints (8:15)
Week 6 10/14 Panthers
Week 7 10/21 Cowboys (4:25)
Week 8 10/28 @Giants
Week 9 11/4 Falcons
Week 10 11/11 @Bucs
Week 11 11/18 Texans
Week 12 11/22 (Thanksgiving) @Cowboys (4:30)
Week 13 12/3 (Mon.) @Eagles (8:15)
Week 14 12/9 Giants
Week 15 12/16 @Jaguars
Week 16 12/23 @Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 12/30 Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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