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Preseason Week 1 Redskins vs Falcons: 5 things to know

Preseason Week 1 Redskins vs Falcons: 5 things to know

The long, boring wait is over: Redskins football is back. Washington will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Game 1 of the preseason Thursday night, and there's lot to know before kickoff. To start, tune into CSN at 6:00 for Redskins Kickoff, then enjoy a full HD broadcast of the game at 7 p.m. before Redskins Postgame Live immediately following the action. If you've missed Redskins football, Thursday night on CSN will be an overload.

As for the action on the field, there's plenty to watch for there too. Let's get to it:

  1. Keep expectations in check - As exciting as it is to see the Redskins back on the football field, remember this is the first preseason game out of four, and just the very beginning of a long 2016 season. Kirk Cousin told CSN's Chick Hernandez that he expects to play between 10 to 15 snaps, and that the better he plays, the sooner Cousins and the starting offense will head to the bench. Washington coach Jay Gruden was less commital on exact snap counts, but more experienced players will not get a lot of run in this game. 
  2. It will be short, but it will be fun - Josh Norman and Julio Jones won't play much Thursday night, but when they do matchup, it should be fun. In two games against the Panthers last season, Jones went off: 16 catches for more than 260 yards and a touchdown. Obviously, not all of that was against Norman, but the Jones vs. Norman hype train will be in effect in Atlanta, especially after a bizarre video of Ric Flair declaring Jones better than Norman emerged Wednesday afternoon. 
  3. Backups get the call - Some of the Redskins biggest offensive names will not hit the field in Atlanta: Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed tops among them. Hernandez also reported that Trent Williams will sit out Thursday night's game. The absence of all three will open up opportunities for key backups to get menaingful minutes. Expect to see more of Vernon Davis and Niles Paul in reed's spot, Ryan Grant playing in Crowder's normal slot WR position, and Ty Nsekhe filling in for Williams. Additionally, other players will get a chance to return punts, one of Crowder's primary roles, like Will Blackmon and maybe even Rashad Ross. 
  4. Show me something - While veterans like Williams and those with slight injuries like Crowder and Reed lose nothing by sitting out Thursday's game, for many players, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Undrafted rookies and training camp signees will get the chance to play a lot in this game, and their play will be broken down by coaches, both positive and negative. For guys like Lynden Trail or Ejiro Ederaine, a strong performance can put them in position for a roster spot. A poor performance can have equally as bad of an impact.
  5. Run 'til you drop -  Barring injuries, two roles are certain in the Redskins backfield: Matt Jones is the starting running back and Chris Thompson is the third-down back. Beyond that, questions emerge. Rookie Keith Marshall - a seventh-rouund pick from Georgia - has the chance to secure the backup role to Jones, but the former Bulldog has lost games due to injuries for most of his career. Keep the trainers away, and Marshall could run into an important role. Beyond Marshall, guys like Robert Kelley, Mack Brown and Kelsey Young will get chances with the ball. An impressive performance will keep the running back debate going deep into August - and perhaps create another Redskins Preseason All-Star that fans will love.

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.