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Reading the tea leaves on Garçon

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Reading the tea leaves on Garçon

Ever since wide receiver Pierre Garçon was essentially shut down following the Redskins’ Week 5 game against the Falcons the thinking around Redskins Park has been that Pierre Garçon would return from his toe sometime between this upcoming game with the Eagles and the Monday night game against the Giants on Dec. 3.

As this week has unfolded, the consensus has been shifting towards Garçon returning sooner rather than later. There were some indications that the Redskins plan on playing their prize offseason free agent acquisition on Sunday.

For one thing, he seemed to be practicing harder than he has been. When he has been out there in recent weeks he has either been a spectator during the portion of practice that we can watch or running pass patterns without the sudden stops and cuts that are needed to play wide receiver in an actual game.

Things have been different this week. Garçon has been planting his foot and running patterns at something close to full speed.

“That’s a big plus because he hasn’t been doing that for a long time,” said Mike Shanahan on Garçon’s practices.

On Monday when asked if he would play against the Eagles, Garçon said the decision was up to the coach. Shanahan, as is his usual practice when talking about players coming back from an injury, would not say any definitive.

But Robert Griffin III may have let something regarding the receiver’s status slip. When asked if it looked like Garçon would be ready to play, Griffin first cautioned that he wasn’t the coach so it wasn’t his decision. But he continued in a vein that seemed to be telling.

“It will be good to have him back,” he said. “He’s looked good. Like I told him, we’re going to have many great seasons, many great games together. We might as well go ahead and start it now.”

Note the lack of “if” or other qualifiers in his statement.

The quarterback thinks that he and Garçon will pick up the chemistry they had going during the preseason and for the early phases of the season opener in New Orleans.

“The whole week we’ll work on our timing—getting that back,” said Griffin. “I threw to him all offseason, so it’s just a matter of getting that channeled back in. I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Even if he does play, that does not mean that Garçon is as good as new. He said that the toe was not 100 percent and that “it’s a pain all the time.”

“By no means is he 100 percent,” said Kyle Shanahan.

However, that doesn’t mean he will stay sidelined. “He does not have to be 100 percent to play,” said the offensive coordinator. “He still did some things in those games he played in that helped by just having him out there.

“We wanted to get him to 100 percent but now we’re not sure if he’ll get there and we’d definitely rather have him out here (at less that full capacity) than not at all because he can help regardless of where he is (in his rehab).”

Despite the way things look right now, there is no guarantee that the Garçon will suit up and play on Sunday. There could be a setback or they could decide that the toe isn’t quite ready to go. I am not much of one for giving fantasy advice but I would keep him on the bench unless you are out of alternatives.

But do not be surprised if Garçon ends up playing.  

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Redskins put four on injured reserve; which ones will return in 2018

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Redskins put four on injured reserve; which ones will return in 2018

The Redskins placed four players who were Week 1 starters on offense on injured reserve Tuesday.

Not only is the 2017 season over for RB Chris Thompson, WR Terrelle Pryor, C Spencer Long, and G Shawn Lauvao, three of them may never play for the Redskins again.

Here is a look at the situation of each player, presented in order of the likelihood that he will be back with the Redskins in 2018.

—There is not any doubt that Thompson will be back. His two-year, $7 million extension kicks in next year. He turned 27 last month and assuming there are no issues in rehabbing his broken fibula, he will be back in his familiar role as the third-down back and the player Jay Gruden turns to when the team needs an offensive spark.

MORE REDSKINS: QUANTIFYING THE LATE-HALF DIFFICULTIES

—The other three players are all in the last year of their contracts. Of those, Long is the most likely to be back. They like his ability to play multiple positions. A third-round pick in 2014, he has started 13 games at left guard and 18 at center. There was talk earlier this year that the team might make a push to extend his contract. But now, they could be ready to move to Chase Roullier at center. The Redskins will see how Long’s health is as the free agency period approaches and decide what to do from there.

Lauvao is on the last season of a four-year free agent contract. This will be the second season in that deal significantly shortened by injury. He missed 13 games with a broken ankle in 2015. He just turned 30 and the Redskins might want to go with someone younger and cheaper at left guard. But Jay Gruden likes veterans and perhaps if Lauvao is willing to return on a relatively cheap deal, he could return for some depth.

RELATED: APOLOGY FOR BLOWN CALL RINGS HOLLOW FOR COUSINS

—There is very little chance that Pryor will be around in 2018. Both sides tried to make something happen but it just didn’t work. He was smart about the situation and always handled himself with class through the frustration. A team somewhere will give him a shot next year, but it likely won’t be the Redskins and it definitely won’t be the kind of long-term, big-money deal he was hoping to get when this season started.

These are not the only free-agency decisions involving injured players that the Redskins will have to make in 2018. Other pending free agents on injured reserve are NT Phil Taylor, LB Mason Foster, K Dustin Hopkins, LB Will Compton, and LB Trent Murphy.

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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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Giants

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 22, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 12:30 p.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 8
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 18
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 25

Five Redskins under pressure vs the Giants

RB Byron Marshall—After signing with the team just a week ago, Marshall will have to step into one of the most important roles in Jay Gruden’s offense—third-down back. With Chris Thompson out, Marshall will have to pick up the protection schemes and execute them. He should have no issues running for some yardage on a draw or catching a pass out of the backfield but he now assumes a good chunk of responsibility for keeping Kirk Cousins upright.

WR Jamison Crowder—In the first six games of this season, Crowder caught 19 passes for 149 yards. In his last three games (he missed one with a hamstring injury) he has caught 20 for 271. With Jordan Reed’s status still uncertain, Thompson out, Terrelle Pryor going on injured reserve, and Josh Doctson experiencing up-and-down productivity, Crowder needs to be the rock among the pass catchers. Maybe he can get into the end zone for the first time this year.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—An undrafted rookie named Chad Wheeler is likely to start at right tackle for the Giants. With the Redskins still reeling from injuries, they have to take maximum advantage of a mismatch like this. Kerrigan will likely be lined up against Wheeler most of the time and he needs to spend the day in Eli Manning’s face.

CB Josh Norman—The guy who is supposed to be the rock of the Redskins’ secondary has not played well in the last two games, both losses in which the team gave up a combined 72 points. Opposing quarterbacks have gone seven for seven throwing into his coverage for 112 yards and a touchdown. He doesn’t have Odell Beckham to worry about, but Sterling Shepard is a talented receiver and Norman will need to be on top of things to hold him down.

S DeAngelo Hall—The veteran played well in his first game back against Seattle but he has struggled since. He went out of the Vikings game early with a bone bruise on his knee and then he did not play well after coming in to replace an injured Montae Nicholson in New Orleans. It seems likely that Nicholson (concussion) will be out against the Giants and Hall will have to play better. Hall not only needs to help out a reeling defense but he needs to make sure that the coaches have trust in him so that he can maintain a role for the rest of the year.

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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