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Veteran Kory Lichtensteiger set to give Redskins' O-line a boost

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Veteran Kory Lichtensteiger set to give Redskins' O-line a boost

When the Redskins open the playoffs Sunday, they’ll have their first string center in the lineup.

That’s right...Kory Lichtensteiger is back.

“I’m excited to get back out there with my guys,” he said after Wednesday’s practice, the Redskins' first session ahead of their wild card matchup against the Packers.

Lichtensteiger, who hasn’t played since Week 5 because of a pinched nerve in his neck, was placed on short term injured reserve on Nov. 10. At the time, the Redskins were 3-5 and coming off a humbling 27-10 loss at New England.

“There was some uncertainty,” Lichtensteiger said. “I don’t want to make it sound like at 3-5 you think you’re going to make the playoffs every time. But I knew we were capable of it. [General Manager] Scot [McCloughan’s] conviction really helped convince me; there was no doubt in his mind that we were going to go on a run and win the division. So that gave me confidence. I just knew I had to get myself ready.”

Lichtensteiger, 30, will bring a wealth of experience to the lineup—as well as on-target shotgun snaps and solid run blocking—when he reclaims his job from Josh LeRibeus, a converted guard who started 11 games in his place.

According to CSN Stats and Info, the Redskins rushed for almost 122 yards per game before Lichtensteiger got hurt. That average plummeted to 87 after he went out.

Lichtensteiger said he was thankful for the job LeRibeus did in his absence. 

“Such a good guy and a good player," Lichtensteiger said. “I appreciate all the hard work that he put in, and the rest of the guys. They really had a good season to do date. Hopefully, with me back in there we can keep it going.”

Coach Jay Gruden said Lichtensteiger’s savvy and knowledge of the game will defintely provide a boost.

“He’s like another quarterback on the field,” Gruden said. “Very, very intelligent. Not to say that Josh isn’t, but [Lichtensteiger has] got a great handle on the offense, his calls. Obviously his snaps are very good. He’s very quick getting up to the second level. It’s just a matter of him getting back into football shape and making sure that he’s [ready] and physically to make sure he bangs around and feels good with that shoulder and arm. But he looks good so far.”

After practice, he lined up across from some practice squad D-linemen and did some hitting. And now, as far as Lichtensteiger is concerned, there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s ready. 

“It felt really good,” Lichtensteiger said. “Really good.”   

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198