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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

Right or wrong, fans blamed Shawn Lauvao for much of the Redskins struggles on the offensive line last season. Pro Football Focus backs up the fans, as Lauvao landed a -19.1 grade, among the worst in the NFL at the guard spot. 

It's worth pointing out that Lauvao was playing hurt during much of his nine starts before getting shut down for the season just before Thanksgiving. In fact, injuries have probably been the biggest issue for Lauvao in his four seasons with the Redskins. 

In four seasons in Washington, Lauvao has never played a full 16-game slate. Last year he played just nine games, and in 2015 he only played three games. 

That points to what may be the bigger issue for the Redskins: offensive line depth. Last season was wild with the grotesque number of injuries Washington sustained up front. It seems almost impossible for the team to have that many injuries again.

Still, the Redskins lost Arie Kouandjio for the year in the offseason. Kouandjio played better last year than Lauvao, and having both men in Richmond would have provided real competition. 

And that might be the biggest question: Neither Lauvao or Kouandjio represent a difference maker at left guard, yet the team did little to address the position. 

All offseason, the Washington brass walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The organization believes strongly in the players they already have, and outside of signing Paul Richardson and re-signing Zach Brown, the team had a quiet offseason. The Redskins struggled to run the ball the last few years, and still, the team did not look to upgrade at LG. 

It's important to note that the Redskins have two All-Pro caliber offensive linemen in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses is a plus at the right tackle spot too. The team likes Chase Roullier at center too, and they tried to add depth in drafting Geron Christian in the third round and bringing back swing tackle backup Ty Nsekhe as a restricted free agent. 

Left guard will be a question, and it's hard not to think that it will be the weakest position on the O-line. Should that submarine the group? It shouldn't. What if Lauvao gets hurt?  Then things get quite tricky.

For the Redskins, however, the expectation might be that the line needs to perform as a unit, and with talent like Williams and Scherff, that should cover up any weaknesses.

Time, and health will tell if that plan works. 

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Assessing the Redskins' injury situation: Good news, bad news

Assessing the Redskins' injury situation: Good news, bad news

RICHMOND—Since the start of training camp, the Redskins have had some good injury news and some terrible injury news. 

Let’s start by looking at the bad. There is no way to sugar coat the impact of the loss of Derrius Guice to a torn ACL in the first quarter of the first preseason game. He was going to add a dynamic element to the Redskins offense. While there is confidence that the other running backs on the roster can get the job done, there simply will be no replacing him in the lineup. 

WR Robert Davis, who suffered multiple injuries to his leg and is on injured reserve, is not as irreplaceable. Still, you hate to reduce competition and have your potential depth reduced this early before the games start to count. And you have to feel bad for Manasseh Garner, who tore his ACL against the Patriots, but he wasn’t going to make the team anyway. 

So that’s the bad news.

When looking at the brighter side, Jordan Reed is at the top of the list. A year ago he was on the PUP list with a toe injury that never quite went away all year. This year, the player who would have been the key to the success of the team’s offense with or without Guice in the lineup looks as healthy as ever. We know from Reed’s history that good health could be a temporary condition. But he has recovered well from the surgery that removed a bone that was causing problems from each toe, and that’s all you can ask for at this point. 

Also rounding into form after rehabbing from 2017 injuries are Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, the bookend tackles who are keys to providing running room for the healthy running backs. Chris Thompson also appears to be on schedule. Jonathan Allen, who missed the last 11 games of last year with a foot injury, has been a full go since the start of the offseason program. Daron Payne suffered an ankle injury early in camp, but he has been a full participant since Saturday. 

The Redskins also are suffering from the usual minor injuries that hit every team during training camp. WR Josh Doctson has been in and out of practice with heel and shoulder injuries, CB Adonis Alexander and ILB Josh Harvey Clemons have been sidelined with hamstring injuries. DE Matt Ioannidis suffered apparently minor knee and ankle injuries against the Patriots and he should be back soon.

Overall, the Redskins’ injury picture doesn’t look too bad with the exception of Guice, and that’s a big “yeah, but”. The team and its fans are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that it stays that way. 

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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 and on Instagram @RichTandler. 

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Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense

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Associated Press

Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense

During training camp, it’s natural for the media coverage to gravitate towards the long shots and underdogs and the backups fighting to hang on to a roster spot. The starters go out and do their thing and those players doing their thing isn’t news. 

With that in mind, here is a one-liner review of how each anticipated starter fared in training camp. We’ll start with the offense today, look for the defense tomorrow. 

QB Alex Smith—He still needs some work on timing with his receivers but overall, he looks like a quarterback you can win with. 

RB Rob Kelley—After his move up to starter in the wake of the Derrius Guice injury, Kelley continues to work as he has from the start of camp, like a guy fighting for a roster spot.

WR Paul Richardson—The $40 million free agent pickup showed that his game has some versatility as he made some tough catches over the middle along with some deep receptions. 

WR Josh Doctson—His heel injury slowed down what was solid progress early in training camp.

WR Jamison Crowder—His solid, workmanlike camp should make Redskins fans hope that the team is working on a long-term contract extension with Crowder right now. 

TE Jordan Reed—Considering his importance to the offense, his progress after having surgery on both of his big toes is the most positive story from camp

LT Trent Williams—The plan to ramp up his activity as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery is right on track and there’s every reason to believe he’ll be a full strength in Week 1. 

LG Shaun Lauvao—When he’s healthy, Lauvao is a good enough guard to win with and so far, he has been healthy. 

C Chase Roullier—His strength is often on display during one-on-one blocking drills and he has the appearance of a center the Redskins will be able to plug in and play for at least the next several years. 

RG Brandon Scherff—The fourth-year player is working his way towards his third straight Pro Bowl appearance.

RT Morgan Moses—He is still working through some ankle pain but he should be good to go Week 1. 

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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 and on Instagram @RichTandler