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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 18, eight days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the running backs are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 rushing yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, and quarterbacks

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys—He actually finished 10thin the league in rushing yards behind two backs who will face the Redskins. Elliott gets boosted up the list because he was suspended for six games last year. He averaged 98 yards per game played, and had he been able to play in 16 games, he would have led the league in rushing yards with over 300 yards to spare. In three games against the Redskins, he has averaged 110 yards per game and he has five touchdowns. The Redskins’ revamped rushing defense will be tested twice.

Mark Ingram, Saints—He will be coming off of a four-game suspension for Redskins vs. Saints in Week 5. Will he be rested or rusty? If he’s in any kind of form, the Redskins defense will have to be on its game. Last year against Washington in the Superdome, Ingram rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. 

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars—The rookie did surpass the thousand-yard mark, posting 1,040. Some pointed out that it wasn’t a consistent effort as he gained 310 yards, almost 30 percent of his total, in two back-to-back games in Weeks 5 and 6. That’s fine but he still is a difficult opponent with his combination of size and speed. I look for him to have a big breakout this year. 

Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry, Titans—Lewis averaged 5.0 yards per carry with the Patriots last year and Henry gained 744 yards while sharing time with the now-retired DeMarco Murray. Lewis will play a lot of third downs and will spell Henry sometimes early in games. That will leave the 6-3, 247-pound Henry fresh to grind up the clock if the Titans have a late lead. 

Jay Ajayi, Eagles—Nobody has quite figured out why the Dolphins dealt him to the Eagles in midseason, but Philly was more than happy to add him to the offense. Ajayi became a workhorse in the postseason with 42 rushing attempts and six receptions in three games. 

I do need to mention Giants rookie Saquan Barkley here. I have to think that the second overall pick of the draft will rank somewhere on this list, but without seeing him in an NFL uniform yet it’s hard to rank him. He will be dangerous, no doubt. 

David Johnson of the Cardinals also will be tough to handle. After he missed all of last year with a hand injury it's difficult to rank him, too. If he is in his 2016 form in Week 1 the Redskins will face a tough task. 

Best of the rest: Lamar Miller, Texans, Alvin Kamara, Saints, Ronald Jones, Bucs

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins offensive tackle Geroge Starke, one of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 8
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 22
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 45

The Redskins last played a game 199 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 53 days. 

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10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

4) How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract?

Being a political town where scandals and elections bring in new folks all the time, Washingtonians are used to changing personnel. That said, what's happened to the Redskins offensive line in the past two seasons is plain outrageous. 

In the last two years players like Pro Bowl stalwarts Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams have missed extended time. Veteran journeymen signed late in the year as free agents, guys like Jonathan Cooper and Luke Bowanko, have been injured. Everything in between has happened to the Redskins offensive line. In some ways it's been a more dangerous profession than playing drums forSpinal Tap. 

Looking ahead to 2019, it's near impossible to simulate what will happen for the Washington offensive line. What is known, however, is the team will rise or fall depending if their big guys can stay on the field. 

Ignoring the precarious Scherff contract talks and the unnerving Trent Williams holdout, the Washington O-line has talent. Beyond those two, Chase Roullier and Morgan Moses are strong players in their own right. The final guard spot seems like a toss up between rookie Wes Martin and veteran Ereck Flowers, though he's never even played the position. Expect Martin to win that battle. 

Still, none of it matters if the injuries pile up again.

Football Outsiders determined that the Redskins offense missed more man games to injury than any other team in the NFL, and while it's the injuries at the quarterback position that stand out from last year, almost every starter on the line missed action.

Add in the fact that Washington lost veteran swing tackle Ty Nsekhe to free agency, and all of a sudden there is real concern about the depth at tackle.  Williams is holding out, Moses has a history of ankle issues, and second-year pro Geron Christian did not look particularly impressive last season. Additionally, all three men are working back from offseason surgery and none took part in offseason workouts. 

So, maybe Flowers will have to stay at tackle? He tried that with the Giants for parts of four seasons, and the results were awful. Don't expect it to change in Burgundy and Gold. 

In an odd change, after years of neglect, the Redskins did invest in the interior of their line. Bruce Allen drafted Martin in the fourth round and added Ross Piersbacher in the fifth, a versatile center/guard out of the University of Alabama. Those are depth moves that should help this season. 

Based on recent years, the Redskins will need the depth on their offensive line. Lots of it. 

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Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teams up with Raiders' receiver Antonio Brown for an offseason workout

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teams up with Raiders' receiver Antonio Brown for an offseason workout

With training camp right around the corner, Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins teamed up with the most high-profile Oakland Raiders' offseason acquisition, wide receiver Antonio Brown. 

Brown and Haskins went through a private route session that featured some pretty impressive ball placement and one-handed snags. 

This isn't the first time Haskins and Brown have worked with each other. In 2018 Haskins spent his spring break on the beach in South Florida throwing to "AB" and Falcons wide receiver, Mohamed Sanu. 

Haskins has also got some work in with other NFL talent this offseason as just last week he posted a post-workout photo with Indianapolis Colts wide receiver, Parris Campbell Jr.; Haskins and Campbell were teammates at Ohio State last season.

There's an old adage that "you're only as good as the company you keep," if this is the case Redskins fans have a lot to look forward to from "Simba" this season. 

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