Here is what you need to know on Thursday, August 23, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

Here are five reasons to be optimistic that the Redskins will be successful in 2018. In the next few days we’ll look at the other side of the coin. 

Alex Smith—You can argue that the Redskins should have kept Kirk Cousins, but given that signing him just was not going to happen, the Redskins recovered well by trading for Smith. He is a solid quarterback coming off of his best NFL season. Smith protects the ball as well as any quarterback out there. Don’t underestimate the value of having a quarterback who is unlikely to lose games for you. 

The defensive line—The additions of Daron Payne and Tim Settle have finished the transformation of the defensive line from a weakness into a strength. The process started last year when the Redskins added Jonathan Allen in the draft, saw their patience with Matt Ioannidis pay off, and got some pass rush (five sacks) out of Anthony Lanier. 

The middle of the defense—That starts with the line and the fact that the Redskins have two legitimate nose tackles in Payne and Settle. It continues to the inside linebackers where they have two solid starters in Mason Foster and Zach Brown. If the defensive line does its job and occupies the blockers, Foster and Brown will be there to make the tackles. Then at safety, there is D.J. Swearinger and potential star Montae Nicholson. 


Jordan Reed—Yes, I’m going to say it. Reed appears to be set for a big year. Sure, he was a disappointment last year, but he was not healthy to start the season. If you don’t start healthy it’s hard to get right as the grind of the regular season begins. We’re not going to go crazy here and say that Reed will play in 16 games. But he will play enough to have a very positive effect on the offense. 

Edge rushersRyan Kerrigan needs just 11 sacks to pass Charles Mann for second place on the Redskins’ all-time sacks list. He has surpassed that number in each of the past two years and the chances are good that he will again next year. Preston Smith is inconsistent when it comes to getting sacks, but he consistently gets pressure on the opposing QB and he makes big plays (3 INT in the last two years). They are one of the best duos in the league. 

On the record:

Jay Gruden on how much Adrian Peterson will play on Friday: "That’s a good question. You know I think a lot of it will determine on how many offensive linemen I have in the game, you know we’ll see. In the first half, I’d like to get him some touches and get a good lather going."

Comment: Well, I hope he has five offensive linemen in the game at all times. OK, I know he was referring to front-line O-linemen. Gruden ruled Trent Williams out so that may have an effect on things. I expect him to play one or two drives, depending on how long they are, and get four or five carries. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Joint Base Andrews 5:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 1 day; Final cut (Sept. 1) 9 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 17 days

In case you missed it

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