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

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Associated Press

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

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 17, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30 p.m.

Days until:

—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 7
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 14
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 24

Quick Redskins news hits

WR Terrelle Pryor missed practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. Jay Gruden said that he was getting an MRI done so he was not on the field doing rehab work. Pryor did not appear on the injury report on Wednesday.

5 Under pressure vs. Saints

QB Kirk Cousins—The theme among the offensive players is simple—the Redskins are going to have to put up at least 30 points to win. The Saints average 29.8 points per game so if the Redskins can hold them to a bit under that 30 points will do it. Since Cousins has been the starter the Redskins have put up 30 points without passing for at least 290 yards just twice. Cousins will need to be on point.

RB Samaje Perine—Welcome to the big time, kid. In his second NFL start and his first as “the guy” after Rob Kelley was put on injured reserve, he will need to be productive. The Saints’ main defensive weakness is stopping the run and if the Redskins are going to exploit it, Perine will have to get the job done.

WR Josh Doctson—He had his chances last week. A corner made a great play to break up a potential TD. The Turf Monster got him on another potential score. And a third touchdown chance turned to dust when Cousins overthrew him on a deep pattern. His chances may be limited but it’s hard to see the Redskins pulling out this game without a key catch or two from their most talented receiver.

ILB Martrell Spaight—Like Perine, Spaight has had a start or two under his belt but now he’s at the top of the depth chart for the rest of the season due to injuries. The Saints are a top-five rushing team and it will be up to Spaight and Zach Brown to make tackles close to the line

S D.J. Swearinger—He was all over the field for most of the second half on Sunday, picking off passes and providing support in the run game. He will have to do the same thing on Sunday. Swearinger will have to read what Drew Brees is doing when he throws the ball and get to the line in run support when the ball goes to Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara. He will have to play like he is in the box and like he is the last line of defense.

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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RB roster battle is fun to watch, but injuries will force tough decisions

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USA Today Sports

RB roster battle is fun to watch, but injuries will force tough decisions

Too much attention gets paid to roster construction during training camp. Projecting the 53-man roster has become its own August cottage industry, much like Bracketology flourishes in March.

The truth of the matter is regardless of projections, more than anything else, injuries dictate what players ultimately land on the Week 1 roster. 

Right now, that is apparent with the Redskins' running back position. Derrius Guice headlined the group after Washington grabbed him in the second round of April's NFL Draft. After injuring his knee in the first preseason game, however, Guice won't play in 2018. 

That means the other five guys battling for a spot now move up in the pecking order. Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson will make the team, even though Thompson is yet to play in the preseason and is still battling back from a broken leg last November. 

Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall, and Kapri Bibbs played with the 'Skins last season and were locked in a tense battle for spots. Then, Perine and Marshall got hurt Thursday night. Perine is expected to miss a week, while Marshall could miss up to four weeks. 

Can both Perine and Marshall still make the Redskins 53-man roster? 

Of course. 

Is that a certainty? Definitely not. 

Bibbs gets a major opportunity now, and he has looked good so far in camp and preseason games. Additionally, for Bibbs, it often gets lost that he actually played well in Washington last season. In three games he had more than 200 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. 

If Marshall truly needs a month to get his lower leg injury settled, that won't be until after the deadline to trim rosters. The Redskins could move him to the injured reserve list before then, but that would mean Marshall would not be eligible to play for the Burgundy and Gold until Week 7. Also, the team only gets two moves off of IR for the season. Would they want to use one on their fourth running back?

Perine's injury situation seems less severe, and barring a setback or further injury, he will be on the roster. 

That means Thompson, Kelley, Perine, and Bibbs. Maybe Marshall too, but that will be determined by his rehab schedule. 

Martez Carter made impressive runs against the Jets, and while it seems easy to dismiss his roster candidacy, remember Rob Kelley was an undrafted free agent out of a small Louisiana school just a few years ago.

Complicating matters is the reality that Washington's front office is absolutely going to be watching what other NFL teams do at roster cut time. Other running backs could emerge, especially from teams like Detroit that already have a crowded running back room and added more players via the draft. 

Coaches like to say competition on the field is what makes roster decisions. And yes, that's a big part of it. The violent nature of the NFL, the ultimate Next Man Up league, plays a huge factor as well. 

Trimming a roster because of injuries doesn't mean there aren't mistakes made. It sure looks like Washington screwed up last year by cutting QB Nate Sudfeld, even though the team felt compelled to keep extra offensive linemen. 

It might be trite, but the NFL is a long, grueling season. The Redskins know that. The team lost more players to injury than any other NFL squad last season. 

So when looking at 53-man roster projections, know there are two more preseason games left, and sad but likely, more injuries to come. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

SPREAD THE WEALTH: 'SKINS FINE WITHOUT A TOP W.R.?

BATTLE IT OUT: R.B. IS A SPOT TO WATCH

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The brawl, the flinch, and following the money

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The brawl, the flinch, and following the money

Here is what you need to know on Saturday, August 17, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

The Redskins week that was: A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskinsand NBC Sports Washington.

The 'Skins and Jets got into a brawl an hour into practice—I was about 10 yards away from where the fight took place, but I was only a few yards from where Morgan Moses hit the ground after taking what the Redskins interpreted to be a cheap shot. I can attest that the earth moves when Moses hits the ground. As to the dustup itself, I wouldn’t have cared at all if it had taken place in the middle of the field. But the fight spilling over into the spectator area made it a very dangerous incident. They need to do better. 

Redskins release CB Orlando Scandrick—When an out-of-the-blue move like this takes place, follow the money. If Scandrick had sustained an injury during the preseason that was serious enough to put him on injured reserve, the Redskins would have been on the hook for his entire 2018 salary of $1.72 million. In addition, his salary would become fully guaranteed if he had been on the roster in Week 1. The Redskins decided to cut their losses, which was his signing bonus of a cool $1 million. 

How Davis' injury affects the Redskins' WR depth chart—Robert Davis was not a lock to make the Redskins’ roster, but he certainly was a contender. But that all changed in an instant a week ago when he got tangled up with cornerback Danny Johnson during practice. Johnson bounced right up, Davis did not, having sustained a broken leg and knee ligament damage. Davis spent most of last year on the practice squad so this will be a second straight season without game action for the 2017 sixth-round pick. 

Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense—You hear plenty of talk about the backups and bubble players during training camp and often the front-line players get overlooked. So there is your look at how the offensive starters fared in camp, one-liners style. You can find the defense here

Tweet of the week

We didn’t expect him to say anything but we had to ask Terrelle Pryor if he had any comment after the “flinching” incident with D.J. Swearinger. This was all he was willing to say as he jogged towards the locker room with a smile on his face. 

It would be inaccurate to say that Pryor is a polarizing figure among Redskins fans because that would mean that he had an equal number of supporters and detractors. It’s pretty much all haters. And it’s probably not fair.

From my point of view, I don’t have a problem with Pryor. He was always a stand-up guy when dealing with us. And while he was a free agent bust with the Redskins he didn’t cost a ton of money. Besides, he is hardly unique in that regard. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 2; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:30

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 6 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 14 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 22 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,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler