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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

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

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

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 defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

In case you missed it

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Redskins Week 3 injury report — Lauvao out, O-line will have to shuffle

Redskins Week 3 injury report — Lauvao out, O-line will have to shuffle

The Redskins will be without starting left guard Shaun Lauvao against the Packers on Sunday. Lauvao has been out of practice all week with a calf injury.

In his absence, starting center Chase Roullier will move over to left guard and veteran Tony Bergstrom will start at center. Earlier this week Gruden explained that the coaches believe that this is their most effective combination. 

Reserve safety, Troy Apke, is also out. He will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. 

Questionable are WR Maurice Harris (concussion), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder), and LB Zach Brown (oblique). 

Harris missed the last three preseason games and the first two games of the regular season with his concussion. After being a full participant in practice all week, it appears that he is ready to play but they are awaiting final word. 

“We’re going to find out tomorrow whether he can go or not,” said Jay Gruden. “But he’s been cleared to practice, he had a good week of practice. We’ll find out the final word tomorrow.”

If Harris plays that means that it is likely that new receivers Brashaud Perriman and Michael Floyd will be inactive. That is Gruden’s preferred plan as both just joined the team earlier this week. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

O-line injuries: Redskins will shuffle line if Lauvao is out
The passing game: Redskins, Smith seek balance

 

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Week 3 Redskins vs Packers Preview: Aaron Rodgers in the way of a much needed bounce back

Week 3 Redskins vs Packers Preview: Aaron Rodgers in the way of a much needed bounce back

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 

That might be the opening of some famous literature, but it also applies to the first two weeks of the Redskins season. 

In Week 1 the Redskins thrashed Arizona, dominating both sides of the ball en route to a 24-6 victory. In Week 2 the Colts thrashed the Redskins, at home, as Washington could not run the ball or get key stops on defense in a 21-9 loss.  

Looking forward, what Redskins team will show up on Sunday as the Packers come to FedEx Field for Week 3?

Four Factors

  1. Start running - Against the Cardinals, the Redskins dominated time of possession by running the ball. Adrian Peterson ran for nearly 100 yards and Chris Thompson added another 65 yards on the ground. The Redskins had the ball more than 22 minutes in the first half of that game. By Week 2, Peterson ran for just 20 yards on 11 carries. The Redskins could get nothing going on the ground. Nothing. The team must run better if they're going to beat the Packers, not just for offensive balance, but to rest the defense and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. 
     
  2. Starts up front - One thing that will help the Redskins run the ball will be better play from their offensive line. That group will take a hit Sunday because starting left guard Shawn Lauvao won't play, and that means Chase Roullier moves to guard and backup Tony Bergstrom lines up at center. Regardless of what five players are on the field, the unit must produce more push against Green Bay than they did against Indianapolis. That starts on the edges, with Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, and a Pro Bowl type performance from Brandon Scherff. It's true these guys are banged up, but if they're on the field, the performance needs to be stronger. 
     
  3. Gandalf the White - Why are we writing about a fictional wizard? The ever-loquacious Josh Norman gave Packers all-world QB Aaron Rodgers the nickname of Gandalf because of the magic tricks that he pulls off week after week. One of the greatest QBs of all time, Rodgers is a constant threat on the field, literally every snap. Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said the team will be prepared for the quick snap, one of Rodgers' favorite tricks that often leads to free plays and offsides calls. For the rest of Rodgers tricks, the Redskins defense needs to be prepared for a passer with a rocket arm and the sharpest eyes in the NFL. 
     
  4. Call the play, and execute - The Redskins did not have their best offensive game plan last week. Jay Gruden admitted as much this week. The Redskins offense also did not have their best game last week. Alex Smith and the receivers cannot get into a groove, and there is a chicken or egg discussion on if Smith needs to throw the ball downfield more or if the wideouts need to make more plays. The answer might reveal itself on Sunday. 
     

They Said It

  • Jay Gruden on facing Aaron Rodgers: "I mean he can do everything. His mobility probably sets him apart from some of the other guys. He stands in the pocket. He can move. He's a winner. I don’t know. I think if any team had him on their team and you're picking, whether you're picking first in the fantasy football quarterback draft or fifth, and you've got Aaron Rodgers, you feel good about winning every game that you play."
     
  • Greg Manusky on Redskins defensive scheme: "From our standpoint, we go into each game with the plan that we have."
     
  • Alex Smith on keeping pace with the Packers offense: "I think that you can get sucked into that. In the end, of course, we want to dominate regardless of the offense we are playing."
     
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy on facing Alex Smith: "He’s definitely an excellent addition to the Washington Redskins and he’s going to be a big challenge for a defense."
     

Numbers & Notes

  • Adrian Peterson has 100 career touchdowns, good for No. 7 on the all time NFL list. John Riggins sits at No. 6 on the list with 104 TDs. 
  • In 17 career games against Green Bay, Peterson has run for nearly 1,800 yards and 13 TDs.
  • Matt Ioannidis has sacks in consecutive games, and a sack on Sunday would be the first time in his career with a sack in three consecutive games. 
  • The Redskins have not opened a season with a 2-1 record since 2008. 
     

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