PHOENIX—Here is what you need to know on Saturday, September 8, one day before the Washington Redskins open their 2018 season against the Cardinals.  

Talking points

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

Popular posts

Redskins upgrade rush defense by adding Brantley—If you can’t stop the run then your pass rush doesn’t matter much. That’s because teams can run on you and convert third downs. The Redskins gave up a 59 percent conversion rate against third down runs. Teams averaged 5.1 yards per carry on third down. Both of those performance ranked in the bottom third of the league. It certainly wasn’t all Anthony Lanier’s fault, but the Redskins believed that replacing him was a final piece to improving their rushing defense. 

The Redskins' 53-man roster is set (for now)—There was plenty of buzz about the roster cutdown date a week ago. There have been a couple of shuffles since, but they are going into the season with a roster that has some strengths and some big question marks. In other words, they’re just like every other team in the NFL. Getting through the season is as much a matter of being able to minimize the issues your weak areas might cause as it is utilizing your strengths. 


From Redskins Park

Josh Norman on the start of the season: "I'm like a kid in a candy store. ... I'm just so excited about this year. We have some good stuff going, some good stuff cooking. I'm ready to get it out and eat."

The sense in the locker room is that all of the players think like Norman does; they just don’t express it the same way. They are all anxious to get the season going and they have confidence that they can be pretty good. As Alex Smith says, the proof is in the pudding and they are ready to start making that pudding. 

Jordan Reed on Jordan Reed: “You should expect to see a healthy Jordan Reed. I ain’t going to talk about it, man, I’m just ready to play and I’m excited.”

This is good news for the Redskins. However, we all know that a healthy Jordan Reed can be a temporary situation. The way he plays—Reed will fight for every yard rather than making a sound business decision—makes him prone to getting hurt. We will see how things unfold regarding his ability to stay on the field this year. If he can go 12-14 games the offense will thrive. 

Tweet of the week

The Redskins have a lot of young players, but they aren’t a particularly young team. On their initial 53-man roster they kept 38 of the same players from last year so most of the roster got a year older. As a result, their average age went up. It was 25.9 years last season (15th-youngest team) and it’s 26.2 this year (23rd). 

Still, the Redskins have a good, young talent base. Among those 18 players who are in their first and second seasons are the core of the defensive line in Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, some intriguing prospects at inside linebacker with Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton, and potential secondary stars Montae Nicholson and Fabian Moreau. 

They still have more work to do as they start succession planning for some of the team’s older players. The Redskins have 10 draft picks next April, a good way to continue the process. 

The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 1day; Home opener vs. Colts (Sept. 16) 8 days; Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 15

In case you missed it

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