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Enemy Intel: Manziel in, Pryor out for Browns vs. Redskins tonight

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Enemy Intel: Manziel in, Pryor out for Browns vs. Redskins tonight

CLEVELAND—Here are some news and notes from the Browns camp as we wait for tonight’s 8 p.m. preseason game kickoff in Cleveland:

—One of the more interesting NFL storylines of the summer is former Ohio State and Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor trying to make the Browns as a wide receiver. But we won’t see Pryor tonight. He is one of three Browns offensive skill players who is suffering from hamstring problems and will sit out tonight. The others are WR Dwayne Bowe and RB Duke Johnson. A total of about 15 Browns will sit out tonight including DL Barkevious Mingo and RB Glenn Winston, both of whom recently had knee procedures.

—A few days after Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery called out his team’s crew of ball carries, saying that “nobody wants the role” as the lead back, there is talk that Cleveland may add former Ravens back Ray Rice. Montgomery was Rice’s running back coach in Baltimore from 2008 through 2013. Rice was released from the Ravens last year in the wake of a domestic violence incident that was caught on tape and he has yet to be picked up. Browns coach Mike Pettine said that the team has discussed adding Rice but added that “at this point, we’re not there yet.”

The Redskins should see second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel tonight after starter Josh McCown plays the first quarter. Manziel missed Tuesday’s practice while resting a sore throwing elbow but he is still expected to play. During the preseason last year Manziel made headlines against the Redskins when he extended the one-finger salute to linebacker Brian Orakpo when the teams met at FedEx Field. Manziel completed 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. 

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Packers

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Packers

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, September 19, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers  

Talking points

The Redskins are taking on the Packers on Sunday and here is a look at what I found out taking a first look at them. 

It’s all about Aaron Rodgers

You can argue about who the best QB in the game is, but you can’t argue that the Packers are a Super Bowl contender with Rodgers and a sub-.500 team without him. No player carries his team to the extent that Rodgers does. We will see what pops up on the injury report regarding Rodgers after that Week 1 knee injury, but it would be foolish to expect anything other than him taking every snap. 

The Packers’ offensive line is a notch below that of the Redskins

They have a pair of quality tackles in LT David Bakhtiari and RT Bryan Bulaga. But they don’t have a Brandon Scherff equivalent on the inside. Between the line and Rodgers’ mobility (which is somewhat in question due to the condition of his knee), they manage to avoid sacks so don’t look for a pass rush that has been struggling to get better against Green Bay. 

Green Bay’s leading rusher is averaging 3.4 yards per carry

Jamaal Williams in the only Packer who is has more than seven rushing attempts. In two games, Green Bay’s 2017 fourth-round pick has 31 carries for 106 yards with a long run of 11. They use converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as a change of pace back; he has seven carries for 38 yards (5.4 ypc). 

There are solid players on every level of the Packers’ defense

At age 32, Clay Matthews is not the player who made six Pro Bowls and posted double-digit sacks four times from 2009-2015. But it would be inaccurate to say that he’s a shadow of his former self. He has had trouble staying on the field the last couple of years but when he’s healthy, which he is now, he gets pressure. The Redskins wanted to sign DL Sheldon Richardson, a top-notch run stuffer, this offseason but he went to Green Bay. At safety, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has 12 interceptions in four-plus years in the league, including one off of Kirk Cousins last week. 

Ball control will not be enough

The conventional wisdom when it comes to beating the Packers is to control the ball with runs and short passes and keep Rodgers on the sideline. Well, that formula didn’t work for the Redskins against Andrew Luck and the Colts. Washington had the ball for 33 minutes, but red zone problems doomed them. They will have to score touchdowns to win on Sunday. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Packers have only one loss in a game that Rodgers started and finished where their opponent scored fewer than 30 points. As the fight song goes, the points will have to soar if the Redskins are going to have a chance to hail victory. 

Injuries of note

RB Rob Kelly was put on injured reserve with a toe injury. He is a candidate to return from injured reserve after he misses at least eight games. 

The agenda

Today: Alex Smith press conference 12 noon; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Upcoming: Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 4; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 19; Cowboys @ Redskins 32

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, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After busy day of transactions, Redskins WR and RB depth charts look quite different

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USA Today Sports

After busy day of transactions, Redskins WR and RB depth charts look quite different

In the NFL regular season, Tuesday marks the quietest day of the week. It's supposed to anyway. For the Redskins heading into Week 3 that was not the case.

The team announced seven roster moves, bolstering the receiving group and making changes to the practice squad. The biggest additions, however, came at wide receiver. 

Through two games, Washington is not getting a lot of production out of the receiver group. That's not all on the players running routes. There are a number of factors, starting with new quarterback Alex Smith getting used to his new weapons, offensive line performance, play calling and the success of the run game. Even given all that context, still, the Redskins wideouts have underperformed as a group. 

Josh Doctson has five catches for 48 yards and Jamison Crowder has five catches for 40 yards. Paul Richardson leads the team with eight catches for 85 yards. 

In Week 1, rookie WRs Trey Quinn and Cam Sims injured their ankles, and both players got put on injured reserve. The team brought in Brian Quick and Jehu Chesson to replace them, and both players primarily functioned as special teamers. 

This week, with another subpar performance from the outside WRs, the Redskins took a different path. Chesson got moved to the practice squad, and the 'Skins added a pair of former first round pick WRs in Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman. Neither player has a history of playing special teams, and Floyd has logged a 1,000-yard receiving season.

To make roster space, the team cut Chesson and moved him to the practice squad, and put third-year RB Rob Kelley on the injured reserve. Kelley injured his toe in the loss to the Colts and would miss at least a month. 

What does all that mean? Here are the updated RB and WR depth charts:

RB
1) Adrian Peterson
2) Chris Thompson
3) Samaje Perine

Notes: The Redskins now only have three running backs on the roster, though Kapri Bibbs is stashed on the practice squad and Byron Marshall opened the season on the IR. More than likely, all three RBs will be active on Sunday against the Packers.

WR
1) Josh Doctson
2) Paul Richardson
3) Jamison Crowder
4) Maurice Harris
5) Brian Quick
6) Michael Floyd
7) Breshad Perriman

Notes: While the Redskins top three options (Doctson, Richardson, Crowder) remain in the same spots, the rest of the WR position group seems like a big question mark. Harris’ health and availability remain unclear, and that leads to other concerns. Quick knows the offensive system but had just six catches in 11 games in 2017. Floyd has the best resume of any wideout on the roster, but will he be able to perform right away? It seems likely two of these seven WRs will be inactive on game day, but which two?

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