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Gruden: Redskins rookie Scherff to be tested early

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Gruden: Redskins rookie Scherff to be tested early

Redskins offensive lineman Brandon Scherff is making strides in his shift from tackle to guard, according to Coach Jay Gruden.

But, as Gruden acknowledged on Sunday, the coaching staff will get a much better feel for the rookie’s progress after the first two weeks of the regular season.

In Week 1, Scherff and Co. will face Miami defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh, a four-time Pro Bowler, and Earl Mitchell. In Week 2, the Redskins’ offensive line will be tested again when a stout St. Louis front, led by Pro Bowl tackle Aaron Donald, visits FedEx Field.

“I’m fired up about Brandon,” Gruden said. “He’s going against some pretty good players on the defensive line his first couple of weeks,” Gruden said. “He’s got Aaron Donald with the Rams, Suh [who] possibly could be over there. He’s got this Mitchell guy. He’s going to have some great challenges early [so] we’ll see how ready he is.”

Over the past year, Scherff has faced a steep learning curve, moving from left tackle (at Iowa) to right tackle (during OTAs and minicamp in Washington) to right guard (since early in training camp). So, yeah, the No. 5 overall pick has had a lot to digest in a relatively short amount of time.

And while Scherff still has plenty to learn about playing on the inside at the pro level, Gruden said the one thing the coaching staff is not worried about is Scherff’s ability to bounce back from getting beat occasionally. Which, of course, is bound to happen when facing Pro Bowl-caliber linemen.

“The one thing about [Scherff] is that I feel like he’s a mentally tough, stable human being,” Gruden said. “It’s one thing to get beat every now and then on a nice swim move or a bull rush or something like that, but to not let it affect your play moving forward is very, very important.”

Gruden added: “We think that’s a great quality that Brandon has; he’s going to get beat from time-to-time, but he’s going to bounce back and keep grinding.”

In three preseason starts, Scherff allowed one sack (against the Lions) and one quarterback hit (vs. the Ravens) in 77 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

RELATED: Redskins announce seven practice squad signings

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

If you want to, you can find plenty of things wrong with the Redskins’ 23-17 win over the Panthers. The home team was up 17-0 in the second quarter and yet had to hang on as the Panthers reached the red zone with a chance to win in the last minute. The game got tight because the Redskins continued their second-half scoring problems, putting up just six points. Alex Smith passed for just 153 yards. 

But you can’t poke holes in the fact that the Redskins are 3-2 and in first place in the NFC East. Sure, there is a long way to go. But consider this—a Redskins schedule that looked rough at the beginning of the season doesn’t look quite as tough. In fact, right now the Redskins have a better winning percentage than any team they will play in their remaining 11 games. 

Yes, that’s right. They have six games to play in the division, two each against the Cowboys and Eagles, both now 3-3, and the 1-5 Giants. Their two remaining games against the NFC South are against the 2-3 Bucs and the 2-4 Falcons. The schedule is rounded out with games against three AFC South teams, the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars. All three of those teams are tied atop the division at 3-3. 

Of course, you can’t expect all of these teams to still be wallowing around .500 when they face the Redskins. It looks like the Eagles and Falcons are on the upswing and in today’s NFL any team can get hot at any time. 

And, as the Redskins demonstrated in their Week 2 loss to the Colts, they are capable of losing to a weak team. They still have plenty of issues they have to correct if they plan on maintaining their winning record and staying in contention for the division title. They won’t survive if they continue to have difficulty scoring in the second half (their only second-half TD this season came in garbage time against the Saints). They need to get more sacks from Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, who have one combined. Plenty of details need to be ironed out. 

But the fact that they are a flawed team doesn’t take away from the fact that they got a quality win over the Panthers. Carolina was 3-1, coming off of an 11-5 playoff season. On top of that, the Redskins had not beaten the Panthers since 2006, a stretch that included an 0-4 record against Cam Newton. They didn’t commit a turnover for the first time this year and they got a season-high three takeaways. Christian McCaffrey came into the game averaging 83 yards per game and left it averaging 70 after picking up 20 yards on eight carries. 

With all of that said, the Redskins still have to overcome their inconsistency. They have won two games in a row just twice since the beginning of the 2017 season. Nobody is going to believe that anything is different about the Redskins until they can string together three or four wins in a row. Until then, skepticism will abound. 

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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