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Gruden says Grant is 'ready', but how much will he play?

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Gruden says Grant is 'ready', but how much will he play?

Although Ryan Grant didn’t contribute much as a rookie, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden remains bullish on the wide receiver’s potential.

“Ryan Grant? He’s awesome, man. He really is,” Gruden said after Wednesday’s minicamp practice at Redskins Park. “He runs every route exactly like you tell him to run it. He doesn’t make any mental mistakes. He’s got big, strong hands.”

“It’s just [that] right now, with Pierre [Garçon], DeSean [Jackson], Andre [Roberts], we also drafted [Jamison] Crowder, it’s a crowded [meeting] room with a lot of skill,” Gruden added. “But I won’t hesitate one bit whether he’s our starting Z, starting X or starting [slot receiver].”

Indeed, it’s going to be interesting to see how Gruden chooses to use Grant, a fifth round draft pick in 2014. Last season, the Tulane product suited up for all 16 games but saw 9 or fewer snaps in 11 of them. In all, Grant was targeted only 15 times and he finished the season with just seven catches for 68 yards.

Earlier this offseason, it appeared as though Grant’s time had arrived after Leonard Hankerson departed via free agency and the Redskins decided not to re-sign Santana Moss. But then the team spent a fourth round selection on Crowder, a versatile, 5 foot 8 speedster out of Duke. Suddenly, Grant's role seemed less certain through no fault of his own.

“He’s trying to prove that he deserves some reps and every time he gets a rep he takes advantage of it,” Gruden said of Grant. “Even the reps [where] he doesn’t get the ball thrown to him, you can see he’s working his hardest coming in and out of breaks and getting open and fighting to get off bump and run or what have you. So [we’re] very, very, very impressed with Ryan and [he’s] done an excellent job.”

The depth chart at wide receiver now features Garçon, Jackson, Roberts, Grant, Crowder, sixth round pick Evan Spencer as well as five other training camp hopefuls. The first six are probably locks to make the 53-man roster. The question to be answered in the coming months, though, will be the pecking order after Garçon and Jackson.

“As a wide receiver, he’s very polished and he’s just waiting his turn,” Gruden said of Grant. “He is ready to go, though, I promise you that. I love Ryan Grant and what he’s about.”

But with so many options, Gruden’s “love” for Grant and his game will surely be tested as he decides how to divvy up playing time in 2015.

MORE REDSKINS: BRINGING FALSE STARTS TO AN END

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Need to Know: Final pregame thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

Need to Know: Final pregame thoughts on Redskins vs. Packers

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, September 23, 15 days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

The wide receivers will have opportunities

It’s a copycat league but the Packers defense is unlikely to emulate the soft Cover 2 scheme that the Colts used to frustrate Alex Smith and the wide receivers last week. Green Bay plays a more aggressive defense with more blitzing and man coverage and they aren’t going to change that up today because of what the Colts did. This should give Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Jamison Crowder some opportunities to get chunk plays. It won’t be easy, but the chances will be there for the taking. 

Watch the Packers running game

The Packers don’t run the ball very often; the last two years they were 29th and 27th in the league in rushing attempts and so far this year they are 27th. Why run the ball when you have a weapon like Aaron Rodgers? While they are effective when they do run, with their average per rushing attempt ranking in the top 10 in both 2016 and 2017, it doesn’t always matter. The last four times they rushed for over 100 yards in a game they have an overtime win and three losses. It must be noted that Rodgers played in only one of those games, so we know what makes the difference there. 

A better day for Peterson?

All week long I have been talking about the matchup between the Packers stout three-man front of nose tackle Kenny Clark and ends Mike Daniels and Muhammad Wilkerson against the Redskins’ patchwork interior offensive line. I think that the Packers have the edge here and that could mean some tough sledding for Adrian Peterson. I still think that Peterson will be able to get outside some and he should have a better day than the 11 carries for 20 yards he had against the Colts. The Redskins will need extended drives for touchdowns if they are going to win and Peterson will need to be a part of it. 

Which way will the Redskins go?

This Redskins team is an inconsistent bunch. It would not be surprising at all if they followed up their flat effort against the Colts with a solid performance against the Packers. I think the passing game will be sharper and the defense will keep the Packers from being in third and short too often. Still, Rodgers will get his and the Redskins will find themselves in a shootout. I pointed out earlier this week that it’s hard to beat Green Bay if you don’t score at least 30 points. The Redskins haven’t done that since doing it back-to-back in Weeks 10 and 11 last year. They lost both of those games, to the Vikings and Saints. Maybe they can do it and I think they’ll make a run at it but it will come up short. 

Packers 28, Redskins 24

Injury report

Game status

Out: Apke (hamstring), Lauvao (calf)
Questionable: Harris (concussion), Richardson (shoulder), Brown (oblique)

For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers (knee) questionable, S Kevin King (groin) out

Full injury report here

The agenda

Today: Redskins Kickoff 12 noon, NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Packers 1 pm, FOX

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 15 days; Panthers @ Redskins 21; Cowboys @ Redskins 28

In case you missed it

 

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Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts and sits

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Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts and sits

Here are your start and sit options for Week 3. Also, take a look at the Week 3 position-by-position rankings. Good luck out there.

Quarterbacks

Start – Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Steelers. The Fitzmagic cast spells on opposing defenses in the opening two games as the journeyman passers set an impressive bar for all fantasy football players. The spotlight goes next level with a Monday night matchup against a Pittsburgh squad (0-1-1) seeking its first win. The Steelers enter Week 3 allowing the second-most fantasy points to  quarterbacks. There’s certainly a chance Fitzpatrick turns back into a pumpkin – or at least the average QB he’s largely been during his career – but momentum and matchup makes for a good opportunity.

Sit – Dak Prescott at Seahawks. Carson Wentz making his return to the field for the first time since last season’s ACL injury is the obvious don’t use call, but let’s go down the PSA route. Even you blind-homer Dallas fans realize your guy should be glued to the bench, right? Actually, considering Prescott has one touchdown, 330 passing yards total through two games and limited receiver options, it’s conceivable if not likely there are better options (Ryan Tannehill? Blake Bortles?) on the waiver wire. Don’t expect an uptick in production this seek as Dallas plays guest in Seattle’s first game home game of the season.

Running backs

Start – Giovani Bernard at Panthers. Here comes a workload rise for Bernard with Joe Mixon (knee) sidelined. Though a downgrade for the Bengals’, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect a noticeable drop. Bernard produced throughout his career when receiving ample touches, a scenario that happens Sunday. With at least 15 touches in Cincinnati’s final five games last season, the dual threat had 11, 19, 13, 29 and 13 fantasy points in PPR formats. Even though Carolina is stout against the run, Bernard ranks a borderline RB1 in Week 3.

Sit –Chris Carson vs. Cowboys. There’s a backfield split with rookie Raashad Penny occurring, a scenario frustrating for Carson owners who bought into the preseason hype. There’s facing a Dallas defense that held Saquon Barkley to 28 yards on 11 carries last week (The rookie also had 14 receptions, of course). It might not be conceivable to bench Carson depending on other options. Just don’t get hyped for this matchup.

Wide receivers

Start – Dante Pettis at Chiefs. This deep cut depends on whether Marquise Goodwin missed a second consecutive game. The 49ers face a Chiefs defense giving up gobs of aerial production through two games, including four touchdowns to wide receivers and a league-worst 40 receptions. Only three receptions on the season and just a 1-for-35 line last week, but Pettis scored a TD in the opener. If Goodwin plays and Pettis’ snaps drop yet you still seek a long shot play, consider Josh Doctson a hold-your-nose flyer. Washington is dealing with injuries at receiver. Tight end Jordan Reed only played half the snaps during the first two weeks. Green Bay is allowing the fourth-most wide receiver production in PPR formats. 

Sit – Demaryius Thomas at Ravens. Until proven otherwise Thomas’ reputation trumps reality. Emmanuel Sanders is the Denver receiver putting up quality numbers (14 receptions for 231 yards vs. 11 and 81 for Thomas). As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva notes, receivers are torching Baltimore’s slot corner Tavon Young. The slot is where Sanders lines up often and where Broncos quarterback Case Keenum will look.

Tight ends

Start – O.J. Howard vs. Steelers. Either tight end in this matchup works for owners in need, but Howard’s potential easily trumps Jesse James. Five receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown in two games more than works, but is particularly impressive considering six total targets. The lack of balls thrown his way is a bit concerning, but the Steelers allowed the fifth most points to fantasy tight ends through two weeks. Good chance Tampa Bay gets Howard more involved.

Sit – Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Titans. Despite dealing with a core muscle injury, Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t listed on Friday’s injury report. That means he’s available to face a Tennessee defense that allowed opposing tight ends four receptions for 51 yards over its first two games. There’s always hope for a touchdown, but between ASJ’s limited production (averaging 3 for 24) and the Titans’ solid work, look elsewhere if possible.

Defenses

Start – Cowboys at Seahawks. Russell Wilson has been sacked 12 times on the season and thrown three interceptions. Even if Seattle pulls off its first win of the season, Dallas’ defense should post solid fantasy numbers.

Sit – Chargers at Rams. One of these Los Angeles teams is allowing opposing defenses a mere 2.5 fantasy points. That team has Jared Goff at quarterback. The Chargers teed off on Buffalo last week. Things won’t come nearly as easily against the NFC West favorite.