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How big a concern is Jason Hatcher's knee injury for the Redskins?

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How big a concern is Jason Hatcher's knee injury for the Redskins?

The Redskins almost got out of minicamp without a scratch.

For weeks the Redskins went through their offseason program without anything resembling a major injury. They looked around their own division and saw Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee get knocked out for the season with a torn ACL and Giants linebacker John Beason suffer a foot injury that likely will cost him some of training camp and possibly the regular season.

Their luck finally ran out as the offseason drew to a close, although their injury issue doesn’t appear to be as serious as the others around the division. Jason Hatcher will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. He said that he isn’t sure if any one moment caused him to need the surgery, which has been described as a cleanup procedure. He missed minicamp and he is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Training camp opens five weeks from today. Given the timetable, Hatcher could miss a week of camp or he might not miss any at all.

Is this something to be concerned about? Compared to the issues in Dallas, New York, and elsewhere, no. Even if he does miss a week or so of camp you have to figure that a veteran like Hatcher can still do what he needs to do to prepare for the season.

Still, there has to be some degree of apprehension over a veteran who will be 32 next month having an ailing knee two months prior to the start of the season.

Since becoming a starter in Dallas in 2011, Hatcher has been reasonably durable but not an iron man. He missed three games in 2011 due to a calf injury and he was on the injury report as questionable or probable for 11 games last year with neck and shoulder injuries. Hatcher did end up missing one game with injuries last year.

Missed games would be a big issue for the Redskins’ defense. Hatcher was a major part of their offseason plan. They couldn’t find many players that would upgrade their secondary at a price they wanted to pay so they went all in on getting a big pass rush. Hatcher was the key acquisition on defense. He had 11 sacks last year, more than the entire Redskins defensive line has registered in the last two seasons combined (6.5). This is a player who is not easily replaceable.

But let’s hit the brakes here. We are a long way from Hatcher being on an injury report or missing a game. Let’s see how things play out before panicking.

In reality, the fact that this knee issue came to light now could have been a blessing in disguise for Hatcher. If it had come up a week or so into training camp, the four to six week rehab would have threatened his availability for the start of the regular season.

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Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 19, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

A year ago, there was tremendous concern about the Redskins’ rushing game. In their first two preseason games in 2017 when the games were the Redskins’ first-team offense against the other team’s starters on defense, Washington gained 13 yards on 13 carries. In the first halves of those games, which were played mostly with players on both sides who would end up making the roster the total was 21 attempts for 20 yards. 

At the time, the company line was to downplay the problems. 

“I’m just not worried,” said Trent Williams.

“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take plus-one, plus-two, negative-one, then you get a plus-eight. And things to pop. It’s attrition. Nothing’s going to happen just because you want it to.”

As we now know, the Redskins rushing game never really got going. Certainly, injuries to backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson and to the entire offensive line contributed heavily to their No. 27 ranking in rushing yards. But a look at the preseason could indicate that the building blocks for an effective rushing game just weren’t in place. 

Things are looking better this year. In two preseason games, the Redskins have rushed for 216 yards. In the first halves of the games, they have 31 attempts for 109 yards. That’s not a great average (3.5 yards per carry) but it is a vast improvement on the sub-one yard per carrying average they had through two games last year. 

Let’s not get carried away here. Preseason numbers aren’t rock-solid indicators by any stretch and even if they were we are looking at a small sample size. Still, the preseason stats are what we have to look at right now. We will see how things develop.  

Bureau of statistics

In 2017 the Redskins averaged 123 rushing yards per game in their first five games. In their last 11 games, they averaged 76 per game. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on the returns of RBs Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine from ankle injuries: "There are no reports really, we'll just wait and see. Every injury is different, and we'll play it by ear and see how long it takes . . . The injury report will come out Week 1 on - when is it, Wednesday? And there you have it."

Comment: Yes, this really was Gruden and not Bill Belichick. The whole organization has been tighter with injury information in general this year. We’re getting a lot of descriptions like “lower leg” rather than ankle or toe. If that’s the way they want to do business that’s fine but be advised as a fan that you are not going to get much information. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 5 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 13 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 21 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers 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 releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

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Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

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