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How Jay Gruden may handle starter dilemma vs. Dallas

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How Jay Gruden may handle starter dilemma vs. Dallas

PHILADELPHIA—For the first time since 1999, the Redskins will play a game that has no meaning just prior to playing a game that will mean everything.

By beating the Eagles last night the Redskins clinched the NFC East title. They will host a playoff game at FedEx Field on the weekend of January 9-10. Washington will be the No. 4 seed no matter what happens next week in Dallas. So the question becomes, how hard should the Redskins try to beat the Cowboys?

It is something that Jay Gruden will have to ponder over the course of the week. “It’s a great question,” he said when asked about how he intends to handle it. “I think we’re going to have to look at the health of the team number one. Number two, it’s still the Dallas Cowboys. It’s something that we want to end our season on a positive note and keep the momentum rolling.”

Like most NFL teams the Redskins are operating with some banged-up players. Safety and defensive captain Dashon Goldson played all 81 snaps against the Eagles with a cracked rib. Three other players—C Josh LeRibeus (ankle), RT Morgan Moses (ankle), and WR Ryan Grant (abdomen) played the game after being listed as questionable on the injury report.

Then there are players who aren’t on the injury report but are still playing with pain such as left tackle Trent Williams, who has accumulated an assortment of bumps, bruises, and strains over the course of the season.

There is a third category of players that Gruden has to figure out what to do with. For example, Jordan Reed is relatively healthy but he has a history of being prone to injuries. Should he be allowed to play or be protected?

If Gruden acts like most coaches in this situation do he will not reveal any firm plans this week. He and the coaches will make their plans and won’t tell the media, the fans, or even the players what they intend to do. You can’t have a front line player go through the week thinking that he won’t play on Sunday and then all of a sudden you have to insert him into the lineup if the backup gets injured.

Whatever the specifics of how he handles it are, Gruden did make clear the priorities that will guide him in making his Week 17 strategy. Beating the Cowboys is secondary.

“We have to make sure, number one we check the health of our football team and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here

 

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

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

Timeline 

Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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