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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—No more Davis doubters

Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—No more Davis doubters

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 18, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05 p.m.; Jay Gruden press conference and player availability after practice, approx. 2 p.m.

Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 6; Redskins @ Cardinals 16; Redskins @ Eagles 23

Injuries of note
Out:
LS Sundberg (back)
Limited practice: WR Jackson (shoulder)
Full: OT Moses (ankle)
Thursday injury report

Redskins vs. Packers
NBC 8:30 p.m., Mike Tirico and Chris Collinsworth
Line: Redskins -3

Around Redskins Park

—There were some Vernon Davis doubters at Redskins Park when the team signed the veteran tight end. “It has been surprising quite frankly,” said Jay Gruden said of Davis’ effectiveness. “I wasn’t sure what we were going to get with Vernon.” Kirk Cousins also had his doubts. “I guess I wondered how much he had left in the tank, didn’t know,” said the quarterback. Davis wiped out those doubts quickly; he has been a productive player at age 32 with and without Jordan Reed in the lineup.

Su’a Cravens is playing more snaps and in more positions as the season goes on. He got a season-high 37 snaps against the Vikings. The rookie told me that he played Sam linebacker, Will linebacker, inside linebacker, rush end, and even a snap or two as a three technique, lined up over the guard. Some snaps at safety could be coming soon. The effectiveness of the defense down the stretch here could depend on the playmaking abilities of Cravens and Preston Smith, who had a breakout game on Sunday.

RELATED: REDSKINS WORK TO STEER CLEAR OF RODGERS’ TRICKS

—Things seem to be going smoothly for DeSean Jackson as he tries to get back in the lineup. He looked like his normal self on Wednesday and Thursday. Jay Gruden is being very noncommittal which I read is one part uncertainty about the possibility of a relapse and four parts gamesmanship. Jackson declined to talk about it in the locker room after practice.

—The Redskins are going to have to expend some draft and free agent resources on their defensive line next year. But they may have a couple of young players on the roster now who could turn out to be useful rotational pass rushers. Anthony Lanier has played a combined 30 snaps in the last two games. Joe Barry said he’s “raw” but he has “so much natural ability, natural instincts” that he’s “scary”. Former Seahawks third-round pick Jordan Hill is explosive and he has the ideal size for a rush defensive end. The two of them could contribute a play or two down the stretch but the organization is looking for more out of both of them in 2017. It should be noted that Hill may not be around; he will be an unrestricted free agent. Lanier is under team control through 2019.

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM COULD SCRAMBLE FOR A SNAPPER

—This isn’t a must-win game but a victory would give the Redskins a much easier path to the playoffs. Sizing up things right now and knowing that things could change in a heartbeat it looks like a record of 9-6-1 will be good enough to qualify for the NFC playoffs. If they win and are 6-3-1 they would just have to split their remaining six games to get to nine wins. They’d like to do better, of course, but they would have some margin for error. If they lose they need to go 4-2 to get where they need to be. That’s not drawing to an inside straight and the Redskins are capable of doing it but it would be much tougher.

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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