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Need to Know: T. Jackson decision could take some time

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Need to Know: T. Jackson decision could take some time

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, Sept. 2, seven days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. The Redskins, one of the younger teams in the NFL just a couple of years ago, are growing older on us. By the measure of Jimmy Kempski at Philly.com the Redskins are the second-oldest team in the NFL. According to the calculations of Mike Sando of ESPN, they are the third oldest with the oldest defense. The numbers are what they are but I don’t view the Redskins as an “aging” team. Most of their top players are 27 or younger, players like Brian Orakpo, Pierre Garçon, Perry Riley, Trent Williams, Ryah Kerrigan, Alfred Morris, and, the fifth-youngest player on the team at about 23 and a half, Robert Griffin III.

2. Mike Shanahan will have a press conference after practice today; it should take place at about 3:30 or so. He will be asked why the Redskins kept Pat White on the 53-man roster, giving the team four quarterbacks on the roster. Expect an answer that gives out precisely no information. It will be something like, “He was one of the best 53 players, we keep the best 53 regardless of position.” And this is the right thing to do, there is no reason for him to tip his hand regarding the teams intentions with White.

3. The Big Announcement at that presser will be about the starting quarterback against the Eagles. We don’t really need that announcement. The team released its media schedule this week. NFL media rules state that the starting quarterback must meet with the media during the week. The only QB scheduled to have a press conference is Robert Griffin III.

4. Every beat writer is getting multiple inquiries daily about the status of suspended safety Tanard Jackson. Don’t hold your breath. The last time he was suspended he was not reinstated until 17 days after he was eligible. I’m not sure why the league would expedite anything for Jackson this time around after another major suspension. Then IF he gets reinstated and IF the Redskins decide to take a chance and give him a shot and IF he is in shape and IF they decide he’s a better option than what they have on the roster, he might then return to the field. So we probably have a while to go and, as outlined above, a lot of ifs to navigate. Currently he’s not counting against the 53-man roster and he isn’t getting paid so there is not salary cap charge.

5. Some Redskins now have new numbers. Some of the changes were made by choice, others were necessary. Bacarri Rambo had to change from Roy Helu Jr.’s 29 so he took 24, formerly owned by the released DeJon Gomes. Nick Barnett took number 55, Brandon Jenkins 51 and Chris Thompson now will wear 25.

Stat of the day

—There was a lot of focus on how few times the Redskins turned the ball over last year (a team record low 14 times). But they also did well on the takeaway side of the turnover ratio. They had 21 interceptions and recovered 10 opposing fumbles. Those takeaways were spread out through the year. They had only three games with no takeaways and 12 games with at least two.

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Timeline

—It’s been 239 days since the last Redskins game; there are seven days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Packers 13; Lions @ Redskins 20

—Today’s schedule: Practice at 1:45; Mike Shanahan press conference after practice (approx. 3:30).

White makes the 53

In case you missed it

@Rich_TandlerCSN on Twitter
Many predictions will be made this week and not all will have #Redskins doing well. Please ask the writer of the article why, not me.

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) September 1, 2013

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Three questions for a potential Derrius Guice-Adrian Peterson-Chris Thompson backfield

Three questions for a potential Derrius Guice-Adrian Peterson-Chris Thompson backfield

Fewer than 24 hours after the 2018 season ended, Chris Thompson was already looking ahead to 2019 and what could be a very dangerous Redskins running back group.

"He's going to be ready for sure," Thompson said about Derrius Guice. "You know how AP came back from his [torn] ACL, how freakish he was after that, so I'm excited for him."

"Speaking of AP," he added, referring to Adrian Peterson, "I'm excited for him, too, and I hope we can get him back as well."

Fans of the Burgundy and Gold are right to be concerned about a lot of the team's future. But a running back trio of Thompson, Guice, and Peterson would be one huge reason to anticipate next year.

With that being said, while those names look tremendous on a depth chart, questions still remain about how it'd all work on the field. Here are three of the biggest ones worth asking.

1) How would Peterson and Guice fit together?

Peterson's a free agent, so first, the team would need to re-sign him. If they do, next up would be figuring out how to make sure he and Guice could co-exist.

The future Hall of Famer is a classic No. 1 option, the type of guy who thrives the more times he gets to carry the ball and who stares at his head coach when he's not receiving enough action. His best games with the 'Skins came when his attempts neared or exceeded 20, and while game flow played a large role in determining the number of rushes he racked up, he simply plays better the more he gets to wear down a defense.

Next year, though, Washington will want to get a lot out of their 2018 second-rounder and see how dynamic he can be as a pro. Peterson's recent stint with the Saints was a brief but unsuccessful experience for him trying to fit in amongst a rotation of RBs, and though he's said he'd have no problem splitting carries with Guice, it remains to be seen how effective that timeshare would be.

2) Could all three stay healthy enough?

A three-headed monster is significantly less useful when one or more of those heads is in street clothes or on IR. Unfortunately, that's something the Redskins would have to worry about with this lineup.

Guice had knee issues late in his career at LSU and went down with a season-ending knee injury in his first preseason game last August. Thompson has missed six games in each of the past two seasons. Weirdly enough, the 33-year-old Peterson has the most recent track record of durability, but how long can that realistically last?

If there's been anything to learn about this franchise the past few seasons, it's that injuries will strike and, often times, they'll strike key players. Perhaps they'd be better served moving forward with Guice and then substituting Thompson and/or Peterson for a younger or more durable threat. 

3) Could Jay Gruden figure out a way to use combinations of them at the same time?

If all three backs return for 2019, putting any one of them on the field would give Jay Gruden an enticing talent to use. Where things could really open up, however, is if he could play two of them in the backfield at the same time.

Gruden put together packages for Peterson/Thompson and Byron Marshall toward the end of last season, but those packages were sent out behind a torn up offensive line and with very limited QBs.

A Guice-Peterson pair or Guice-Thompson pair behind healthy blockers and a non-Mark Sanchez passer, though? Now you're putting some fear into a defense and giving your offense the advantage. But it'd be on Gruden and other offensive coaches to scheme those up and then deploy them enough to find a rhythm. 

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Drafting a first round QB outside of the top two picks has largely backfired lately

Drafting a first round QB outside of the top two picks has largely backfired lately

Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are two quarterbacks who were taken in the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft's first round, and they serve as two recent examples that you don't have to have a pick at the top of that round to land a star passer.

Problem is, they're basically the only recent examples, too.

In the past decade, teams who've tried to find their franchise signal-caller in the first round outside of either the first or second pick have failed time and time again. Since 2009, those prized QBs have mostly been selected No. 1 or No. 2 overall or mined beyond the first round. 

The following list, compiled by Redskins Talk co-host Mitch Tischler, shows how many mediocre to straight-up bad options franchises have found using picks 3-32:

  • Mark Sanchez — 2009 pick No. 5 — 37-36 career record
  • Josh Freeman — 2009 pick No. 17 — 25-36 career record
  • Tim Tebow — 2010 pick No. 25 — 8-6 career record
  • Jake Locker — 2011 pick No. 8 — 9-14 career record
  • Blaine Gabbert — 2011 pick No. 10 — 13-35 career record
  • Christian Ponder — 2011 pick No. 12 — 14-21-1 career record
  • Ryan Tannehill — 2012 pick No. 8 —42-46 career record
  • Brandon Weeden — 2012 pick No. 22 — 6-19 career record
  • EJ Manuel — 2013 pick No. 16 — 6-12 career record
  • Blake Bortles — 2014 pick No. 3 — 24-49 career record
  • Johnny Manziel — 2014 pick No. 22 — 2-6 career record
  • Paxton Lynch — 2016 pick No. 26 — 1-3 career record
  • Patrick Mahomes — 2017 pick No. 10 — 13-4 career record
  • Deshaun Watson — 2017 pick No. 12 — 14-8 career record
  • Sam Darnold — 2018 pick No. 3 — 4-9 career record
  • Josh Allen — 2018 pick No. 7 — 5-6 career record
  • Josh Rosen — 2018 pick No. 10 — 3-10 career record
  • Lamar Jackson — 2018 pick No. 32 — 6-1 career record
     

That list is one the Redskins — who own the 15th pick in the 2019 draft and who are beginning to be linked heavily to Kyler Murray — should pay close attention to.

The 2018 class is too young to judge, and as mentioned earlier, the 2017 class is providing quality returns. But none of the other names on that list have turned into anything useful, not to mention anything resembling special.

Of course, if you go back farther into the past, you'll find that QBs like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers were snagged during the meat of the first round, so it's not impossible. However, the last 10 years have shown it can be very difficult to nail a pick in that range.

The logic feels simple: The truly elite talents, such as Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, are snatched up immediately. The QBs who are found in the mid- to late rounds, meanwhile, are given more time to develop and/or find themselves on rosters that have been built up more.

Those non-elite first-rounders, on the other hand, are generally caught in between: not skilled enough to help turn around a team singlehandedly but, because they're high investments, they're forced into those tough situations and end up floundering.

There's no doubt that the 'Skins need a new hope under center. Where they should commit to that hope, though, is something that must be considered.  

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