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Redskins should be able to go run heavy against Bears' defense

Redskins should be able to go run heavy against Bears' defense

The Redskins ran the ball on only 12 of their 59 offensive plays against the Panthers on Sunday. Lead back Rob Kelley had just nine carries and the leading rusher was quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had 12 yards on one carry (these stats exclude the Cousins kneel down at the end of the first half).

But while there was plenty of negative material for fans and members of the media to rehash after the game, the 20 percent to 80 percent run-pass ratio was not high on anyone’s list. That’s because anyone who watched the game could see that running was futile.

While many don’t take what Jay Gruden has to say after games with a lot more passes than runs at face value, I think most bought what he said to the media in a conference call on Tuesday.

“It was a problem [on Monday night], and as an offensive coordinator, when you’re calling plays, and you call a running play that’s a gain of one or a loss of one and the back is hit before he even gets the ball in his hands, it’s hard to call another run,” said Gruden.

The good news is that it shouldn’t be as hard to call another run when they play the Bears on Saturday. The Panthers are top 10 against the run almost any way you want to measure it. By those same metrics, the Bears are a bottom 10 unit. They are 23rd in rushing yards allowed and 20th in average per rush allowed. The number crunchers at Football Outsiders have them ranked 27th in rushing defense DVOA.

While is good to know that the defense should be hospitable to running the ball, the weather should be good for doing anything on offense. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 30’s with minimal wind. The Bears are just OK against the pass (14th in pass defense DVOA) so running to set up the pass should be the game plan.

Back to the Panthers game, the Redskins need to get to where they don’t have games like that. Two of their offensive linemen are going to the Pro Bowl. Besides the Carolina game they had games where they put up 55 (Steelers), 60 (Ravens), and 56 (@ Cowboys) rushing yards. Those three teams are in the top 10 in rushing defense DVOA as are the Panthers but the Redskins can’t simply give up on the run for a quarter of their schedule because the other defense is tough.

That’s easier said than done but until the Redskins can go into any game with a realistic shot at putting up at least 80-100 yards on the ground they won’t get to where they want to be.

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Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 20, 36 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Emptying the notebook from the offseason practices

—Last week I wrote that Gruden expects Alex Smith to be ready to win in Week 1. Smith understands those expectations and plans to meet them. “No, I don’t think you can rely on the fact that, ‘Oh, it’s the first year here.’ Nobody cares,” he said when asked about his transition into the new offense. “It’s not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, ‘Ah, well, this is his first year here. We’ll give him a break.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” Of course, Smith is right. If the Redskins are 1-3 in October, nobody is going to cut them any slack if their veteran quarterback who got a contract with $71 million guaranteed is struggling with the new offense. 

—I didn’t count reps during the practices that were open to the media, but it seemed that they were giving DL Jonathan Allen a light workload. “I think he did a great job of rehabbing in the offseason,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. “We were kind of a little bit hesitant early on when he was here just taking reps and stuff but looks like he’s just keeps on progressing from where he kind of left off last year and the sky’s the limit for him.” The Redskins essentially will be adding two first-round picks to their D-line with Allen’s return and the addition of Daron Payne in the first round this year. I would look for Allen to get a full workload when the training camp starts. 

—There are questions about Kevin Hogan making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback. Jay Gruden had some rather tepid praise for him last week. “He’s done good,” he said. “I like Kevin. He’s a smart kid and he’s got some deceiving escape ability to him. He can run a little bit. We saw one today, he popped out of there for about a 20-yard gain. I like where he’s at.” But near the end of that practice, Hogan threw a red zone pass right into the arms of rookie CB Greg Stroman. If we see much more of that, the Redskins may keep a sixth wide receiver or tenth offensive lineman rather than a third quarterback. 

—When he is asked about the performance of undrafted rookies, Gruden usually declines to praise specific players so when he does pick out individuals it’s worth paying some attention. On Wednesday he said that WR Cam Simms and CB Danny Johnson “stood out” at their respective positions. Looking at it right now, there don’t appear to be roster spots available for either of them. But one or two undrafted players break through and make the roster every year and Simms and Johnson are two to watch. 

— “In the second year, we expect major strides for all first-year guys. I’ve said it before. So just understanding pro football, what it’s all about in your first year, you have the four preseason games and 16 regular season games,” Gruden said when asked about RB Samaje Perine. “It’s a grind, mentally. It’s all-day football, not like college where you only get 20 hours a week, so I think he understands the grind and our system a lot better.” The answer obviously applies to all of the 2017 draft picks. In particular, they will be counting on next steps from OLB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, WR Robert Davis, and CB Joshua Holsey. History tells us that some will take big steps, others will not.

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  

Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was born on this date in 1978.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 36
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 50
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 73

The Redskins last played a game 171 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 81 days. 

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2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

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USA Today Sports

2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins training camp is almost here, which means preseason football is not far off, with the 2018 NFL regular season coming into view.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2018 training camp schedule, set to begin July 26. Once again the activities will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va., the Redskins training camp venue since 2013.

The Redskins' 2018 training camp is sure to be an intriguing one. The Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, a new running back in Derrius Guice, and a litany of players returning from injury.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2018 Redskins training camp, from location to times, dates, ticket prices and more.

Who: The Washington Redskins

What: Redskins 2018 NFL Training Camp

Where: Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va.

When: July 26 until Aug. 14

When is Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp begins on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

What time does Redskins training camp start?

The typical schedule opens with a morning practice from 9:45-11:45 a.m. and an evening walkthrough from 4:40-5:40 p.m. Exceptions are noted below.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

At the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page. (https://www.redskins.com/schedule/training-camp/)

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/26 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Fri. 7/27 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 7/28 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sun. 7/29 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 7/31 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Wed. 8/1 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Thurs. 8/2 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 8/4 — 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — N/A — 3:30 p.m.

Sun. 8/5 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Mon. 8/6 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 8/7 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

Thurs. 8/9 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/11 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Sun. 8/12 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Mon. 8/13 — 8:30 a.m. — 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. — 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. — 3:35 p.m.

*Tues. 8/14 —  12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*The last three training camp dates will be a joint practice with the New York Jets

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