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With six takeaways in the last two games, Redskins surpass last year's total

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With six takeaways in the last two games, Redskins surpass last year's total

One area where the Redskins’ defense has shown improvement this season is in the takeaway dept. In fact, with four games remaining in the season the unit has 20—one more than it amassed in 16 games a year ago.

Washington’s takeaway total—nine interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries—was tied for the 10th most entering Thursday’s Arizona-Minnesota game.

“I feel good about it,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ve got to just keep flying to the football, keep ripping it out when we have an opportunity. And when the ball’s in the air, we’ve got to make sure we do the best we can to get it.”

“That,” Gruden added, “is what it’s all about. Definitely, it’s all about getting the ball back and that’s what we preach.”

The takeaways have come in droves the past couple of weeks. Against the Giants, Joe Barry's unit intercepted Eli Manning three times. Against the Cowboys, it recovered a pair of Darren McFadden fumbles and one ball was ripped from the hands of Devin Street.

The recent uptick has more than made up for a slow start that saw the Redskins record only one takeaway through the season’s first three games.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland has been the most productive individual, recording two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two recoveries.

But what’s been more impressive is the fact that so many defenders have gotten involved. Consider: the nine interceptions are shared by seven different players, 11 players have forced fumbles, while the recoveries have been made by nine different players.

Gruden said the fumble-causing strips are contagious. 

“Well, I think once you pull a couple out of there you start to get more confident and it starts to be contagious for defensive players and everybody wants a piece of one,” Gruden said. “Everybody is working hard to get the strips. It’s been a focal point of our defense since day one of OTAs, and it’s something we continue to work on.” 

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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 53-31>>

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>> 

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