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Three things not being talked about enough from the Redskins' first four games

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Three things not being talked about enough from the Redskins' first four games

After the Redskins' first three games of the 2017 season, a post was published to look at developments and players from each of those contests that were being passed over for other storylines (and those posts are here, here and here, in case you need some proof).

The words below are devoted to performing a similar exercise, but instead of looking just at Week 4's mostly-but-not-totally-fun loss in Kansas City, the entire opening quarter of Washington's year will be the focus.

There's been plenty of chatter about Josh Doctson and Jim Tomsula's magical touch with the defensive line so far. But here are three things not being talked about enough four weeks into the Redskins' journey.

MORE: NFL POWER RANKINGS, UPDATED AFTER WEEK 4

1) Ryan Kerrigan continues to be one of the NFL's steadiest defenders

This angle likely isn't getting enough run because of additions like Zach Brown and DJ Swearinger and the impact they've brought, the incredible growth of Matt Ioannidis and the sheer size of Greg Manusky's biceps, along with all the other things going on on the defensive side of the ball.

But the truth is that Ryan Kerrigan is, like always, producing, and the production is, like always, not being appreciated enough.

Through four weeks, No. 91's posted 2.5 sacks, recorded a pick-6 and forced a fumble. That sack number should be bigger, too (one play against the Chiefs stands out) and you'd be smart to bet that he'll finish with more than the 10 he's on pace for right now.

Kerrigan will never bring attention onto himself. That doesn't mean you can't give it to him on your own, though.

2) The red zone is again looking like the dread zone

This point tends to slip through when the Redskins are playing well, but it doesn't when they're slumping. But don't allow the very positive vibes around the Burgundy and Gold distract you from the fact that they still have the red zone blues.

Last season, the 'Skins were 30th in the league when it came to scoring TDs once they breached the 20-yard line. They are again in that slot through 2017's opening four weeks, and their percentage (36.3 percent) is actually worse than 2016's (45.9).

The assumption was that they'd at least return to an average level of performance in the red zone after being horrible in their 8-7-1 campaign. Unfortunately, up to this point, they've just returned to horrible.

RELATED: WHY JOSH DOCTSON NEEDS MORE SNAPS, AND NOW

3) The otherwordly pain tolerance and fortitude that Trent Williams has 

If Trent Williams had a regular job, the man would never take a sick day or cut out early.

In his squad's opener vs. Philadelphia, Williams was forced to leave due to an ankle injury. He quickly returned. And in his squad's showdown vs. K.C., Williams was forced to leave with a knee injury. He quickly returned.

"It's painful right now," the tackle told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay after the Chiefs game. "All that adrenaline is starting to wear off and [I'm] starting to feel exactly how painful it is. But it's worth it, man. I wanted to be there for my team. If I gotta fight through some stuff and have a very trying morning in the next few days, it's worth it."

All NFL players have a high pain tolerance. Offensive linemen, however, carry an even higher threshold. Yet Williams may be in a class of his own. And it's a class where missing more than a few snaps is truly unacceptable, apparently.

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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

Tandler on Twitter

An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

In case you missed it

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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