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Veteran Kory Lichtensteiger set to give Redskins' O-line a boost

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Veteran Kory Lichtensteiger set to give Redskins' O-line a boost

When the Redskins open the playoffs Sunday, they’ll have their first string center in the lineup.

That’s right...Kory Lichtensteiger is back.

“I’m excited to get back out there with my guys,” he said after Wednesday’s practice, the Redskins' first session ahead of their wild card matchup against the Packers.

Lichtensteiger, who hasn’t played since Week 5 because of a pinched nerve in his neck, was placed on short term injured reserve on Nov. 10. At the time, the Redskins were 3-5 and coming off a humbling 27-10 loss at New England.

“There was some uncertainty,” Lichtensteiger said. “I don’t want to make it sound like at 3-5 you think you’re going to make the playoffs every time. But I knew we were capable of it. [General Manager] Scot [McCloughan’s] conviction really helped convince me; there was no doubt in his mind that we were going to go on a run and win the division. So that gave me confidence. I just knew I had to get myself ready.”

Lichtensteiger, 30, will bring a wealth of experience to the lineup—as well as on-target shotgun snaps and solid run blocking—when he reclaims his job from Josh LeRibeus, a converted guard who started 11 games in his place.

According to CSN Stats and Info, the Redskins rushed for almost 122 yards per game before Lichtensteiger got hurt. That average plummeted to 87 after he went out.

Lichtensteiger said he was thankful for the job LeRibeus did in his absence. 

“Such a good guy and a good player," Lichtensteiger said. “I appreciate all the hard work that he put in, and the rest of the guys. They really had a good season to do date. Hopefully, with me back in there we can keep it going.”

Coach Jay Gruden said Lichtensteiger’s savvy and knowledge of the game will defintely provide a boost.

“He’s like another quarterback on the field,” Gruden said. “Very, very intelligent. Not to say that Josh isn’t, but [Lichtensteiger has] got a great handle on the offense, his calls. Obviously his snaps are very good. He’s very quick getting up to the second level. It’s just a matter of him getting back into football shape and making sure that he’s [ready] and physically to make sure he bangs around and feels good with that shoulder and arm. But he looks good so far.”

After practice, he lined up across from some practice squad D-linemen and did some hitting. And now, as far as Lichtensteiger is concerned, there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s ready. 

“It felt really good,” Lichtensteiger said. “Really good.”   

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The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

After sustaining a number of injuries to their running back group, the Redskins need help at the position. 

In that quest, the team will bring in veteran Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Arguably one of the best all-time running backs in the NFL, Peterson not being on a roster at this point in the season might be a surprise. Last year, Peterson split time between New Orleans and Arizona and rushed for more than 500 yards. 

Peterson built his fame and name with a long run of success in Minnesota, including a 2,000-yard season in 2012. In 123 games with the Vikings spanning 10 years, he rushed for nearly 12,000 yards and 97 touchdowns. 

Washington is in serious need for depth and talent at RB. 

Rookie Derrius Guice went down for the season in the preseason opener, and last week Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall sustained injuries. 

At Sunday's practice, head coach Jay Gruden joked that his son, Jack, should take some practice reps at the position. 

Currently, the Redskins only have Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs as running backs on the roster, and Thompson hasn't played yet this preseason as he's working back from a broken leg last November.

The Redskins also worked out veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa. Peterson has the biggest name of all of them.

This offseason, Peterson also worked out with Redskins tackle Trent Williams.

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Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

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USA Today Sports

Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

Jamaal Charles used to be among the best running backs in the NFL, and maybe the Redskins hope to turn back the clock. 

Washington is dealing with a number of injuries at the running back spot, and to get through two more preseason games, the team is bringing in a number of veteran runners for tryouts. Charles is the biggest name coming in for a test drive with the Redskins, as ESPN reported. Former Giants RB Orleans Darkwa is also getting a tryout, per multiple reports. 

How did Washington get to the point where the team needs to add more backfield options in mid-August?

First, Derrius Guice injured his knee in the preseason opener. He will miss the season. 

In the second preseason game, Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and rookie Martez Carter got hurt. Perine should be back in a week or as he suffered only a sprained ankle. Marshall could miss a month, making a roster spot flimsy, and Carter was waived due to his injury. 

That means the Burgundy and Gold only have Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson active for practice, and remember, Thompson is working back from a broken leg he suffered last November. He hasn't played yet in the preseason, and might not go at all until Week 1 in Arizona.

Add all of that together and the team was forced to bring in veteran options, if for nothing else than to get through the remaining two preseason games.

Back to Charles.

From 2009 to 2014, Charles put up absurd numbers. He approached 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in both 2013 and 2010, and put up more than 1,700 total yards in 2012. It's worth adding that Charles found great success with Alex Smith when both were playing in Kansas City. Just saying. He was undeniably great, and probably won thousands of people thousands of dollars as a fantasy football MVP.

That time appears to be over though.

In the last three seasons, injuries have robbed Charles of his burst and elusiveness. Last year, he couldn't break through in the Denver backfield despite being healthy for 14 games. He rushed for just under 300 yards. 

Redskins fans will have unfortunate memories of Darkwa.

In an ugly Week 17 loss last season in New York, he busted a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and finished the game with 154 yards. Last season was the best of his career for Darkwa, he ran for more than 750 yards and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. He's only 26 years old and, coincidentally, played college football at Tulane with Rob Kelley

By adding Guice in the second round of the NFL Draft this spring, the Redskins thought they addressed their need for a talent boost at the RB position. With Guice out for the year, the position looks about the same as it did in 2017. 

Adding Charles and Darkwa seem unlikely to change that, at least significantly. And that's if either of the veteran runners even make the 53-man roster. 

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