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Need to Know: Which Redskins running back will win a job tonight?

Aug 29, 2013, 5:23 AM EDT

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Thompson-RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 29, 11 days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

Five things from Redskins Park:

1. Griffin news fatigue is beginning to set in among many Redskins fans and, I’m sure, many others as well. The latest example was yesterday’s “RG3 is starting” from Adam Schefter and a quick “not so fast, he hasn’t been cleared yet” response from other sources. And now, when we get the “really, really, this time we promise it’s official he’s starting” story, the same analysis and debate will be rehashed and recycled. I guess all Redskins fans can do is be glad that they have a quarterback—or any player, for that matter—that people care about for mostly the right reasons. This is par for the course when you have one of the biggest stars in sports playing for your team or in your town. Get used to it.

2. Keep an eye on where the cornerbacks line up tonight. Josh Wilson is going to go about 30 snaps and will start with David Amerson. When the Bucs go the three receivers, who slides into the slot? Will it be Wilson, who was the slot corner for some of last year? E. J. Biggers, who will probably be the nickel back coming into the game? It’s not likely to be Amerson, the coaches probably want him to master the outside before trying anything different. In any case, if Biggers goes to cover the slot that might be the way they will go when the season starts.

3. If you want to see how the competition at running back shakes out, look at special teams. Chris Thompson can move from likely to lock if he busts a big return. Keiland Williams is solid on special teams; he was a solid contributor last year even though he didn’t take a single snap on offense. Evan Royster plays some special teams and he may need to play them well tonight. Here’s the thing—the Redskins are going to keep a linebacker, Nick Barnett, who does not play special teams. Those teams snaps are going to have to come from somewhere and they could come from a running back, either Williams or Royster. The best coverage man and blocker, not necessarily the best runner, may win that job.

4. It looks like Kedric Golston will be the starter at left defensive end with the suspension of Jarvis Jenkins looming starting next week. I just think the coaches trust him more than Chris Baker, who moved over from nose tackle when training camp started. Golston isn’t going to give you many big plays, but he should clear the way for Ryan Kerrigan, who lines up behind him, to make some.

5. While it doesn’t seem like anybody thinks that four preseason games are necessary it doesn’t look like we are going to see a reduction any time soon. Mark Maske of the Post wrote an article and while he was able to find great support for the idea of shortening the preseason to two games he couldn’t find a popular solution to replace the lost revenue that would result from playing two fewer games. Both possibilities, expanding the regular season by two games and expanding the playoffs by one or two teams, were met with resistance. So four preseason games is something that is here because it’s here and it’s likely to remain here.

Stat of the day

If the Redskins win tonight, they will be 4-0 in the preseason for the fist time since 1985. After that, they missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

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Timeline

—If RG3 does indeed start against the Eagles it will be one year to the day after his NFL debut and eight months to the day

—Days until: Final cuts 2; Eagles @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Packers 18

—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Bucs 7:30 on Comcast SportsNet

What impact can Meriweather have on the defense?

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