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Need to Know: Look for lots of vanilla from Redskins in Atlanta

Aug 8, 2016, 5:01 AM EDT

Matt-Jones-tackles-vs.-Falcons Getty Images

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 7, four days before the Washington Redskins open their preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons.


Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:30; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; practice 3:00; player availability after both practices

—The Redskins last played a game 211 days ago. It will be 35 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason vs. Jets @FedEx Field 11; Final roster cut 26; Cowboys @ Redskins 41

Outlook for Atlanta: A lot of vanilla

If you want to know how much preparation the Redskins are putting into their first preseason game against the Falcons, read what Jay Gruden had to say on the subject.

“We won’t start that preparation until later in the week,” he said on Friday, the day before a Saturday off day. “Sunday will still be a training camp day, probably Monday will be, too. Probably Tuesday we’ll start looking at Atlanta and maybe put together a plan for them then.”

The game, in case you don’t know, is Thursday. They will travel to Atlanta on Wednesday. So that leaves just Tuesday, and perhaps a quick walkthrough before going to the airport on Wednesday, to “prepare” for the Falcons.

In other words, don’t look for much in the way of game planning or anything other than the dreaded “vanilla” on both sides of the ball. Although Gruden hasn’t announced anything, it’s like that the starters will play a series or two before giving way to the second and third teams. The object will be to keep it simple and see how well the players execute the fundamentals and carry out their assignments.

The Redskins may get a little deeper into the playbook in the second preseason game against the Jets and game No. 3 against the Bills. But when most coaches try to balance executing what they are going to do during the regular season against real competition and keeping their concepts under wraps, they usually err on the side of keeping it a secret.

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  1. redskins12thman - Aug 8, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    Rich, it’s three days before Atlanta and 35 days before Pittsburgh.

    I don’t think not preparing for Atlanta is a slight to the Falcons; it’s par for the course (i.e., that’s what is usually done for the 1st preseason game). It’s a level playing field so that coaches can judge all new players on the roster, along with the pre-existing roster on a level playing field. Also, as you point out, teams usually never want to reveal any new wrinkles until the regular season begins.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Aug 8, 2016 at 6:27 AM

    Rich looking at your final 53 prediction, how do the position group players kept compare to what was kept last year? For instance, you say 2 QBs, where last year was 3 for obvious reasons. You are projecting 9 Oline and so on. How does each group compare to what was kept last year?

    TIA… HTTR!

  3. garg8050 - Aug 8, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    Good execution, no or few blown assignments, and no injuries…wish list for 1st preseason game. Score is irrelevant. Obviously would be nice to see the 1st team offense move the ball right down the field and come away with a touchdown, but we’ll see.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 8, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    Vanilla can be nice, it it’s done right.

  5. troylok - Aug 8, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    I agree that we will see plan vanilla plays during this first preseason game but I would expect to see a little experimentation in the running game and on passing downs. Maybe we will get a little glimpse of the strategy for using Cravens.

  6. abanig - Aug 8, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    No injuries thanks!

  7. redskins12thman - Aug 8, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    While this list will change, due to pre-season play and injuries, the players I think that are closest to practice squad spots on the Redskins are:

    Kevin Bowen and Corey Crawford (1 spot)

    Mack Brown and Keith Marshall (1 spot)

    Lloyd Carrington (lead) and Mariel Cooper (1 spot)

    Corey Crawford and Antony Lanier (1 spot)

    Takoby Cofield (his spot to lose)

    Deshazor Everett and Geno Matias-Smith (1 spot)

    Carlos Fields (a virtual lock)

    Maurice Harris and T.J. Thorpe (1 spot)

    Willie Jefferson and Lynden Trail (1 spot)

    Marcel Jensen (his spot to lose)

    Don’t know if these guys will clear waivers though…

    • ET - Aug 8, 2016 at 12:01 PM

      I suspect not all those guys could/would clear waivers. However the DB situation plays out, I won’t be surprised to see some DC prospects on active rosters come Week 1. The competition there will be fierce.

  8. baugh33 - Aug 8, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    Does anyone know if this game will be streaming anywhere? I live in PA, so I have to wait for the NFL Network replay. I like seeing the guys play who are on the bubble.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 8, 2016 at 11:14 AM

      NFL Game Pass will show it live.

      • baugh33 - Aug 8, 2016 at 12:45 PM

        Can I just get it for preseason or is it a whole season fee?

        • redskins12thman - Aug 8, 2016 at 3:22 PM

          I’m unsure but I believe they have a “week free” promotion.

  9. Eli - Aug 8, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Preseason math:

    0-4, bland and injury-free > 4-0, impressive and critical injuries. Archives

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