ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Redskins return to work Thursday and if the weather pattern holds could be in the bubble for a second consecutive day. Here are three areas of interest:
Offensive guard. Second-year man Spencer Long is the likely candidate to replace Shawn Lauvao, but rookie Arie Kouandjio will get a look as well. Still, Long’s experience plus his knowledge of the offense gives him a plus. The Redskins like to pull their guards, and Long did that at Nebraska and has shown he can do that at this level. But Kouandjio’s strength and attitude is a big plus. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said both Long and Kouandjio both will get a look, though he did say “Long has probably got the leg up.” Teammates seem to be expecting Long to get the job.
Special teams. The Redskins have another big challenge this week in trying to stop Eagles returner Darren Sproles, who returned a punt for a touchdown vs. the New York Jets last week. The Redskins have surrendered one punt return this season already. Sproles’ quickness and ability to cut without losing speed makes him dangerous. Gruden said special teams and turnovers have been focal points since the offseason but, “so far it’s gone on deaf ears, I guess, because we’re minus-5 in turnovers and actually we had a kickoff return which was great last week, but we’ve got to do better in both areas.”
Injuries. Receiver DeSean Jackson was unable to do anything in practice Wednesday. If he wants a chance at facing his former team, he’ll have to prove himself during the week. When it comes to Jackson and his hamstring, the Redskins will be cautious, and it’s hard to imagine them leaving it up to a game-time decision (especially knowing the potential bad weather that might exist). That means Thursday and Friday will be pivotal days for Jackson. There’s no doubt his desire to face Philadelphia is high.