NFL Washington Redskins

5 Washington Redskins Who Need to Return by Week 1

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Washington Redskins: 5 Players Who Need to Return by Week 1

Washington Redskins
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Any fan of the Washington Redskins must think the team is cursed; cursed to have at least a handful of starters injured and out for their regular season. Well, this year in the 2013 NFL regular season, the Redskins may break that curse.

While there are many starters injured at the moment, most of them are positioned to return for the regular season. If the Redskins can have these starters play in Week 1, and continue to play for the rest of the season, then they most assuredly have a chance of reaching the Super Bowl.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has drafted not only some of the most talented players at their position, but has also deepened the depth from which the Redskins can take their players. Anyone have doubts in these shenanigans? Well think back to star running back Alfred Morris, currently healthy as a horse, who was selected by Shanahan in the sixth round, and who turned out to be one of the very best running backs in the 2012 NFL season. Yeah, he knows how to pick 'em.

This year Shanahan knows there will be injuries, not only in the preseason but also throughout the regular season. That is why it is so important to have the starters back by the beginning of the season. If the Redskins cannot start the season healthy, then they will start the season in the hole, which is not a place Shanahan wants to be; it's not a place the fans want to be either.

Right now, these five star players are watching from the sidelines, and will probably continue to do so for the rest of the preseason. However, come the regular season, watch for these players to lite up the field.

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Aldrick Robinson WR

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY

The Redskins second wide receiver, behind Pierre Garcon, is Aldrick Robinson.

Robinson sustained an injury to his left thigh after playing in the second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While not a severe injury, it could see him sidelined until the start of the regular season. Hopefully this does not nag him down the road.

Last season, Robinson posted 11 receptions for 237 yards and three touchdowns. His average was 21.5 yards per catch. Robinson is obviously a deep threat the Redskins could use in 2013.

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Leonard Hankerson WR

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

So far, only five touchdowns have been scored by the Redskins offense the 2013 preseason, two of which were rushed in, and three came through the air. Of those three passing touchdowns, two of them were received by third-year pro wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

Hankerson was removed from the second preseason game against the Steelers due to an injury to his right knee. It was reported that if it was a regular season game, he would have continued to play. Hopefully this knee injury does not nag him and he does not injure it further.

Last season, Hankerson racked up 543 yards on 38 receptions for an impressive average of 14.3 yards per catch. He played in 16 games, five in which he started, and scored three touchdowns. His highlight came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns when he scored two touchdowns, one being a 54-yard grab while in triple coverage.

Hankerson started to break out at the end of last season. Let's hope he can continue that streak into 2013.

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Barry Cofield NT

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the case of the Redskins starting nose tackle Barry Cofield, it is a pleasure to report that his injury is not serious. Reported as a fractured hand, Cofield expects, baring no further setbacks, to return by Week 1.

In his seven years in the NFL, five with the New York Giants and two with the Redskins, Cofield has started in all but two games. He has registered 271 tackles, 184 solo tackles, 16 sacks, 25 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His stats are not amazing beyond belief, but Cofield is as consistent and talented as they come.

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Kirk Cousins QB2

QB 2
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins is another valuable player who was injured during a first down scramble against the Steelers. As Shanahan's back-up plan at QB, it can be stressful knowing he is injured.

Well, earlier this week it was claimed by a Redskins' affiliate that the Redskins have no need to worry. It was reported that there is no major ligament damage to Cousins’ right foot. This is great news, because although the initial x-rays were negative, there could still have been severe damage, as was the case with rookie safety Phillip Thomas, who will likely miss the remainder of the season.

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Robert Griffin III QB1

Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

If the Redskins want to make the playoffs and reach the Super Bowl, then they will definitely need at least some help along the way from superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Griffin set the rookie QB passer rating record at 102.4, third overall in the 2012 NFL season, and the rookie record for percentage of passes intercepted, at 1.3 percent. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and also placed at No. 15 in NFL Top 100 Players of 2013. Griffin also signed many endorsement deals with companies such as Adidas, EA Sports, Subway, Gatorade and Nissan, to make him the highest-earning rookie in NFL history.

Needless to say, Griffin is a valuable asset.