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Crowder, Grant could get extra opportunities vs. Dolphins

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Crowder, Grant could get extra opportunities vs. Dolphins

DeSean Jackson will take the field for the Redskins for the first time this year when they play the Dolphins in their NFL season opener on Sunday. The wide receiver, who led the team in receiving yards in 2014 with 1,169, sprained an AC joint going to the ground during joint practices with the Texans on August 6 in Richmond.

At the time Jay Gruden said that the injury would keep him out for one or two weeks. But Jackson did not play in any of the four preseason games and either did not practice or practiced on a limited basis for much of the time since then. Both Gruden and Jackson said that the light workload was being implemented as a precaution to make sure he is ready for the regular season.

It appears that Jackson is healthy. His name has not been on the injury report this week, meaning that he fully participated in practice. But he is not necessarily 100 percent ready to play a full game.

Gruden was asked on Thursday if Jackson would play the whole game against Miami.

“Yesterday’s practice was a great look,” he said. “It was really hot out there. You can see that he got winded a little bit. DeSean winded is not a very good DeSean. We’ve got to make sure he’s fresh. When he’s in there, he’s got to be ready to stretch the defense out, block when he needs to block but he won’t be very effective if he’s tired but I think he’s in good shape. He had a really good day today, really good today running around out there. I feel good about where he’s at. I also feel good about if he is a little tired, Ryan Grant and Andre Roberts and Jamison Crowder — I feel good about them coming in for him. Our depth at receiver is excellent, also.”

That sounds like a longer way of saying, “probably not”.

It will be interesting to see who gets the snaps when Jackson is on the sideline catching his breath. Last year the Redskins ran with three wide receivers 61 percent of the time so there will be two wide receivers out there with Pierre Garçon on the majority of the snaps. Who gets the action when Jackson is out?

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Andre Roberts is likely to be one of the receivers with Garçon. He can line up in the slot or outside. If he is in the slot that probably brings Grant into the game. Gruden has called Grant “his favorite” because he works hard and runs his pass routes exactly how they are supposed to be run. He is not going to stretch the defense out like Jackson can but perhaps he can move the chaings

Crowder is capable of getting deep and it seems that Gruden is anxious to see what he can do. The coach was asked about the Redskins’ progress toward the team’s stated goal of getting tougher and more physical. He brought up the draft and talked of bringing in 270-pound OLB Preston Smith, big, physical RB Matt Jones, and the 5-8, 185-lb. Crowder.

“Crowder is a tough sucker,” said Gruden. “He’s not big, but he’s tough.”

Jackson is likely to be in for most of the snaps and his snap count will increase over the next few weeks until he gets up to his usual workload. Crowder and Grant will need to take advantage of the limited opportunity in front of them. 

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it