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An eager Will Blackmon explores 'different world' at safety

An eager Will Blackmon explores 'different world' at safety

Like a lucky fan who won a seat upgrade, Will Blackmon is going to have a much better view of the field in 2016. 

After joining the Redskins in mid-September last season, the 10-year veteran contributed mostly as a corner in Joe Barry's defense. But a combination of reinforcements at that position and the need for help at safety has led to the coaching staff moving Blackmon back into the unit's last line, a place where he'll be able to digest all the action and keep an eye on every other player, friend and foe.

As he makes that transition though, he'll have to grasp how to process the piles of information that come at his new spot, where he's staring at it all and not just the receiver in front of him. And that's something that's been a major adjustment early on in his development. 

"I think my gift and my curse is I can see everything," Blackmon said following Washington's OTA session in Ashburn on Wednesday. "I can see everything that's going on, I'm so aware, but I think I saw too much [at first]. I saw trees. I saw the waterboy. I saw tents.

"So there's a lot of mental stuff that, I think, process wise, I'm getting much better now," he continued. "So I'm actually happy where I am."

Much like teammate DeAngelo Hall, Blackmon is an experienced defender being asked to make a drastic switch late in his career. But Barry doesn't want outsiders to assume that, just because the pair has two-plus decades of time in the league between themselves, the switch will be one that's totally smooth.

"You can't just say, 'Hey, he's been in the NFL for 10 years, he can go play another position,'" Barry said. "There are subtle intricacies to every position. Going into safety, it's a different world. But both those guys have such great football awareness, great football instincts, and the good thing is they're going to get an entire offseason. They have attacked the position change and are really working their tail off."

Fortunately for Blackmon, not only does he have Hall to learn alongside, but he also has first-year Redskins such as Josh Norman, David Bruton and Greg Toler to grow with. He even mentioned that, in the secondary, "everyone's leaning on everyone," as the group as a whole is undergoing significant construction.

That united mentality should go a long way for the 31-year-old, especially considering the fact that, at safety, he'll really need to understand angles — something his past education won't assist with.

"You have to have enough depth," Blackmon said. "Know your situation, know your range, know what you can do, and you have to be spot on. They told me I had to be like a professor in geometry, but I majored in English, so I was already down one on that one."

That's why OTAs and training camp may feel a bit like summer school for Blackmon. Each practice is another class full of lessons and teaching moments. And because of the injury to Kyshoen Jarrett, plus the handful of other question marks on the defense's last level, he needs to stay on top of his work, since playing time is still very much at stake.

Week 1 is just more than three months away, after all, and that'll be the first of Blackmon's many big tests — tests Washington is counting on him being able to pass.


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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)


Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles


  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.