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Five storylines to follow at Redskins veteran minicamp

Five storylines to follow at Redskins veteran minicamp

What: Redskins veteran minicamp.

When: Practices are open to media on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 11:30 a.m. 

Where: Redskins Park, Ashburn, Va.

Storylines to monitor:

1-During OTAs, Kirk Cousins operated the offense more confidently, threw the ball with more conviction and, in general, appeared more polished. In Coach Jay Gruden’s words, Cousins displayed “great command” of the scheme, defensive concepts, snap count, protections and other details. “When you get command of the little things, it makes the big things a lot easier,” Gruden said. “He’s seeing things better.” Cousins, himself, acknowledged his newfound comfort level, adding, “I do think I’m playing with more confidence.” This week’s practices—while still no-contact—will provide Cousins with an opportunity to showcase that growth in a more intense environment…and he’ll get to do it with all of his (healthy) weapons on the field. A strong performance could also benefit the fifth-year signal caller as the July 15 deadline for agreeing to a long-term extension approaches.


2-Speaking of attendance, DeSean Jackson is compelled to join his teammates this week as all meetings, practices and workouts are mandatory. Jackson, as you’re no doubt aware, has been in-and-out (but mostly out) during the voluntary portion of the offseason. Although no one has expressed any real concern about Jackson’s absences—he skipped last Wednesday’s practice after participating Monday and Tuesday—everyone will be happy to see him on the field, battling to get open against Josh Norman while also reestablishing his timing and chemistry with Cousins. These practices are, after all, the final on-field tune-up before training camp.

3-Injuries haven’t been a major source of concern for the Redskins this spring. But there are a few rehabbing players we’ll want to get a timeline on. At that top of that list is first round rookie Josh Doctson, who has been sidelined with a sore Achilles. It seems to be a minor thing, but how the wide receiver is handled this week will provide a little insight into the team’s level of concern.

4-The depth chart at the end of minicamp figures to be the starting point when the team reconvenes in Richmond in late July. The positions to watch are safety, where former Broncos special teamer David Bruton is zeroing in on a starting job, and left guard, which looks like it could develop into a three-way competition between Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao and Arie Kouandjio. (Lauvao, who is still rehabbing a surgically repaired ankle, is expected to enter the fray later this summer.) It’s also worth keeping an eye on the defensive line, where there are several moving parts as the coaches seek replacement for both Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher.

5-How far have the rookies come? We’ve already mentioned Doctson’s situation; he’ll be playing catchup whenever he’s cleared to return. But how about Su’a Cravens and the other five members of the 2016 draft class? Now that they’ve got 10 OTA practice under their belts, how comfortable do they look? Are they playing faster? Making plays? And, more important, with whom are they working? Minicamp practices are longer and, typically, a bit more intense than an OTA practices. For the rookies, it’s one last chance to impress the coaches prior to the long summer break. For the coaches, it’s one last chance to assess whether a rookie can handle the job, or whether a veteran free agent needs to be brought in ahead of camp.


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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 


What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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