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Need to Know: Grading the Redskins free agent pickups after training camp

Need to Know: Grading the Redskins free agent pickups after training camp

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 17, 16 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.


The Redskins last played a game 228 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 24 days.

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:55 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 2
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 31
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 38

Grading the Redskins’ free agents

Yesterday, colleague JP Finlay posted his grades on the Redskins’ rookies based on how they have performed since training camp started. Here, I’m going to do the same thing with the unrestricted free agents the Redskins signed this offseason.

ILB Zach Brown, B+—The only Pro Bowl player among the free agents signed, Brown has taken some time to find his niche in the defense. While many fans lamented that he didn’t start against the Ravens, he got more playing time because he went in with the second unit. In 12 snaps he had two tackles, including one for a loss. His grade could well improve over the coming weeks.

ILB Chris Carter, C—He was signed eight days before they got the opportunity to snag Brown so he must fight his way off the bubble. The former Steeler, Bengal, Colt, and Raven has not done much to turn heads but, to be fair, he likely was thought of as more of a special teams signing. There isn’t much you can do to distinguish yourself there in practice. That is the way he will have to make the team.

RELATED: Have the Redskins found their starting nose tackle?

DE Terrell McClain, C—To be fair, it’s hard to judge the defensive line because of the way that Jim Tomsula rotates his players. I’d note a good play by McClain and then realize that it was against the third-string offense and a tackle who isn’t going to make the team. He got a quarterback hurry in 14 snaps against the Ravens. While he has had his moments, his play does not consistently pop.

DE Stacy McGee, C—As with McClain, how he performed in camp often was a function of who he was facing. He made a key mistake against the Ravens, lining up improperly and giving the Ravens the opportunity to turn a missed field goal into a touchdown. The former Raider played 15 snaps and did not show up on the stat sheet for anything other than the penalty. The Redskins should expect for the $9 million in contract guarantees they doled out to McGee.

WR Brian Quick, C—The ex-Ram was largely invisible in the offseason program but he became more productive as camp went on. Against the Ravens, he caught all three passes that were thrown to him and he will need to keep up that type of performance if he is going to beat out rookie Robert Davis for the last receiver roster spot.

MORE REDSKINS: Must-see photos from Redskins vs. Ravens

WR Terrelle Pryor, A—I don’t think there is a whole lot more to say about him that hasn’t already been said. Pryor has been standing out since the first day and things have gone up from there, thanks to his improving chemistry with Kirk Cousins.

S D.J. Swearinger, A—Even the most confident players can take a while to assume a leadership role when coming from a new team, especially at age 25 with a history of being with his fourth team in his fifth year in the NFL. Not Swearinger. He has embraced the role and has taken charge of the secondary, shouting encouragement to the defense, giving friendly taunts to the offense and taking young players aside to correct their mistakes.

NT Phil Taylor, B—Technically Taylor was not a UFA. He was not on a team at the end of the 2016 season so when he signed in January he was signed to a futures contract or, in the more common vernacular, as a “street” free agent. He has come back well after two years out of football. In 12 snaps against the Ravens, he was stout against the run and got a QB pressure.

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 @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday


Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.


Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.


Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP


Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.