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Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 20, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.


The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 52 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 21
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 30
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 44

Answering Redskins fan questions

I also got virtually an identical question from Alan on Facebook so it leads here. Spencer Long is the starter, period, end of story. During the offseason, I asked both Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan about the backup center position. Both expressed hope that sixth-round pick Chase Roullier will be up to speed by the time the season starts. But if he’s not ready, I think they will have to find a veteran. Right now, the best available is Nick Mangold but I doubt he wants to sign up to be a backup. They will be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire for this year’s version of John Sullivan.

I assume you mean training camp. And I suppose you could say the same thing but insert Nate Sudfeld instead of McCoy. In either case, the answer is no. First of all, the team wants to win. They need to get Cousins, to whom they are paying $24 million, ready to play with the first offense. He’s not going to prepare by throwing to Ryan Grant and passing behind a line with Vinston Painter on his blind side. Second, it would be a great way to drive away the rest of the team. They want to win, too. There are about 15 key players who are free agents in 2018. If the Redskins want to retain the quality players in that group they need to try to win in 2017 and let 2018 sort itself out when it gets here. Now, if it’s December and they are 3-11 it’s a different story.

They rotated them around during the offseason program and, as expected, no coach would address who starters might be in May or June. I think the way that it will play out is that Zach Brown will start at Will linebacker and Will Compton will be the Mike. Mason Foster will come in for nickel situations, something he did well last year after Su’a Cravens was injured. Some fans want to see Foster start with Brown but the coaches like to Compton’s football IQ and he is the only one of the three who has experience called defenses. All three will see plenty of action. Really no idea of how they rank but if the D-line is better the group at ILB will be better.

I’ll play along here since John is a longtime Twitter friend. Let’s establish that neither is very likely to happen. Last I looked the Redskins were a 66-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. They might have a better shot than that but no better than about 50-1. The Rams, per Westgate Sporting Book, are 25-1 to win the NFC West. Seattle is the odds-on favorite in that division at 1-4 so they would have to have a down year for the Rams to win it. But I see that happening more easily than the Redskins making the playoffs (that’s very possible) and winning three or four more games on top of that. The Rams have a solid defense and if Jared Goff can generate enough of a threat to open up room for Todd Gurley they could win some games, maybe enough to steal a division title if Seattle has a down year. I just don’t think that the Redskins are there yet.

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 Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

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.


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Redskins withdraw contract offer to Junior Galette

Redskins withdraw contract offer to Junior Galette

It looks like the Redskins are moving on from Junior Galette.

Citing a team source, Chick Hernandez of NBC Sports Washington is reporting that the team has withdrawn its contract offer to Galette, the veteran pass rusher who finally got on the field last year after missing all of his first two seasons in Washington with injuries. He is an unrestricted free agent.

The Redskins may have a replacement for Galette lined up. They had former Bear Pernell McPhee in for a visit earlier this week and there was a report that they made him a contract offer after that. McPhee subsequently visited the Falcons facility, but he has not signed anywhere. However, there have been no reports that a deal is imminent as of this morning.


As for Galette, Hernandez mentions two possible destinations. One is the Browns, who have two key connections to Galette. Scot McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who signed Galette after he was cut by the Saints after the 2014 season is in the personnel department in Cleveland. In addition, Gregg Williams, who was the Saints’ defensive coordinator when Galette made the team as an undrafted rookie, currently has the same position with the Browns.

Another possibility is the Rams. The connections there are Joe Barry, the linebackers coach in LA who was Redskins’ defensive coordinator during Galette’s first two years with the team, and head coach Sean McVay, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington while Galette was on the other side of the ball.

Galette has said on social media lately that his first choice is to remain with the Redskins but that the money had to be “fair”. The interest in a return to Washington was mutual but evidently, the organization’s idea of fair and Galette’s differed by too great a margin to bridge the gap.  

Last year, Galette didn’t have an impressive sack total, getting three in a backup role. But he got plenty of pressure on the quarterback and that can be just as important as sacks.


Galette developed into a feared pass rusher with the Saints, getting double-digit sacks his last two seasons there. After signing him to a lucrative contract extension, the Saints abruptly released Galette due to some off-field issues. McCloughan and the Redskins signed him soon after the start of training camp in 2015 but before he could even play in a preseason game, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice and he was out for the year.

His much-anticipated return the following year ended before it even started. Shortly before it was time to report to training camp, he tore the other Achilles and he was on the shelf again.

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.