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Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 16, 75 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s rookie camp at Redskins Park.

The top picks—It’s hard tell much about linemen in a no-pads practice session but it will be interesting to watch Brandon Scherff at work. I presume they will line him up on the right side because that’s where he’s going to be playing. Preston Smith will normally line up against the left side of the opposing offense so they may not go head to head much. But I have to think they’ll move Smith around. Tough to get a good feel for the defensive front and power-blocking linemen without pads but it’s possible to get a feel for their technique and how they handle themselves.

Receivers vs. defensive backs—My eyes will be on Jamison Crowder, who could push Andre Roberts for snaps at slot receiver at some point this year. Does he run routes and catch with his hands like an NFL receiver does? He should be able to get some separation against fellow rookies but how well does he attack the ball when a catch is contested? And Jay Gruden seemed to be pretty excited about sixth-round cornerback Tevin Mitchel, we’ll see what the coach likes about him.

Tryout quarterbacks—The Redskins had planned on having Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday there but he apparently is no longer interested in playing football. Now the Redskins will line up with Anthony Neyer of USC and Hutson Mason of Georgia behind center. Mason started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last year and completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 2,168 yards and 21 touchdowns. Neyer is considerably less experienced; he did not attempt a pass in a game for the Trojans. It will be interesting to see what they have.

Running backs—I’ll be most interested in the biggest running back there and in the smallest one. Matt Jones nearly has linebacker size, but how well does he move? And I expect Trey Williams, the 5-7, 195-lb. undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, to put on a pretty good show and outrun some defensive backs and make an impressive move or two. There also is a curiosity factor in seeing former Alabama QB Blake Sims try out as a running back. That’s where he played as a freshman for the Crimson Tide so he’s not totally unfamiliar with it.

Undrafted gems—It is likely that two or three undrafted players who are not on our radar right now will crack the 53-man roster when September rolls around. I could pull out a few names like Virginia Tech safety Detrick Bonner (a tryout player) or Duke offensive tackle Takoby Cofield. But it’s better just to watch and see who stands out enough to get a shot at the next round. That’s OTA’s starting the last week of this month.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Rookie minicamp, Redskins Park. Two sessions, 10:25 and 3:25, both open to the media. Jay Gruden will speak to media after the first practice. Players are available after both practices.

—It’s been 139 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 120 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 31; Redskins training camp starts 75; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 131

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

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USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

The Redskins have not had a very good year when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. They have 31 sacks for the season, 17th in the NFL.

They had a then-NFL best 32-game streak with at least one sack came to an end in Week 10 against the Vikings.

Ryan Kerrigan is doing well with 9.0 sacks to his credit. Preston Smith has five but only a half since Week 6. Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen were forming a solid interior pass rush tandem early in the year but Allen went on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury and Ioannidis suffered a broken hand that limited his playing time and effectiveness.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

But the cure to the Redskins’ pass-rushing ills just may be coming to town on Sunday in the form of the Arizona Cardinals and quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

The Cardinals have given up 44 sacks on the season; that’s 31st in the NFL.

Things have gotten worse in the last couple of weeks, with Gabbert going down a combined 15 times against the Rams and Titans.

If you think that the Cardinals may have hit rock bottom, consider that two starters, left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Earl Watford, won’t be playing due to injuries.

Will Holden, a rookie fifth-round pick, will start at left tackle and Evan Boehm, who lost his job to Watford earlier this season, will be the right guard.

Of course, the Redskins have to go out and make it happen. The entire Cowboys offense was slumping until they met the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. They can’t be a haven for a struggling unit once again.

In any case, it is an opportunity that is in front of the Redskins. It’s up to them to take advantage of it.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

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.

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 14, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 10
—Redskins @ Giants (12/17) 17
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 133

State of the Redskins

Top storylines

Jobs on the line? It’s been the conventional wisdom that the jobs of Jay Gruden and his staff are safe, barring a complete collapse at the end of the year. Well, after two ugly losses we are 40 percent of the way to a complete collapse. The Redskins don’t even have to look good down the stretch, they just need to win two of the final three and be competitive in the other. Gruden might be able to survive a couple more games like the Cowboys and Chargers debacles but if that happens I wouldn’t want to be him on January 1, the day after the season ends.

Shutdowns started—Jordan Reed going on injured reserve could be the first of a few moves to end the seasons of players who won’t be healthy in time to play in more than one or two games. It lets the player dive into rehab and it lets the team sign and get a look at a player who can stay on the roster through the offseason and compete for a roster spot in 2018. There could be more coming up until Week 17.

Playing out the string—Last week, when the Redskins were technically alive for the playoffs they apparently couldn’t muster enough motivation to prepare properly. It will be interesting to see how they react this week with their playoff odds reduced to zero.

Last three games

Sunday vs. Cardinals (6-7)—The Cardinals have fallen even further than the Redskins. Two years ago, they were on their way to a first-round bye and an appearance in the NFC title game. This season they are 6-7 after suffering from a raft of injuries, including losing their starting QB and All-Pro running back David Johnson. Can two teams with nothing to play for put on an entertaining show?

Christmas Eve vs. Broncos (4-9)—And in comes another team that has fallen even further and harder. The Broncos were lifting the Super Bowl Trophy two years ago. Now, the defense that spearheaded that run is still solid but without a reliable quarterback, they are having issues. At this point, your guess at if it will be Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, or Brock Osweiler starting at quarterback is as good as mine.

New Year’s Eve @ Giants (2-11)—Will this game be bye-bye to Eli? Changes are coming to New York and Manning, sometimes a Redskins nemesis and sometimes a player who gift-wrapped wins for Washington, could be on the way out. The Redskins could be playing to avoid the kind of upheaval that has already begun in the Big Apple.

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.

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