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OTAs to-do list: How quickly can Doctson get up to speed?

OTAs to-do list: How quickly can Doctson get up to speed?

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin next Tuesday, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Wide receivers-tight ends to-do list

Tandler: The Redskins got an infusion of talented pass catchers during the offseason, adding rookie Josh Doctson at wide receiver and veteran tight end Vernon Davis. Now they have to figure out what to do with everybody.

Davis has a lot of the same abilities as Jordan Reed in the passing game but he is a better blocker. Now we’re not going to see him utilized as a third tackle like Tom Compton was in 2015 but they will try to figure out a way to get Davis to be of some help in the rushing game.

Although they have until September 3 to finalize the 53-man roster they also need to start the process of figuring out who will stay and who will go. It seems that the top three are set with Reed, Davis, and Niles Paul. They could keep Logan Paulsen or Derek Carrier, who is still rehabbing a knee injury, as a fourth tight end if they want to sacrifice a roster spot elsewhere.

At wide receiver they need to see how much Doctson will be able to contribute as a rookie and see what he does best. They also need to make sure that Rashad Ross is continuing to develop or if they need to find serious competition for his roster spot.

El-Bashir: Wide receiver seems pretty well set as OTAs begin, with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson occupying the top four spots.

To me, the biggest questions at this position are No. 1) how quickly can Doctson get up to speed? And no. 2) can Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross hang onto the No. 5 and No. 6 spots?

Doctson recently admitted that he’s practicing at about 75-80 speed as he picks up the playbook. He also acknowledged that he didn’t run a double move in college, while the Redskins’ offense features “a whole arsenal of double moves.” So, yeah, Doctson’s progress will be something to track over the next three months.

As for the final two spots, I don’t suspect there will be much drama. As long as Grant and Ross show some growth, they should be able to fend off underafted rookies Reggie Diggs, Maurice Harris and Veldez Showers. Unfortunately for Grant and Ross, though, the addition of Doctson seriously hinders their opportunity for any upward mobility.

I foresee even less drama at tight end. So long as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis stay healthy, they’ll be 1-2 at this position. Niles Paul, who is still working his way back from a significant ankle injury, figures to lock up the third spot, while Derek Carrier (knee) appears to be a candidate to start the season on PUP.

Can Logan Paulsen rebound from the toe injury that cost him the 2015 season and force his way onto the 53? I suspect he’ll need to stand out on special teams in order to pull it off.

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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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