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Redskins depth chart preview: Inside linebacker

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Redskins depth chart preview: Inside linebacker

After a busy free agency period, a draft in which 10 new prospects were added and the acquisition of about a dozen undrafted college players, the Redskins look much different than they did last December. So, over the past two weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have examined the revamped roster and created an updated depth chart at each position. The series wraps up today with ...

Position: Inside linebacker.

On the roster: Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley Jr., Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, Ja’Gared Davis, Terrance Plummer and Dyshawn Davis.

Likely to make the 53: Robinson, Riley, Compton, Hayward and Spaight.

Comment: Last season, the Redskins kept five inside linebackers at the final cutdown. Assuming that number does not change, it’s hard to see much wiggle room for prospects hoping to snag a spot. (It should also be noted that the Redskins carried only four inside linebackers after training camp cuts in 2013.)

Robinson was the ‘Mike’ linebacker last season—his first as a starter—and, at 25, is generally considered a player on the rise. I don’t see his status changing. Riley started at the ‘Jack’ linebacker position and, although it can be argued that he was, at times, underwhelming, the 27-year-old still produced 92 tackles, two sacks a forced fumble and four defended passes—despite missing two games due to injury.

Compton is a heady, capable backup who can play both positions. In fact, the 25-year-old started five games last season as Robinson and Riley nursed injuries. Can he challenge Riley? Perhaps.

Hayward is the special teams captain and his focus figures to remain there. The 30-year-old played only 14 snaps on defense last season and he’s coming off a season-ending leg injury suffered in late November.

Spaight, meantime, was selected in the fifth round this season and will likely make his biggest impact on special teams as a rookie.

As for everyone else …

Battling for a job: J.Davis, Plummer and D. Davis.

Comment: It’s hard to envision any of the above players squeezing their way onto the 53-man roster. But, as I’ve said before, if you’re here now, you’ve got a shot. Camp hopefuls are also competing for a spot on the 10-man practice squad.

The player I’ll be keeping a close eye on is Plummer, a 5-11, 231-pound undrafted free agent out of Central Florida.  As senior, he was a first team all-conference player, a team captain and finished with a UCF-best 99 tackles, including 13 for loss, to go along with four sacks.

Post-draft depth chart series

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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