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Redskins players buying into martial arts training


Redskins players buying into martial arts training

Walk along the sidelines of Redskins OTAs, and it's hard to miss a new set of drills that look very different. Giant men, mostly defensive linemen and linebackers, going through a series of very fast and very physical exchanges with a shorter, smaller coach. As the practices ran for the last few weeks, more information has leaked out about the drills, and the role of the mystery man.

"That’s Master Joe Kim," Washington coach Jay Gruden explained. "He’s part of our strength and conditioning program."

Watching the drills can be captivating, as Kim works through a series of hand-fighting techniques with players that look about twice his size. Last season, Kim worked with the Chicago Bears. Stephen Paea, who the Redskins signed away from Chicago this offseason, enthusiastically credits Kim with much of his success.

"I worked it last year, I was with him in Chicago," Paea said after OTAs on Tuesday. "I went from one sack to six sacks in one year."


Nose tackles generally don't produce sack totals that high, and Paea repeated that to reinforce how important Kim's coaching was for him. 

"I was a nose tackle with six sacks."

Paea explained that Kim's work may look like it's focused on hand-to-hand combat in the trenches, but it's much more than that. The footwork that comes with Kim's techniques creates better balance for the defensive linemen, and that balance keeps the momentum focused on disrupting the offense. 

"If your footwork is right, and your hands are right, [Kim is] going to take you where you want to go," Paea explained. "Instead of just a rip and run, we're doing certain footwork where we face who we're fighting. Most guys that rip and run, you put your back towards the guard and get pushed out of the way. That's not his way."

It's also worth commending the Redskins brass for bringing in Kim. Most of the NFL does a poor job of trying something new, as the league stays with convention more than any other major pro sports. 

"We’re considering whatever is possible," Gruden said. "That’s what we’re trying to do. I’m willing to look at anything to make this team better."

Support for Kim has grown fast.

"I think Taekwondo was his specialty and he brings a lot of other elements to it. I love doing that," LB Trent Murphy said. "Everyone loves it, especially now that it's showing up on tape. Now that guys know it works, they're spending a little extra time with him."

Each week new offensive line coach Bill Callahan works with players well after the official conclusion of practice, and now, there is a growing group putting in extra time with Kim. And more and more players are getting involved, not just the D-line.

"He’s a great guy to have," Gruden said of Kim. "Guys can work on that in the weight room, they can work that out on the field during special teams periods. You see Alfred Morris doing it – our running backs can do it, tight ends can do it. Every position can work hand placement and hand usage at all times and he’s one of the best in the business at doing that."

One position group does not enjoy Kim's training quite so much, and it makes sense. Each practice, the offensive line is facing a defensive counterpart with new martial arts training, chopping down on hands at different angles and incorporating aspects of Taekwondo.

"They're not liking it as much but I think they're working with him too so they can't complain too much," Murphy said about the O-line group, with a smile on his face. 

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

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.