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Redskins rookie RB practicing at less than 100 percent

Redskins rookie RB practicing at less than 100 percent

Speed kills. That's the saying around football, anyway, highlighting that true elite speed is hard to find, and harder to defend. Redskins seventh-round rookie running back Keith Marshall is one of the players that has such speed, but on Saturday at rookie minicamp, it wasn't exactly on display.

"He tweaked his hammy a little bit yesterday afternoon, so he wasn’t quite himself," Washington coach Jay Gruden said Saturday. "But yesterday he ran pretty well."

An intriguing prospect, Marshall played college football at theUniversity of Georgia, but a bad knee injury and a roster that included Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb largely kept Marshall off the field. Last season as a senior he recorded just 68 carries in 11 games, though he did average more than five yards per carry. Looking over his college resume, Marshall impressed most as a freshman - before his knee injury - when he played 14 games, rushed for more than 750 yards and scored eight touchdowns. 

And, oh yeah, the speed.

Marshall ran a 4.31 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest time of any running back at the combine. And that's not all, Marshall also put up the top performance of any running back in the bench press, throwing up 225 lbs. 25 times. 

So yes, Marshall slid to the 7th round, a spot where prospects tend to face long odds of making the 53-man roster. But Marshall is not a typical 7th rounder. He was a highly recruited player out of high school and his measurables look to be off the charts.

Almost more importantly for Marshall, he is joining a team that has an opportunity at running back. While the Redskins look to be comfortable going into the season with second-year pro Matt Jones as their starter, with Silas Redd suspended for the year, the team does not have much depth. Veteran Chris Thompson will compete with Jones, but at 5'8", 193 lbs., Thompson likely cannot withstand the beating of an NFL runner. Thompson is tough - illustrated by playing through a myriad of injuries in 2015 - but the 'Skins will still need another runner to complement Jones. 

Could it be Marshall? That remains to be seen, but he has a chance if he can put it together on the field. For now, Gruden is not in a hurry to see it. 

"We just want to get him right," the coach said. "We held him back a little bit [Saturday]."

Considering Marshall's pedigree, speed and strength, it's smart for the Redskins to wait it out and truly see what the rookie RB is capable of doing. There's no need to push it, especially in May.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on and

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.


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