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Skins’ D-Line a blue-collar group

Skins’ D-Line a blue-collar group

Many have questioned the Washington Redskins' "failure" to address the defensive line in the recent draft. They did not draft a defensive lineman until taking Rob Jackson out of Kansas State in the seventh round. Jackson is a prospect but for 2008 he'll be, at best, a long-term project.

Even without the addition of a high draft pick, however, there will be some lively completion for jobs along the defensive line. To say that it's a star-studded group would be giving them too much credit, but it's not a rag-tag unit by any stretch, either.

Andre Carter is the closest thing to a star player the unit has. While he did not have what I would call a Pro Bowl caliber season in 2007, I will say that any player who wore a star on the side of his helmet and who posted 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles would have been flying to Hawaii in February.

Phillip Daniels will start at the other end position. He's been a warrior for the Skins and for a few other teams and he's a leader in the locker room. He stayed healthy in '07 and he's was involved in competitive power lifting over the offseason. The 35-year-old, however, is the player with the target on his back, the one that everyone wanted to replace with Calais Campbell or Quentin Groves.

In choosing to upgrade the offense in the second round and by staying away from taking a D-lineman until almost everyone at Radio City Music Hall had gone home, the Redskins expressed confidence in Daniels' ability to get the job done this year. We'll see how well-founded that confidence is. He might have another good year or two left, but 35 is 35.

Plan B here could be Erasmus James. The Redskins took a flyer on him and, if he can regain his health, he could be the long-term answer as Daniels' replacement. The health is a big if, however. Since his freshman year at Wisconsin, he's been dogged by hip, ankle, and knee injuries. Jim Zorn had him on the list of injured players who may not be ready for the start of training camp.

James almost certainly makes the team if he can get back into playing shape. Demetric Evans will be back as a solid backup. As the Skins will keep four or five ends, that leaves at most one more DE spot available. Chris Wilson had four sacks last year, including two in the playoff-clinching win over the Cowboys and the team likes his potential. Ditto for Alex Buzbee, who was on the practice squad last year. Unless James winds up on the PUP list or on IR, Jackson will be joining Buzbee on the PS.

On the inside, Cornelius Griffin hasn't been the force he was in 2004, when he was the MVP of the defense and was robbed of a Pro Bowl berth. Injuries have taken their toll. At 31, it's unlikely that he has another monster season left in him, but he can be more than adequate.

At the other tackle spot, Anthony Montgomery beat out '06 starter Kedric Golston and started 15 games last year. He could continue the improvement and become a stud DT, but it's more likely that he'll continue to be more steady than star.

Who else besides those three will stick may depend on how the Skins count two-way player Lorenzo Alexander. He played the Jumbo package as a sixth lineman on offense and he got some action as a defensive tackle as well. It's possible that he'll setting into one position or the other or he may continue to go both ways.

The only other DT's on the roster are Ryan Boschetti, who keeps on getting cut and keeps on getting asked back, and Matthias Askew, a fourth-round pick of the Bengals in 2004. If Greg Blache and company keep four ends and Alexander is counted in his own category (perhaps using a slot that some other teams use for a kick returner), all of them could make it.

That's unlikely, though. Daniels is capable of moving inside and, in fact, he did so last year in some passing situations when Marcus Washington moved up into a three-point stance to rush the passer. Evans also can hold his own at tackle. It would make more sense to keep an extra end and cover any injury situations that may pop up during the season by moving someone inside. That's good news for Wilson and Buzbee, bad news for Askew and/or Boschetti.

No matter who stays or goes, there is a decided lack of sizzle about the unit. Somehow, some way, however, the Redskins finished the 2007 season fourth in the NFL against the rush with most of those same guys on the front line. It should be a solid, blue-collar unit again this year.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.