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D.J. Swearinger says too much joking at practice, but part of the plan for Redskins D-coordinator

D.J. Swearinger says too much joking at practice, but part of the plan for Redskins D-coordinator

D.J. Swearinger made waves last week after a tough loss in Dallas when he said the Redskins often don't take practice seriously enough. 

Given a chance to back off the comments a few days after the game, Swearinger didn't. In fact, he explained exactly what he meant. 

"I just feel like when we’re in certain preparations — when it’s Friday, when it’s Saturday, when it’s time to lock in and really be focused in — I feel like it’s a little bit too much playing," Swearinger said on 106.7 the Fan's Grant and Danny program (via The Washington Post).

Leading up the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving, the Redskins only held walkthroughs because of the limited practice time. Typically, walkthroughs might not have the same crispness of practice, as the players go through their motions at a snail's pace to zero in on the details of a play.

"Any time the coach is saying something, that means business. When we have our walkthroughs on Saturdays, I feel like it’s a joke," Swearinger continued. 

Well, surely, the Redskins coaching staff would disagree. 

Ends up, they don't. In fact, some of the joking around is on purpose. 

"We had the walkthroughs last week. It was a short week having about an hour of a walkthrough or 50 minutes, it take a little bit of a toll. Their concentration level is not going to be focused for 50 minutes. But overall, we try to have a little bit of fun doing it," Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said this week. 

Manusky explained that he played in the NFL for 12 years, and he learned during that time that it's effective to mix in some humor during practices and walkthroughs. He also explained that it's tough for some players to maintain their attention span. 

"From an attention span, I think it is like 20 or 30 minutes from a player's perspective being in the meeting. After that, it kind of just overwhelms you a little bit and you're mind starts to drift," Manusky said. "But overall, I think that attention-to-detail, giving them a little bit of a break here and there, even during practice. That’s why we go back and forth to get them a little bit of a break so they can focus on what they're supposed to focus on."

In a vacuum, Manusky's comments seem at odds with Swearinger, but it's worth pointing out that for the coach, his job is to get about 25 players paying attention throughout the course of the week. Not every player will behave like Swearinger, with a laser focus and devotion to football. 

Still, it seems a bit disjointed for the defensive coordinator to suggest players can't focus for more than 30 minutes at a time. Even though many are young men, these are still professional football players. 

Early this season, the Redskins had one of the best defenses in the NFL, particularly against the run. In their last four games, however, three of them losses, Washington is giving up 135 yards-per-game on the ground and has twice given up more than 30 points. 

Manusky thinks this is the time of year where young players start to lose concentration, and the team needs to be better in that area. 

"it's a grind, from the first couple of weeks, especially for young players. I mean, this is the time where we start the season really," he said. "Pretty much, now, we have to start rolling. For those young players, they've already played their 12 games and they're done, with four preseason games and the games that we've already played. This is when we have to pick it up."

Manusky is right about one thing: The Redskins need to pick it up defensively if the team is going to make the playoffs. 

Washington fell behind the Cowboys after their surprising win over New Orleans on Thursday night. If the 'Skins can win Monday night in Philadelphia, they will keep pace with the Cowboys. If they lose, that marks three straight losses and a second-place tie with the Eagles.

There's one thing Swearinger and Manusky would certainly agree on - it's time to pick it up. 

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The Steelers won't tag Le'Veon Bell, meaning the RB will soon be an unrestricted free agent

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The Steelers won't tag Le'Veon Bell, meaning the RB will soon be an unrestricted free agent

Most NFL teams spend years searching for All-Pro offensive weapons. But in the past few days, the Steelers have indicated they're about to move on from two such players.

On Tuesday, Antonio Brown met with team management, and the franchise reportedly decided trading Brown was in their best interest.

Then, on Wednesday, Pittsburgh's GM said there would be no more tags applied to Le'Veon Bell, meaning he'll be an unrestricted free agent this March. 

There had been speculation the Steelers may continue their messy relationship with the running back by placing the transition tag on him. In the end, though, he'll get what he's wanted for quite some time now, albeit later than he wanted it: a chance for a big new contract on the open market.

Now, for all the Redskins fans reading this (hopefully of which there are many, because that'll make my bosses happy), the obvious, yet longshot, question is: Any chance Bell comes to Washington?

The answer, as with any high-priced free agent these days, is almost definitely not. The Redskins don't have money to burn like they routinely did a decade ago, and Bell's going to be craving lots of cash.

Furthermore, if the 'Skins are going to sign a running back, they're much more likely to bring back that Hall of Famer who went over 1,000 yards in 2018 despite arriving in August. Adrian Peterson's yearly salary should be about a third of what Bell's will be, the deal will be shorter and everyone on the Burgundy and Gold would welcome additional time with that particular No. 26.

Bell's going to make someone's offense a lot scarier in 2019. Just don't expect it to be Jay Gruden's.

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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

As the calendar turns toward spring, one thing consumes the NFL: mock drafts. Leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25, many will try to predict which players each of the 32 teams will select. Though no one will know for sure until the names are called, it's still interesting to see what potential directions teams might go in.

Let's take a look at what some people believe the Redskins will do with their first round pick.

ESPN's Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Drew Lock (QB, Missouri) Kiper currently has Washington taking a quarterback in the first-round, but maybe not the one people were expecting. While Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are viewed as first-round locks by many, the Missouri product's placement in the draft is not as certain. In this scenario, Kiper has Murray and Haskins off the board before Washington gets on the clock, making Lock the best available passer remaining. In his senior seaosn, Lock finished with 3,498 passing yards and 28 touchdowns.

CBS Sports' R.J. White: Devin White (ILB, LSU) Not a quarterback here. White has the Redskins using a pick on the junior linebacker. With questions surrounding what will happen with Zach Brown as well as pass-rushing linebacker Preston Smith, White could fill a need for the Redskins. 

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) The Redskins take a passer in both of these mocks as well, just a different one. Jones, the junior from Duke, slides in at No. 15 behind both Murray and Haskins. However, Wilson also has Lock going before the Redskins pick, while Trapasso has him falling to No. 28. 

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) More Jones here for the Redskins. The passer, who threw for 22 touchdowns in 2018, is the fourth quarterback off the board in this mock draft as Haskins, Murray and Lock all go in the top 10. 

USA Today's Luke Easterling: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Starting to see a theme here? Not only does this mock draft have the Redskins selecting Jones, but it has them moving up to No. 12 to make the selection. Easterling describes Jones as, "a raw but promising passer." 

NFL Analyst Charley Casserly: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Describing him as a passer with "excellent field vision, anticipation and accuracy," Casserly likes Jones in Washington.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig: Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi St.) As mentioned earlier, Preston Smith's time with the burgundy and gold could be coming to an end. Sweat, who recorded 11.5 sacks last season, impressed at the Senior Bowl and could make an impact from Day 1. While many see the Redskins taking a quarterback, Standig sees inside linebacker as a priority

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