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Need to Know: Can Redskins RB Derrius Guice top 1,000 yards rushing as a rookie?

Need to Know: Can Redskins RB Derrius Guice top 1,000 yards rushing as a rookie?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 27, 29 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Can Derrius Guice break 1,000 yards rushing this year?

This fan question is from Twitter:

Before taking a snap in a game, Derrius Guice has become the most popular Redskins rookie since Robert Griffin III in 2012. Will he live up to the hype? Just like we did yesterday when predicting the team’s record, let’s break out $100 in imaginary casino chips and look at expectations for Guice in 2018.

0-400 yards, $10—A floor of 400 yards is about right for Guice. Last year 10 rookie running backs gained at least 400 yards including Wayne Gallman of the Giants and Matt Breida of the 49ers. It’s not a high bar and one that a back with Guice’s talent should be able to clear.

401-750 yards, $25—This is the lower end of the sweet spot for Guice. Last year, Samaje Perine started only eight games, got 175 carries, played behind a banged-up offensive line and still picked up 603 yards. If Guice gets the same 175 carries and averages four yards per, he will get 700 yards.

751-999 yards, $40—Assuming he and the offensive line both stay reasonably healthy, Guice should end up somewhere in this range. This also assumes that Alex Smith and the receiving corps are good enough to keep defenses from crowding the box. One other thing—Gruden will need to stick with his normal practice of having one primary back. Unless injuries have factored in, as the Redskins’ head coach and Bengals’ offensive coordinator Gruden has mostly stuck with using one primary back.

1,000-1200 yards, $20—It will take two factors for Guice to push past the thousand-yard mark. Gruden will have to give him a fairly heavy workload. Fifteen carries a game is about what a back needs to average the 62.5 yards per game that will get him over 1,000 yards. If Gruden doesn’t give him the rock often enough, Guice could get to a grand with fewer carries if he can break two or three long runs of 50 yards or more. He has the speed to do it but a lot has to come together to make that happen multiple times over the course of a season.

1,201 yards or more, $5—This would have Guice gaining an average of 75 yards or more per game for 16 games. He probably won’t get enough carries to do that. As an offensive coordinator and head coach, Gruden has had three backs gain over 1,000 yards. But Alfred Morris (2014), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2012), and Cedric Benson (2011) all were short of 1,100 yards. Gruden isn’t as pass happy as some would have you believe, but I don’t see him giving a rookie back enough work to top 1,200 yards. Guice may eventually have a big season, but it’s not likely to happen in 2018.

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler.

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Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 29
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 43
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 66

The Redskins last played a game 178 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 74 days.

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond. 

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Inside linebackers

Additions: Shaun Dion Hamilton (drafted in the fifth round)

Departures: Will Compton (free agent)

Starters: Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Other roster locks: Josh Harvey-Clemons

On the bubble: Hamilton, Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight

How the inside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: This is a difficult comparison to make since only about half of the teams use the 3-4 with two inside linebackers and there are many variations when they go out of their base defense. Brown certainly is in the upper tier of players at his position. Foster’s skill set may not be coveted by many teams around the league, but he is a perfect fit in the Redskins’ defense in many ways. The player who could differentiate this group from others around the league is Harvey-Clemons. If he turns into a top-notch nickel LB the inside linebackers will be a great asset. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  This is about health. In 2017, Foster missed 11 games, Brown was hampered by a variety of injuries before sitting out the last three games. Compton was the top backup to both players and he went to injured reserve after just three starts. They did re-sign Vigil, who had spent training camp with the team, and he played pretty well near the end of the season. If the front-line players can stay on the field for most of the season this should be a much better group than the one that was partially responsible for the league’s 32nd-ranked rushing defense. 

2018 Inside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: The 2017 season was supposed to be a redshirt year for Harvey-Clemons as he transitions from college safety to NFL linebacker. He played a lot in the base defense during the offseason practices and that indicates that they are considering him for a bigger role beyond just playing nickel. You have to wonder how his size (6-4, 230) will affect his ability to get off of blocks. 

Most to prove: Spaight was a fifth-round pick in 2015 and he has yet to establish a regular role in the defense. It was telling that when they needed someone to start in the latter part of last year they brought back and started Vigil and mostly kept Spaight is going into the last year of his contract, but it would not be surprising to see Vigil beat him out for the last roster spot.  

Rookie watch: The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to get Hamilton. It wasn’t a blockbuster deal but the fact that they thought enough of him to move up says something. Gruden has said that he thinks Hamilton could be a starter at some point. He was one of the leaders on a strong Alabama defense before injuries struck. Hamilton is not going to start this year barring multiple injuries, but he should develop a role as the season goes on and be ready to compete in 2019.

Bottom line: The Redskins have not invested much in terms of free agent dollars or draft capital in the inside linebacker position in recent seasons. That changed somewhat this offseason as they made sure to spend to retain Brown and Foster. Neither commanded a huge contract but they did make a commitment and that is important. Last year Brown gave the defense a sideline-to-sideline dimension it hasn’t had in quite some time and retaining him was critical. Inside linebacker may not be a major strength for the defense this year but it should be able to get the job done. 

2018 Redskins position outlook series