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Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' roster bubble—Defense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' roster bubble—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 6, five days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.  

Redskins on the bubble—Defense 

I published my first prediction of what the Redskins’ 53-man roster will look like earlier this week (offensedefense). But not all of the players predicted to make the roster are equal. Some are locks to make it while others are on the bubble. And there are players who I don’t predict will make it right now who have a shot and are also on the bubble.

Let’s take a look at the players on the bubble (defined as someone who at least a 25 percent chance of making the 53-man roster but less than about a 75 percent chance) on Defense. We looked at the offense on Friday

Players predicted to make it who are on the bubble:

DL Stacy McGee, DL Ziggy Hood, ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton, CB Josh Holsey, CB Greg Stroman

Bubble dwellers on the outside looking in:

DL Phil Taylor, ILB Martrell Spaight, S Fish Smithson

Two things to note here. This is a snapshot of the situation right now. Players can move on and off the bubble as the offseason program and training camp unfold. Also, right now, there are no rookie free agents included. I need to get a look at them on the field before assessing their chances of making it. 

—McGee and Hood are caught in the numbers game on the defensive line. After adding two in the draft, the Redskins have five locks to make the roster. If they keep six like they did last year, either McGee or Hood has to go. They could keep seven, leaving room for both of them. 

—It’s ironic that Taylor, who has suffered from injuries virtually his entire career, likely needs to see a player or two get injured for him to have a realistic shot at the roster.

—A year ago, the Redskins traded up in the sixth round to draft Chase Roullier. Although many were skeptical that he would make the 53-man roster, he did, and he eventually became the starting center. This year they traded up in the sixth to get Hamilton. That doesn’t make him a lock to make the roster but apparently, they saw something they liked in him as they did in Roullier. He could well replace Spaight for one of the backup jobs, but Spaight won’t go out without a fight. 

—Holsey and Stroman are listed as on the bubble because they are seventh-round picks from the last two years and shouldn’t be locks. But Jay Gruden said that they likely will keep six corners and as of right now, Holsey and Stroman are CB-5 and CB-6.

—The Redskins like Smithson but it’s hard to see where the opening for him is. I think fourth-round pick Troy Apke is close to a lock and Deshazor Everett gained a lot of valuable experience last year as he filled in for the injured Montae Nicholson. Maybe he can perform well enough to persuade the Redskins to keep five safeties. 

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.

Tandler on Twitter

After looking at various tweets from beat writers covering the rookie camps of the Jets (Sam Darnold) and Browns (Baker Mayfield).

Timeline  

Four-time Redskins Pro Bowl linebacker Ken Harvey was born on this day in 1965. 

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 5
—OTAs start (5/22) 16
—Training camp starts (7/26) 81

We have reached the midway point of the Redskins’ offseason. The Redskins last played a game 126 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 126 days. 

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The Spring League shows bubble setup in football is possible

The Spring League shows bubble setup in football is possible

While the NFL and college football have refrained from adopting bubble setups for their return, one league hopes to show bubbles can work in football.

The Spring League, a six-team football development league, will become the first football league to use the provenly-effective bubble for its fall football tournament this October in Las Vegas.

The league calls itself a “springboard to the pros” and serves as a developmental opportunity for players cut from NFL rosters or college athletes who either opted out of their seasons or had the season canceled in 2020. Its mission closely resembles the XFL, which was shut down in March during its inaugural season as a result of COVID-19.

Since it was founded in 2017 by Brian Woods, the league has held an annual month-long series of practices and games to showcase players’ talent to NFL and CFL scouts. This year, however, The Spring League will have to adopt to the restrictions presented by the coronavirus.

In October, approximately 280 players, coaches and staff members will travel to Las Vegas for the fall football tournament. Of the 280 people, 228 will be players with 38 on each of the six teams. They will all be housed at the same hotel and practice and play at the same facility. The model closely resembles the successful efforts the NBA, WNBA, NHL and professional soccer leagues have adopted in recent months. The event will be funded internally with the possibility of broadcast agreements coming later. 

Beginning on Oct. 7, the teams will have 10 days to practice before nine games are played from Oct. 17-28. The league chose to ban huddles and limit each team to 19 players. All other staffers will be stationed either at the end zone tunnel or off the field entirely. 

Additionally, the facilities will feature disinfecting tents on both sides with three officials assigned to clean the ball and some players' equipment after every play. 

While much effort is involved to play a contact sport like football safely during a pandemic, this is not the first event The Spring League has successfully hosted during COVID-19. Last month, it put on a four-day showcase in Denver, and no known coronavirus infections resulted from the event. 

In the few weeks since professional sports have returned following the coronavirus hiatus, the bubble method has proven most effective. The NBA, NHL, WNBA, NWSL and MLS all saw few positive cases and have been able to control the virus effectively. Major League Baseball, on the other hand, has seen numerous outbreaks in multiple franchises after choosing not to isolate players and staff members in a bubble for its 2020 season. 

Football is no different. Without the option of a bubble, college football conferences around the country have begun canceling or postponing their seasons as COVID numbers rise nationwide. The NFL claimed a bubble was not practical for a six-month season and will instead approach its season with a “virtual football bubble” where personnel will be expected to abide by extensive social distances and mask-wearing rules. Players can be disciplined for high-risk behavior, according to the league.

While on a much smaller scale, if The Spring League can successfully complete its tournament this fall, other football leagues might be forced to reconsider a bubble as an option.

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Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

The revamped Washington Football Team radio broadcast will feature Julie Donaldson as the host and anchor working alongside DeAngelo Hall as analyst and Bram Weinstein working play-by-play, sources informed NBC Sports Washington and the team later announced.

Donaldson's role as the lead voice in the new broadcast had already been announced but there was some mystery regarding the play-by-play and analyst roles. The new crew replaces long-time voice of the team Larry Michael as well as analysts Chris Cooley and Rick "Doc" Walker from last season. Michael abruptly resigned last month amid allegations in a Washington Post story of inappropriate behavior

Hall played in Washington for 10 seasons from 2008 until he retired after the 2017 season. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010. For multiple seasons he served as defensive captain and was a fan favorite. Always a playmaker, he logged 23 career interceptions for the Burgundy and Gold and six defensive touchdowns. Hall has done television work with NBC Sports Washington and NFL Network since he retired from playing.

Weinstein is a long-time D.C.-area radio broadcaster who has previously worked at The Team 980 and currently hosts an afternoon show on ESPN630. Weinstein also served as a SportsCenter host at ESPN for a stint and has done local television work for Fox 5. 

Donaldson took over as the team's lead broadcaster and head of media last month. She will be the first woman to run an NFL radio broadcast this fall. Donaldson previously worked at NBC Sports Washington before taking the job with the Washington Football Team. 

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