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Need to Know: The Redskins with the most to gain during OTAs

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Need to Know: The Redskins with the most to gain during OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 18, eight days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The players with most to gain in OTAs

RB Rob Kelley—Sometime in the next 10 days, the Redskins likely will add another running back to the roster. OTAs will be Kelley’s chance to show that he is still in the mix to get some carries this year. He will need to be in excellent health and sharp on the field. Otherwise, the destiny of the team’s leading rusher in 2016 could be on the inactive list most Sundays or perhaps even on the wrong side of the roster bubble when final cuts are made. 

G Arie Kouandjio—The 2015 fourth-round pick has a chance to get the upper hand in the competition for the starting left guard job. Right now, his competition is journeyman Tony Bergstrom, re-signed earlier this week. As long as the Redskins don’t draft a guard early next week, Kouandjio could maintain the inside track to the starting job with a strong offseason performance. 

WR Robert Davis—He was the only draft pick who didn’t start the season on the 53-man roster last year. Davis was a late-season call-up from the practice squad and he saw just a little game action. The offseason program will give the coaches a chance to evaluate his progress. His ceiling is serving as the fourth receiver; Davis’ floor is starting another season on the practice squad.

QB Kevin Hogan—The Redskins cut Nate Sudfield, a player in whom they had invested a sixth-round pick and a year and a half of grooming, last year. Do you think they will be at all hesitant to move on from Hogan, who came at the cost of a swap of sixth-round picks and has not spent much time here? He has to take the field prepared and show in the meeting room that he is absorbing the offense quickly. If he is able to stick around this year he will have a shot at being the QB-2 next year.

S Fish Smithson—Last year he impressed enough as an undrafted free agent to land a spot on the practice squad before spending the last two games on the active roster. His situation is similar to that of Davis. He could make the 53 and play a key role as a special teams player and reserve safety or he could end up on the practice squad again. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 34
—Training camp starts (7/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 144

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.