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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 23, 65 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What to look for at OTAs

Redskins OTAs started yesterday. The no-contact drills are the first time during the offseason program that the offense and defense are permitted to line up against each other. The-no pads aspect of it does take off a lot of the edge but the reality is that this will be the closest thing to football we will see until training camp starts in late July. 

Here are some things that I will be looking for during today’s practice.

Who’s in? Jay Gruden told us earlier that we should expect to see some injured key players not participating as they continue to recover from 2017 injuries. Specifically, OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Morgan Moses (ankles), and TE Jordan Reed (hamstring/toe) will only be spectators if they are at Redskins Park at all. Other players who may sit out or participate only in light drills are RB Chris Thompson (leg), and ILB Mason Foster (shoulder). The Redskins have been relatively healthy the past few offseasons so we will see how they deal with the aftermath of the injury scourge that hit the team last year. 

Seven-on-seven—Sure, it’s fun to watch the full team drills with 11 on each side but since blocking and tackling is limited by the rules about contact, there isn’t much to be gleaned from watching an off-tackle run. But when they eliminate the guards, tackles, and interior defensive linemen it’s all passing and then we can watch how well Alex Smith and his receivers are connecting. One thing I’ll keep in mind is that Smith decided not to get the receivers together for a “passing camp” before the offseason activities started. He said that he wanted to get to know the playbook first. Because of that they can be forgiven if they are not quite as sharp as they might be. Also, how natural does Derrius Guice look coming out of the backfield to catch passes? His primary job will be to carry the ball, but if he is a legitimate pass-catching threat, the whole offense will be harder to defend.

Rookies vs. pros—In rookie camp two weeks ago we saw Trey Quinn putting defensive backs on the ground with some moves and Troy Apke showing great makeup speed on some long passes. But those tryout defensive backs and quarterbacks are no longer around. How will Quinn look against veteran Orlando Scandrick or second-year corner Josh Holsey? Will Smith’s ball placement negate Apke’s speed? In the one-on-one pass blocking drills, which emphasize technique over power, can Daron Payne get past Brandon Scherff?

The big guys—With Williams and Moses out, who will line up along the offensive line? Does Payne line up at nose tackle or is he used more as an end with Tim Settle in the middle? Is Ziggy Hood in the middle or will he work outside? How is Phil Taylor looking after a quad injury ended his season in training camp? As noted, the rules make it hard to tell much about linemen before Richmond but we try to glean what we can. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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My reaction to this tweet from the NFL illustrating the changes to the kickoff rules:

Timeline  

Today’s schedule:Redskins OTA practice 11:30; Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, players available coming off the field, after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 20
—Training camp starts (7/26) 65
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 79

The Redskins last played a game 143 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 109 days. 

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Are Byron Murphy and Dalton Risner legitimate options or luxuries?

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Are Byron Murphy and Dalton Risner legitimate options or luxuries?

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Round 1: Byron Murphy vs. Dalton Risner

The second matchup in the 2019 Redskins Draft Bracket features two players with talent and potential you can't question.

What you can question, though, is whether they're legitimate choices at pick No. 15 or more on the luxury side of things, meaning the team would be better served scooping up someone who plays a position they need more immediate help at.

Murphy is a corner from Washington, while Risner is a versatile offensive lineman from Kansas State. As of now, you could make a relatively easy case that the 2019 Redskins have bigger needs at quarterback, edge rusher and receiver than they do in the secondary and up front.

With that being said, you still absolutely shouldn't count out either guy as viable selections for the Burgundy and Gold in the first round.

When it comes to corner, Josh Norman isn't on the most stable ground and he easily could be gone after this year. In 2017, the Redskins drafted Fabian Moreau despite being somewhat settled at CB because they knew Bashaud Breeland wouldn't be around much longer, guaranteeing they had a replacement ready to roll. Taking Murphy would give them similar insurance for a Norman departure.

NFL.com calls him a "ball-hawking man corner who makes up for a lack of physical tools with outstanding instincts, toughness, and short-area quickness." Sounds like a valuable asset in today's league, doesn't it?

As for Risner, his natural position is tackle, a place the 'Skins have two very expensive starters at already. His NFL.com profile, though, has an intriguing piece in it that makes him appealing as well.

"He has the necessary tools to get guys blocked on the NFL level... Risner will need to prove he can handle NFL edge speed, but a move inside could be a failsafe option for him."

If you're reading this blog, you're well aware how badly Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan need a left guard. Could Risner slide in there for the time being, then either remain there long-term like Brandon Scherff or become a tackle in a few seasons once Trent Williams moves on? If so, he too becomes a worthwhile pick.

The main takeaway is that you shouldn't get fully bogged down in what this franchise needs today. Injuries, contracts and underperformance can turn positions of strengths into major holes in one year.

If the Redskins end up with Murphy or Risner in April, sure, you may not be thrilled with it the moment after the card gets turned in. But there's a good chance you'd warm up to them very quickly, considering the way rosters rapidly change.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.

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Report: Haskins meeting with five teams, including Redskins

Report: Haskins meeting with five teams, including Redskins

Ohio State Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has reportedly scheduled a visit with the Redskins in the coming days as next month's draft draws near.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that Haskins has scheduled workouts with the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins, and has visits lined up with with the aforementioned Redskins, as well as the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

The Redskins have been linked to Haskins for some time now, and have reported interest if the dominoes fall in their favor. A graduate of the Bullis School in Potomac, MD., Haskins would fill a glaring need at quarterback for Washington.

With Alex Smith doubtful for 2019 and potentially beyond, combined with neither Colt McCoy nor Case Keenum being long-term options for the Redskins under center, Haskins to Washington could become a reality if the Ohio State product slips or if the team decides to package their first rounder (No. 15) with another selection that they have in their repertoire. 

Of the five clubs mentioned, the Raiders currently hold three first round selections in this year's draft (No. 4, No. 24, and No. 27). Oakland currently has Derek Carr on the books for 2019; his $19.9 million salary became fully guaranteed on Feb. 6. Carr's contract runs through 2022, but the Raiders, armed with three selections, could potentially move up to take a signal caller in April to pair with their new star receiver, Antonio Brown.

The Giants have shown interest in Haskins despite reportedly being tied to Eli Manning for the foreseeable future. Dave Gettleman's group is in possession of both their own first round selection (No. 6) as well as the pick they acquired from the Cleveland Browns (No. 17) in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr. 

Both the Dolphins and Broncos have opted to bring in veterans (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Joe Flacco, respectively) to fill their individual quarterback voids over the past few weeks but are reportedly still interested in drafting a top prospect.

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