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The Redskins' defensive line is young, loaded and focused, and Jim Tomsula is enamored with it

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The Redskins' defensive line is young, loaded and focused, and Jim Tomsula is enamored with it

Jay Gruden was forced to face 15 questions related to Trent Williams' minicamp absence in his Wednesday press conference, and each one seemed to wear on him a little bit more. 

So, Gruden probably would've been happy to talk about literally anything else as the session with the media began winding down, whether that was Jeopardy! spoilers or the Nationals' current hot streak or even his unsteady job security.

But when the head coach was asked about his young yet mature and supremely talented defensive line, there seemed to be an extra hint of joy as he gave his longest answer from his time at the podium. 

"It's an unbelievable group," he said. "On and off the field, you can't ask for a better group of men." 

"It's led by a great coach, obviously," Gruden added, before delivering his only punchline of the day. "Not to take anything away from Jim Tomsula, but I think anybody in here could coach that group."

Gruden shouldn't feel too bad about that remark. In speaking with reporters on the field, Tomsula literally said the same thing before absolutely gushing about his unit.

"I feel really good about the people that are in the room," Tomsula explained. "It's the quality of the guys. We all talk about how long their arms are, how many times they bench press this or that, they talk about what the 40 is. The one thing that gets overlooked a lot is the type of individual it is, the makeup of the guy."

The room that the longtime coach is referring to has six special players: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Daron Payne, Caleb Brantley, Tim Settle and JoJo Wicker, who was on the Redskins' practice squad for quite a while in 2018. He's naturally interested in some of Washington's other developmental prospects, but those six have a united attitude and serious commitment to getting better all the time.

Gruden sees it as well.

"It's the effort, the tenacity they play with, the accountability that they demand of each other," he said. "It's everything you want in a player both physically and, obviously, mentally and leadership-wise."

The 2019 Redskins' roster has questions everywhere. Who will the starting QB be, and how long will that guy hold the job? Which receivers will emerge, if any? Can the linebackers produce without Reuben Foster? Nearly everywhere you look, you can find flaws.

Up front on the defense, however, there's nothing but difference makers. Jonathan Allen has a chance to become nationally-known as a disruptor in his third year and Daron Payne isn't far behind him. Matt Ioannidis, meanwhile, just picked up a well-earned contract extension, and Tim Settle and Caleb Brantley are two options Tomsula is dying to give more time to.

And, as it turns out, Tomsula's Six is trying to recruit another member, even if only on a part-time basis: Montez Sweat, whom Tomsula called "freakish."

"These guys have grabbed Sweat," Tomsula said, sounding proud. "Sweat's the one guy they bring over to lift weights with them. Sweat's the guy they bring in when we do our boxing." 

The thought of a pass rusher as gifted as Sweat absorbing the approach of players like Allen and Ioannidis can only be described as tantalizing.

Now, Tomsula doesn't speak to the media often, but when he does, his love for the game and for coaching is immediately evident. There was a time a few months ago, though, where it wasn't clear whether he'd be back with the Burgundy and Gold in 2019.

Fortunately, two things ultimately convinced him to return.

"Greg Manusky and those daggum D-linemen," Tomsula said. "I have a problem falling in love with those kids. I get so damn attached to these kids... You're not around them like I am. You'd love any of them to marry your daughter. They're just really, really good guys that can turn it on on the football field."

Sure, Gruden joked anyone could lead this collection defensive lineman. But you can bet he's fired up Tomsula's back and is the one who's actually doing it.

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Report: Minority owners pressuring Dan Snyder to sell Washington Football Team

Report: Minority owners pressuring Dan Snyder to sell Washington Football Team

Dan Snyder is facing mounting pressure from three of his minority investors to sell the Washington Football Team according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

“The stakes have attracted interest from a variety of potential buyers, but Mr. Snyder has been reluctant to give any of them the option to eventually buy control despite the attempt to oust him,” the Journal wrote in its story Thursday afternoon.  “That has prompted some would-be buyers to walk away.”

Snyder’s ownership seems to face battles on nearly every front.

In the last six weeks the team dropped its more than 80-year old “Redskins” moniker amid threats from multiple sponsors of significant lost revenue due to its racist connotations. 
Last month, a Washington Post story alleged widespread sexual harassment and verbal abuse against women inside the organization and the team is now conducting an internal investigation on the report.

The three minority investors combine own about 40% of the team but their shares would be worth much more if the entire organization was up for sale. 

RELATED: DAN SNYDER ATTORNEY RAISES CONSPIRACY QUESTIONS

Snyder has also filed a defamation lawsuit in federal court this week that loosely claims a conspiracy against him from one of the team’s current investors. A lawyer for Snyder told NBC Sports Washington on Tuesday that a former team employee bribed an Indian media company to put out a defamatory and false story against him. 

The Journal reports that tensions between Snyder and his minority investors have simmered for “at least a year.” It writes that FedEx founder and chairman Frederick Smith, one of the three minority owners and the man whose company has the naming writes to Washington’s home stadium, attempted to sell his share of the team last year only to have a slow approval process involving Snyder sink a potential deal. The interested investor instead purchased a minority stake in another NFL team. 

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Jets DC Gregg Williams says Jamal Adams will "get bored" after trade to Seahawks

Jets DC Gregg Williams says Jamal Adams will "get bored" after trade to Seahawks

Once the Jets agreed to send Jamal Adams to the Seahawks in exchange for three draft picks, it ended a long saga between the disgruntled superstar and the franchise. Or so we thought. 

During a conference call with reporters Thursday, former Washington and current Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams expressed his concern with Adams' new team, saying he'll be "bored there." 

"Jamal may get bored there because they don't use safety-type things and all the different complexities of maybe not showing what they're doing as much as we do," Williams said. "We'll still do the same patterns of things, we'll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we'll highlight the people we have here."

The Seahawks have a reputation for their zone defense, which reached its peak with the "Legion of Boom" with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Adams figures to add to that legacy of success in the secondary and help put a contending Seattle team over the top in the NFC. 

RELATED: ADAMS DIDN'T WANT A TRADE TO WASHINGTON

Still, Williams' overall point was that their defensive scheme doesn't tend to highlight the skills of its players as much as his does in New York. 

"You saw what we did [in 2019] was, [Adams] had maybe his most productive year here because we highlighted the skill sets that he's had," he said. "I've had a lot of really good guys at that position, a lot of really good safeties to build things around."

It's hard to argue with that. I mean, Adams became an All-Pro last year at the age of 24 and solidified himself as one of the best defensive players in the game.

But you also can't argue with the track record Seattle's system has had over the years. No matter what players have played on that defense, they're routinely solid and difficult to move the ball on. If the Seahawks don't bring Adams to a new level, there's a good chance he'll be able to do it for them. 

Great players typically elevate good systems. 

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