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Young Redskins defensive backs take advantage of first-team reps during Monday's OTAs

Young Redskins defensive backs take advantage of first-team reps during Monday's OTAs

Monday marked the first day of the Redskins optional Organized Team Activities, and many projected starters were absent. 

One of the most notable position groups missing key players was the secondary, as all four projected starters were either a no-show or unable to compete due to injury. Safety Landon Collins, who signed a six-year, $84 million contract with Washington in March, was present but did not participate in any drills. He's rehabbing from a shoulder injury, but head coach Jay Gruden expects him to be back for training camp.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar was also present at Redskins Park, but he has been dealing with a nerve issue in his hamstring since last season, leading the Redskins staying cautious with him for now. He did not participate in any drills.

"He's running, he's doing very, very well," Gruden said on Dunbar. "We're just being very cautious right now. He had that nerve [last season]. We just want to make sure that thing is strengthened. He's running full speed; he feels good. We just want to make sure we take the cautionary route and make sure he's 100 percent."

Cornerback Josh Norman and safety Montae Nicholson were not present.

While OTA's can be frustrating at times for coaches since the workouts are optional, according to the current collective bargaining agreement, the absence of many starters provided the opportunity for some of the younger players to get more reps, including first-team ones. Second-year defensive backs Greg Stroman and Troy Akpe both spent time with the first unit, as well as veteran safety Deshazor Everett.

Stroman, a seventh-round pick in 2018, had the opportunity to show what he was capable of early on during his rookie season, as the Redskins' secondary was plagued by injuries for much of last season. Stroman played in 15 games for the Redskins as a rookie, starting three.

Now, with his rookie year behind him, he's ready to contribute even more in 2019, both on defense and special teams. He added weight during the offseason and was eager to hit the field on Monday.

"Getting back fully healthy, getting strong and just recovering from the season," Stroman said on how he's spent his offseason thus far. "Just getting strong, putting on some weight. Just ready to go play."

Asked what he wanted to improve most entering his sophomore season, his answer was rather simple.

"Everything," Stroman said. "I want to get better at everything. Overall, everything."

Stroman wasn't the only seventh-round pick that stood out on day one. Jimmy Moreland, who the Redskins selected this past March, had a big day as well. He recorded the first interception of OTA's, and broke up several plays when challenged one-on-one.

Toward the end of the session, Moreland was lined up on the outside against fellow rookie Kelvin Harmon with no safety help. Gruden verbally challenged Moreland to make a play before the snap, and while Harmon did catch the ball, he was well out of bounds as Moreland broke up the play.

Gruden had plenty to say about Moreland, pleased to see that the rookie stepped up to the challenge.

"Jimmy? Jimmy got the first pick of the day today," Gruden said on Moreland. "Figured it would have been him. He's got great ball skills, and he's got great confidence."  

The praise then led to Gruden cracking a joke about Moreland's size, which might have been his first smile of the day. The seventh-rounder is one of the smallest players on the roster, listed at 5'10 and 174 pounds.

"I told him this is his type of day you know?" Gruden joked. "Non-contact, Jimmy, because he is a smaller type guy. I knew he was going to shine today. Just wait, Jimmy, just wait. But he is a great competitor. I love the energy that he brings. When the pads do come on for real, I think he'll be right there in the mix with everybody."

While some veterans were missing, ninth-year linebacker Mason Foster was a full participant in Monday's activities. The linebacker is entering his fourth season with Washington, and what was expected to be a diminishing role compared to past seasons may have gotten much larger with the injury to Reuben Foster on the third play of Monday's OTAs.

Mason Foster was pleased with what he saw from the younger players.

"[OTA's] are important for everybody, but especially when [the young guys] get their opportunity," he said. "The more opportunities they get, the more chance they get to show what they've learned and if they're transferring the stuff from the classroom to the field. I think they did a great job of that."

Last week, the rookies had their own minicamp. Foster, who turned 30 in March, watched the whole thing on film. 

"I watched the rookie minicamp on my iPad, and these guys were making plays," he said. "The interesting thing for them is going to be translating the stuff in the classroom -- because we have great coaches -- onto the field. How much can they retain? I think they're doing a great job."

While Monday's OTAs will be headlined by the injury to Reuben Foster, there is a lot to like from the plethora of young defensive backs, who will all be competing all summer for the final roster spots come September.


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A timeline of Jordan Reed's concussion, injury history

A timeline of Jordan Reed's concussion, injury history

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL at his position when he's on the field.

The problem is, Reed just can't stay healthy. The 29-year-old has missed the Redskins' first two games of 2019 and already been ruled out for Monday's contest against the Bears, as he continues to recover from a concussion he suffered August 22 vs. Atlanta.

On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Reed's playing career could be in jeopardy, as he has struggled to recover from his latest concussion.

Here's a timeline of Reed's concussion and injury history, dating back to his college days as a Florida Gator. 

November 2010: In his freshman year at Florida, Reed suffered his first documented concussion in a 31-7 loss to Florida State. He returned for the team's bowl game vs. Penn State on Jan. 1, 2011.

October 2011: Reed suffered a concussion at some point during the 2011 season, but did not appear to miss any games due to the injury.

September 2012: The tight end suffers his third concussion in college, but did not miss any games for the Gators. Reed returned to action after the bye week. 

November 2013: As a rookie, Reed suffered a concussion against the Philadelphia Eagles. He would not return at any point later in the season, landing on injured reserve. He became close to returning multiple times, but the symptoms kept returning. 

September 2014: In Washington's season opener, Reed pulled his hamstring against Houston. The injury would force him to miss the next four weeks.

November 2014: Reed re-injuries his hamstring in a 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He would miss the following week with the injury.

October 2015: In a Week 4 clash with the Eagles, Reed suffered multiple injuries, including his fifth documented concussion. He left the game originally with an ankle injury, returned, then suffered the concussion. He would miss the Redskins next two games.

October 2016: In a Week 5 matchup vs. Baltimore, Reed suffered his sixth documented concussion. He initially tried to play through the injury, but entered the protocol following the game. He would miss the team's next two games. 

November 2016: In a Thanksgiving clash with Dallas, Reed suffered a Grade 3 separation in his shoulder. While the tight end would finish the game (and score two touchdowns), he would miss two of the team's next four games with the injury.

September 2017: Reed suffered a chest injury against the Rams, missing the Redskins Week 3 contest vs. Oakland the following week.

October 2017: A hamstring injury Reed suffered against the Cowboys in Week 8 would eventually put Reed on IR, costing him the team's final nine games of the season.

December 2018: Reed would suffer a toe strain against the Giants in Week 14. The tight end would miss Washington's final three games of the season.

August 2019: In the team's third preseason game, Reed suffered the seventh documented concussion of his football career after being struck by Falcons' safety Keanu Neal. He has missed the Redskins first three games of the 2019 season and counting.

Source: Sports Injury Predictor

Monday's contest against the Bears will mark the 34th time during Reed's NFL tenure that he will be unable to play due to injury. 

If, and when Reed will suit up next for the Redskins seems more uncertain than ever.


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Jordan Reed’s NFL future reportedly uncertain as concussion issues continue

Jordan Reed’s NFL future reportedly uncertain as concussion issues continue

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was ruled out for Monday night's contest with the Chicago Bears on Saturday, as he continues to recover from a concussion suffered in Week 3 of the preseason.

Now, more reports are coming out about Reed's status. Not just for the upcoming game, but for his future in the NFL.

Currently trying to come back from his seventh recorded concussion dating back to his college football days, there is now uncertainty surrounding the continuation of his NFL career, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The seventh-year veteran's history with injuries is a long one. Despite showing flashes of dominance throughout his time with the Redskins, Reed has still not been able to put together a full season with no missed time. 

At his best, he's shown that he can be a reliable and explosive target for his quarterbacks. In 14 games in 2015 (his most played in a single season) he compiled 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. But, both concussions, as well as nagging issues in other areas, have limited him to just 19 games throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons and left the Redskins offense without a crucial piece.

As Reed continues to go through concussion protocol, updates about his status will be hard to come by. Back in Week 1, it looked as if the tight end would be back on the field soon, but it seems as if setbacks have clouded the timeline. 

Head injuries are serious, and if Reed's most recent concussion continues to cause problems, it looks as if a decision about his career could come to the forefront.