Redskins

Short-handed Steelers getting healthier

Short-handed Steelers getting healthier

PITTSBURGH (AP) Maurkice Pouncey is expected to return to the Steelers' lineup on Sunday, and Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman might do the same.

Pouncey, an All-Pro center, will practice Wednesday after missing the game in Cincinnati Sunday due to a right knee sprain. Mendenhall (Achilles) and Redman (ankle), who top the running back depth chart, ``have a chance'' of playing as well, Sunday, coach Mike Tomlin said.

The news is not all good though, as Pittsburgh (3-3) prepares to host the Washington Redskins (3-4). All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert have already been ruled out.

The Steelers moved into second place in the AFC North with a 24-17 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

The players most impacted by these returnees might be on special teams. Beleaguered and penalty-ridden, these units have become a chief concern for Tomlin. The coach even threatened benchings in the return game, where five flags were thrown in the Steelers' 10 return opportunities vs. Cincinnati.

``The multiple offenders, the egregious offenders, are going to be watching instead of playing as soon as we get some options,'' Tomlin said. ``Right now, with the injuries, we have minimal options.''

Safety Will Allen will be limited early this week after leaving the Bengals game due to a sprained ankle. Allen has started in place of Polamalu the past two weeks, and Tomlin said he anticipates him being able to play against Washington.

If some or all of the injured group - Pouncey, Mendenhall, Redman and reserve linebacker Chris Carter - return, it'll create a domino effect in which Tomlin has the freedom to pick and choose players to sit. Carter missed the Cincinnati game with a hamstring injury.

``We believe we have some dynamic return men, and penalties negate that effort,'' Tomlin said. ``What's going on in the return game from a penalty standpoint is disturbing. The first chance we get, we'll send a strong message in regards that we won't accept that type of performance.

``We feel like we can be explosive in that area provided we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, and I thought we did that in the football game (Sunday).''

Tomlin did not mention names when talking about possible benchings. DeMarcus Van Dyke, a cornerback claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders late in training camp, has been one of the players flagged multiple times.

Without Mendenhall and Redman, the Steelers still had their best running performance of the season Sunday. That could create another tough decision for Tomlin down the road. Jonathan Dwyer had 122 rushing yards against Cincinnati after being deactivated for each of the two previous games. Also, rookie Chris Rainey had the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

If all of Pittsburgh's running backs are healthy, who suits up against the Redskins? And how will the carries be split up?

``We're going to base those judgments on what it looks like as these guys prepare and get closer to game action during the week,'' Tomlin said. ``We're not going to hypothesize as to what that might be. We'll simply react to it and come up with the best formula that suits us for being successful this week.''

The Steelers improved their league rank in rushing yards from 31st to 26th with the 5.9 yards-per-carry performance in Cincinnati. This despite the fact that Pouncey and Gilbert were replaced by Doug Legursky at center and rookie Mike Adams at tackle, respectively.

``It was a strong run-game performance,'' Tomlin said. ``I thought we did a nice job up front getting hats on hats. I thought all the running backs did a nice job, of course highlighted by Jonathan Dwyer's efforts, but also Chris Rainey and Baron Batch and others I thought did a nice job.''

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Online:http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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