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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Zach Brown adds playmaking element to inside linebackers

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Zach Brown adds playmaking element to inside linebackers

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

We started with the defensive line. Today the focus turns to inside linebacker

2016 final game starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster

Compton was the Mike linebacker, calling the defensive signals.  

Departures: Terence Garvin (UFA)

Garvin was primarily a special teams contributor, playing only 58 snaps on defense

Projected 2017 starters: Compton, Zach Brown

No coaches have spoken to the media since Brown was signed as a free agent last Monday so this is highly unofficial. Brown and Foster both have called defensive signals from time to time but the coaches are more likely to be comfortable with Compton calling the defense. That makes Brown the starter alongside Compton and Foster playing the nickel role.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 7.0

It should be noted that Compton is technically unsigned. He is a restricted free agent and the Redskins tendered him at $1.8 million. Compton hasn’t signed the tender yet and it’s still possible that another team can make him an offer sheet that the Redskins would have the option to match. But his return seems very likely.

2017 reserves: Foster, Martrell Spaight, Chris Carter, Zach Vigil, Steven Daniels

Spaight started one game when Compton was injured and did an adequate job. Vigil will get a shot at showing what he has after the Redskins claimed him on waivers in Week 16. Daniels suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and he spent the season on injured reserve. The Redskins will be Carter’s fifth team in seven NFL seasons; he will compete for Garvin’s reserve/special teams role.

Where can the inside LB’s find improvement?

The biggest boost here should be Brown. He brings speed to a defense that lacks it. In fact, if you go by combine 40 times, Brown is faster than any of the Redskins’ starting four defensive backs. Last year Brown’s playmaking ability helped him make his first Pro Bowl; he posted an interception, two forced fumbles, and 4.5 sacks.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Brown is on a one-year contract, Foster is in the last season of his contract, and, as noted, Compton is on the one-year tender. The Redskins will not hesitate to consider drafting an inside linebacker such as Haason Reddick (who visited Redskins Park recently) or Zach Cunningham.

Compton won't get faster or more athletic but he does spend a lot of time in the film room. He is the kind of player who could improve as he accumulates more knowledge and makes up for his lack of sheer speed with better anticipation.

Locks and bubble players

Compton, Foster, and Brown are set. Spaight is likely to make the final 53 in September since he has game experience. A high draft pick would also be a lock, of course.

Last year, they kept five inside linebackers on the roster but it’s possible they will keep only four. That would leave Carter, Vigil, and Daniels either fighting for one spot or on the outside looking in.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for coronavirus

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for coronavirus

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for coronavirus, the team confirmed on Sunday. Pederson is currently asymptomatic and following the established protocol which includes a self-quarantine.

Pederson is the second NFL head coach to contract the virus, as New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton shared that he tested positive back in March. 

Positive tests throughout the league come as no surprise as the pandemic continues on and players and staff begin to report to training camp. The situation around the league is a reminder of the health and safety risks that come with football restarting.

RELATED: REPORT: NFL PLAYERS MUST DECIDE TO OPT OUT OR NOT BY AUG. 5

Players and coaches are aware of that, and many have already announced that they are opting out of the 2020 NFL season. In Washington, Caleb Brantley is the only member of the roster to have removed himself from the campaign so far.

By Wednesday, August 5, all players will reportedly have to decide whether or not they will participate in the season as the league has set an opt-out deadline for that day. With 40 or so players already withdrawing and COVID-19 not going away in the near future, that number is likely to increase.

Though the NFL is working hard to put the proper protocols in place, the results from initial tests show that challenges remain. 

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Report: NFL players must decide whether or not to opt out by Wednesday

Report: NFL players must decide whether or not to opt out by Wednesday

The clock is ticking for NFL players to make a decision regarding their playing status for the 2020 season.

The league is expected to set an opt-out deadline for Wednesday, August 5, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. While the decision is not finalized, Wednesday's deadline appears imminent.

Across the NFL, we've seen several players opt-out of the 2020 season as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the United States. The New England Patriots have seen a league-high eight players forego the 2020 season. While none of the league's top stars have decided to sit out the 2020 season -- yet -- New York Jets Jets Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley and Chiefs Super Bowl hero Damien Williams headline the most notable players to opt-out.

Locally, Washington has had just one player -- defensive lineman Caleb Brantley -- opt-out, while the Ravens have lost two players for the season in De'Anthony Thomas and Andre Smith.

There's a reason the NFL is setting its opt-out deadline for nearly six weeks before Week 1. According to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, the league wants to shorten its opt-out window because teams feel that players on the roster bubble are using the benefits of opting out as leverage.

For players that choose to forego the 2020 season, they will either earn a $350,000 stipend (for players who are deemed high-risk) or a $150,000 stiped (those not deemed high-risk).

The NFL is not the only league to see its players decide to skip the season in the midst of a pandemic. Several NBA players opted not to travel to Orlando for the season's resumption, while the MLB is still seeing players opt-out two weeks into its season.

With the NFL's opt-out reported deadline less than four days away, it's likely more will join the nearly 40 different players that have decided to pass on the season.

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