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After years of neglect, should the Redskins draft a D-lineman early?

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After years of neglect, should the Redskins draft a D-lineman early?

In less than a year, the Redskins completed a stunning turnaround, ascending from a laughingstock in 2014 to a division champion in 2015. But now comes the difficult part: taking that all-important next step and improving from a franchise that was fortunate to get into the playoffs to one that can do some damage once it gets there. And that work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the 25 biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

No. 25

Should the Redskins pick a defensive lineman early in the draft?

Tandler: Yes, early and perhaps even often.

It’s very fair to say that the Redskins have neglected the defensive line in the draft. Excluding college defensive ends drafted with the plan to convert them to outside linebackers the Redskins have drafted just one defensive lineman earlier than the sixth round since the year 2000. That was Jarvis Jenkins, taken in the second round in 2011. Other than that they have taken three defensive linemen in the seventh round and two in the sixth.

The last time the Redskins took a defensive lineman in the first round was 1997, when they took end Kenard Lang out of Miami.

The Redskins have had to rely on free agency to keep their defensive line stocked. In recent years they have spent big money on the likes of Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and Barry Cofield. With the latter two the cycle was predictable and almost the same. The team got a good year or two out of both of them and restructured their deals to create some cap room. Then both suffered injuries, lost a lot of their effectiveness and were cut, creating substantial dead cap hits.

It goes back further than that, to Andre Carter and Cornelius Griffin during Joe Gibbs’ second stint and the ultimate disaster free agent signing, Albert Haynesworth in 2009. Add them all up and it’s tens of millions of cap dollars spent with very little in return.

The Redskins don’t necessarily have to take a defensive lineman in the first round although at this early stage of the draft process it looks like there are a few players who could qualify as best available at No. 21 overall. Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech, Sheldon Rankins of Louisville and Jarran Reed of Alabama are all potential picks at No. 21.

A D-lineman doesn’t have to be the first-round pick. There likely will be some solid options that Scot McCloughan can grab in the middle rounds. But if they get to the third day of the draft on Saturday and there isn’t a defensive lineman on the board we will be virtually assured that the Redskins will have to continue the cycle of expensive short-term rentals of older players.

El-Bashir: Tandler with the history lesson! I’d forgotten how badly the Redskins had neglected the D-line in recent years. 

Well, it’s time to put an end to that trend.  

Terrance Knighton is a free agent. Ditto for backups Kedric Golston and Frank Kearse. Meantime, Jason Hatcher, who turns 34 in July, is talking about retiring.

Depending on how things shake out with Knighton and Hatcher, the Redskins could find themselves in need of two starters up front. Stephen Paea, of course, could claim one of those jobs, but he didn't last year and is coming off a stint on IR. Whatever happens, the need for an infusion of young, top-tier talent along the D-line is both real and immediate.

And, fortunately for GM Scot McCloughan, this is a good year to be in need of a quality tackle or end. Or both, even.

Rotoworld’s Josh Norris has eight D-linemen—Sheldon Rankins (Louisville), Andrew Billings (Baylor), DeForest Buckner (Oregon), Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss), Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech), Jonathan Bullard (Florida), Jarran Reed (Alabama) and Jihad Ward (Illinois)—among his top 32 prospects.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks adds A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama) and Kenny Clark (UCLA) to the list of top tackles available. In fact, Brooks writes, “The 2016 defensive tackle class is arguably the deepest position in the raft. There are not only several blue chip talents at the top of the board, but there are plenty of quality starters that can be found on Day 2.”

Which, of course, is very good news for a Redskins’ team that, after years of neglect, should absolutely consider investing in its D-line—with an early pick or maybe even two. 

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2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

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USA Today Sports

2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins training camp is almost here, which means preseason football is not far off, with the 2018 NFL regular season coming into view.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2018 training camp schedule, set to begin July 26. Once again the activities will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va., the Redskins training camp venue since 2013.

The Redskins' 2018 training camp is sure to be an intriguing one. The Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, a new running back in Derrius Guice, and a litany of players returning from injury.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2018 Redskins training camp, from location to times, dates, ticket prices and more.

Who: The Washington Redskins

What: Redskins 2018 NFL Training Camp

Where: Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va.

When: July 26 until Aug. 14

When is Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp begins on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

What time does Redskins training camp start?

The typical schedule opens with a morning practice from 9:45-11:45 a.m. and an evening walkthrough from 4:40-5:40 p.m. Exceptions are noted below.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

At the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page. (https://www.redskins.com/schedule/training-camp/)

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/26 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Fri. 7/27 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 7/28 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sun. 7/29 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 7/31 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Wed. 8/1 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Thurs. 8/2 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 8/4 — 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — N/A — 3:30 p.m.

Sun. 8/5 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Mon. 8/6 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 8/7 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

Thurs. 8/9 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/11 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Sun. 8/12 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Mon. 8/13 — 8:30 a.m. — 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. — 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. — 3:35 p.m.

*Tues. 8/14 —  12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*The last three training camp dates will be a joint practice with the New York Jets

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With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

Jay Gruden is many things, including honest, witty, one of the greatest Arena League quarterbacks in the history of the universe and, as of June 18, the longest-tenured head coach of a major D.C. sports team.

With the Capitals and Barry Trotz parting ways, Gruden is now officially the area's most experienced boss (while Gruden was actually hired a few months before Trotz back in 2014, they both have led their teams through four seasons up to this point, which is the number that matters here).

Scott Brooks, meanwhile, has overseen the Wizards for two campaigns, while Nats manager Dave Martinez is in the middle of his first year at the helm.

This designation will pair nicely with the fact that Gruden will also be the first 'Skins headman to hold his job into a fifth season in the Dan Snyder era. You don't need to make plans to visit his statue yet, of course, but this is some uncharted territory the 51-year-old is currently hanging out in.

Now, his overall record of 28-35-1 certainly needs work, or else he'll be in danger of handing the longest-tenured distinction over to Brooks. However, Gruden does deserve credit for bringing an amount of stability to the Burgundy and Gold, a franchise that is usually as stable as Metro's Wi-Fi connection.

So, with all due respect to DC United's Ben Olsen, the Kastles' Murphy Jensen and whatever legend is in charge of your kid's dynastic flag football team, when you think of the man who's been roaming the sidelines longer than anyone else in D.C., be sure to think of this man and only this man:

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