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Cary Williams 'elated' to get a call from playoff-bound Redskins

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Cary Williams 'elated' to get a call from playoff-bound Redskins

After being released by the Seahawks on Dec. 7, Cary Williams held out hope that he’d get another chance to play this season, though he wasn’t necessarily counting on it given the timing.

But then the call came. The Redskins had lost yet another defensive back in Week 17 and needed an experienced player who could contribute right away.

Williams, a 31-year-old with a Super Bowl ring, fit that profile.

“Shoot, I was [at home] taking care of one of my daughters, my smallest one,” he said with a grin. “I got the call and I was elated. I was excited to get back to football.”

Williams has appeared in 97 career games, including 75 starts, spread over eight seasons with the Titans, Ravens, Eagles and Seahawks. Seattle had the signed rangy, 6 foot 1, 190-pound veteran to a three-year, $18 million contract (including a $3.5 million signing bonus) last offseason, but he struggled to adapt to the Seahawks’ defense and was cut after a Week 11 benching.

How exactly Williams will be deployed by the Redskins on Sunday—and how much he'll play—remains to be seen as no one in Ashburn tipped his hand this week. But it’s possible he’ll see ample playing time against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, particularly with rookie corner Quinton Dunbar listed as questionable with a quad injury.

Williams said his experience playing in several schemes over the years has helped him assimilate quickly. It's important to note that he's playoff tested, as well, having started seven of the 11 postseason games in which he's appeared. In February 2013, he helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII.       

“There’s a lot of similarities there, no question,” Williams said, comparing the Redskins' scheme to others that he's played in. “Some terminology is the same. That’s the great thing about this situation here is I know some of the terminology and I know some of the defensive schemes that we’ve been practicing thus far this week.”

“I feel comfortable,” Williams added, “so that’s a good thing.”

Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry and his assistants have become experts at integrating free agents on short notice this season, having already converted Will Blackmon and Mason Foster from in-season signings into starters.

“There’s a huge difference between a guy that is on the street, that has limited experience, and a guy that’s on the street that has played a bunch of football,” Barry said. “It’s nice when you do bring those guys in that have played a bunch of ball because they understand. They get it. There isn’t much that they haven’t seen. Cary is definitely in that [category].”

Barry also said he could see Williams playing on either side and, potentially, in the slot, as well.

“You can play him anywhere,” Barry said. “He’s had experience doing both so we’re not going to limit him to just playing him in one spot. He’s a guy that has played a bunch of ball in this league. He’s started a bunch of games. He’s played in a bunch of big games. He’s played high-level football. He’s been great. He’s come in here and gone right to work.”

Although Williams is still learning the playbook, he's already familiar with one player he'll be lining up alongside. Williams and Blackmon spent last offseason in the Seahawks’ camp.

“He and I, we became really close when we both were in Seattle,” Blackmon said. “We’re really good friends. I feel like his adjustment will be fine. You wouldn’t bring a guy in here who wouldn’t be ready. He has postseason experience. He has a Super Bowl ring. We’ll keep it simple for him. We’re not going to try and do anything crazy this week. We’re just going to try and play fast.”

Despite a whirlwind of a week that included just a handful of practice and meetings, Williams said he’s confident that he’ll be ready for whatever the Redskins—or Rodgers—throw at him.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m just trying to make the best of it,” he said. “My expectation is to be the best me I possibly can, man, and contribute as best I possibly can. I’m going to go out there and compete and just be Cary Williams out there on the field.” 

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Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

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USA TODAY Sports

Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

More than 100 days remain before the Redskins take the field in meaningful NFL action.

Any and all excitement needs to be tempered, significantly, because what happens on a practice field in May without pads does not represent what will happen in September, October and beyond. 

Still, the Redskins group that took the field this week for OTAs showed promise. 

New quarterback Alex Smith looked crisp, connecting with a variety of wideouts and commanding the huddle. New wideout Paul Richardson made the best play of the session when he streaked down the field past rookie cornerback Greg Stroman and hauled in a deep pass from Smith. The play showed Smith's ability to identify open receivers downfield, as well as Richardson's ability to go up and grab a contested catch. Even Stroman, the seventh-round rookie, positioned himself well, he just fell victim to a perfect pass and tremendous athleticism.

That was only one play in a two-hour session. Again, don't take too much from May, when players don't wear pads or engage in any of the violence that the NFL is predicated upon. But the OTAs do serve a purpose, both for players and coaches, and there were nuggets to absorb and try to project for the fall. Here they are:

  • Jay Gruden made clear he's not concerned about the health of his offensive line. Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are recuperating from offseason surgery, but Gruden believes both are on track for when things start to matter. It's a good thing the coach isn't concerned because this was the 'Skins line in OTAs (left to right): Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, John Kling. Should that lineup take the field this fall, there will be trouble. 
     
  • The Redskins lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, and the secondary depth will be something to watch throughout training camp. At OTAs, newly signed veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick lined up opposite Josh Norman in the team's base 3-4 defense. In nickel and dime coverage, Quinton Dunbar lined up opposite Norman and Scandrick moved to the slot. As things progress, it will be interesting to see if Dunbar surpasses Scandrick in base coverage, and what becomes of 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau. Stay tuned.  
     
  • Rookie running back Derrius Guice looked every part of the first-round talent many judged him to be before draft season rumors caused him to slide to the late second round. Guice cuts with authority and is able to see holes before they form and patiently wait to hit the open space. Guice also looked fine in pass-catching drills, one area that was a question coming out of LSU (but that says more about LSU's prehistoric offense). Watching the Redskins offense work, it seems clear Guice will be the heaviest used runner this fall.
     
  • That said, don't count out Robert Kelley. He looks leaner and plenty quick, showing a few impressive runs during the session. Byron Marshall also looked good, and Gruden pointed out his success in his post-OTA press conference. The running back group will have plenty of competition all the way through Richmond. 
     
  • Jonathan Allen has switched jersey numbers from 95 to 93. Rookie Daron Payne is now wearing 95. Payne and Allen both went to Alabama, both are huge, and both play defensive line. The number switch will take some getting used to. 
     
  • Zach Brown missed the OTA session as he was moving, and interestingly in his spot with the starting defense was Josh Harvey-Clemons. The second-year pro out of Louisville showed impressive speed in coverage, and remember he played safety in college and performed quite well. He has ball skills and great size to be a coverage linebacker. Some were surprised when the Redskins kept JHC last season at the cut to 53, but his development appears to be paying off for the organization. 
     
  • Another linebacker that made a play was Zach Vigil. He impressed for the Redskins late last season and was running the Washington second-team defensive huddle. At one point, Vigil broke through the line of scrimmage and blew up a run play. That prompted D.J. Swearinger to yell from the sideline, "OK Zach. OK ZACH!"
     
  • Speaking of Swearinger, the Redskins defensive captain seemed in midseason form when it comes to yelling encouragement on the field. Nobody hypes up the defense like Swearinger, particularly when the secondary makes a big play. On one pass Dunbar made a nice diving play to break up a pass, and Swearinger and Josh Norman got very fired up, shouting and jumping around. The entire defense responded. Little stuff like that helps disrupt the monotony of offseason work. 
     
  • Jamison Crowder looks jacked and quick. The end. 

 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

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NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 25, 62 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap—This post does a good job of outlining where the Redskins’ dead cap came from. It should be noted that dead cap is a part of the cost of doing business in the NFL and the Redskins have done fairly well managing it this year. Only about a dozen teams have less dead cap on the books than the Redskins $5.2 million. 

Tandler's Take—The best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Redskins—I received some comments saying that my worst-case scenario, a 6-10 finish, is not low enough. Since we’re talking about events that won’t begin to happen for about three and a half months, I can’t really argue with them. But it’s just hard for me to see them dropping more than a game from last year when they were hit harder with injuries than any other team in the NFL. 

Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, defense—An extension for Matt Ioannidis seemed preposterous a year ago, now it seems like a good idea. How many sacks for Lanier? When will Ryan Anderson get his first sack? Plus offensive player one-liners here

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp—You can’t tell everything from OTAs, but you can tell some things. Taking another look at this post, I gave a good, detailed look at the session, but I didn’t really mention the overall feel, which was fun and energetic. 

Tweet of the week

Certainly, Derrius Guice is the fan favorite of the rookie class. But the great reaction to this tweet shows that there is plenty of love for Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, last year’s top pick. 

In 2016, the starting defensive line consisted of Ricky Jean Francois, Chris Baker, and  Ziggy Hood. The top reserve was Cullen Jenkins. They all had their good qualities and made some plays. But Baker was the youngster of the group and he turned 30 during the season. It clearly was a group on the decline. 

Two years later, the picture is quite different. Payne and Allen lead a younger group that will get better over the next few years. Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, and Stacy McGee should round out the group. McGee is by far the senior member of the group at age 28. None of the others have celebrated his 25thbirthday yet. 

Fans should perhaps temper their optimism with the knowledge that potential doesn’t always develop into performance. But unlike years past there is something to look forward to. 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 18
—Training camp starts (7/26) 62
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 76

The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 107 days. 

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