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Does it matter if Redskins' top pick Jonathan Allen starts Week 1?

Does it matter if Redskins' top pick Jonathan Allen starts Week 1?

Jay Gruden can’t wait to get Jonathan Allen out on the field.

“He’s the 17th pick in the draft,” said Gruden a couple of hours after making the Alabama defensive lineman a Redskin. “He will contribute—tomorrow. Right now.”

In his enthusiasm, Gruden may have been jumping the gun a bit. Rookie minicamp doesn’t start until a week from Friday, on May 12, and that is the first time that Allen can take the field with a helmet on at Redskins Park. But once he puts his cleats on he will be utilized early and often.

RELATED: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

Prior to Thursday, the Redskins’ starting defensive ends were Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, both signed as free agents last March. Their contracts have average annual values of a combined $10.25 million.

Perhaps if they had a crystal ball that could have told them they would be able to draft Allen in late April, they would not have signed both of those free agent linemen. Then again, they had lost Chris Baker as a free agent, Ricky Jean Francois was released, and Kedric Golston and Cullen Jenkins were not re-signed. That left multiple holes in the defensive line and adding multiple quality players to the depth chart is not a bad way to go, especially considering that the unit had largely been neglected in the draft until last Thursday.

MORE REDSKINS: Three reasons to like the pick of Ryan Anderson 

Will Allen start Week 1? That remains to be seen. If it was me, I would put McGee in at nose tackle and start Allen and McClain at the ends. McGee played nose tackle in Oakland but Gruden said that “he’s more of an end.” At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, McGee would not be ideal at nose tackle but unless Phil Taylor, who hasn’t played a snap since 2014, can revive his career he may be the best option.

It’s possible that McClain and McGee will start at end Week 1 and Allen will come off the bench but on the defensive line it really doesn’t matter. At that position players rotate in and out throughout the game according to the situation and to keep them fresh. Last year Francois started just six games but he still played 40 percent of the snaps, the third most on the team. Regardless of who starts, it wouldn’t be surprising to see McClain and McGee start most of the games and have Allen play more snaps than both of them.

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

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

USA Today Sports

Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."


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Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

The Redskins need a stud wide receiver. Badly.

Antonio Brown is a stud wide receiver. Undoubtedly.

So, Washington should pick up the phone, call Pittsburgh and figure out a way to work out a trade for Brown, right? 

It's not that easy.

There are plenty of obstacles between Brown becoming a member of the Redskins, as Washington would have to clear out quite a bit of salary to make room for him and also weigh whether he'll fit into their locker room.

Another thing worth considering, too: What's the point of acquiring Antonio Brown without a QB to maximize his talents?

There are serious questions about whether Alex Smith will play next season, or ever again. That means, barring a drastic move, the Redskins will go into 2019 with someone like Colt McCoy or an unproven youngster starting under center.

Sure, you could argue that Brown would make that passer's life a lot easier. He would, to an extent. But ask someone like Odell Beckham or Larry Fitzgerald what life is like on the outside, even as an elite talent, when the guy getting you the ball isn't properly equipped to do so.

Brown is one of the best pass catchers of his generation and will likely end up as one of the best of any era. Whatever offense he's lining up for next season will be better thanks to his presence.

However, this is a guy who's grown frustrated in a franchise that's made the postseason four of the past five years and is unhappy in a place where he's paired with a top-tier signal-caller. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, have neither the track record of success or a settled situation at QB, so it's fair to be very skeptical of how he'd handle a move to D.C.

Now, for this organization to break out of football's middle class, an area they're stuck in, going after a star and taking a risk is absolutely worth trying.

Unfortunately, the quarterback depth chart will affect every potential move. And when that potential move involves heavily investing in a premier wideout, the quarterback depth chart should probably dissuade anyone from ultimately making that move.