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Five storylines to follow at Redskins veteran minicamp

Five storylines to follow at Redskins veteran minicamp

What: Redskins veteran minicamp.

When: Practices are open to media on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 11:30 a.m. 

Where: Redskins Park, Ashburn, Va.

Storylines to monitor:

1-During OTAs, Kirk Cousins operated the offense more confidently, threw the ball with more conviction and, in general, appeared more polished. In Coach Jay Gruden’s words, Cousins displayed “great command” of the scheme, defensive concepts, snap count, protections and other details. “When you get command of the little things, it makes the big things a lot easier,” Gruden said. “He’s seeing things better.” Cousins, himself, acknowledged his newfound comfort level, adding, “I do think I’m playing with more confidence.” This week’s practices—while still no-contact—will provide Cousins with an opportunity to showcase that growth in a more intense environment…and he’ll get to do it with all of his (healthy) weapons on the field. A strong performance could also benefit the fifth-year signal caller as the July 15 deadline for agreeing to a long-term extension approaches.

RELATED: ANDRE ROBERTS SIGNS WITH DETROIT

2-Speaking of attendance, DeSean Jackson is compelled to join his teammates this week as all meetings, practices and workouts are mandatory. Jackson, as you’re no doubt aware, has been in-and-out (but mostly out) during the voluntary portion of the offseason. Although no one has expressed any real concern about Jackson’s absences—he skipped last Wednesday’s practice after participating Monday and Tuesday—everyone will be happy to see him on the field, battling to get open against Josh Norman while also reestablishing his timing and chemistry with Cousins. These practices are, after all, the final on-field tune-up before training camp.

3-Injuries haven’t been a major source of concern for the Redskins this spring. But there are a few rehabbing players we’ll want to get a timeline on. At that top of that list is first round rookie Josh Doctson, who has been sidelined with a sore Achilles. It seems to be a minor thing, but how the wide receiver is handled this week will provide a little insight into the team’s level of concern.

4-The depth chart at the end of minicamp figures to be the starting point when the team reconvenes in Richmond in late July. The positions to watch are safety, where former Broncos special teamer David Bruton is zeroing in on a starting job, and left guard, which looks like it could develop into a three-way competition between Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao and Arie Kouandjio. (Lauvao, who is still rehabbing a surgically repaired ankle, is expected to enter the fray later this summer.) It’s also worth keeping an eye on the defensive line, where there are several moving parts as the coaches seek replacement for both Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher.

5-How far have the rookies come? We’ve already mentioned Doctson’s situation; he’ll be playing catchup whenever he’s cleared to return. But how about Su’a Cravens and the other five members of the 2016 draft class? Now that they’ve got 10 OTA practice under their belts, how comfortable do they look? Are they playing faster? Making plays? And, more important, with whom are they working? Minicamp practices are longer and, typically, a bit more intense than an OTA practices. For the rookies, it’s one last chance to impress the coaches prior to the long summer break. For the coaches, it’s one last chance to assess whether a rookie can handle the job, or whether a veteran free agent needs to be brought in ahead of camp.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS' HOPKINS NOT GETTING COMPLCENT

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

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NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.

 

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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

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USA Today

2018 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots prove they still got it, Rams remain top dog

In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.

It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.

Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?

CLICK HERE FOR WEEK 7 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.

The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.

So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?

And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards. 

How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance? 

CLICK HERE FOR WEEK 7 NFL POWER RANKINGS