Graham Gano knew the competition with Neil Rackers was overwhen he pulled into the parking lot at Redskins Park on Monday morning.Rackers, who had been attempting to take Ganosjob, was walking to his car, carrying a big filled with all the items that hadbeen in his locker. The veteran kicker was the first of 15 cuts the Redskins must make as they trim the roster from 90 to 75 ahead of Monday's 4 p.m. deadline.We felt it was going to come down to the last week, Ganosaid, referring to Wednesdays preseason finale against Tampa Bay. But it wascoachs decision.Its unclear whether the Redskins intend to bring in anotherkick to compete with Gano over the final days of the preseason. For now, though,the job appears to be his for a fourth consecutive season.Im excited to have the opportunity, Gano said. It was agood competition between Neil and I in practices. We didnt get as many fieldgoals as we would have hoped for in the preseason.As reporters approached Gano at his locker room, quarterbackRobert Griffin III gave his kicker an exaggerated hug as the two cracked uplaughing.Each day Neil and I went out, knowing that practice wasgoing to play a key role in it, Gano added. But I dont know what theirdecision came down to.It wasnt game-day performance. Rackers was 1 for 2 in field goals, makinga 28-yarder while missing an attempt from 54. Gano, meantime, did not attempt asingle field goal in the first three exhibitions.The kickers last head-to-head battle came during trainingcamp. Rackers went 3 for 5, missing 30 and 37 yards. Gano was perfect.I havent talked to coach about it, Gano added. I justfeel blessed to have this opportunity to be on this team and Im focusing ongetting myself ready for the game.Gano made 75.6-percent of his field goal attempts lastseason five were blocked as a result of poor blocking and owns a 73.8-percentmark for his career.
Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it.
Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage.
Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets.
"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).
Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating.
"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.
The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games.
"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."
One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches.
The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th.
Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York.
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Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The best Redskins players 25 or younger
Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year.
WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year.
OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack.
DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks.
DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off.
S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone.
Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)
It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year.
Tandler on Twitter
Skeeter waiting patiently (sort of) for dinner time. pic.twitter.com/jMX14sbni0— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) June 16, 2018
Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76
The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days.
In case you missed it
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- Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice
- Redskins face dynamic Deshaun Watson in Week 11