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Gruden says Scherff "will have to take some lumps" while learning

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Gruden says Scherff "will have to take some lumps" while learning

Although there has been talk from the Redskins’ coaches and the general manager about there being competition at every position, it would be a major upset if top draft pick Brandon Scherff was not the starting right tackle in Week 1.

Jay Gruden would not declare Scherff as the starter at this point although he said that starting him at right tackle was the “intent”.

“But I think with Brandon, he’s a good football player, number one,” said Gruden. “He’s a good offensive linemen. We’ll find a spot for him but obviously we start him out at right tackle, but you know Morgan Moses is going to have something to say, Tom Compton is going to have something to say about that.”

Compton started most of last year at right tackle and Moses, a third-round pick in 2014, had a start at left tackle.

Scherff is working on making a transition from left tackle, where he played at Iowa, to the right side. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

“He’s going to have to take some lumps, but the good thing about Brandon is he’s a very focused individual,” said Gruden. “He studies very hard, he takes coaching extremely well and he’s got the best coach to coach him up. But I think you see the progress from yesterday morning to yesterday afternoon to today, it’s a significant change for him already. And I think he’s going to continue to get better.”

Gruden had some observations about some of the other players who participated in the minicamp:

—He has been impressed with second-round draft pick, outside linebacker Preston Smith. He is quite a physical specimen. “His length is what draws you to him initially, and then you watch him play, and he uses that leverage to his advantage,” said Gruden. “Especially in the run game, when people are at the point of attack, he does a great job of using that leverage to his advantage and then using that length in his pass rush. He can get people off of him, and then he has good hips and he can finish plays. Preston has been impressive.”

—Smith is also making a transition, having played defensive end at Mississippi State. It appears that he is still trying to get a firm grasp on that transition. ““It’s going good. It’s a matter of getting the calls and dropping when he’s supposed to drop and rushing when he’s supposed to rush, and then playing the run and then transition his run to a pass rush,” said Gruden. “I think he’s doing a good job. I talked to him today about trying to get a little bit more suddenness to him, and he’s just saying, ‘I’m getting my bearings straight. I’m getting my plays down.’”

Matt Jones was known as a big, bruising runner when he was drafted but Gruden has found that he has a good package of running back skills. “The thing about Matt is you think of him as a big power-type back, but really Matt has done some things out in space that have been very, very impressive – making moves on the second level, getting to the second level,” he said. “In the passing game, running some option routes on linebackers. He has done some good things. He has got natural hands, so we’ve been very impressed him.”

—This doesn’t automatically mean that Jones will take some carries away from Alfred Morris, the team’s leading rusher for the past three seasons. “We’ll see,” Gruden said when asked about the prospect of Jones getting carries at Morris’ expense. “That’s what training camp is for and the preseason games, and Alfred is a darn good halfback, so in order to take carries off of him, you’ve got to show a lot.”

—Gruden likes how receiver Jamison Crowder is taking what is being taught in the meeting rooms and translating it on the field. “The thing about him is that he has got great football IQ,” said Gruden. “If you’re a slot receiver, you need that, and you need to know how to run routes against different leverage points. He’s done some good things outside too, but in order to be a good, effective slot receiver, you’ve got to be able to field zones and man, inside technique, outside technique, bump, head up, outside, and then know how to set them at top of your break. Right now, he’s showing that he can take what we’re teaching him in the classroom and translate it effortlessly to the playing field.”

 

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Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 22, 34 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins stock watch: Three up, three down

For some Redskins players, the outlook looks much brighter now than it did when last season ended. Others have seen their stocks decline. Here is a look at three players in each category.

Stock up

CB Quinton Dunbar—His rise started the day after the season ended when he signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract. It continued when the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland opened up more opportunity at his position. Then the only additions at corner were veteran Orlando Scandrick and seventh-round pick Greg Stroman. Dunbar has a clear path to a starting job, perhaps for the next few years. 

G Shawn Lauvao—At the end of the season, he was coming off of injured reserve. It was the second time in his four seasons in Washington that he finished the season on the sideline. He turned 30 last year and as the prime weeks of free agency passed, he didn’t get much attention. His fortunes started to turn when the team didn’t sign or draft a guard. Then on May 4 when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Washington. Shortly after that Arie Kouandjio, his primary competition at left guard, was lost for the season with a quad injury. While there is no guarantee that the Redskins won’t look at other options at left guard, for right now it’s Lauvao’s job to lose. 

S Montae Nicholson—It was hard to make much out of his rookie 2017 season as he spent half of it on the sideline with injuries. But early in the offseason, Jay Gruden said that Nicholson was as important to the defense as Jordan Reed is to the offense. Given that Reed has made one Pro Bowl on his resume and could get more if he stays healthy and that his presence on the field tends to lift his teammates, that’s high praise. It means that Nicholson is at the top of the depth chart in Sharpie. He still needs to stay healthy, but he is not a player who is at risk of losing his job due to an injury. 

Stock down

RB Rob Kelley—This one of pretty obvious. He finished the year on injured reserve and a couple of the running backs signed as injury replacements, Kapri Bibbs and Byron Marshall, looked pretty good. Then came the draft and Derrius Guice as the second-round pick. Right now, he looks like the No. 4 back and he will have to fight hard to keep a roster spot. 

DL Ziggy Hood—Most expected the Redskins to draft a nose tackle early and that’s what happened when they took Daron Payne in the first round. That didn’t hurt Hood’s stock much. But they followed up by taking Tim Settle later in the draft and that made the depth chart very crowded. Hood is the seventh D-lineman and they usually only keep six. Even if he makes it he could spend a lot of time on the game-day inactive list. 

S Deshazor Everett—Nobody expected the Redskins to draft a safety, but they found the speed and athleticism of Troy Apke too attractive to turn down in the fourth round of the draft. The rookie needs some work on his game, so it appears that Everett, who started eight games last year, will be the first safety off of the bench early in the season. But it’s likely that they will want to get Apke in games as soon as he’s ready and that could leave Everett on the bench. 

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

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Timeline 

Former Redskins Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey was born on this date in 1978. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 34
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 48
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 71

The Redskins last played a game 173 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 79 days. 

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here