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Jansen returns—but is he back?

Jansen returns—but is he back?

In today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, there is a Paul Woody article about Washington Redskins tackle Jon Jansen. At the top, there is a four-column black and white picture of Jansen lying on the FedEx Field turf in agony right after a tangle in a pile resulted in him sustaining a broken leg and a dislocated ankle. His 2007 season ended less than 30 minutes after it started.

Woody's article talks about the two major injuries from which Jansen has had to recover since 2004, when a preseason Achilles tendon tear put him on the shelf for all of that season. Woody writes about Jansen's family life (he has two young daughters) and his offseason activities (he appeared on ESPN and wrote for The Sporting News).

He mentions the 2008 preseason only briefly, saying that "the Redskins' front five have been playing well in the preseason. They're protecting quarterback Jason Campbell and providing openings for the running game."

I'd have to say that the dean of Redskins beat writers is nine-tenths right here. All five starters have been doing well in run blocking, opening holes for whichever running back is handed the ball. Four of the five are doing a decent job of pass protection. The exception to the latter is Jon Jansen.

In the four series in which he has played, two in each of his team's games so far, Jansen has struggled in pass protection. He has wound up getting pushed back well into the backfield on several occasions. Against the Bills he was flagged for holding. In the Hall of Fame game a Colts defensive end not named Dwight Freeney pushed him around.

His problems have not been limited to the preseason games. Jansen has had some embarrassing moments in practice as well. Earlier this week Jason Taylor threw him to the ground as though Jansen were some sort of tackling dummy.

This has led to Jansen becoming a whipping boy on some message boards and blogs. He's too old and injury prone, they say. Jason Campbell won't survive September if they don't do something. Get rid of him and a kid like Chad Reinhardt or Stephon Heyer and chance.

To address the last part first, Jansen isn't going anywhere. He signed a contract extension prior to last season that would make releasing him very costly in terms of the 2009 salary cap.

Is he too old? No, 32 is not ancient for an offensive lineman by any means. Is he injury prone? Well, it's hard to argue that a player who has missed virtually all of two of the last four seasons is the picture of health. However, you also can make the case that the two injuries were the result of horribly bad luck, not of an inherent fragility in Jansen's physical makeup.

In any case, the Redskins are going to put him out there and see what happens. His struggles could be the result of him trying to knock of the rust that has accumulated as a result of missing last year. If that's the case, he should round into form by the time the season starts.

That brings up the question of what "form" for Jon Jansen is at this stage of his career. In his first few years in the league he was among the best tackles in the game with the Redskins' mediocre records costing him Pro Bowl spots. For the past few years, however, even when healthy, the general consensus is that he's been average at best.

Right now, Jansen has some work to do to get up to being average.

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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. 

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  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—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. 

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