Redskins Coach Jay Gruden met with reporters following the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft on Friday night. Here are some highlights from his news conference:
- On Mississippi State pass rusher Preston Smith, who was picked 38th overall, Gruden said: “He’s lined up all over the defensive front. He’s been a nose guard, he’s been a five technique, he’s stood up, he can drop in coverage. …We feel like he’s a young kid growing and there’s still a lot we can build upon with his body frame the way it is. Very long arms, explosive player and there are a lot of spots that he can play.”
- Gruden confirmed that Smith will play outside linebacker in the Redskins base 3-4 defense. But, he added, “There’s so much nickel nowadays that he can be a defensive end, he can stand up, he can be a three technique."
- Gruden says both Smith and Trent Murphy, last year's second rounder, figure to play a lot in 2015. “Both those guys are very similar—Trent and Preston,” Gruden said. “They are both very versatile players. Trent has put on some weight; he might be able to play defensive end. Both of those guys will play a lot of football, I can promise you that.”
- On Florida RB Matt Jones, Gruden said: “Matt’s a physical runner. He’s a downhill type runner. We had him in for a visit a couple of weeks ago and we liked his attitude. We liked what he knew about football, his passion for the game and his running style. He’s a little bit different than what we’ve had around here. He’s a downhill, smashmouth type runner. A physical kid.”
- Gruden said the addition of Jones won’t have an immediate impact on Alfred Morris, who is entering the final year of his contract. “Alfred won’t be affected,” Gruden said. “He’s still the running back here. He’s had three great seasons and that won’t change. To add another guy that can come in here and pound the rock a little bit doesn’t hurt anything. It will help Alfred in that regard, taking some carries off of him.”
- Gruden also said he envisions Jones as a core special teamer due to his toughness.
- On picking up three additional picks in a trade with Seattle, Gruden said: “There’s still a lot of players that can help us, a lot of different positions. We’ll take all of that into consideration and make a good Redskins decision. …I think there’s good quality there in the later rounds, and to have a couple more [picks] is good.”
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and Titans tackle Taylor Lewan got into a widely-discussed altercation after Washington's Week 16 loss to Tennesse last season.
But on Thursday, Lewan said he's finally ready to let bygones be bygones.
Lewan tweeted he wants Norman to come on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast he co-hosts with former Redskins linebacker Will Compton to "settle our differences."
Judging by what happened last December, there are plenty of differences: Norman threw his helmet at Lewan after the latter approached him, Lewan later accusing Norman of trying to hurt Titans running back Derrick Henry.
"I'm not worried about Josh Norman, man," Lewan told reporters after the incident. "I'm an offensive lineman, he's a [defensive back]. I don't know who that is."
"I was pissed. He was trying to hurt Derrick [Henry]. That's BS. That’s not the way football’s supposed to be played, man. It’s not our fault you’re not relevant anymore."
"Why would you come to another man's sideline?" Norman said of the dust-up. "And then after you won a game, you pick fun at the player that is relevant. You go out of your way to come to his bench, his sideline, to go at him in that kind of way."
"We're not having it. We will not tolerate disrespect. That's zero tolerance for that. That was the ultimate disrespect. You just don't do that."
The incident happened months ago, so it's about time the pair made peace. And as an ex-Redskin and ex-Titan, perhaps Compton can help mend the fences. But if Norman does accept Lewan's invitation to come on the podcast, we might be in for even more verbal fireworks.
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Considering how serious that November leg injury was and how difficult the subsequent surgeries were, any time you see Alex Smith out, about and smiling, it's encouraging.
On Thursday, the Redskins posted a couple of pictures of Smith helping out at the team's third day of OTAs. The QB was photographed hanging out with coaches and even tossing a football:
You can't tell in the pictures whether Smith is still wearing the external fixator on his right leg, but regardless of whether he is or not, it's still great to see him in Ashburn around the organization.
It remains unclear what kind of role Smith will have with the 'Skins in 2019. However, if he's willing, he'd be an ideal mentor for Dwayne Haskins and overall a positive influence on the entire roster, seeing as many players don't hesitate to praise the leadership he displayed in 2018.
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