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Jay Gruden explains why Redskins didn't target a nose tackle in the 2017 draft

Jay Gruden explains why Redskins didn't target a nose tackle in the 2017 draft

After months of hand-wringing over the state of the defensive line, the Redskins certainly addressed the position group in the NFL Draft. The first two picks went to the front seven, first with Jonathan Allen to play defensive end and second with Ryan Anderson to play outside linebacker. 

The additions of Allen and Anderson will boost the D-line immediately. That's clear. 

Yet it's also clear that the Redskins did nothing to address the nose tackle position. Even with 10 picks, and four picks in the last two rounds, Washington chose to again ignore the middle point of the team's three-man front.

It doesn't sound like it was an accident either.

"I feel good," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of nose tackle after the draft. "I think a lot of people don’t know the guys we’ve had here or the guys there were on our practice squad."

The "guys that are here" include Matt Ioannadis and free agent Phil Taylor. The practice squad guys would be Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis.

RELATED: 2018 mock draft has Redskins taking a QB

It's entirely possible Mbu or Francis can develop into rotational pieces at the nose. Both undrafted, Francis goes 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, while Mbu stands 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds. They have good size and work hard, in the weight room and on the field. Still, neither player has a single start in two years in the league.

Ioannadis, who is 6-foot-3 and 309 pounds, did not make a start for the Redskins last season as a rookie. In fact, he was active for only 10 games and registered six tackles. For a fifth round pick, his impact was negligible. 

Then there is Taylor, the true wild card for Washington at nose tackle. A first-round pick in 2011, Taylor is a D.C. native looking to again prove he belongs in the NFL. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons, and played just five games in 2014. Injuries derailed his career, but his first three seasons in the NFL, Taylor showed he could be a force.

At 6-foot-3 and 337 pounds, Taylor goes about 30 pounds more than the other possible Redskins nose tackles. And he's performed at a high level. As a rookie in 2012, he started 16 games, made 37 tackles and logged four sacks. 

"We added Phil Taylor. He’s an ex-first-round pick, had a couple of injuries but he’s looking good out here. He looks healthy and [he is] rolling," Gruden said. 

May is the time for optimism, and in Taylor's case, his return would be a boon for the 'Skins. He's signed to a minimal deal. If he can get back, and it's a huge if, could be true value for the defense.

Washington does not seem overly concerned about the nose tackle position. Remember Gruden explained at the NFL Owner's Meetings in March that he fully expects defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle.

"If you look at his track record, you look at the nose guards he’s had, none of them have been priority first-round draft choices," Gruden said of Tomsula. "He’s made nose guards. He coaches that position extremely well, and I have faith that he’ll do that."

Beyond what Gruden said about Tomsula, the quotes might reveal an organizational mindset about the position. Fans might overestimate the importance of the nose, or at least what should be invested in the position.

RELATED: DB draft picks have an uphill battle for roster spots

Consider that nose tackle is one of the most physically demanding positions in football, and add in that playing nose requires serious size, particularly weight, and it can be hard for guys to maintain their endurance while carrying 325 lbs. or more year after year.

On most defenses, resources get spent in two main areas: sacking the quarterback and defending the pass. The big money goes to the edge, pass rushers and cornerbacks. Those two positions also tend to dominate draft capital. 

The Redskins are no different. The highest-paid players on Washington's defense are Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Norman. The team's first two draft picks will be expected to pressure opposing QBs, and their third-round pick is a cornerback. The team also added two safeties and another corner in the later rounds of the draft while not drafting a nose.

The lesson? Gruden's comments, and the team's action made it clear: Nose tackle just isn't the priority that some Redskins fans want it to be. 

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2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

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USA Today Sports

2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins training camp is almost here, which means preseason football is not far off, with the 2018 NFL regular season coming into view.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2018 training camp schedule, set to begin July 26. Once again the activities will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va., the Redskins training camp venue since 2013.

The Redskins' 2018 training camp is sure to be an intriguing one. The Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, a new running back in Derrius Guice, and a litany of players returning from injury.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2018 Redskins training camp, from location to times, dates, ticket prices and more.

Who: The Washington Redskins

What: Redskins 2018 NFL Training Camp

Where: Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va.

When: July 26 until Aug. 14

When is Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp begins on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

What time does Redskins training camp start?

The typical schedule opens with a morning practice from 9:45-11:45 a.m. and an evening walkthrough from 4:40-5:40 p.m. Exceptions are noted below.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

At the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page. (https://www.redskins.com/schedule/training-camp/)

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/26 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Fri. 7/27 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 7/28 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sun. 7/29 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 7/31 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Wed. 8/1 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Thurs. 8/2 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 8/4 — 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — N/A — 3:30 p.m.

Sun. 8/5 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Mon. 8/6 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 8/7 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

Thurs. 8/9 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/11 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Sun. 8/12 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Mon. 8/13 — 8:30 a.m. — 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. — 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. — 3:35 p.m.

*Tues. 8/14 —  12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*The last three training camp dates will be a joint practice with the New York Jets

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With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

Jay Gruden is many things, including honest, witty, one of the greatest Arena League quarterbacks in the history of the universe and, as of June 18, the longest-tenured head coach of a major D.C. sports team.

With the Capitals and Barry Trotz parting ways, Gruden is now officially the area's most experienced boss (while Gruden was actually hired a few months before Trotz back in 2014, they both have led their teams through four seasons up to this point, which is the number that matters here).

Scott Brooks, meanwhile, has overseen the Wizards for two campaigns, while Nats manager Dave Martinez is in the middle of his first year at the helm.

This designation will pair nicely with the fact that Gruden will also be the first 'Skins headman to hold his job into a fifth season in the Dan Snyder era. You don't need to make plans to visit his statue yet, of course, but this is some uncharted territory the 51-year-old is currently hanging out in.

Now, his overall record of 28-35-1 certainly needs work, or else he'll be in danger of handing the longest-tenured distinction over to Brooks. However, Gruden does deserve credit for bringing an amount of stability to the Burgundy and Gold, a franchise that is usually as stable as Metro's Wi-Fi connection.

So, with all due respect to DC United's Ben Olsen, the Kastles' Murphy Jensen and whatever legend is in charge of your kid's dynastic flag football team, when you think of the man who's been roaming the sidelines longer than anyone else in D.C., be sure to think of this man and only this man:

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