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Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' updated depth chart—Defense

Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' updated depth chart—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 14, 35 days before Washington Redskins start offseason workouts on April 17.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Draft (4/27) 44
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 59
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 71
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 123
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 180

Looking at the 2017 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defense stands now. The offense was up yesterday.

Defensive line: Ricky Jean Francois, Phil Taylor, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis

This is based on the players who are on the roster now. None of the three listed starters should be starting. If they get a top-line free agent like Jonathan Hankins or Dontari Poe, that is one starter. A solid draft could bring one or two more. This unit is very much a work in progress (as it has been the last couple of years).

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Will Compton
Backups: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels

There will be some competition here from Lynden Trail and Houston Bates on the outside and Zach Vigil on the inside. The draft could add some more talent both on the inside and on the edge.

Defensive backs: CBs Bashaud Breeland, Josh Norman; SS Su’a Cravens, FS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Tharold Simon, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, 1-2 draft picks

The starters seem to be set although we have to see if Swearinger can play free safety. Fuller struggled for long stretches of last year and they hope that he can get his feet under him in his second year. Simon, Blackmon, and Everett could all be replaced by draft picks or free agents. DeAngelo Hall may be released but he could get a chance to come back on a reduced salary.

MORE REDSKINS: Pryor 'assumes' Cousins will be the QB

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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