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Need to Know: Five Redskins reserves who could have bigger roles in 2017

Need to Know: Five Redskins reserves who could have bigger roles in 2017

 

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 12, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 48
NFL draft 105
First Sunday of 2017 season 241

Five Redskins backups who could have significant roles in 2017

G Arie Kouandjio—In his second season in the NFL, Kouandjio got two starts and filled in during some other games. He did struggle early in the year but his performance in a late-season start in Philadelphia was better. If he keeps things moving in that direction he could push Shawn Lauvao, who has a $5 million cap number and turns 30 early in the season, for the starting left guard job.

WR Maurice Harris—Even if Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson both leave as free agents, they aren’t going to make Harris one of the top three receivers. But he could be the fourth receiver, a role that would increase his role from the 20 percent of the snaps he played last year to around 40 percent. By the end of the year he had moved past Ryan Grant, playing more snaps in six of the last seven games. There is a big difference between going through the offseason and training camp trying to make the team and going through it all preparing to play a substantial role during the season. If he takes to the added coaching and work with the first team he could benefit considerably.

ILB Martrell Spaight—The second-year player got a little bit of run after the replaced an injured Will Compton for a game and a half. He still has a lot to learn but he does know how to tackle, a skill that was missing on the defense for much of the year. If he can polish his game, particularly against the pass, they might find it hard to keep him off the field.

DL Anthony Lanier—After he made the team as an undrafted rookie he wasn’t active until Week 8 and a leg injury put him on the shelf after Week 12. But it’s telling that the defensive coaches designed a package of plays to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills. Look for the new defensive coordinator to try to get the most out of Lanier. As with Harris, Lanier will get the added attention that goes with a player who is trying to improve his game rather than just make the 53.

CB Kendall Fuller—It was an up-and-down year for Fuller, who went from spending the first three games on the game day inactive list to being the primary nickel corner to playing zero and one snap in two key late season games. The organization remains high on the third-round pick out of Virginia Tech. Fuller will get a full offseason after being hampered by a knee injury last year and if he takes advantage the added time he could find himself either starting at cornerback should Bashaud Breeland move to safety (at this point, a possibility but not a likelihood) or play 60 to 70 percent of the snaps as the nickel corner.

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Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

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USA Today Sports

Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

As a return to the old RFK Stadium site for the Redskins seems less likely, Washington owner Dan Snyder appears to be moving forward with a new plan: Staying in Maryland but adding a gambling license. 

Snyder met with a number of Maryland lawmakers to discuss sports betting and acquiring a license for a new Redskins stadium, according to The Washington Post. The report contends Snyder wants to use "sports betting as part of an overall plan to build a domed stadium that could include hotels, offices and training facilities."

The story also suggests Snyder could build the stadium with his own money. 

The Redskins currently play their games in Maryland at FedEx Field and their lease runs through 2027. The stadium is dated and Snyder has openly talked about wanting a new facility for his team to play.

For years, publicly, Snyder has opined that his team belongs back in D.C. at the RFK site. At various times in the last two years that seemed plausible, but political red tape from the federal government continues to hold things up. The stadium sits on federal land, and while the city has tried to regain control of that site, it hasn't happened. Until the city takes control, which is far from happening, it seems unlikely the Redskins get back to the site. 

So if it's time to move forward with Maryland, it requires a bit of a fresh start. The Redskins and the state were holding talks about a land swap to build a new stadium near the MGM National Harbor along the Potomac River, but those talks stalled when it became obvious the team preferred a return to D.C.

Legalized sports betting in Maryland seems likely to hit the ballot this fall, and considering the state already has fully operational casinos, there's little reason to think the vote wouldn't pass.

That's the first step for the Redskins to get a sports betting license for their new stadium. The idea isn't novel; Ted Leonsis has been quite open about adding a sports book to Capital One Arena and already has an agreement with William Hill bookmakers to run the gambling operation. Similar deals are expected at Audi Field and Nationals Park. 

It remains a bit of a surprise that Virginia politicians seem willing to sit out the courtship of a new Redskins stadium. Former Governor Terry McAullife actively flirted with the idea of building a new Redskins stadium in the Commonwealth, but current Governor Ralph Northam almost seems disinterested in the idea. 

The Redskins practice facility is in Loudon County and the team holds training camp each summer in Richmond. The training camp deal is soon to expire and some believe if and when a new stadium facility gets built, that could also house training camp and practices. Currently, no professional sports teams play in Virginia, and the Commonwealth does not appear as near legalized sports gambling as Maryland or the District. 

Like anything with a gigantic project in a region with three different local governing bodies and the omnipresent specter of the federal government looming, a new Redskins stadium will require significant legislative hurdles and deal-making. Stay tuned. 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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