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Need to Know: Five young veterans who could step up for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five young veterans who could step up for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 9, 15 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

It’s been 128 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 124 days.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 3
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 15
—Training camp starts (7/27) 79

Young players who could have an impact

Today's question is from Facebook:

Joey, I answered the second part of your question last week; take a look at that post here. But your second question is a good one. As is the custom here I will expand it to five young holdovers who may step up in 2017.

WR Maurice Harris—The undrafted rookie spent the first six weeks on the practice squad before getting called up to the 53-man roster. Harris played just 129 snaps so it’s a small sample size but he did catch an impressive eight of the 12 passes thrown his way (67%). He will get every opportunity to earn the No. 4 receiver spot, which would mean more snaps and, presumably, more receptions. At 6-3, he fits right in with the picture of the taller wide receiver group.

CB Kendall Fuller—His rookie year was a disappointment. Fuller suffered a knee injury that ended his final year at Virginia Tech early and he had light duty in the offseason program. All season long he never seemed quite right. He started the year on the game day inactive list and ended it on the bench. In between he was inconsistent playing mostly as the slot corner. I think that being fully healthy and getting in the preparation that an inexperienced player will help him step up and become a more consistent player.

DL Anthony Lanier—Like Harris, Lanier is in a much better spot this year than he was at this time in 2016. When you’re one of the masses trying to get the attention of the coaches you get very few reps and most of those are against other third- and fourth-string players. Once you’ve gotten a foothold like Lanier has you more individual attention and more quality reps. Jay Gruden think that Lanier can turn into a quality pass rusher and after missing the last part of 2016 with a leg injury he should get ample opportunity to prove it this year.

ILB Zach Vigil—It’s going to be tough to crack the rotation at inside linebacker with Zach Brown, Mason Foster, and Will Compton. I’m not quite sold on Spaight so I’m going to take flyer on Vigil. He was only with the Redskins for two games last year after being claimed off waivers from the Dolphins. In Miami, he played 16 games with two starts after making the team as a undrafted free agent. Vigil is fast and athletic and he could do well if he gets a shot at playing linebacker. Even if he doesn’t he should be a good special teams performer.

S Deshazor Everett—Safety is a pretty crowded spot with two draft picks joining starters D. J. Swearinger and Su’a Craves, holdovers Everett, Will Blackmon, and DeAngelo Hall, and draft picks Montae Nicholson and Josh Harvey-Clemons. Everett has the inside track on a roster spot due to his special teams play so he likely will have a shot at some snaps on defense. Everett played pretty well getting just 40 snaps last year so he could earn a regular role.

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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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Jay Gruden’s absence from football might only last a few months. 

The former Redskins head coach is reportedly interviewing for the Jacksonville Jaguars vacant offensive coordinator position, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Jacksonville parted ways with John DeFlippo last Monday after just one season with the team. 
 

The few times Gruden has spoken since being fired by Washington in October, the former head coach has expressed a strong desire to get back into coaching. Gruden recently told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport he’s been “itching to do something” and “would like an office to go to,” according to Garafolo. 

Interviewing for an offensive coordinator position is not unfamiliar territory for Gruden. He spent the past six years as the head coach in the nation’s capital, but perhaps his most success in the NFL was when the 52-year-old was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Behind the solid play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the Gruden-led offense in Cincinnati resulted in three straight playoff appearances. 

Should be be hired in Jacksonville, Gruden would have some promising pieces to work with. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed plenty of hope in the 12 games he started, and second-year wideout D.J. Chark enjoyed a breakout season in 2019. Additionally, running back Leonard Fournette finished with a career-high 1,152 rushing yards last season. 

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have reportedly interviewed for the gig as well. 

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