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Need to Know: One-liners on every Redskins player, defensive edition

Need to Know: One-liners on every Redskins player, defensive edition

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, November 28, 6 days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 13; Panthers @ Redskins 21; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 26

Redskins roster one per player one liners—defense

Over the next two days I’ll do a quick assessment of every player on the roster. I looked at the offense yesterday, here's the defense. 

DE Chris Baker isn’t racking up a lot of sacks but will the other things he’s doing be enough to get the Redskins (or another team) to give him a solid contract to a lineman who will turn 30 early in the 2017 season?

—The new Redskins fullback is OLB Houston Bates, has been doing it occasionally while playing sparingly on defense.

S Will Blackmon has done a competent job at free safety since stepping in for the injured DeAngelo Hall but the Redskins likely will seek to upgrade the position in the offseason.

—I think that both the Redskins and CB Bashaud Breeland are going to want to see what the player can do in 2017 before committing to a long-term contract.

—When it comes to getting the defense lined up ILB Will Compton does a good job but he does lead the team in missed tackles.

—I don’t understand why many fans and some in the media are so anxious to move LB Su’a Cravens to safety when he’s making such a big impact in his current hybrid role in the front seven.

CB Quinton Dunbar is still learning how to play cornerback and he’ll be pretty good (not great) when he gets it figured out.

S Deshazor Everett has been active every game but he hasn’t played a snap on defense; all of his action has come on special teams.

ILB Mason Foster has been ceding some snaps to Cravens and it seems to be helping him; he has been making plays sideline to sideline when he has been in.

—At the start of the year CB Kendall Fuller was on the bench and if he doesn’t work through his current problems pretty quickly he could find himself back there.

ILB Terence Garvin is another special teams specialist, playing only 37 snaps on defense this year.

—Nobody was sure if DL Ziggy Hood would make the team and although he hustled and makes some plays here and there the fact that he has played nearly 500 snaps is an indictment of the quality of the D-line.

—The word on S Duke Ihenacho is that he freelances too much and that hurts his playing time opportunities.

—Fifth-round draft pick DE Matt Ioannidis was able to work his way off of the practice squad and he got some snaps early but lately he has been a regular on the healthy inactives list.

DE Ricky Jean Francois is a team leader and a great locker room guy who does a pretty good job in the 25 snaps or so he plays per game.

—The fact that the Redskins picked up DE Cullen Jenkins in Week 2 is yet another indictment of the quality of the line although, like Hood, he works hard and is a good presence on the team.

—Although OLB Ryan Kerrigan is among the league leaders in sacks with 9.0 it would help if he can help out more in the takeaway department; he has no fumbles recovered and just one forced.

—The coaches are excited about the prospects of DE Anthony Lanier developing into a good pass rusher but don’t expect to see much out of him until 2017, maybe 2018.

—Raise your hand if you thought that OLB Trent Murphy would be second on the team with 7.0 sacks through 11 games. Anyone?

CB Josh Norman is a lightning rod for attention but not so much for opponents’ passes; big plays have been lacking.

—The defense needs impact plays from OLB Preston Smith and, outside of the Vikings game, he hasn’t delivered this year.

—There aren’t enough snaps for ILB Martrell Spaight so his play mostly has been confined to special teams.

—During training camp it looked like CB Greg Toler would have a role in the defense but except for a couple of games when he filled in for injured players his snap count has been in single digits each week.

—The first week after he signed in Week 5 S Donte Whitner playing sparingly but since then he has missed just a handful of snaps. Again, the Redskins need to upgrade at safety.

And, let’s not forget about the specialists:

—Although K Dustin Hopkins has been in a bit of a slump the Redskins are better off letting him work through it than they would be exploring other options.

—What looked like an early slump by P Tress Way is something he now carries into November, with his net punting average and kicks inside the 20 both second worst in the league.

—We have received no estimate on how long LS Nick Sundberg will be out but you have to think that if he’s not ready soon he could head to IR and Rick Lovato would handle the snaps the rest of the way.

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview—defense 

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the defense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. I looked at the topics on offense yesterday

Lining up the line

Will Phil Taylor, who seems to be a long shot to make the team after they drafted two nose tackles, get some run with the first and second teams? Also, this is a young group and Jim Tomsula will have a lot of opportunities to teach. Watching him interacting with his line and going over the details of line play is fun to watch.

Spaight vs. Vigil

The two starting inside linebacker starters are safe and the team is intrigued enough by the potential of both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton to make them likely bets to make the 53-man roster. That leaves Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight competing for the last ILB roster spot. 

Spaight is a known quantity who has been a mainstay on special teams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. They kept him over Vigil in the cut to 53 a year ago. But last year when injuries hit, Vigil started over Spaight. In a way, this is Round 3 between the two. 

Ryan Anderson

We know what outside linebacker starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith can do. Pernell McPhee will be good for four or five sacks and perhaps a forced fumble or two. Anderson, who was team’s second-round pick last year, is a big question mark. He played 193 snaps in 14 games, but he barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and just 11 tackles. Anderson is a hard worker and they need his 

The pieces of the cornerback puzzle

This is discussed in some detail hereby JP Finlay and I’ll look at it later this week. To pick out one detail, I want to see what the rotation in the slot is. Right now the guess is that Orlando Scandrick is the starter but who will be behind him? That’s important because Scandrick has missed 25 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. 

Apke’s progress

Fourth-round safety Troy Apke displayed impressive makeup speed during offseason practices and that let him make some plays on the ball. But he needed that speed too often as he had issues in coverage. You need to be more than just fast to play in the NFL. If Apke is going to be an alternative if injury problems strike Montae Nicholson again he needs to start making some progress while he is in Richmond. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 3
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 17
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 40

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 48 days. 

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10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No. 4: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

In a way, the Redskins are quite lucky. Not every team in the NFL has an unequivocal No. 1 corner. Washington has that in Josh Norman

His interception numbers in 2017 did not get the job done, but he still played quite well. Norman got targeted significantly less than the league average, which means NFL quarterbacks actively chose not to mess with former All Pro. 

Still, Norman needs more interceptions than last year. He grabbed none, and he will admit that he must create more turnovers. 

Regardless, Norman is not the Redskins question mark at cornerback. What happens after Norman is the question. 

Washington moved quick this offseason to lock up Quinton Dunbar off restricted free agency. Dunbar has size and range, and has looked quite capable, in spots. He doesn't have a ton of experience, however, and will be asked to start this fall. The team also signed veteran Orlando Scandrick - from the Cowboys - as a likely nickel/slot corner. 

Second-year man Fabian Moreau will be expected to take a significant step forward this fall. The Redskins would like very much to be able to primarily rely on Norman, Moreau and Dunbar while asking less of Scandrick. 

Don't forget Washington lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Fuller got moved to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, and Breeland remains a free agent.

Redskins coaches won't tell the exact truth, but the the team would love for Moreau to emerge opposite Norman and let Dunbar play in the slot. Or maybe let Moreau emerge in the slot, like Fuller did in 2017, and Dunbar opposite Norman. Scandrick hasn't played a full season since 2013, and the 'Skins brass can't expect that in 2018 for the 31-year-old corner. 

Josh Holsey, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman will provide depth at the bottom of the roster. That's two seventh-round picks and a supplemental sixth round pick. While each player provides reasons for optimism, it's hard to think any of the three young players will provide immediate help. They're better focused fighting for a roster spot than a starting spot. 

In 2017, cornerback ranked as a strength for the Redskins. 

In 2018, it's a big question. Elite play from Norman could change much of that equation. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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