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Need to Know: The Redskins get back to football today, sort of

Need to Know: The Redskins get back to football today, sort of

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 17, 10 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 25
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 37
—Training camp starts (7/27) 101
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 146

Football gets back underway (sort of)

For the first time since their gut-punch loss to the Giants, a defeat that knocked them out of the playoffs, the Redskins get back to football today. 

Well, sort of. 

Today marks the start of the Redskins’ offseason program. It’s the first day that the NFL permits teams to hold the voluntary workouts at their facilities. Whoever “volunteers” to show up—and if the past is any indication it should be most of the team—will gather at Redskins Park this morning to get to work.

But this doesn’t really mean that football is back. During Phase One, which lasts for two weeks, the players can engage in strength, conditioning, and rehab activities only. Kickers can kick footballs, punters can punt them, and quarterback can throw them to receivers. But the receivers can’t be guarded and the offense can’t run plays.

Only the strength and conditioning coaches can observe players while they are working out. Jay Gruden and his on-field staff can hold up to two hours of classroom and film instruction per day. It’s a short day as no player can be at the facility for more than four hours per day.

When Phase One ends, the team will start adding players in the draft and as undrafted free agents. There will be a minicamp for these players plus some that the team will try out during those three days start May 12.

During the three weeks of Phase Two, players can line up and run plays on offense and defense but against air, not against each other.

Phase Three is more commonly known as organized team activities, or OTAs. Those start on May 23 with three sessions per week for three weeks. The offense and defense can line up and run plays against each other but they can only wear helmets with no pads and contact is not permitted.

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

All three phases of the program are voluntary. Again, attendance is expected to be strong but there will be no penalties for players who aren’t there for whatever reason.

The only mandatory phase of the Redskins’ offseason program is minicamp. All players who are under contract are required to attend. The rules are the same as they are for OTAs. The Redskins will hold their minicamp from June 13-15.

After that the players are off until they report to training camp. That is tentatively scheduled to happen on July 26. Camp practices start the next day, 100 days from today.

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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Trey Quinn's thumb injury is minor, but his frustration level about it is major

Trey Quinn's thumb injury is minor, but his frustration level about it is major

Don't try and tell Trey Quinn that it's not a big deal to miss Thursday's preseason game against the Falcons, which is news Jay Gruden confirmed on Tuesday. To Quinn, it matters a lot, even if the contest itself really doesn't at all.

"I want to freakin' play," the second-year pro told reporters in the Redskins locker room. "I know they don't count, but to be honest with you, I want to get out there and compete."

Quinn is dealing with a thumb injury he suffered in warmups for Washington's exhibition opener in Cleveland on Aug. 8. According to the receiver, things got a "little chaotic" before kickoff and someone ran into him while he was catching a punt.

He explained that his hand is "progressing well" and "should be pretty healthy soon." But for a guy who landed on the injured reserve list twice as a rookie, dealing with another health issue just a handful of days away from the 2019 opener is far from ideal.

"I like reps. I freakin' love football. I don't need them, but I want them," he said. "I get aggravated not being out there. I get pretty pissed off. I'm one of the guys that likes to be out there in practice, get the reps and then go in there prepared for the game."

Quinn is one of the funnier and more laid back players on the Burgundy and Gold, and at times on Tuesday, that side came through. There were other moments, though, where he quickly shifted into a very serious tone, like when he was asked if he'd be suiting up if Thursday was a regular-season matchup. 

"Yeah, I'm out there," Quinn said. "Don't ask that question."

His sense of urgency when it comes to returning to action was evident throughout his talk with the media, and for good reason.

At training camp earlier this summer, Jay Gruden identified Quinn as a guy who had all but locked up the slot position, despite the fact that Quinn only has nine career catches to his name. The last pick of the 2018 NFL Draft is a favorite among coaches, but he's well aware that a few more health concerns and missed games could rapidly change that.

Now, this particular thumb problem doesn't appear to be a huge deal on its own. Combine it with the IR stints in 2018, however, plus the daily on-field chemistry building Quinn's missing with the quarterbacks, and you begin to understand why he's so anxious for his finger to fully heal.

Fortunately for him, he's got another 19 days before the Redskins travel to Philadelphia to open up the year. And when that date finally rolls around, Quinn hopes to have one desire on his mind.

"Come the Eagles Week 1, I want to be ready to win."

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Sorry Redskins fans, it's now officially time to freak out about Trent Williams

Sorry Redskins fans, it's now officially time to freak out about Trent Williams

In some situations, no news is good news. In the Redskins situation with Trent Williams, that's definitely not the case. 

On Monday, Washington coach Jay Gruden was asked if there was any update on the holdout that has kept the seven-time Pro Bowler away from the team for most of 2019, including all of training camp and the team's first two preseason games. 

"There are no updates whatsoever," Gruden said of Williams' holdout. 

That's big trouble. 

For the first few months, it seemed like Williams would come back. He was proving a point, showing the organization just how upset he was about a missed diagnosis on his scalp. But then Williams never showed up for training camp, and multiple sources explained Trent was serious about not coming back.

So why is now the time to really be worried? The Redskins will play their third preseason game on Thursday night in Atlanta. That's the important one, the preseason game where coaches really try to play their guys and simulate live action. 

Trent won't be there. 

"We’re preparing with the guys we have right now. That’s all we can do," Gruden said. 

At left tackle, that means second-year pro Geron Christian or newly signed veteran Donald Penn. Neither player comes close to Williams, but barely any NFL tackles do. Williams is elite, his replacements aren't, and that will become more clear than ever in Atlanta. 

But beyond Thursday's preseason game, Gruden's body language on Monday revealed a reluctant acceptance that Williams is nowhere close to suiting up in Burgundy and Gold. Early in training camp, Gruden sounded upbeat and optimistic that Williams would return. On Monday, the coach seemed defeated when talking about his left tackle (watch the video above).

"It is what it is right now," Gruden said. "He’s not here so we just have to talk about the people that we have."

In May and June, Trent's holdout seemed abstract. It was happening, but didn't really matter. Real football was so far away. 

In July, it became real. Williams never took the field in Richmond, and that was a real sign about the severity of the situation. 

On August 20th, with the dress rehearsal third preseason game two days away, Williams is not part of the game plan. He's not even a real thought for the offensive staff.

At the team's practice facility in Ashburn, Williams is a ghost. Unopened boxes sit stacked in front of his locker. There's no music being played, no jerseys being washed, and no big smile creeping out from his prime spot in the corner. 

Real football starts in less than a month, and for the Redskins, Trent Williams is not part of the plan. That's a huge problem, and now more than ever, it doesn't seem like it's changing. 

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