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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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In case you missed it

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Ron Rivera doesn't anticipate Dwayne Haskins being bothered by Redskins talking to top QBs

Ron Rivera doesn't anticipate Dwayne Haskins being bothered by Redskins talking to top QBs

Ron Rivera figured he'd make headlines (like the one on this exact website). He just doesn't really think what he revealed deserved to be so newsworthy.

The comments that generated some chatter came on Wednesday, when the Redskins head coach told reporters at the Combine that the team will speak with both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Washington, of course, already has Dwayne Haskins on the roster and appears poised to take Chase Young second overall in the upcoming draft. But Rivera still wants to sit down with the two top passers in this year's class, and he doesn't really see what's wrong with that.

"I just think it's what you're supposed to do," Rivera told the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday in Indianapolis. "Of course, that's one thing that people want to jump on and sink their teeth into and create stuff. All we're doing is our due diligence. If we don't look at those guys and something crazy happened, then we'd sit there and look silly."

Burrow is the overwhelming favorite to be selected by the Bengals to kick off April's event, but it makes sense for the Redskins to familiarize themselves with him just in case something wacky happens (it is the Bengals, guys). 

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, has been getting positive reports on his health, which is really the only thing to doubt about the polished product from Alabama. While Burrow currently seems like a complete longshot to end up with the Burgundy and Gold, Tagovailoa does not.

Still, Rivera maintained that the Redskins are just completing their research.

"We're going to cover all our bases and just see what happens," he said. "Everybody wants to know what we're going to do. We can't tell you what we're going to do because we don't know what's going to happen in front of us."

Now, is Rivera worried at all about how Haskins will take these meetings? His rookie year was rife with stories that the 2019 coaching staff didn't want him, after all, so isn't it risky to possibly restart those stories again in 2020? 

Short answer? Nope. Long answer? Here it is.

"I think Dwayne is smart enough to understand," the head man said. "I really do. It's been a neat development of a relationship right now between he and I. I think the one thing that I really do appreciate is his hard work already. And I think that's what everybody needs, to just take a step back and understand that all we're doing is our due diligence."

Rivera indicated that Burrow and Tagovailoa could very well visit the Redskins at their facility later this offseason, too, so this talk of QB drama may pop up again shortly. It doesn't feel like drama to him, though.

To him, and hopefully to Haskins, this is all a part of having the No. 2 pick in the draft, a spot that gives Washington a lot of options.

"I think if this is something that's bothering him, he'll say it," Rivera finished. "But he's a mature, young man who's just growing in his role. I just think that everybody needs to just relax and let us go through our process."

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Arizona State punter Michael Turk dominates the bench press at NFL Combine

Arizona State punter Michael Turk dominates the bench press at NFL Combine

As far as reputations go in the NFL, punters are not generally known as the tough, strong guys on the team.

Arizona State punter Michael Turk is working to change that.

At the NFL Combine on Thursday, Turk stepped up to the bench press with 225 pounds on the bar waiting for him. What did he do? Just casually ripped off 25 reps.

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. A punter just put up 25 reps on the bench press. That number is impressive as is, for anyone of any position. However, let's put it in context to show just how strong Turk is.

Jadaveon Clowney, Chandler Jones and Rob Gronkowski are all known as some of the strongest humans to ever hit the football field. Their bench reps? 21, 22 and 23, respectively. Michael Turk, the punter, out-did them

Turk will need his legs to impress teams and scouts as he looks to head to the NFL, but he clearly has plenty of power in the upper body as well. If whatever team he lands on wants to run a fake punt, defenders won't have an easy time taking him down.

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