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Need to Know: Three Redskins who are up, three who are down

Need to Know: Three Redskins who are up, three who are down

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 27, 30 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 177 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 75 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 20
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 44
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 67

3 up, 3 down

NFL players’ fortunes shift during the year, not only while they are player games but in the spring and early summer as well. Here are three players who are in a better situation than they were when the 2016 season ended and three who are worse off.

Three up

WR Josh Doctson—He was a forgotten man by the end of last season, a first-round pick who landed on IR after playing in two games. Nobody was sure if he had fully recovered from his mysterious Achilles problem. Since January, we saw some videos of him working out and cutting, looking like a player who never was injured. Both Redskins’ top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, left in free agency, clearing a path to a starting job for Doctson. Doctson has looked fine in offseason practices and most are anticipating a solid season for him.

LG Shawn Lauvao—One can make the case that the Redskins’ season took a final turn for the worse in Arizona in Week 13 when Calais Campbell bowled over Lauvao and sacked Kirk Cousins, forcing a fumble that the Cardinals quickly turned into a critical touchdown. Although the popular perception was that Lauvao would be replaced, the Redskins went through free agency and the draft without acquiring a serious competitor for Lauvao. He could get a push from Arie Kouandjio but Lauvao is a strong favorite to remain the starter at left guard.

CB Josh Norman—It may not be accurate to say that Norman was “down” at the end of last year. But he was a first-team All-Pro in 2015 and he didn’t even get a Pro Bowl invitation last year. Since then, the Redskins have improved the players around Norman, giving him some help up front with their first two draft picks and bolstering the safety position. His prospects for recognition after the season are improved.

Three down

ILB Will Compton—First, the Redskins offered their starting Mike linebacker the low restricted free agent tender, meaning that the team would pay him $1.8 million if he stayed and they would be willing to let him go for no compensation if they didn’t match another team’s offer sheet. Then they brought in Pro Bowl inside linebacker Zach Brown as a free agent. Perhaps Compton will retain his starting role but it seems that Brown and Mason Foster will take some snaps from him. And after his RFA experience, Compton must wonder how much the organization will value him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

OLB Trent Murphy—Murphy had a breakout year in 2016, recording nine sacks. But things started going downhill for him after the season. First word came down that he was going to get a four-game PED suspension to start the season. Then the Redskins took OLB Ryan Anderson in the second round of the draft. Follow that up with Junior Galette surprising many by participating in OTA practices as he works his way back from a torn Achilles and Murphy must wonder if there will be snaps for him when he returns from his suspension.

RB Matt Jones—Yes, his “down” cycle started in London when he started his string of nine straight healthy appearances on the inactive list. But it has continued through the offseason as the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round. Part of the decline of Jones was self-inflicted as he decided to attend OTAs. That gave second-year back Keith Marshall a few more reps in the practices and he looked good. That perhaps pushed Jones from being Plan B if there was a training camp injury to a running back to Plan C or D. The former third-round pick ends up under contract with little prospect of making the team.

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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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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