Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 4, 20 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.
It’s been 123 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 129 days.
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 8
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 20
—Training camp starts (7/27) 84
Fan questions: Roles for Anderson and Smith, depth chart at ILB
Will Anderson play olb or ilb, what's this mean for Preston? #NTK— Ryan (@wolf47558) May 3, 2017
All indications are that Anderson will play outside linebacker. It certainly seems that he wants to play there. “I'm going to be the best outside linebacker in the game,” he told us shortly after the Redskins drafted him. “That's what I'm going to do.”
Jay Gruden didn’t say directly but he expressed confidence that despite his relatively low weight for an edge player (253 lb. at the combine) he can set the edge against the run.
“If he's playing outside, nobody runs outside,” Gruden said. “He's great at setting that edge. He’s one of the best I've seen at setting the edge in the running game. He's a very good pass rusher with his tenacity and he has made a lot of splash plays at Alabama.”
It’s possible that the coaches will get him on the field and figure out that he is better suited to play inside. But as of right now he’s going to work with the OLBs.
What about Preston Smith? The two second-round picks are mirror images of each other. Smith has tremendous physical tools but a laid-back attitude. Anderson was not a combine star but he has a high motor and a tenacious attitude. Gruden said that he hopes that attitude is “going to rub off on a lot of people.” He likely is hoping that some of it will rub off on Smith.
That would be ideal. You can’t have too many good pass rushers and if Smith feels pushed by Anderson, so much the better. I’m sure that Greg Manusky will be happy to figure out how to utilize both if they are effective.
Is the ILB corps as currently constructed what they go into the season with? Does Foster start with Brown? Do expect Spaight to pop? #NTK— Matt Hein (@matthein79) May 3, 2017
Assuming Anderson stays on the outside, you have three inside linebackers who are capable of starting. Will Compton and Mason Foster started here last year and Zach Brown made the Pro Bowl playing for the Bills.
It seems likely that the starters will be Compton and Brown. Neither Foster nor Brown is well suited to playing the Mike linebacker position, which involves calling the defenses. Compton does that well and it seems likely that he will continue to do it.
Even if he doesn’t start, Foster should get plenty of snaps as the nickel linebacker. He filled in there last year when Su’a Cravens was injured. With Cravens now moving to safety we should see Foster back in the role he had for the last few games last year.
Martrell Spaight likely will be the backup Mike linebacker. He played about a game and a half there last year when Compton was injured and while he struggled some he showed some potential. I’m not sure what you mean by “pop” but we will have to see how he does if he gets another opportunity.
Tandler on Twitter
Gruden on Cousins trade talks: "Not one call. Not one. There was no talk about it. Nothing.” 4 denials, 59 characters. Browns just laughed.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) May 3, 2017
In case you missed it
- Browns laughed at Kirk Cousins trade rumors
- Redskins' post-draft depth chart: Are the offensive starters set?
- Which Redskins draft picks will make the 53-man roster?
- Value shopping? Redskins did just that at NFL Draft
- Report: McCloughan back to running scouting service