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Need to Know: Five Gruden notes and quotes after Redskins' OTA

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Need to Know: Five Gruden notes and quotes after Redskins' OTA

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 12, five days before the start of Redskins minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Here are five notes and quotes from Jay Gruden’s presser after Wednesday’s OTA session.

—Gruden did not lose hope for safety Bacarri Rambo after seeing his rough rookie season on tape. “That’s going to happen for young guys. Certain guys handle things differently, but don’t expect a Pro Bowler by a rookie safety. It’s hard. Very few and far in between as far as that position goes. It’s a difficult position. There’s a lot of checks that happen from formation checks, checks in the coverage and all that good stuff in the front, all that, so it’s a very tough position to come in as a rookie or a young kid and play.”

—Gruden called for the no-huddle offense (discussed in my practice notes) not only to help Robert Griffin III and company but also to help the defense get used to what it will face, such as the Eagles in Week 3: “We’re trying to pick up the tempo. Also, from a communications standpoint, football is a lot about communication nowadays. A lot of teams are running a no-huddle, so from a defensive standpoint, you’ve got to be able to communicate your calls, get in the right front and talk about it and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

—What we often call “chemistry” between a QB and a receiver really boils down to the receiver being where he’s supposed to be and the quarterback knowing he’s going to be there. Gruden believes that this is coming along well for Griffin and his receivers. “I’m very happy with the way it’s going. We’re not perfect and I don’t think anybody is right now. There’s been some out of route too sharp, not sharp enough, maybe a little bit short, maybe a little deep. But I think the more we watch it, the more we rep it, the more comfortable he’s going to be of knowing where people are and what depths and how they’re coming out of their cuts.”

Josh LeRibeus, a 2012 third-round pick, faces an uphill battle to make the roster. But it appears that he is in good shape and is giving it his best shot. ““LeRibeus has done good. He came in and his weight was down. He’s in good shape and he’s made some improvements from what I saw last year. You know I don’t have a lot of history with him obviously, just what I’ve seen this year, but he does look a lot better this time of year this year than he did last year from what I hear, but he’s doing well.”

—As long as he calls the signals right, Gruden is not all that worried about Keenan Robinson being able to replace London Fletcher in any sort of leadership capacity. “I think as long as he’s communicating the calls, that’s important, and as long as he’s playing hard and doing the right thing, that’s leadership enough in a lot of cases. There’s not – you don’t have to be a Ray Lewis-type of leader to play middle linebacker and be successful.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 165 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 87 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 5; Training camp 42; Preseason opener vs. Patriots 56

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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

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?

Right or wrong, fans blamed Shawn Lauvao for much of the Redskins struggles on the offensive line last season. Pro Football Focus backs up the fans, as Lauvao landed a -19.1 grade, among the worst in the NFL at the guard spot. 

It's worth pointing out that Lauvao was playing hurt during much of his nine starts before getting shut down for the season just before Thanksgiving. In fact, injuries have probably been the biggest issue for Lauvao in his four seasons with the Redskins. 

In four seasons in Washington, Lauvao has never played a full 16-game slate. Last year he played just nine games, and in 2015 he only played three games. 

That points to what may be the bigger issue for the Redskins: offensive line depth. Last season was wild with the amount of injuries Washington sustained up front. It seems almost impossible for the team to have that many injuries again.

Still, the Redskins lost Arie Kouandjio for the year in the offseason. Kouandjio played better last year than Lauvao, and having both men in Richmond would have provided real competition. 

And that might be the biggest question: Neither Lauvao or Kouandjio represent a difference maker at left guard, yet the team did little to address the position. 

All offseason, the Washington brass walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The organization believes strongly in the players they already have, and outside of signing Paul Richardson and re-signing Zach Brown, the team had a quiet offseason. The Redskins struggled to run the ball the last few years, and still, the team did not look to upgrade at LG. 

It's important to note that the Redskins have two All-Pro caliber offensive linemen in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses is a plus at the right tackle spot too. The team likes Chase Roullier at center too, and they tried to add depth in drafting Geron Christian in the third round and bringing back swing tackle backup Ty Nsekhe as a restricted free agent. 

Left guard will be a question, and it's hard not to think that it will be the weakest position on the O-line. Should that submarine the group? It shouldn't. What if Lauvao gets hurt?  Then things get quite tricky.

For the Redskins, however, the expectation might be that the line needs to perform as a unit, and with talent like Williams and Scherff, that should cover up any weaknesses.

Time, and health, will tell if that plan works. 

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 20, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the cornerbacks are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ coverage metrics, although I did some juggling based on interception totals and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, running backspass rushers, and quarterbacks

1. Patrick Peterson, Cardinals—The athletic Peterson has been All-Pro three times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his seven years in the league. He hasn’t had a big interception total since he got seven in 2012, but that is mostly because quarterbacks only throw his way about once every ten snaps he is in coverage. 

2. Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars—I could easily have ranked Ramsey over Peterson. I went with Peterson because he’s been doing it for longer and he’s only 28. Ramsey has justified his No. 5 selection in the 2016 draft. His long arms and ball skills serve him well. He has the size to defend the bigger receivers and the athleticism to be effective against shifty and speedy receivers. 

3. A.J. Bouye, Jaguars—If Alex Smith tries to throw away from Ramsey he will encounter trouble on the other side. It’s been trendy to say that Bouye is underrated for so long he’s in danger of becoming overrated. But he’s not there yet. Bouye was one of four full-time (played at least 60% of snaps) cornerbacks who did not allow a touchdown pass last year and he had by far the most plays in coverage. 

4. Malcolm Butler, Titans—If the Brady-Belichick Patriots don’t win another Super Bowl, the coach’s decision to keep Butler on the bench as Nick Foles shredded the New England secondary will be marked as the end of that era. Maybe Butler isn’t good enough to have made a difference, but it would have been interesting to see. He’s with the Titans now and he will give Smith problems in December. 

5. Marshon Lattimore, Saints—Last year’s defensive rookie of the year plays an aggressive style both in press man coverage and when tackling receivers who have caught the ball. An ankle injury sent him out of the game against the Redskins early, perhaps one of the reasons why Kirk Cousins was able to light them up for 322 yards and three touchdowns. 

Best of the rest: Desmond Trufant, Falcons; Brent Grimes, Bucs; Logan Ryan, Titans;k Jaire Alexander (rookie), Packers

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) 6
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 20
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 43

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 51 days. 

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