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RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock

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RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock

Have you been sitting around trying to decipher how an injured Roy Helu and a newly signed Ryan Grant affectsthe Redskins backfield?In the world of fantasy football, there is no Da Vinci Code to crack: it'struly all about Alfred Morris now.The rookie runner's stunning rise up the depth chart from unassuming sixthround pick to weekly starter has actually moved up a notch, if possible,following the flurry of moves over the last 24 hours. Factor in a gimpy EvanRoyster (knee strain) and the word unassailable comes to mind when discussing Morris'hold on the gig. In pure fantasy terms and weekly matchup aside, the FloridaAtlantic product is a low-end RB2 with a chance for more should the Redskinsmaintain their high-scoring production. Though Tampa Bay, Washington's next opponent, rank tops in the NFL against the run thru three weeks, Morris remains a top 20 option innon-PPR (points per reception) formats.Based on last year's production, Helu figured to eventually be Morris'primary challenger for touches even if his style suggested change-of-paceoption. That might still be the case, but now that Helu has been placed oninjured reserve, it's a 2013 discussion.Royster could still suit up for against Tampa Bay in Week 4. While MikeShanahan has been known to switch lead backs on a whim - well, that's how itappears to us gamers anyway - there is little hint that he's ready to jettisonMorris out of the starting role for the ex-Penn Stater.This brings us to Grant, a former stud with the Packers, who has beenwatching from the sidelines this year after starting 14 of 15 games forGreen Bay last year. Never the most explosive runner even in his heyday, theterm plodding comes to mind when looking back on Grant's 2011 campaign, thoughhe still averaged 4.2 yards on 134 carries. Being familiar with the Redskinszone-blocking ways should help the self-described "one-cut" runner'sintroductory process.For the moment, at least until we see what the 29-year-old has left in thetank, any talk of Grant's signing should focus more on how he helps Robert GriffinIII rather than whether he's a threat to Morris' touches. The Redskins pass blocking is flawed.
One way to help the situation, add anexperienced running back trained in the art of pass protection. This was to beTim Hightower's role, but it's hard to stop ill-intentioned blitzers on oneleg. If Grant can compliment Morris - who does not have a reception this year -as a third or passing down option, that should help keep RG3's jersey clean (orat least clean-ish).For now, even handcuff-desiring fantasy owners can leave Grant on thewaiver wire; Royster and his youthful legs make for a better call if one feelscompelled to make such a move. Unless Grant shows more than just being RG3'sbackfield bodyguard or Morris' currently healthy yards per carry average starts(4.3) heading south, there is nothing for fantasy owners to see here.Well, other than Morris taking a stronger hold on the starting job.(P.S. Should Shanahan run Grant 20 times against the Bucs, this post will self-destruct)

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

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  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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