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As Redskins continue to overhaul defense, how will the pieces fit together?

As Redskins continue to overhaul defense, how will the pieces fit together?

Less than a month into the 2017 league year, the Redskins overhauled their defense from the version that struggled in 2016. Gone are defensive linemen Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-François, and a number of new faces will play in Washington this fall. 

The latest signing could be the biggest impact player, as the 'Skins inked Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Brown to a one-year deal. Brown's immediate role will bring some question, as Mason Foster remains under contract and restricted free agent Will Compton has been tendered by Washington. Whether it's replacing Compton or Foster, Brown will push for playing time quickly, and seems likely to unseat one of the starters in the middle of the defense. 

Brown made nearly 150 tackles last season, so he deserves to hit the field for Washington. But in front of the linebackers, and behind them, will be new players as well.

Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee will end up starting on the defensive line, likely at the defensive end spots. McGee could end up at nose tackle, but that job could stay with Ziggy Hood, who the 'Skins brought back after a solid 2016 campain. Don't count out Phil Taylor at nose either. A former first-round pick, if Taylor can get healthy, he might push for the job too. 

Behind Brown and the linebackers, expect new players at safety as well. Su'a Cravens has been pegged for a switch from linebacker to safety since the final weeks of his rookie campaign last year. D.J. Swearinger comes to town with every opportunity to start at safety for the 'Skins, and head coach Jay Gruden spoke highly of Swearinger's play last season in Arizona. 

The Redskins defense ranked 28th out of 32 NFL teams in 2016 in yards allowed. Bruce Allen and the front office had to overhaul the unit, and it seems, are well on their way.

The team still has 10 picks in the upcoming draft, and it would be a surprise if more resources were not deployed towards the defensive line. Even with the additions of McClain and McGee, questions remain up front, though team officials are very optimistic about both player's potential. 

With Brown, Cravens, McClain, McGee and Swearinger, the Redskins 2017 defense will look quite different than the 2016. Add in new coordinator Greg Manusky as well as multiple new position coaches, and it's fair to expect some alterations in the defensive scheme and mindset. 

A different defense does not neccesarily mean an improved defense, though Brown's signing suggests the 'Skins are on their way. 

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Saints sign intriguing receiver off Redskins' practice squad

Saints sign intriguing receiver off Redskins' practice squad

The Redskins were overloaded with interesting wide receiver prospects back in training camp. Not all could make the 53-man roster initially. Simmie Cobbs landed on the practice squad and remained there.

Buzz this week centered on whether Cobbs might finally land a promotion. He did, just not with Washington.

The New Orleans Saints signed Cobbs off the Redskins practice squad Friday, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.

Receiver injuries spiked for the NFC South leading-Saints in recent weeks, the result of which led the Drew Brees-led squad to poach Cobbs. The Indiana product had 72 receptions for 841 yards during his final season with the Hoosiers. He surprisingly went undrafted but joined a Redskins squad with uncertainty at receiver.  

Josh Doctson’s status remains unclear after suffering a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Giants. He remains “questionable” for this Sunday’s road game at Jacksonville, head coach Jay Gruden announced Friday.

Washington is already down three receivers from the Week 1 roster. Paul Richardson, Cam Sims and Trey Quinn landed on injured reserve. Quinn went down twice after an in-season return. The Redskins added Brian Quick for a few weeks and signed Jehu Chesson to help fill in rather than promote Cobbs or Darvin Kidsy from the practice squad.

Doctson’s status put forth the potential of Cobbs finally joining the 53 this week. It’s possible injuries elsewhere, namely to tight end Jordan Reed (toe) and long snapper Nick Sundberg (back) hampered the Redskins’ chances of adding another receiver.

"Simmie has been great. He's been great,” Gruden said Wednesday. “Kidsy has been great also, so if need be if one of those guys needs to be called up, I won't hesitate for a second. Like I said though, it’s a matter of roster spots. We don’t have a whole lot available so, we'll figure it out.”

Though the 6-foot-3 target made his shares of impressive catches during the summer, Washington kept another pair of rookies instead. Quinn was the Redskins’ final selection in the 2018 draft. Sims, also an undrafted free agent, wowed throughout training camp and the preseason before his season ended with a Week 1 foot injury.  

It’s unclear how Cobbs fit into Washington’s plans seeing as it never promoted him. The Redskins have questions going forward at receiver, concerns beyond this season. Whatever the solution, the interesting prospect won’t be part of them.

The New Orleans Advocate first reported the Saints signing Cobbs. 

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Mason Foster apologizes to Redskins fans in wake of private message controversy

Mason Foster apologizes to Redskins fans in wake of private message controversy

After private comments on Instagram made significant waves among Redskins fans, Mason Foster addressed the media to explain how much he regretted his actions. 

"People know I love the fans," Foster said Friday. 

In a wide-ranging interview where Foster explained his missteps on social media, the linebacker said he deeply apologized for the comments attributed to his account. 

Foster owned the first conversation that emerged this week on Twitter, where he wrote, "F*** this team and this fanbase" but said that subsequent conversations that leaked out were written by his cousin. Allowing his cousin control over his account was another major mistake, Foster said. 

For Foster, all he can do now is try to do right and prove to his teammates and fans that he's committed to the franchise and doing good in the community. 

On the season, Foster has 108 tackles and two interceptions. He's the Redskins defensive captain and tied for 7th across the NFL in tackles. 

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