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Redskins dominate in final tune-up

Redskins dominate in final tune-up

While a number of Redskins might jump each time their phone rings over the next 48 hours, Billy Cundiff wont be sweating Fridays final cuts.

The only kicker on the roster after he was signed Tuesday after Graham Gano was released, Cundiff said his focus is on developing chemistry with long snapper Nick Sundberg and Sav Rocca before the regular season opener in New Orleans on Sept. 9.

Cundiff was pleased with his debut Wednesday at FedEx Field, where he went 3 for 4 on field goal attempts in a 30-3 victory over Tampa Bay in the preseason finale for both teams.

The former Raven connected on kicks of 39, 27 and 22 yards, while missing from 46. He also made all three extra points and was credited with touchbacks on five of his six kickoffs.

Disappointed about the miss, but all things considered, we had four reps in practice yesterday and pre game today, he said. Theres definitely some things we have to iron out with the rhythm, getting used to each other.

As for the positions that remain undecided, heres a quick rundown of the latest developments:

Bank it: Wide receiver Brandon Banks likely helped his chances of making the 53-man roster. He had a 47-yard reception, took a reverse 43 yards and averaged 13.2 yards on five punt returns. But he also muffed a punt and fumbled a handoff.

No, Banks said, asked if hes going to be nervous Friday as teams cut down from 75 to 53 players. I think I put enough on film to still have a job somewhere. If not here, somewhere else.

Asked about his diving catch on the long third-quarter pass from Kirk Cousins, Banks said: I had opportunities, and I made the best of it. It felt good to finally catch a ball and show Im capable of going deep as a wide receiver.

Defensive MVP: Rookie corner back Richard Crawford had a tackle, defended a pass and made his second interception of the preseason in the third quarter. Crawford challenged Tiquan Underwood on a deep pass and pulled the ball away from Bucs wide receiver.

Im new to this business, so I dont really have a confidence level, Crawford said of making the team. Ill be by my phone.

Crawford sustained a sprained right knee but returned to the game and later reported that hes a little sore but fine.

Offensive MVP: Roy Helu Jr., who missed the past two games with sore Achilles tendons on both legs, rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 34 yards.

Injuries have muddled the running back position, but it appears likely that Coach Mike Shanahan will keep four running backs: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Alfred Morris and Helu.

Uncertain future: Like a number of Redskins, the next day and a half figures to be excruciating for wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Dezmon Briscoe.

Armstrong caught two passes for 61 yards and received ample time on special teams, while Briscoe did not enter the game until the second half and did not play on special teams as much as he had hoped.

This has been crazy, Armstrong said of the competition at wide receiver. Theres talent from the top to the bottom, which is going to make for some difficult decisions.

Briscoe added: Im not really too confident on whether Im going to make it or not. I wasnt really part of the rotation on special teams.

Injury report: Royster started the game at running back but was removed after suffering what Shanahan called a little sprained neck. He did not appear to be injured seriously as he exited the dressing room afterward. Running back Tristan Davis sprained his right knee in the first quarter on special teams and did not return.

Rough day: For perhaps the first time in NFL history, a review ended up getting looked at again by the replacement officials. Following a lengthy review to check the correct spot of the ball, referee Jim Core announced to the crowd: Were going to look at it one more time. The sparse crowd booed.

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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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Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

Trent Williams has really good things to say about Alex Smith and Derrius Guice

The most significant thing to come from Trent Williams' spontaneous chat with the media on Wednesday is that the left tackle expects to be ready for training camp.

But two other topics Williams covered while talking were his initial impressions of new teammates Alex Smith and Derrius Guice. 

And while having one player compliment other players in the offseason is the second-most common thing in the NFL behind the Browns losing games, No. 71 went beyond the normal, clichéd positivity you're used to hearing. 

He was first asked about Smith, a QB he'd only met at the Pro Bowl until these offseason sessions in Ashburn.

“He’s a winner," Williams said. "As you all know, you don’t win in this league without a quarterback, so us being able to have one and have one right now, it does everything for our team and our attitude and the faith we have to win."

Next came a question about Guice, the rookie who looks like the most talented running back to date that Williams will have the pleasure of blocking for. What are his thoughts on the LSU product?

"When you watch him on film it's like he's been here before," Williams observed. "He's a specimen."

As for the 'Skins being able to snag Guice where they did in the draft, the 29-year-old admitted he was quite surprised.

"Extremely lucky to get him in the second round," he said. "I don't know how that happened... It's not going to take very long before people recognize him as an elite NFL talent."

Williams is coming off of surgery, will turn 30 in July and, during last season, spoke about how the injuries he constantly fought through started to take a toll on him. Ready to hear something sad? He's never won a playoff game.

So, for a veteran who's aging like him and who hasn't captured anything of signifigance yet, having confidence and trust in his backfield is paramount. Fortunately, judging by the quotes above, it sounds like Williams is already there when it comes to Smith and Guice.

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