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Redskins' Gruden: Scherff making progress but still struggles

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Redskins' Gruden: Scherff making progress but still struggles

The Redskins took Brandon Scherff with the fifth pick in the draft with the expectation that he will be an immediate starter at right tackle that he would and would fortify their offensive line. While it is unlikely that they will be disappointed, he is experiencing some struggles as he adjusts from playing left tackle against Big 10 competition at Iowa to playing on the right side against the best players in the world.

“You know, we saw him at the rookie camp and were excited to see him play for the first time,” said Redskins coach Jay Gruden when asked about Scherff’s progress as the team nears the end of its offseason program. “We moved him over to right tackle and he had some struggles.”

The good thing is that Scherff is taking nothing for granted. After every offseason practice that has been open to the media, including rookie camp, Scherff has been staying after practice to get in some extra work with offensive line coach Bill Callahan. Sometimes there have been other linemen joining in but the one constant is Scherff.

“The thing about Brandon that I’ve noticed already is he takes coaching extremely well. He learns,” said Gruden. “If he has a mistake, he’s going to try to fix it and that’s important for an offensive lineman to study the game and learn from your mistakes. Because you’re going to get beat a couple times by some top-level pass rushers. You might lose a block on a running scheme or what have you.”

Gruden is confident that Scherff has the physical and mental makeup needed to succeed.

“The good thing about Brandon is he’s strong, he has great feet and he really cares about the success of a football play,” he said. “With all that in mind, size, strength, takes coaching well, has a great coach working with him. I think he’s going to be fine.”

It should be noted that what the coaches have seen from Scherff in a Redskins uniform so far, both good and bad, has been in helmets and shorts. That limits the evaluation that they can do.

“Unfortunately, offensive line, defensive line and the trenches, you know we’re telling them to come off the ball but it’s more of a thud-ish type thing and you can’t really finish blocks, you can’t really shed people like you want to based on the rules of the CBA,” said Gruden. “It’s difficult for them.”

The pads will wait until training camp opens in Richmond seven weeks from tomorrow. It would not be surprising to see Callahan and Scherff out on the field every day there, just like we have so far at Redskins Park.  

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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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