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Redskins hoping Tomsula can maximize D-line talent

Redskins hoping Tomsula can maximize D-line talent

The Redskins got new coordinators on both sides of the ball this year but neither may end up being the most important addition to the coaching staff. That honor could go to new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

His track record is impressive. The 49ers brought Tomsula in as their defensive line coach for the 2007 after the coach had toiled for nearly 20 years as a D-line coach and defensive coordinator in stops like Charleston Southern and Catawba at the college level and the Scottish Claymores and Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe.

The rushing defense ranked 22nd in the league his first season in San Francisco but after that the improvement was rapid and lasting. The 49ers ranked 13th in rushing defense in 2008 and the following year they started a run of six straight years with top-10 rushing defenses. While he proved to be out of his element as a head coach in a one-year stint with the 49ers, his reputation as a defensive line guru remains intact.

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And the Redskins are hoping that he can turn around a defensive line that has been a sore spot for the team since for most of this decade. Since 2010, the Redskins have allowed 4.37 yards per rushing attempt, 25th in the NFL over that seven-season span. It’s a chronic problem and they hope Tomsula can solve it.

The Redskins did not sign a nose tackle for their 3-4 base defense and they didn’t take one in the draft. But Jay Gruden isn’t worried because he has Tomsula on his staff and he believes that Tomsula can, well, create a nose guard.

“Coach Tomsula has assured me that he will find a nose guard, he’ll make a nose guard,” Gruden said in April. “If you look at his track record, you look at the nose guards he’s had, none of them have been priority first-round draft choices. He’s made nose guards. He coaches that position extremely well, and I have faith that he’ll do that.”

Gruden recognizes that there is only so much the defensive line can do in shorts and helmets. Tomlula’s real work will start when they put the pads on in training camp starting July 27.

But that doesn’t mean that Tomsula can’t get anything done. After 11-on-11 sessions during OTAs, the coach has been observed gathering his linemen together and conducting a highly detailed clinic on some of the mistakes that were made during the team drills. The sessions are very much hands on, with Tomsula often playing the role of the D-lineman trying to beat the double team or shed a block.

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky sees Tomsula getting his group into the proper frame of mind to prepare for the season.

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“Overall, I think from a toughness standpoint—I’m not saying that the guys that we did have before weren’t tough—I’m just saying that’s what Jimmy Tomsula is kind of putting into them,” said Manusky. “It’s ‘tough.’ It’s talking about hard work each and every day in the weight room, out on the field, and eventually when we get into the five weeks during the summer, I mean, that’s a time when they can really mess it up or take advantage of it and really perform at a high level and do great things.

“Across the board, I’m happy with the guys that we have right now. I see Jim working with them every day. We’re not there by any stretch of the means of the word, but I think we’re getting there. You see progress with each player, young and old, and we’re excited about what we have up front.”

Despite the addition of Jonathan Allen in the draft, I’m not sure that the D-line is a group that fans should get excited about just yet. But if Tomsula can do what he did in San Francisco and the Redskins continue to add young talent to the line maybe it will be worthy of some fan enthusiasm.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban


Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams has been suspended three games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a ban he will serve while on injured reserve because of lingering issues from offseason surgery for a broken right foot.

The league said Thursday the suspension will be in effect Sunday when the Cowboys visit Washington. After Dallas’ open week and a home game against Tennessee, the final game of the ban will be Nov. 11 at Philadelphia.

But Williams will miss at least three more games after that while on injured reserve. His first possible game is Dec. 9 at home against the Eagles.

Williams was arrested in May on a charge of public intoxication in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, where team headquarters is located. The case was dismissed after Williams completed a state-mandated alcohol awareness education course.

Williams was ineffective before being placed on IR, as he mustered just two catches for 18 total yards over the Cowboys first two games. Dallas will also be without wide receiver Tavon Austin on Sunday when they face the Washington Redskins. Austin is suffering from a groin injury, and expected to be out multiple weeks.

NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux contributed to this story.


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Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt


Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

Luke Kuechly was just trying to make a tackle.

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the Carolina star dove to wrap up Adrian Peterson and, like many, many, many before him, failed to bring the RB down.

Unfortunately for Kuechly, something else happened on the play that is going to help it live on much longer than your routine defensive mistake.

That something, of course, is that Peterson's cleat came off in the collision and lodged itself in Kuechly's facemask. And the uniqueness of that is why Peterson is now selling T-shirts commemorating it:

"I thought it was pretty cool," Peterson said Thursday in the 'Skins' locker room when asked why he felt moved to create the shirts, of which there are three to choose from on his site. "My kids got a big kick out of it. Obviously, the Internet did as well."

No. 26 has carried the ball 2,651 times in his career but said he's never had an attempt go like that one that involved his footwear and Kuechly's headgear.

However, because he's a legend, Peterson was able to deal with the lost shoe and still go on to pick up a nice chunk of yards as well as a first down.

"As I'm breaking free and I feel my shoe coming off, the only thing on my mind is, 'OK, let me make sure I plant my foot in a way where I don't slip,'" he explained. "That was the only thing I was focusing on on that play."

Will Kuechly get a shirt, though? After all, without him, they wouldn't exist in the first place.

"I might send him one," Peterson said.

What's lower: the odds of Kuechly wearing that shirt should Peterson ever send it along or the odds of another shoe finding its way into the linebacker's facemask? 

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