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Redskins Playbook: Ready or not, Redskins will face 3 of top 6 rush offenses in 2017

Redskins Playbook: Ready or not, Redskins will face 3 of top 6 rush offenses in 2017

The Redskins ranked among the worst 10 teams in the NFL at stopping the run in 2016, and much of the offseason was spent working to revamp their defensive line to change those stats. Well, the organization will know early if they did enough to impact change.

Within their first seven games, the Redskins will face the 2nd, 4th and 6th best rushing attacks in the NFL, not to mention an opening Week 1 game against the Eagles' 11th ranked rushing offense. 

After the Eagles, the Redskins face Oakland in Week 4 on Sunday Night Football. The Raiders posted nearly 2,000 yards on the ground last season and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. In Week 5, the 49ers come to FedEx Field. San Francisco ranked 4th in the NFL last season in rushing, and should be even better running the ball with Kyle Shanahan in charge. 

Then, of course, the vaunted Cowboys rush attack comes to FedEx Field in Week 8. In two games against the Redskins as a rookie in 2016, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

Redskins Team President Bruce Allen talked in March how the franchise knows how important stopping the run is within the NFC East, and the team worked to improve in that category. 

Washington selected Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick of the NFL Draft, the team's first defensive lineman taken in the first round in 20 years. In free agency, the Redskins added Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain, two players with potential that have dealt with injury issues in the past. Nose tackle remains a question mark, but Jay Gruden seems confident that new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula can make things work in the middle of their line. 

Redskins fans better hope Gruden is right, and Tomsula, along with the influx of new talent, can improve the performance. The tests will come early, and often. 


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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."


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After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and Titans tackle Taylor Lewan got into a widely-discussed altercation after Washington's Week 16 loss to Tennesse last season.

But on Thursday, Lewan said he's finally ready to let bygones be bygones. 

Lewan tweeted he wants Norman to come on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast he co-hosts with former Redskins linebacker Will Compton to "settle our differences."

Judging by what happened last December, there are plenty of differences: Norman threw his helmet at Lewan after the latter approached him, Lewan later accusing Norman of trying to hurt Titans running back Derrick Henry.

"I'm not worried about Josh Norman, man," Lewan told reporters after the incident. "I'm an offensive lineman, he's a [defensive back]. I don't know who that is."

"I was pissed. He was trying to hurt Derrick [Henry]. That's BS. That’s not the way football’s supposed to be played, man. It’s not our fault you’re not relevant anymore."

"Why would you come to another man's sideline?" Norman said of the dust-up. "And then after you won a game, you pick fun at the player that is relevant. You go out of your way to come to his bench, his sideline, to go at him in that kind of way."

"We're not having it. We will not tolerate disrespect. That's zero tolerance for that. That was the ultimate disrespect. You just don't do that."

The incident happened months ago, so it's about time the pair made peace. And as an ex-Redskin and ex-Titan, perhaps Compton can help mend the fences. But if Norman does accept Lewan's invitation to come on the podcast, we might be in for even more verbal fireworks.