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Redskins Position Outlook: Linebackers make plenty of tackles, but few big plays

Redskins Position Outlook: Linebackers make plenty of tackles, but few big plays

Over the next few weeks, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2016, break down the current personnel situation and evaluate the unit's outlook for 2017. We’re starting things off with a look at the running backs.

Inside Linebackers

Starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster

Backups: Terence Garvin, Martrell Spaight, Su'a Cravens

Free Agents: Terence Garvin, Will Compton (restricted)

Injured/Reserve: Steven Daniels

Rewind: Foster ranked first and Compton second in total tackles for the Redskins defense in 2016. Foster played in all 16 games for the Washington defense, and Compton played in 15 games. They form a duo of inteligent and capable players, perhaps hindered by the troubles of the defensive line in front of them.

Compton was hindered late in the year with a number of injuries, but Foster played well to close the season, particularly against the Giants in Week 17 when he registered 17 tackles. Coaches respect both linebackers, and players do too, as Compton was voted defensive captain. 

There is plenty to like from Compton and Foster, but in 2016, neither player delivered many big, high impact plays. While inside linebacker is not a position of need for the 'Skins, it would not be a shock if Scot McCloughan again adds to the group via the draft. In the previous two drafts, the Redskins grabbed a middle linebacker, Martrell Spaight in 2015 and Steven Daniels in 2016. 

Spaight works hard, but wasn't overly impressive in a spot start for Compton. Daniels didn't play last season, hitting the IR in training camp. Su'a Cravens also played a significant amount at linebacker in 2016, flashing big play ability, but the plan for the second-year man is to move to safety. Terence Garvin was mostly a special teams player, though most of his fellow linebackers appreciated his comedic ways in the locker room.

Fast forward: It seems likely Compton returns to the Redskins in 2017 as he's a restricted free agent, but there have been whispers that other teams might consider going after the linebacker and compensating Washington. Assuming Compton returns, he and Foster would again be the interior 'backers in 2017 unless a high round draft pick emerges. 

An improved line will help the entire defense, but particularly Compton. In 29 starts the last two seasons, Compton has produced two interceptions and three forced fumbles. Watch Compton play, and it's clear he often knows the direction of the play coming his way. Better play in front of him might lead to more turnover opportunities.

Cravens' move to safety will mean more Foster in nickel coverage. It will also be interesting to see what changes Greg Manusky makes as the new Redskins defensive coordinator. Manusky has repeatedly said he likes the players on his defense, just wants them playing with more unity and agression. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba

Dwayne Haskins sees parallels between himself, Lion King's Simba


The story of the Lion King is one that takes many of us to our childhood, a feel-good story about a young cub going through adversity to become  King.

It's a story Redskins new quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Junior, has related to since he was a child himself, having taken on the moniker Simba. 
 
Disney first came out with the movie in 1994 and just released a photorealistic live-action re-make.  Haskins made sure he was there for the world premiere in Los Angeles walking the red carpet with his girlfriend Savhana Cousin earlier this month.

"The new Lion King brought so many great old memories!" he tweeted. "A blessing to be a part of. "


 
Haskins sees many parallels in Simba. He told me before the draft that the nickname first came from when his aunt was combing out his hair saying he looked like a lion.  

Beyond that, he liked the story of the young cub going through adversity to become King.

"The story behind him growing to king, going through adversity, and having to fall to get up and that's just something that resonates with my story. Everyone sees the highs of everything but not what it takes to get there," he said.

He has even used the story for his own clothing brand as well, Kingdom of Pride. 

Haskins fell in the draft to number 15 and the Redskins but has every intention of proving he is worthy of the pick and one day winning what he declares will be multiple Super Bowls.  

That would certainly fall in line with the story of Simba taking back the kingdom.  

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Six Redskins players will be losing a good amount of salary for skipping mandatory off-season workouts

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Six Redskins players will be losing a good amount of salary for skipping mandatory off-season workouts

Each NFL player has their own way of preparing for the upcoming season. 

Russell Wilson boxes. James Harrison plays beach volleyball – with 25 lb. medicine balls

But come May 6th, teams begin a series of mandatory offseason workouts. This is a time for new teammates to get familiar and seasoned veterans to get back up to speed ahead of training camp.

The Washington Redskins had 36 in total, and required their players to attend at least 33 of them or face financial consequences. That didn't seem to faze six of Washington's biggest names. 

Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Trent Williams, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis will all be losing a cut of their salary after failing to attend the minimum number of Washington's off-season workouts. 

For Norman, that's 26 business class round-trips from Reagan National Airport to Pamplona, Spain for future "Running of the Bulls." 

That being said, neither Norman nor Collins, Richardson, Dunbar and Davis are question marks for Week 1.

Williams, however, may prolong his holdout until well after the start of training camp on July 28.