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Redskins position preview: Left outside linebacker

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Redskins position preview: Left outside linebacker

Over the past few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have taken one more look at the Redskins’ depth chart, position-by-position, as the team prepares to head to Richmond for training camp. Some battles figure to be straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until its finalized Sept. 5. So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …

Position: Left outside linebacker.

On the roster: Ryan Kerrigan, Trevardo Williams and Jackson Jeffcoat.

Likely to make the 53: Kerrigan

Comment: Assuming Kerrigan’s recovery from minor knee surgery continues to go smoothly, he’ll be the Redskins’ starting left outside linebacker in 2015.

And, based on his history, once Kerrigan gets on the field, he won’t come off it very often.

The 26-year-old has started each of the 64 regular season games in which he’s appeared during his four-year NFL career. Last season, the Purdue product saw 1,000 snaps (the second highest total on the Redskins’ defense after Ryan Clark) and missed only 60 en route to posting a career-high 13.5 sacks and 51 quarterback pressures, according ProFootballFocus.com. The latter total ranked second among all 3-4 outside linebackers behind Kansas City’s Justin Houston.

Overall, PFF ranked Kerrigan as the fifth most effective player at his position last season.

The only question about Kerrigan, it seems, is when the Redskins will sign him to a lucrative extension. Kerrigan, who is set to earn $7 million this season, said earlier this offseason that his agent and the Redskins are making progress toward a long-term deal.  

Battling for a job: Williams and Jeffcoat.

Comment: Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith are battling for the starting outside linebacker job on the right side (as we wrote about here). Both players can be expected to see the field a lot in 2015, but the player who loses the competition also figures to serve as the primary backup on both sides.

That almost certainly means the top thee outside linebackers on the roster this season will be Kerrigan, Murphy and Smith. And if the Redskins keep four OLBs on their 53-man roster, the final spot will come down to Williams or Jeffcoat.

Jeffcoat has the bloodlines and was more productive last season, recording a sack and an interception in limited playing time. In OTAs, however, Williams worked ahead of him early on, getting some first time reps as Kerrigan rehabbed. Williams also recorded two tackles in spot duty on special teams in 2014.

Redskins position previews 2015:

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here

 

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

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

Timeline 

Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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