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Redskins position preview: Right guard

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Redskins position preview: Right guard

Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ depth chart now that the team’s offseason program has concluded. 

Some battles are 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: Right guard

On the roster: Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio

Likely to make the 53: Long, Kouandjio

Comment: Long was elevated to the top of the depth chart when the team released Chris Chester, who had played nearly every snap at right guard since coming to the Redskins as a free agent in 2011. He will be seeing his first extended NFL action when the Redskins face the Dolphins in Week 1. Oh, and for much of the game he’ll be lined up against Miami’s big and expensive free agent acquisition, Ndamukong Suh. That will be quite a welcome to the NFL and we will see what he is made of early.

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan thinks he has what it takes. “He was a third-round pick, he shows the potential to play that position,” said Callahan. “Coming out he was a very mobile, strong, athletic-type guard so putting him into that position and trying to elevate his skill level is challenging for all of us.”

Kouandjio was picked in the fourth round in May. He has a lot of rough edges to work out but the organization believes that he will work to improve his game. “Kouandjio is a detailed guy,” said Jay Gruden. “He loves football, man. He practices hard. He wants to hear every ounce of criticism, every ounce of coaching that he can get and he tries to translate that onto the next rep.”

The bottom line here is that the Redskins are very light in experience here but sometimes that happens when changes are made. Right guard is an area where it is not uncommon for inexperienced players to come in and succeed so the team just has to hope it has the right guys.

Battling for a job: None

Comment: The Redskins do not have any “camp fodder” type guards on the roster at this point. It looks like the plan is to give some guard snaps to backup centers Tyler Larsen and Austin Reiter to give them some position flexibility. Such a plan can work fine but the Redskins may scramble to find replacements if injuries strike.

Redskins position previews 2015:

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.

 

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NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

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AP Images

NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

The NFL is not eliminating kickoffs altogether for the 2018 season. But at the NFL spring meetings in Atlanta, Ga., owners did agree to make significant changes to the third phase of football.

The NFL's new kickoff rules begin with having five players on each side of the ball (previously they could line up six on one side). Also, they cannot line up more than 1-yard from the restraining line, which is the line where the ball is placed on the tee. This prohibits the kickoff team from getting a running start downfield. 

At least two players must be lined up outside the yard-line numbers and at least two players lined up between the numbers and the hash mark. In years past, three players had to be lined up outside the inbounds line with one outside the yard-line number. At least eight players need to be in the 15-yard "setup zone," leaving three players outside of the "setup zone." Before, all kickoff return players had to be behind their restraining line. These changes will place players closer to where the ball is kicked in order to reduce speed and the amount of space on the play. 

Wedge blocks are no longer allowed. Players who were initially lined up in the "setup zone" are the only ones who can now come together for a double-team block. In the past, only 2-man wedge blocks were allowed and could take place on the field anywhere. The purpose of this change is to limit the possible blocking schemes by the kickoff return team. 

No player on the receiving side of the ball can cross the restraining line or block in the 15-yard area from the kicking team's restraining line until the ball is touched or hits the ground. Before, the receiving team could move past their restraining line and block as soon as the ball was kicked. This change gets rid of the "jump-set/attack" block.

Finally, a ball will be considered dead if it's not touched by the receiving team and touches the ground in the end zone. In the past, the ball was dead once it was downed in the end zone by the receiving team. This change means there's no requirement for the kickoff returner to down the ball in the end-zone. 

If that was a lot to dissect, check out the video below. 

In addition to new kickoff rules, ejections are now reviewable. In March, a rule passed that officials can make an ejection after a replay, but not they can also undo an ejection after a replay. 

The league also adjusted the official language for Use of a Helmet rule. 

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