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Redskins position preview: Right tackle


Redskins position preview: Right tackle

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 tackle

On the roster: Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton, Takoby Cofield, Ty Nsekhe, Bryce Quigley

Likely to make the 53: Scherff, Compton

Comment: The fifth overall pick in the draft was plugged in at right tackle from the start and the Redskins hope that he doesn’t come out before they move to a new stadium sometime in the latter half of the 2020’s.

He was a left tackle at Iowa so there are two learning curves for him to deal with. The move from one tackle to the other side has been described like learning to eat with your left hand. It can be done but while you’re learning you might poke yourself in the eye with a fork a few times. The other challenge, if course, is the adjustment to the NFL. That change has been compared to the move from high school to college ball but more difficult by an exponential factor.

Jay Gruden has a very realistic view of the process and those who think that Scherff will come in and dominate immediately may want to reconsider.

“We moved him over to right tackle and he had some struggles, but the thing about Brandon that I’ve noticed already is he takes coaching extremely well,” said Gruden. “He learns. If he has a mistake, he’s going to try to fix it and that’s important for an offensive lineman to study the game and learn from your mistakes. Because you’re going to get beat a couple times by some top-level pass rushers. You might lose a block on a running scheme or what have you.”

Compton, a sixth-round pick in 2012, started the last nine games of the season at right tackle in 2014 after beating out Tyler Polumbus. He was OK run blocking but not so good pass blocking (six sacks allowed in just over half a season). It is likely that he will make the 53-man roster but it is possible that Morgan Moses and Willie Smith (we’ll look at them with the left tackles) stick as the reserve tackles.

Battling for a job: Cofield, Nsekhe, Quigley

Comment: It was reported that Cofield received the maximum signing bonus an undrafted free agent can get so the organization sees some potential there. He is a long shot to make the 53-man roster but they probably have him penciled in for a spot on the practice squad if he shows well in training camp and in preseason games.

Nsekhe and Quigley also are eligible for the practice squad. However, it seems unlikely that Nsekhe will be a part of it. He will turn 30 early in the season and practice squad spots are usually reserved for younger players.

Redskins position previews 2015:

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.


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Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback. 

"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."

Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.

Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.

Joined by Redskins GM Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.

West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.

"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."