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Redskins top pick Jonathan Allen progressing slowly, by design

Redskins top pick Jonathan Allen progressing slowly, by design

We haven’t heard much about Jonathan Allen, the Redskins’ top pick in the draft, during the Redskins’ OTAs and minicamp. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Allen is struggling or behind schedule.

The nature of the offseason program is one reason why it has been difficult for Allen to stand out. The practice in conducted in helmets and shorts and there is no contact allowed. As much as any position, the defensive line is about contact.

“All we can work on right now is the work ethic and how they’re picking up the system, where they’re fitting, where they’re getting their hands on people,” said Gruden. “But as far as shedding and rushing, it’s really hard. It’s hard to go out here and coach team drills and say ‘OK, we’re competing but don’t compete because we’re not live and we can’t hit anybody.’ It’s a fine line. It’s hard to coach that.”

RELATED: Hall, Redskins agree to new contract

Like all the rookies, Allen got a late start in the offseason program. By the time he was drafted and participated in rookie camp on May 13, the veterans had been working together learning Greg Manusky’s new defense and the ways of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula for almost a month. Add in to Allen, of course, being new to pro football and he had a lot to learn.

“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of catching up to do to catch up with the guys,” Allen said early in the OTA schedule. “Really, just doing whatever I can to jump on board and get better, help the team win some ball games, that’s what it’s about.”

Tomsula, who comes in with a reputation as a defensive line guru, said that he is bringing Allen along slowly.

“There’s a big curve here,” he said. “I’m not going to throw him to the wolves, you know. I have a president and a vice president and a head coach and a defensive coordinator who agree with that. Everybody wants to see him walk in, get in that spot, and go. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to let him learn and understand what we’re doing and then go after it.”

It’s a learning curve for all of them because it’s a new defense. But that guy’s coming from college. It’s a different game. It is. Everybody can say what they want but in there at that position it’s a different game. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Practice report: Wrapping up minicamp

The head coach seems to be happy with the No. 17 overall pick.

“High, you know, very high,” he said when asked about his opinion of Allen’s progress. “Coach Tomsula is working him very hard. He’s going to get stronger. He’s going to do a much better job in the weight room getting himself in better shape. He works hard. Very smart football player, can play multiple spots on the line. He’s got physical, strong hands. He can shed blockers with ease. So I have been impressed with him. I think he is going to be a heck of a player for us for a long time.”

The part about the weight room and getting stronger is often overlooked. Certainly, Allen was in a top-notch conditioning program in college at Alabama. But preparing for the combine and pro days and team workouts take away from their strength conditioning. By the time the strength and conditioning staff at Redskins Park got a hold of him and the rest of the rookies, a lot of workout time had passed.

Allen still will be learning and getting stronger when training camp comes around. He could get off to a slow start but there seems to be little doubt that there will be appearing often in opponents’ backfields sooner rather than later.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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

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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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