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Rookie preview: Safety Jordan Bernstine

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Rookie preview: Safety Jordan Bernstine

Jordan Bernstine

Safety
Iowa
5-10, 211The need: The Redskins secondary is undergoing a major overhaul, especially at safety. Underwhelming free agents Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson and Madieu Williams joined the two holdovers, Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes. If that last sentence doesnt scare you, nothing will. Should the veterans max out especially Meriweather and Jackson - this unit could surprise. Regardless, hard to imagine anyone here being a mortal lock for the Week 1 roster.The fit: Bernstine offers versatility played both safety positions and corner at Iowa and a big hitting presence.Size is legitimate and is combined with 4.4 speed. Primarily a strong safety last season, he started 11 games for the Hawkeyes and recorded a career-high 15 tackles against Michigan.The depth chart: To make the final roster, Bernstine likely needs to pass either Meriweather or Doughty. If he shows ability to play both safety spots or strong plus corner at the pro level, could stick as final defensive back. Again, with no spots safe at safety, opportunity exists. Another potential tiebreaker could be Bernstines play on special teams. Averaged 24.4 yards on 30 kickoff returns and his physical attributes plus penchant for hitting make for an ideal chaser of kicks.Bernstines upside: Even if he makes the final roster, hard to imagine Bernstine receiving many snaps on defense next season. However, should he exceed playing time expectations, could become a fan favorite if he lights up an opposing receiver or three. Realistically Bernstine has the look of a 2012 practice squad player.Pro Football Weekly on Bernstine: Has the size and mentality of a safety combined with the speed and explosion of a cornerback, as evidenced by his 41-inch vertical leap and broad jump of 10 feet 7 inchesSeeks the big hit, but tackles inconsistently and is not as instinctive as he is athletic. Durability has been an issue, though he could be attractive as a reserve DBspecial-teamer.Bernstine on Bernstine: (on what he does well): As far as my game, the biggest part of it is that Im athletic and I like to put my face in there, which is why I felt I was a good fit at Iowa at strong safety. I mean, I like to hit. I like to come down and be a factor in the run game, but I can also go out and cover tight ends or slot receivers.Previously:G Adam GettisT Tom Compton

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Joe Theismann reveals Alex Smith 'came very, very close to losing his leg'

Joe Theismann reveals Alex Smith 'came very, very close to losing his leg'

Thirty-three years to the day that former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a gruesome leg injury, Alex Smith suffered the same fate against the Houston Texans.

Theismann addressed the injury similarities between him and Alex Smith on Ian Rapoport's podcast, "RapSheet and Friends."

"I was there that night," Theismann said. "I looked at it and I turned to [my wife] Robin and I said 'that's exactly like mine.'"

At that moment, Theismann was worried the injury was so severe Smith wouldn't be able to recover.

"He came very, very close to losing his leg and fortunately, you know, he still has it," Theismann said. "Alex for sure will not play this year."

With Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins in the fold, Theismann noted it'll be hard for Smith to break back into the Redskins quarterback lineup.

"Ask yourself the question, 'Will he be able to compete as a starter?'" Theismann pondered. "Because you can't pay somebody $20 million as a backup. Just can't happen." 

When asked if Smith could return and play at a high level, Theismann alluded to the problems that quarterbacks with leg injuries can have when trying to recover, especially when it comes to mechanics.

"I would say 'let's see how you feel one year from now,'" Theismann noted. "Picture a pitcher not being able to push off the mound. Picture a quarterback not being able to load his weight and go forward.

"And so what happens is when you think of that throwing mechanism, his body, his arm, his legs, his ability to turn and push, if one of those elements is lessened, the other areas have to make up for it."

Smith recently had the external fixator removed from his leg and noted that he's making incremental steps towards playing again.

"It's gonna be a long road," Theismann said of Smith's recovery.

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10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

Over-simplification can be dangerous, but at the same time, some problems boil down to a root cause. 

The Redskins play-action pass game looked bad in 2018, and if you listen to head coach Jay Gruden, much of that might have hinged on the ability of his tight ends to run block. 

Back in March Gruden opened up about some of his team's offensive struggles in 2018 and the coach pointed out that his tight end rotation varied greatly on if the team was going to run or pass. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis tended to come off the field in clear run situations, while Jeremy Sprinkle didn't get many snaps on pass plays. 

As the season went on, that became obvious for opposing defense. 

"Your tendencies are probably through the roof when you throw, that's what we're trying to guard against," Gruden said at the NFL League Meetings. "We got to figure out ways to be balanced in all personnel group settings and make sure that's really what we're studying in the offseason and moving forward how we can adapt our running game to make sure we have the equal amount of runs in each personnel group with each person in that group."

Sure those quotes are a few months old now, but nothing has been done to change the personnel. Reed, Davis and Sprinkle populate the tight end depth chart, and it doesn't seem likely there will be significant change to any of the three player's game. 

Based on that, something else must change. 

The Redskins either need to adapt their run style to something where Reed and/or Davis can be on the field. Or use Sprinkle more in the pass game.

Neither of those options seem particularly likely. 

What could happen is less two tight sets for the Washington offense, and less dependency on that look. 

In his remarks from March, Gruden hinted that the Redskins could deploy their 11 personnel more often, going with three wideouts and one tight, instead of two tight ends on the field. That would require health and productivity from the Redskins wideouts, which hasn't happened in the last two seasons. 

In a way, the discussion of a blocking tight end is very much an oversimplification of the Redskins 2018 offensive woes. The team ranked 29th in the NFL in points scored, and obviously, that lack of production did not stem from one position. 

At the same time, however, the lack of a tight end that can run block and show up in the pass game creates a series of other problems. The team can't always run with their best receiving threats on the field, they can't pull off play-action because the run threat doesn't always emerge, and all of that snowballs. 

The little things add up in the NFL. Just ask Jay Gruden. 

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