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20 questions in 20 days: 19 Will Cooley make the team?

20 questions in 20 days: 19 Will Cooley make the team?

As we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 20: Will Chris Cooley make the roster?The background: For years Cooley was one of the best players on the Redskins roster, an iron man, and a fan favorite. The latter description is still valid but the other two are things of the past. He has missed substantial parts of two of the last three season with injuries and hes no longer even the starting tight end. He would like to stay and play in Washington and the Redskins probably would like him on the team. But he carries a salary cap charge in excess of 6.2 million and thats a lot to pay for a reserve, especially on a team squeezed by a league-mandated cap penalty.Tandler: Part of me says that Cooley wouldnt be on the roster now if he wasnt going to make the team. On the other hand, maybe Cooley asked for a chance to make the team and was willing to risk suddenly becoming a free agent on the day of final cuts. If his roster spot is up in the air, it looks like he will have to beat out Logan Paulsen to make it and Paulsen is making a strong push to become the better option, especially given the disparity in salary between the two. Bottom line, I think the team and Cooleys agent sit down next week and see if they can agree on compensation more in line with the players expected role with team. If they can, Cooley will stay; if not, he goes.El-Bashir: If Cooley wasnt in the Redskins plans, they would have cut him long ago, freeing up cap space while giving him the chance to settle in with another team. They owe him that much given the loyalty hes shown and what hes meant to the fan base. So, in my mind, he stays. But not only for sentimental reasons; Cooley is also a safety blanket. Remember, Fred Davis is one slipup away from a year-long ban from the NFL. And fullback Darrel Young seems is having problems with the hamstring that cost him two games last season. Yeah, his cap hit (6.23 million) is high and, at 30, his mileage is higher. But Cooley's versatility, leadership and value off the field are priceless.20 questions in 20 days20 YesterdayWill Jammal Brown play this year?
19 TodayWill Chris Cooley make the team?
18 TomorrowCan Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?

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DeAngelo Hall working through transition to safety, will 'pick it up quickly'

DeAngelo Hall working through transition to safety, will 'pick it up quickly'

For the vast majority of his 12-year career, DeAngelo Hall lined up at cornerback. For many of those years, Hall was considered one of the best in the NFL. The former Virginia Tech Hokie made three Pro Bowls, his last in 2010, and has logged 43 interceptions in his career.

But now, like a lot of other players on the roster, Hall is working through training camp trying to learn his position. That position, of course, safety -- not the cornerback slot he played for a dozen years.

"I think he’s going through it," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said on Friday. "I think it’s a totally different perspective at safety than it is at corner for him."

MORE REDSKINS: HOW NORMAN IS TRYING TO HELP THE OFFENSE, TOO

Last season was the first the Redskins saw Hall line up at safety, and the results were promising. The position change also allows the veteran to elongate his career, using his ballhawk skills from the back of the field. Not to mention, Hall showed a willingness to look from big hits from the safety spot in 2015.

More from Jay Gruden:

He’s just got to learn to see the quarterback and get in the right position, get his eyes right and then just trust what he sees and break. I think he’ll do that. It’s just going to take some time. Whether he’s a half-field player, middle player, covering the tight end, covering somebody out in the slot, whatever it is, he’s just got to get comfortable with his landmarks, his positioning and his eyes. And the more reps that he gets – he got 25 good reps in team period yesterday, not to mention the one-on-ones and the walkthrough – the more comfortable he’s going to be. We expect D-Hall to pick it up quickly because he’s that type of guy. He’s very competitive, very smart and he’ll do fine.

He’s just got to learn to see the quarterback and get in the right position, get his eyes right and then just trust what he sees and break.  It’s just going to take some time.

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When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

What do Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis have in common? They're all excellent NFL corners — and they all rank behind Josh Norman when it comes to ratings in Madden 17.

The Bronco (93 overall), the Seahawk (92), the Cardinal (91) and the Jet (91) should be proud of the grades handed to them for the next edition of the legendary video game. It's Norman, though, who's at the top of these top-notch defenders, checking in with a skillset that's good enough for a 94 in the eyes of EA Sports.

"Norman is expected to be a lock down corner for the Redskins this season," reads the description underneath Norman's name in a post ranking the elite cornerbacks that was published Thursday. "He is best in zone with his 97 zone coverage rating, but has the ability to match up in man to man situations with 90 speed and 92 man coverage."

These numbers are subject to change during the course of the season, so if No. 24 has a rough outing or two, he could tumble down a few points and give up the crown to someone else. As it stands now, however, Madden thinks he's the preeminent man at his position. 

And that's something Odell Beckham Jr. can't say.

RELATED: WHY DID SCOT MCCLOUGHAN PUNCH WALL?

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Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

After opening training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that LB Perry Riley has been activated and will practice on Friday.

Riley went out last December with a foot injury and missed the Redskins run to the NFC East title. A six-year veteran, Riley was drafted by the 'Skins in 2010 and emerged as a starter in 2011. Riley struggled somewhat early in the 2015 season, but his play was improving into the second half of the year.

"I expect him to come on and continue his strides," Gruden said of Riley's improved play. 

Coindence or not, Riley's play improved once Will Compton took over at starting linebacker for Keenan Robinson.

"I think it did," Gruden said of Riley playing better paired with Compton. "Maybe it's just the whole entire defense got better as the season went on."

Gruden said that the defense as a whole was becoming more comfortable with new coordinator Joe Barry, and that should only increase this season. 

Some think with a $5 million cap number - and a potential savings of $4 million if he was released - Riley could be subject to a roster squeeze. But after Compton and Mason Foster, Riley is the only inside linebacker with significant NFL experience on the roster compared to Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels and Terence Garvin. 

It will be interesting to watch Riley's return from injury, both to see how he looks, and to watch where he fits with the defense. In nine games last season, Riley grabbed two interceptions and 24 tackles.