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The 53: OL starters look set, battles for reserve spots

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The 53: OL starters look set, battles for reserve spots

The Redskins will report to training camp on July 25. Over the following five weeks they will undergo the process of cutting their 90-man roster down to 53. Which players will get those coveted spots and which will join the ranks of the unemployed? Over the next couple of weeks well go through position by position and try to predict what decisions Mike Shanahan and company will make.So far weve covered the running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks, and wide receivers (see below for breakdowns). Today, its the offensive lineThere are 16 offensive linemen on the roster, the Redskins will keep nine.In: Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Jammal Brown, Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton
Out: Erik Cook, Grant Garner, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Nevin McCaskill, James Lee, Nick MartinezChanges from 2011: OT Sean Locklear left as free agent (signed with NY Giants); Lee signed as a free agent, LeRibeus, Compton, Gettis selected in draft.BreakdownThere are many out in Redskins Nation who are undoubtedly disappointed that it appears that the same five players who started the season opener on the offensive line last year will do the same this year. It appears that the only thing that will prevent that from happening is a setback in the recovery of Kory Lichtensteigers injured knee.But the Redskins were 3-1 with that unit before things fell apart. And after the 10-sack Week 8 debacle in Toronto against the Bills things gelled for the reserves. The Redskins gave up an average of just two sacks a game in the last nine games of the season.The pressure is on Williams to become a star. At the other tackle, the pressure is on Brown to stay healthy and stay on the field. If he cant Smith or maybe even Compton could take his job as the year goes on. Lichtensteiger, Montgomery, and Chester arent threats to make the Pro Bowl but as long as they can plug up the middle on pass plays and get out to the next level on the stretch play they will be more than adequate.It appears that two of the backup spots are set with Smith and Polumbus. Smith made the team as an undrafted rookie last year and started the last three games of the season at left tackle after Williams was suspended. He was far from dominant but he did show some promise. Polumbus started games at both left guard and right tackle last year and he is a valuable backup.It seems like LeRibeus, the second player the Redskins drafted after RG3, quickly became a favorite of the coaches by diving in and learning both center and guard. Mike Shanahan has stressed versatility with his linemen and LeRibeus should earn a spot if he can master all three interior line spots, or at least become competent enough to fill in.Compton is in on a hunch and by default as much as anything else. Hurt has been moved back to tackle after starting eight games at guard last year and he will need to show substantial improvement to get a roster spot. The same goes for Cook, who started two games at center. While it would be a mistake to completely write off either one of them, the Redskins may just want to start fresh and work with Compton.If Compton demonstrates reasonable competence and potential it is hard to see him not staying over the 27-year-old James Lee, although the veteran does bring some experience as a starter with him. Compton would really have to fall on his face for the Redskins to keep Lee over him.And it wouldnt be a total shock for Gettis to make it over any of those four. He also is learning both guard and center and they could figure that they are set with Polumbus and Smith as the backup tackles and choose to develop him.If Cook and Hurt do not make it, neither is eligible for the practice squad. Compton and Gettis are eligible along with McCaskill, Martinez, and Garner. The practice squad is probably the most that the latter three can hope for.Projections to date (click for details and breakdown):Running backsIn: Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerTight endsIn: Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Chris Cooley
Out: Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn, Beau RelifordWide receiversIn: Anthony Armstrong, Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
Out: Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Darius Hanks, Brian Hernandez, Lance Lewis, Samuel KirklandQuarterbacksIn: Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Out: Jonathan Crompton

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Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Is it crazy to give a quarterback who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season the same MVP odds as a guy who went 0-3 in three starts and tossed just four scores in 2015?

According to the sportsbook Bovada.lv, no, it's not crazy at all. So that's why, when looking at their opening odds for the 2016/17 NFL MVP, you'll find Kirk Cousins right next to Mark Sanchez, with both signal callers listed at a long 150/1.

Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Tannehill, David Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey, Le'Veon Bell and Sam Bradford also check in at 150/1. Some of those names, like Jeffrey and Bell, should makes Redskins fans feel good, since they're both premier players at their position. But others, such as Sanchez and Bradford? Yeah, not so much.

The top five guys most likely to win the award are Aaron Rodgers (4/1), Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1) and Tom Brady (9/1). Meanwhile, if you squint hard enough, you can see Robert Griffin III near the bottom of the list at 250/1.

Not that this reminder is necessary, but here's a reminder anyway: Anything can happen in this league, so these rankings are not the be-all and end-all. Last year, for instance, Newton had 50/1 odds of being named MVP, and then he went out and did it anyway.

So, with that in mind, while Cousins is no favorite, perhaps his loaded arsenal of targets can help him claim the valuable piece of hardware. The NFL is a wild place, after all — but still probably not wild enough for Sanchez to rise to the top of the sport, which is why him landing next to Cousins hurts more than a little bit.

RELATED: COLIN COWHERD TROLLS KIRK COUSINS IN LATEST RANT

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Longtime NFL coach Dennis Green dead at 67; honored by Redskins great

Longtime NFL coach Dennis Green dead at 67; honored by Redskins great

Longtime Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died on Friday morning from complications stemming from a cardiac arrest.

He was 67.

Green spent ten seasons as the Vikings head coach, amassing a 97-62 record which included four NFC North titles, eight playoff appearances and one NFC Champuionship game appearance.

After taking a break from coaching, he returned in 2003 to coach the Cardinals, spending three years at the helm, finishing with a 16-32 record.

Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was lined up across from Smith-coached offenses throughout much of his career.

As a former Penn State Nittany Lion, Arrington had much respect for Green, a Harrisburg, Penn. native and former coach at Northwestern, a fellow Big Ten school.

He was a great coach, mentor and man R I P Coach Green 🙏🏾

A photo posted by Lavar Arrington (@lavarleaparrington) on

Green was one of the NFL's great people and great characters.

While he will always be remembered for his most-game meltdown after the Cardinals blew a 20-point lead to the Bears in a Monday Night Football game in 2006, Green's lasting memory will be his commitment to respecting the game and teaching it the right way. 

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Steelers may be without Le'Veon Bell for opener against Redskins

Steelers may be without Le'Veon Bell for opener against Redskins

For a franchise that's known for assembling some incredibly stout defenses throughout its history, the Steelers have recently constructed an offense with a surplus of talent all over the depth chart.

But that offense was dealt a major blow Friday morning.

Le'Veon Bell, the team's star running back who in just three seasons has become one of the league's most feared players, is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy, according to ESPN. The reason for the penalty, though, isn't because he failed a test, it's because he missed one.

The appeal process is reportedly still going on, but if Bell doesn't win that process, he'll miss the first quarter of the 2016 schedule.

While the news obviously hurts the Steelers, it benefits the Redskins.

Washington is hosting Pittsburgh in the season opener on Sept. 12, and its run defense wouldn't mind seeing No. 26 on the sidelines in a sweatshirt during the matchup. The Black and Gold do still have the very capable DeAngelo Williams — who rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 while filling in for an injured Bell — plus the always dangerous Antonio Brown, but their unit will of course be less threatening without its top tailback.

ESPN reports that Bell's appeal date hasn't been determined yet, but it should be heard before any meaningful football starts. He was also suspended for the first two contests last year following an arrest for a DUI and marijuana possession that occurred in August 2014.

RELATED: SIX REDSKINS HONORED FOR OFFSEASON WORK