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The 53: Stability at running back

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The 53: Stability at running back

The Redskins will report to training camp on July 25. Over the next 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.The first area we will look at is running back, including fullback.There are eight running backs on the roster, the Redskins will keep four.In: Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerChanges from 2011: Hightower back from injured reserve, Ryan Torain released just prior to the end of last seasonBubble watch: Morris, a sixth-round pick, has a chance if he can learn to play fullback as well as halfback. However, there appears to be no room for him. His best shot is to wind up on the practice squad and wait to be called up if someone gets hurt.BreakdownThis should be one of the most stable units on the team. All four of those who are expected to make it were with the team a year ago. Royster came off of the practice squad in Week 12 and Hightower was the starter in five of the first six games before winding up on IR.It seems like Helu is penciled in as the starter right now, given how he finished up 2011, but its a very light pencil. Nobody would be surprised in the least if Hightower lined up for the first snap in New Orleans. During the course of the year, Royster could get his share of starts as well.The starter could be the hot hand, he could be the last man standing. Hightower is coming off of a knee injury and Helu was banged up the last few games of last year after carrying the load for a month.Davis, Bailey, and Creer have talent but the numbers are stacked against them. Fortunately, to coaches are unlikely to work the front-line players too much during preseason games so those three and Morris should get plenty of carries. That will give them to get a shot at the practice squad or to get a look by another team.

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John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's entire NFL career has been spent in San Diego, not a bad location. Hired by Mary Schottenheimer in 2002, he began as a quality control coach in 2002, then moved up to assistant linebackers coach in 2003. In 2004, he advanced to coach the outside linebackers, and then in 2005 he took over as linebackers coach, a position he held until 2011.

By 2012, his 10th year in the organization, Pagano moved up to defensive coordinator, at that point working under Norv Turner. The former Redskins coach of much of the 1990s, Turner was let go after that season, and Mike McCoy was hired. McCoy retained Pagano to serve as his defensive coordinator, and he stayed in that role until this offseason. 

The circumstances surrounding Pagano's release from the Chargers are a bit sloppy, including this report from a San Diego broadcaster:

The important stuff for Redskins fans: As defensive coordinator his team's twice finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed in 2012 and 2014. That's about the only real highlights on his coordinator resume, though it's worth pointing out few coaches last as long with one organization as Pagano. Below are his defense's ranks from 2012 to last season.

 

It also seems Pagano has no real ties to the Redskins organization, which might be considered an advantage. He never worked directly with Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden or Scot McCloughan, though his team's deployed the 3-4 base like the Washington defense. Pagano's brother Chuck is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 8 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Packers Week 11

2:30 left in Q4, Redskins ball at their own 30, 2nd and 8, Redskins leading 35-24

Rob Kelley right end to GB 4 for 66 yards (Ladarius Gunter).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had held a lead since late in the second quarter but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers kept hanging around. The Redskins were just trying to pick up a first down but Kelley ran through a weak tackle attempt, dodged a defensive back, and bolted down the right side before an ankle tackle got him at the four. Kelley was deprived of the touchdown only momentarily as he ran it in on the next play, putting a bow on the most important win of the year.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

Finlay: Any football fan that has watched the last two weekends of the NFL playoffs knows just how dangerous Aaron Rodgers can be with the ball in his hands late in a game. Rob Kelley's long run eliminated that danger, as he burst through the Packers defense and sealed a huge victory for the Redskins. This game, and the few days leading up to the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving that followed, marked the high point in the 'Skins season. The team had a 6-3-1 record and had just vanquished Green Bay, avenging a playoff loss to the Packers some 10 months earlier. I disagree with Tandler that this was the most important win of the year - that distinction came in the Week 3 victory over the Giants - but it was the best win of the year.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!