If the Redskins offensive line improves this season to the point of surprise, many a pundit will have that proverbial egg on their face.That's because right now, most outside observers are not viewing this unit with anything close to sunny-side up optimism.Rotoworld's Evan Silva is the latest to rank the NFL's 32 offensive lines with the Redskins slotted way down the line at 26. No stunner there. Silva stated hisprojections were based on his own notes from the dozen or so games he watches each week; research from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus; factoring in"the impact of blocking schemes, rookie expectations, and free agency additions".His evaluation assumes the typical starting lineup with Kory Lichtensteiger at left guard andJammal Brown at right tackle plus rookies Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis joining reserves Maurice Hurt, Tyler Polumbus and Erik Cook (not sure why, but tackle Willie Smith, not listed). "Overview: This is another group that could have benefited from continuity that is so vital for zone-blocking teams. Trent Williams (6), Lichtensteiger (11), and Brown (4) combined to miss 21 games due to injury and suspension last season. Though a system fit for the Shanahans' scheme, Chester's game lacks requisite power for right guard. Lichtensteiger, considered a solid starter when healthy, is now coming back from ACL and MCL surgery. Hurt and Cook gained valuable spot-starting experience due to the injuries in front of them, but this year's priority needs simply to be staying healthy. If the Redskins somehow find durability on the line, this could shoot from a bottom-seven unit to the middle of the pack. Robert Griffin III should definitely make it look better."After drafting three lineman and the primary portion of free agency in the books, any improvement figures to come from the current members, though the Lichtensteiger and Brown injury scenarios linger.For comparison's sake, the Eagles (7),Giants (14) and Cowboys (16) all ranked well ahead of the Redskins, though others might quibble on the gap.Of their 2012 non-NFC East opponents, only the Rams (32) finished behind the Redskins while five units ranked among the league's top 10.
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.
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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.
RICHMOND—Josh Norman was brought to the Redskins to help the defense. But he’s trying to solve one of the potentially biggest problems facing the other side of the ball.
In a part-time role last year, running back Matt Jones fumbled the ball five times, losing four of them. This year Jones is projected to be the full-time running back and if he continues to fumble at the same rate Norman and company will be coming onto the field a lot sooner than they planned on many occasions.
Norman has taken it upon himself to try to fix this. When Jones is carrying the ball Norman makes an effort to knock it out of the back’s arms. It’s become a running competition between the two.
“We crack up all the time because [Jones] knows when he comes to that hole I’m looking for that ball,” said Norman. “I’m punching; I’m looking to get it out of there.”
So far, Jones is doing a good job with ball security, something he’s been working on all offseason.
“He’s holding that thing high and tight and I don’t know if I've got him once yet,” said Norman.
Norman said that his goal is to knock the ball out of Jones’ grasp five times during training camp.
“I’m going to be lurking, trust me, I’m going to try and get it,” he said. “And that makes him better because he knows he’s going to have to hold that thing tight.”