Camp preview: LB's are the team's strength

595130.png

Camp preview: LB's are the team's strength

The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. Were going around the team to let you know what were looking for when practice gets underway. Yesterday we looked at the offense (line, backsreceivers). We start the defense today with the line and linebackers.Anticipated starters:LDE Adam Carriker
NT Barry Cofield
RDE Stephen Bowen
ROLB Brian Orakpo
LOLB Ryan Kerrigan
MLB London Fletcher
JLB Perry RileyCarriker might get challenged for his starting job (see Jarvis Jenkins below) but otherwise this group is set in stone. The linebacking corps is the strength of the team and that group is set up for success by the workmanlike guys up front. This will be their second full season playing as a unit (Riley played for half of the year) and should only get better. Their task during training camp will be to stay healthy and fine tune.Key reserves:DE Jarvis Jenkins
NT Chris Neild
OLB Rob Jackson
LB Lorenzo AlexanderJenkins has the talent to start but the versatility he showed in camp last year before he got injured may make him more valuable in a reserve role. He can rotate to give Bowen and Carriker a rest and play nose tackle on passing downs to provide some rush up the middle. Alexander can play inside or outside linebacker but even if he doesnt play a snap on defense his role on special teams makes him one of the teams key players.On the bubble:DE Kedric Golston, Kentwan Balmer, Darrion Scott, Doug Worthington
NT Chris Baker
LB Markus White, Chris Wilson, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl,The DEs listed are fighting for one or two spots. It seems like the coaches would like to see Balmer succeed as they are impressed with his size (6-5, 315) and the ability that made him a first-round pick of the 49ers. Robinson is not really on the bubble but he is unlikely to see many defensive snaps as he trains to be Fletchers eventual replacement. While it seems that Neild is safe, Baker could sneak up and steal his spot.Three things to watch:Will Riley take the next step? Riley did a lot of learning on the job last year, mixing some big plays with some obvious errors. If he can keep making the good plays while drastically reducing the mistakes the defense will be that much better.Can Cofield master the position? He came into camp last year right after signing as a free agent with little time to learn his new position. At about 310 lb., Cofield is quite a bit lighter than the typical 3-4 nose tackle but he managed the position last year by using leverage and quickness. With the offseason program behind him and a full training camp to work on his techniques he might be able to go from being adequate at the position to being pretty good.How long can London keep on keeping on? In a way, thats a dumb question as Fletcher shows no signs of slowing down. But all football players hit the wall at some point; its not a question of if, its a question of when. Chances are that he will play virtually every snap this year and lead the team in tackles again. But at some point . . .What do you want us to watch? Who do you think is on the bubble? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag RedskinsTalk.

New Redskins WR Doctson provides update on his surgically repaired wrist

doctsonbrentrefframe_1.jpg

New Redskins WR Doctson provides update on his surgically repaired wrist

New Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson says he’s fully recovered from the wrist injury that cut short his senior season at TCU.

Doctson, who was drafted No. 22 overall by Washington on Thursday, had pins surgically inserted into his left wrist after a defender fell on him during the Horned Frogs’ 49-29 loss at Oklahoma State on Nov. 7.

Doctson missed TCU’s final two regular season games and eventually was ruled out of the Alamo Bowl, as well. The 6 foot 2, 202 pounder was also forced to withdraw from the Senior Bowl.

Doctson, however, told reporters on Thursday night that he’s been full-go since late February.

“I was full strength by the end of the combine,” he said via conference call from Chicago. “There’s nothing wrong with my wrist, nothing wrong with my body.”

Doctson added: “Everything is working 100 percent, and like I said, I’m ready to get back on the field.”

Which, of course, is good news since the Redskins plan to use their new receiver extensively in 2016 and he’ll need all of the practice reps he can get this spring and summer. Rookie minicamp is scheduled to be held at Redskins Park early next month and will be followed by the start of OTAs on May 24.

Gruden compares Doctson to Bengals Pro Bowl receiver

whatredskinsgettingdoctsonrefframe_1.jpg

Gruden compares Doctson to Bengals Pro Bowl receiver

Yes, Jay Gruden went there.

Shortly after the Redskins drafted Josh Doctson the Redskins head coach went to the podium and compared the wide receiver to a receiver who played for Gruden when he was the Bengals offensive coordinator. A very good player.

“[Doctson] reminded me a lot of A.J. [Green] that we took a couple years ago in Cincinnati. He’s six-foot-two, A.J. was six-foot-four, but he’s got that same type of body control and the ability to high point it which is big time.”

The Bengals drafted Green with the fourth pick of the first round in 2011, the same year that Gruden came to Cincinnati. In five years in the NFL, Green has made the Pro Bowl five times. He has averaged 83 receptions, for 1,234 yards and nine touchdowns per season. The performance was good enough to earn his a four-year, $60 million contract extension prior to last season.

The Redskins would be ecstatic if the can get such production out of Doctson and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him. But he certainly doesn’t need the comparison or to be referred to as “the next A.J. Green” to create some unnecessary pressure on him.

Perhaps the next opportunity he gets, Gruden should deliver the old line that he just wants his new receiver to be the first Josh Doctson and leave it at that.

High marks for Redskins after selecting Josh Doctson in 1st round of NFL Draft

screen_shot_2016-04-23_at_9.40.28_am.png

High marks for Redskins after selecting Josh Doctson in 1st round of NFL Draft

Is it preposterously early to grade a draft class? Absolutely. Will that stop the Internet? Absolutely not.

On the heels of Thursday night's marathon first round of the NFL draft, multiple publications released grades for all the teams that took part in the action in Chicago.

Far from the early picks and the wild scenario that unfolded surrounding Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Redskins patiently waited for their pick at No. 21. When their turn came, they traded down one slot with Houston - in turn nabbing an extra 6th round pick - and selected TCU WR Josh Doctson at 22.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden sounded excited by the pick in comments to the media Thursday night.

"It’s about taking the best player on the board and Josh was clearly the best player on the board at that time for us," Gruden said. 

Doctson may not immediately start for Washington, but with 2016 the last year of Pierre Garçon and Desean Jackson's contracts, there is plenty of playing time ahead for the rookie speedster.

"He’ll get plenty of opportunities down there in the red zone," Gruden said of the 6'4" rookie with a 41-inch vertical. "He’s got to earn his stripes. We have a very good receiving corps, no question about it."

A vocal group of fans clamored via social media after the pick that redskins GM Scot McCloughan needed to focus on defense, but some NFL analysts disagreed. Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar gave the Redskins selection an A+, writing, "Doctson is especially strong when asked to compete with cornerbacks and safeties on 50/50 balls, and he combines size, strength and speed to be one of the class's best talents at any position. Kirk Cousins just got himself a very good red-zone target and a perfect fit for Jay Gruden's West Coast offense."

Pro Football Focus echoed similar sentiments, giving the Redskins an A.

"After moving back a spot, Washington gets one of the draft’s best receivers in Doctson, whose +28.9 receiving grade led the nation in 2015. Doctson has incredible body control, making downfield catches over defenders with regularity and separating well in the intermediate game," PFF's Steve Palazzolo wrote. "Doctson’s catch radius will make Redskins QB Kirk Cousins look even better and he adds yet another dimension to an already well-rounded passing game."

Considering an array of top defensive prospects remain - like the trio of Alabama players Reggie Ragland, Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson are available, as is UCLA LB Myles Jack and a host of others- odds of Washington grabbing an impact defensive front seven player remain strong.

"You look into all that, depth of other positions on defense. It is a good draft for that," Gruden said. "It is a very deep draft at a lot of positions for that matter. We feel like we can still add to this roster and get some quality players – second, third, fourth, fifth rounds."

Analysts liked McCloughan's selection of Doctson, as did the Redskins coach. For many fans, however, the jury is stil out. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.