Redskins-Bucs preview: Plenty of players with lots to prove

Redskins-Bucs preview: Plenty of players with lots to prove

What: Redskins vs. Buccaneers
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet, NBC 4Robert Griffin IIIand the Redskins other starters are not expected to touch the field once tonights preseason finale against the Buccaneers kicks off.But if you think that makes the game meaningless, just askDezmon Briscoehow hes approaching it. For players like him, the contest represents their best chance of snagging a job in the NFL this season. Play well, earn a job. Struggle, get cut Friday, when teams must pare rosters from 75 to the regular season maximum of 53.So dont tell Briscoe tonight doesnt mean anything.Keep reading for a little more on Briscoes tenuous grasp on one of the final wide receiver jobs and a few other positions the crew atwww.csnwashington.comwill be keeping tabs on.1) Against the Bears and Colts, Briscoe used his 6 foot 2, 210-pound frame and sure-handedness to haul in a combined five receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns and leave an impression on the coaches, as well.Against the Bucs, though, Briscoe must show he can excel on special teams, too. He said he expects to line up on kickoff, kick return, punt and punt rush teams. He started as the off-returner last season in Tampa Bay.A strong showing on teams could be the edge Briscoe needs to beat outAnthony Armstrong,Brandon BanksandTerrence AustinandAldrick Robinson. Those five are battling for what appears to be two final spots at wide receiver.Im looking forward to showing the coordinators what I can do, Briscoe said. Going into my third year, Ive realized that special teams is a huge, huge priority for people in the situation Im in. I have to go out there and prove that I can play special teams.2) It will be interesting to see how CoachMike Shanahanhandles his running backs. If rookie Alfred Morris watches from the sidelines with the other first team players, does that mean he's claimed the starter's job? Last week's107-yard performance against the Colts clinched his spot on the 53-man roster.But how much will Tim Hightower play? The veteran returned from a 10-month layoff due to a knee injury Saturday, but carried the ball only five times (for a total of 28 yards) and was sore Monday. What aboutEvan Royster? He was sidelined with a minor knee injury last Saturday but said this week he hopes to play.The status ofRoy Helu Jr.(two sore Achilles tendons) remains unclear.More and more, it appears Shanahan will keep four running backs. The question now is who starts and how playing time will be divided among the other three. We ought to have some answers later.3) The team jettisoned two cornerbacks on Monday, waivingMorgan Trent(injury settlement) and tradingKevin Barnesto the Lions for a conditional draft pick.That leaves the team with seven corner backs and as many as five spots to fill.DeAngelo Hall,Josh WilsonandCedric Griffinwill be three of them. But who are the others? Seventh-round draft pickRichard Crawfordhas enjoyed a strong camp. But what aboutBrandyn Thompson,David JonesandTravon Bellamy?Thompson, Jones and Bellamy have 60 minutes to make a strong closing argument for the final spot.4) The kicking competition betweenGraham GanoandNeil Rackersnever gained much traction this preseason. Now the job belongs toBilly Cundiff, who no doubt will seek to make a strong first impression.Cundiff, long snapperNick Sundberg, holderSav Roccaand the rest of the field goal unithave had exactly one practice to get on the same page. Will it be a seamless integration, or does the unit need a little polish?The bright side for us is after this game, weve got nine practice days until we play New Orleans, said Sundberg, who added that he worked with Cundiff previously in Baltimore.I know how he works, he knows how I work, so I think it will be a quicker transition than we originally thought.

Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

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Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

The Redskins added seven players in the draft class of 2016 and many of them share some common traits.

“I'm very excited about these guys, really,” Jay Gruden said to the media after the draft was over. “I think the theme is we got some football players. We got some versatile guys who can do a lot of different things. Tough guys, who love the game of football. We're excited about them, they all bring great attitude to this organization. They're going to play hard and they're good people.”

Gruden seems to be particularly impressed with a pair of defensive players, fifth-round lineman Matt Ioannidis out of Temple and inside linebacker Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick out of Boston College.

“Steven Daniels is very tough,” said Gruden. “When he hits you, he thumps you.”

Like Daniels, Ioannidis was the captain of the defensive unit. Gruden said that he loved his relentless play and said that “he’s a tough guy.”

Ioannidis and Su’a Cravens, the team’s second-round pick out of USC, will both play a number of roles on defense. Ioannidis could add 15-20 pounds (he is listed at 299) and play nose tackle or he could play all along the line. Cravens is a dime linebacker but he could play outside linebacker and strong safety in other situations as well.

Gruden said that the Redskins were able to emphasize toughness and versatility because they weren’t buttonholed into being forced to draft particular positions because they didn’t have anyone there.

“We didn't have a lot of glaring needs, like 'oh, my gosh we're totally incompetent at this position,’” he said. “I felt really good about the depth on our footbal team already, now that the draft is about adding a lot of good football players and adding guys that are tough.”

The team used toughness and other factors as tiebreakers when selecting among players.

“When you're in the draft and it's close between a couple of different guys, the toughness, maybe the special teams factor, the versatility, being a captain, all that stuff factors into it,” said Gruden. “You're always going to err on the side of tough, loves football.”

Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

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Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

Just a week into his Redskins tenure, new CB Josh Norman is enjoying the D.C. life, attending in the White House Correspondent's Dinner. 

@jno24's welcome to DC, the White House Corespondent Dinner! #whcd #RedSkins #HTTR #DC

A photo posted by Jeanine Juliano (@jeanine_juliano) on

Norman came to the 'Skins with much fanfare; an unusual release from a franchise tag in Carolina made him a free agent and Washington swooped in quickly. Norman signed a massive five-year, $75 million contract, and is expected to start at cornerback this fall opposite Bashaud Breeland.

Just hours before donning his tuxedo and heading downtown, Norman was spotted at FedEx Field meeting Redskins rookies Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller.

It's been a busy day for Norman, and depending what you hear about #NerdProm, the night is just getting started.

Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

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Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

It took them their entire draft but the Redskins finally got a running back on their roster. They took Keith Marshall of Georgia with their seventh-round pick (No. 242 overall).

Marshall, 5-11 and 219 pounds, was supposed to be the Bulldogs’ next great back, but due to injuries and the emergence of Nick Chubb he never really got the chance.

He is the fastest player in the draft, if you go by his combine 40 times. He ran 4.31 in Indianapolis, the fastest time recorded this year.

Marshall will line up behind Matt Jones and probably Chris Thompson on the Redskins’ running back depth chart. He will get a chance to earn snaps on third down and possibly as a rotational back teaming with Jones.