Rich Tandlers five things possibly related to the Washington Redskins and other matters.5. London Fletcher probably didnt mean to take a shot at Rex Grossman and John Beck at his press conference after the OTA session but he did. When asked if the trade for the draft rights to Robert Griffin III influenced his decision to re-sign with the Redskins, the 37-year old captain said that it did. Im in my 15th season, to go into another year with not having a quarterback was not very appealing to me, he said. Ill tell you that. Clearly, Beck and Grossman were not quarterbacks who inspired much confidence. It does not appear that RG3 has that problem.4. I will have a full article on Chris Cooley later today or tomorrow but I was surprised to hear him say that his weight is down to 237. Thats 18 pounds lighter than his listed weight of 255 and just a couple of pounds heavier than converted wide receiver Niles Paul. The lighter weight is great for running routes but not necessarily good when it comes to taking on 270-pound linebackers. We will see if Cooley can make up for his reduced bulk with leverage and technique when he needs to block. The answer to that will have to wait until training camp, when full-contact blocking is allowed, and the preseason games.3. Speaking of Paul, he looked very good yesterday. Every time you looked up he was catching another dart from Griffin. That doesnt mean that he is going to jump ahead of Cooley or Fred Davis on the depth chart but it cant hurt to develop a good rapport with the starting quarterback.2. It was somewhat surprising to see Tim Hightower, about seven months removed from tearing his ACL, on the field taking handoffs from Griffin. He ran straight ahead for the most part; he probably wont be able to cut until training camp. I saw him about 30 minutes after the workout, running sprints on the field turf in the bubble. He is not all the way back by any means but he is on his way.1. Griffin was as good as advertised yesterday. He threw with zip and accuracy, getting some passes into small openings. He was confident and clearly in charge as he went up to the line of scrimmage. It was time to get out of the playbook and, in his words, go out and play and he clearly enjoyed and savored the experience. The caveat is that its relatively easy to look good while wearing shorts with no contact allowed against defenders likely to be reserves when the season starts. The true test will come when the pads go on against hostile first-teamers. But were not at that point yet and based on what we have to go on its so far, so good.Days until: minicamp 21; training camp 65; preseason opener @ Bills 79; Redskins @ Saints 110; home opener vs. Bengals 124Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
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.”