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RT's 5: A muddled picture at cornerback

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RT's 5: A muddled picture at cornerback

Rich Tandlers five things possibly related to the Washington Redskins and other matters.5. The decision to make Robert Griffin III the starter at quarterback without a competition taking place was sound if only for one reasonpractice reps are limited and Griffin needs all them he can get with the first team. Was there some PR value in the move? Possibly there was some desire to nip any talk of a competition with fourth-round draft pick Kirk Cousins. But naming RG3 the starter just makes sense when it comes to the on-field aspects of it and any public relations value is peripheral.4. It would not be surprising at all to see Josh LeRibeus get a lot of work at center during the offseason and in training camp. A look at the Redskins depth chart there shows starter Will Montgomery, 2010 draft pick Erik Cook, and rookie free agent Grant Garner. Cook did not play well when he was pressed into action at center last year and at 6-6 he may be too tall to succeed there in any case. Garner is likely a practice squad guy at best for the time being. They need depth in the middle and LeRibeus, who practiced as the backup center at SMU and played there during the rookie camp, could be the guy to bring it.3. It will be interesting to see how things play out at cornerback. There are eight on the roster and none of them appears to be training camp fodder. DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are the starters but everything is muddled behind that. Holdovers Kevin Barnes and Brandyn Thompson will compete with free agent signees Cedric Griffin and Leigh Torrence, seventh-round draft pick Richard Crawford and undrafted free agent Chase Minnifield. It would not shock me if any of them ended up playing a key role and it would not be surprising if any of them was cut.2. The situation is not so complicated at outside linebacker. There are six of them currently on the roster and five are likely to stick around for the season. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will be backed up by Rob Jackson, Markus White and Chris Wilson. Rookie free agent Monte Lewis will be the odd man out.1. OK, thats enough of the peripheral, on-field stuff and on to whats really important. I like the throwback uniforms a lot because, well, they actually are throwbacks. Sure, some modern touches were added to the uniform worn by Sammy Baugh but not so much that they lost their essential character. The best part is the simulated leather helmet, although I have to say that it comes off much better when actually looking at it rather than looking at pictures. Its hard to capture the look in two dimensions.Days until: OTAs start 7; Minicamp 29; Preseason opener 87; Redskins @ Saints 118Rich 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.

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DeSean Jackson throws out first pitch at Sunday's Nationals game

DeSean Jackson throws out first pitch at Sunday's Nationals game

You know, if this whole football thing doesn't work out for DeSean Jackson, maybe he could give baseball a shot.

The Redskins wide receiver was on hand Sunday at Nationals Park to throw out the first pitch and did a pretty good job.

Photo credit @byersjackson gas that 1st pitch ⚾️💨💨

A video posted by Desean Jackson (@0ne0fone) on

Jackson throws it from the mound and gets it to home plate, though just a bit outside. The throw was certainly good enough to keep Jackson off the list of other professional athletes with horrible first pitches (see John Wall).

RELATED: DON'T FORGET ABOUT NILES PAUL

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Redskins have many options at tight end, but don't count out Niles Paul

Redskins have many options at tight end, but don't count out Niles Paul

The Redskins are loaded at tight end - Jordan Reed is the emerging star and Vernon Davis the veteran with a stellar track record. But don't forget about Niles Paul. Lost last season to a broken ankle, Paul looked strong throughout Washington's offseason work, and with the team heading to Richmond this week to begin training camp, the former Nebraska receiver has been clear he plans to compete for playing time despite his loaded position group. 

"If you’re not out there competing to be the No. 1, I don’t know why you’re in the league," Paul said on ESPN980 earlier this summer.

Paul's mindset is admirable, but Reed is locked in as the No. 1 tight end. There's no debate there. And GM Scot McCloughan did not bring Vernon Davis to Washington without plans of playing him. 

But here's the thing with Paul - he can be very good.

In the first four games of the 2014 season, Paul caught 21 balls for 313 yards and a touchdown. He was averaging nearly 80 yards receiving per game in that stretch, the best of his career. It's no surprise that Paul put up those numbers when Reed was out, as he was injured Week 1 and did not suit back up until Week 6 of that season. 

RELATED: VERNON DAVIS PLANS TO COMPETE FOR TOP SPOT 

Paul has proved himself a strong backup to Reed, and in Reed's three-year career, he has missed 14 games. Last year Reed stayed mostly healthy - he missed two games - but it would hardly be a surprise if the Redskins have to go one or more games without their new $50 million tight end. Davis will be expected to step up should that happen, but the team might lean on Paul more in that situation, in addition to a major role on special teams as well. There were also a few snaps this summer where Paul worked as a fullback - a role the tight end might have to take on with the departure of Darrel Young. 

Jay Gruden acknowledged Paul's hard work during minicamp.

"He’s done an unbelievable job in rehab to get himself to this point," Gruden said. "We didn’t expect him back until training camp."

A 5th-round pick in 2011, Paul has already surpassed expectations with a five-year NFL career. That he outpaced his rehab schedule should not come as a shock.

Should he significantly contribute this fall, even considering Reed and Davis will be the first and second targets at tight end respectively, would not be a surprise either.

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Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Is it crazy to give a quarterback who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season the same MVP odds as a guy who went 0-3 in three starts and tossed just four scores in 2015?

According to the sportsbook Bovada.lv, no, it's not crazy at all. So that's why, when looking at their opening odds for the 2016/17 NFL MVP, you'll find Kirk Cousins right next to Mark Sanchez, with both signal callers listed at a long 150/1.

Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Tannehill, David Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey, Le'Veon Bell and Sam Bradford also check in at 150/1. Some of those names, like Jeffrey and Bell, should makes Redskins fans feel good, since they're both premier players at their position. But others, such as Sanchez and Bradford? Yeah, not so much.

The top five guys most likely to win the award are Aaron Rodgers (4/1), Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1) and Tom Brady (9/1). Meanwhile, if you squint hard enough, you can see Robert Griffin III near the bottom of the list at 250/1.

Not that this reminder is necessary, but here's a reminder anyway: Anything can happen in this league, so these rankings are not the be-all and end-all. Last year, for instance, Newton had 50/1 odds of being named MVP, and then he went out and did it anyway.

So, with that in mind, while Cousins is no favorite, perhaps his loaded arsenal of targets can help him claim the valuable piece of hardware. The NFL is a wild place, after all — but still probably not wild enough for Sanchez to rise to the top of the sport, which is why him landing next to Cousins hurts more than a little bit.

RELATED: COLIN COWHERD TROLLS KIRK COUSINS IN LATEST RANT