The record will show that the first interception that Robert Griffin III ever threw in an 11 on 11 drill was picked off by linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.I dont think it was nothing that I did, I just did my job, said Alexander, who moved from outside linebacker to the inside this year. I think he thought I was running with Chris Cooley across the middle but I really was just dropping into my zone. He was trying to throw to, I believe it was Santana Moss running behind him. He just ended up throwing the ball right to me and I made a routine catch.Alexander was playing with the first-team defense yesterday with London Fletcher being given a veterans day off from practice. That would make it appear that with veteran Jonathan Goff waived after sustaining a torn ACL that Alexander will assume the role as Fletchers primary backup.So who calls the defenses when Fletcher is out? Riley, who is in there most of the time? Or Alexander, who is unlikely to see a whole lot of action playing behind the uber-durable Fletcher?I call them, Alexander said. Im the Mike behind London. Perry knows it as well. He could do it but if he doesnt have to just let him play Jack. Its less thinking on his part and hes more effective and hes very comfortable playing the Jack position.It seems that Alexander is rapidly becoming comfortable with his new position as well.
Much talk surrounding the political scene in Washington centers on rebuilding infrastructure. Much talk surrounding the football scene in Washington centers on rebuilding the defensive line. Like infrastructure spending, there is plenty of talk about building up the Redskins D-line, but little action.
This offseason, Washington lost defensive tackles Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-François. Replacing them, the franchise signed Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain. While the new additions are younger than the players they replaced, neither has shown the ability of Baker or durability of Jean-François. Not to suggest McGee and McClain can't be better, but collectively, they haven't done it yet.
That leads the Redskins brass to this week's NFL Draft, with the first round held Thursday night. It's been more than 20 seasons since the 'Skins selected a defensive tackle in the first round, but oddly, the last time it happened has a strong similarity to 2017.
In 1997, then general manager Charley Casserly selected Kenard Lang out of Miami with the 17th overall pick. Thursday night, Bruce Allen and the 'Skins draft team hold the 17th pick. Washington has not selected at 17 since they took Lang 20 years ago.
Digging a bit deeper, the Burgundy and Gold have selected in the 17th overall spot four times in the franchise's history. Two of those four selections have been used to take defensive linemen; Lang in 1997 and Bobby Wilson in 1991.
It's relatively easy to dismiss the odd coincidence of the 17th pick and D-line selections. In fact, barring some unexpected development Thursday night, there isn't really a true defensive tackle that makes sense at 17.
Remember, however, that crazy things happen at the NFL Draft. Every year.
And history tends to repeat itself.
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The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.
This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends under the microscope. Today the focus turns to the offensive line.
2016 final game starters: (left to right) Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Due to some injuries and a four-game Williams suspension, this group started only seven games together.
Departures: C John Sullivan (UFA), C Kory Lichtensteiger (retired)
Sullivan signed after some early season injuries and he started one game. He was a good security blanket for Jay Gruden, who liked having an experienced backup for the middle of the line.
Lichtensteiger missed a combined 24 games in 2015-2016. He may not have been back even he had not decided to retire.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0
Projected 2017 starters: (left to right) Williams, Lauvao, Long, Scherff, Moses
The one spot in any doubt is left guard. Lauvao is in the final year of his contract with a $4 million salary. Jay Gruden has expressed confidence in him but a guard drafted in the first few rounds this week could change all of that.
Moses and Long are in the final seasons of their contracts so they may need a succession plan in place at their positions.
2017 reserves: G: Arie Kouandjio, Ronald Patrick; T Ty Nsekhe, Isaiah Williams, Vinston Painter, John Kling, Kevin Bowen
The glaring hole here is at center. With Sullivan and Lichtensteiger gone they don’t have anyone for the middle of the line if Spencer Long is out. They could try to find one in the draft but it’s possible that they will be on the lookout for a veteran on the waiver wire between now and Week 1.
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often
Nsekhe is one of the best backup tackles in the league and the Redskins will be happy to have him even if he doesn’t play a single snap. Painter was on the roster for 13 games and he played just 10 snaps on offense.
Kouandjio is the only solid backup at guard and he could push for Lauvao’s starting job. If he wins the job and the team doesn’t want to pay Lauvao $4 million to be a backup, the Redskins will need a couple of guards for depth. Look for one or two to come their way in Rounds 3-5 this week.
Where can the offensive line find improvement?
The left guard spot was the weak link on the chain last year. Lauvao was charged with 32 QB hurries, by far the most on the team. Whether it’s Lauvao becoming fully healthy (a 2015 ankle injury limited him for the offseason program last year) or Kouandjio or another starter from the draft, the position has to be better in 2017.
Another factor that will help is Trent Williams being available for 16 games. Yes, Nsekhe is a very good backup. But in four starts Nsekhe allowed a sack plus 13 pressures. Williams started 12 games and allowed two sacks and 14 pressures. They are paying Williams $11.25 million this year for a reason.
Locks and bubble players
Trent Williams, Long, Scherff, Moses and Nsekhe are locks. Lauvao and Kouandjio are close but the draft could have an impact on them.
Out of the bubble players it would seem that Painter has the best shot of sticking simply because he was in the program last year. Bowe and Kling are huge and they are long shots who will draw interest if they can use their size.
The chances of any of the bubble players will be affected by the draft. There could be some fun competitions down the depth chart in training camp.