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Is standing pat with the lineup good for the Redskins in the long term?

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Is standing pat with the lineup good for the Redskins in the long term?

During his Monday press conference, Mike Shanahan essentially shut the door on the Redskins taking a peek at their future. Even though the Redskins are officially eliminated from the playoffs, they will not insert some of their younger players into the lineup to see if they might be long-term solutions for the organizations.

“Just because a guy is on the practice squad or because you’re out of the playoff race doesn’t mean somebody is going to be elevated just to see what he can do in a game,” said Shanahan. “The best players are going to play and they’ve got to earn the right regardless if they’re draft choices or veteran players.”

So even though the offensive line has been struggling it doesn’t look like Tom Compton will get a shot at tackle and Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis won’t get any valuable regular season snaps in the interior line. Bacarri Rambo and David Amerson will continue to play roles in the defense but barring injury the four starters in the defensive backfield, Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Brandon Meriweather, and Reed Doughty, all of whom will be free agents next spring, will continue to start and play nearly every snap.

Is this the right move for the long-term future of the organization?

Shanahan said that he wants to win as many of the last four games as possible and he is concerned about how the veteran players might feel about such a move even if the younger player was almost as good as the veteran he would be replacing.

“If you want to lose a football team, that’s the first thing to do,” he said.

But why should players who have been the ones playing the vast majority of snaps during this highly disappointing season be considered in the decision as to who plays and who doesn’t? Should the members of the offensive line who have allowed 19 sacks in the last four games be immune from being replaced? Should any member of a defense that has allowed 30.2 points per game, 31st in the NFL, be allowed to feel comfortable in his job?

In short, if he loses the team, what really has been lost?

What Shanahan left unsaid was that the team might need to win some games for him to retain his job. With the team sitting at 3-9 and out of the playoffs for the third time in Shanahan’s four seasons here there has been widespread speculation that a strong finish—or at least a respectable one—would greatly enhance Shanahan’s chances of coming back for the final season of his five-year contract.

So, instead of being treated as a second round of preseason games, the last four games of the year are going to be handled just like a playoff run.

But sticking with the same players who have taken the team to a 3-9 record and who may not be with the team in 2014 may not be good for the Redskins in the long haul.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

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