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Jansen returns—but is he back?

Jansen returns—but is he back?

In today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, there is a Paul Woody article about Washington Redskins tackle Jon Jansen. At the top, there is a four-column black and white picture of Jansen lying on the FedEx Field turf in agony right after a tangle in a pile resulted in him sustaining a broken leg and a dislocated ankle. His 2007 season ended less than 30 minutes after it started.

Woody's article talks about the two major injuries from which Jansen has had to recover since 2004, when a preseason Achilles tendon tear put him on the shelf for all of that season. Woody writes about Jansen's family life (he has two young daughters) and his offseason activities (he appeared on ESPN and wrote for The Sporting News).

He mentions the 2008 preseason only briefly, saying that "the Redskins' front five have been playing well in the preseason. They're protecting quarterback Jason Campbell and providing openings for the running game."

I'd have to say that the dean of Redskins beat writers is nine-tenths right here. All five starters have been doing well in run blocking, opening holes for whichever running back is handed the ball. Four of the five are doing a decent job of pass protection. The exception to the latter is Jon Jansen.

In the four series in which he has played, two in each of his team's games so far, Jansen has struggled in pass protection. He has wound up getting pushed back well into the backfield on several occasions. Against the Bills he was flagged for holding. In the Hall of Fame game a Colts defensive end not named Dwight Freeney pushed him around.

His problems have not been limited to the preseason games. Jansen has had some embarrassing moments in practice as well. Earlier this week Jason Taylor threw him to the ground as though Jansen were some sort of tackling dummy.

This has led to Jansen becoming a whipping boy on some message boards and blogs. He's too old and injury prone, they say. Jason Campbell won't survive September if they don't do something. Get rid of him and a kid like Chad Reinhardt or Stephon Heyer and chance.

To address the last part first, Jansen isn't going anywhere. He signed a contract extension prior to last season that would make releasing him very costly in terms of the 2009 salary cap.

Is he too old? No, 32 is not ancient for an offensive lineman by any means. Is he injury prone? Well, it's hard to argue that a player who has missed virtually all of two of the last four seasons is the picture of health. However, you also can make the case that the two injuries were the result of horribly bad luck, not of an inherent fragility in Jansen's physical makeup.

In any case, the Redskins are going to put him out there and see what happens. His struggles could be the result of him trying to knock of the rust that has accumulated as a result of missing last year. If that's the case, he should round into form by the time the season starts.

That brings up the question of what "form" for Jon Jansen is at this stage of his career. In his first few years in the league he was among the best tackles in the game with the Redskins' mediocre records costing him Pro Bowl spots. For the past few years, however, even when healthy, the general consensus is that he's been average at best.

Right now, Jansen has some work to do to get up to being average.

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—offense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—offense

RICHMOND—The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to, starting with the offense.

Kiss Cousins goodbye?

As everyone reading this knows, the Redskins quarterback did not agree to a long-term contract by the deadline last week and he will play out the season on the franchise tag. The situation will have a major impact next spring as free agency approaches but that’s to be sorted out in 2018. The question here is whether Cousins’ contract status will affect what takes place here in Richmond and as the season unfolds starting in September.

Some believe that it will be a major storyline and that it will be a distraction with media asking lots of questions and the possibility that Cousins’ thoughts will drift towards next year and his potential free agency.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

However, Cousins was in a similar position last year, when he played on the franchise tag for the first time. There was a flurry of questions at the start of training camp, Cousins answered them, and then they moved on. The rule that prohibits contract negotiations with a tagged player during the season had its intended effect. There was no buzz about the situation until the season was over.

This year the situation is ratcheted up a bit because of the high cost of the tags available to the Redskins next year. But Cousins is very good at deflecting questions about his contract status and he should be able to handle the scrutiny.

Changes at wide receiver

No team had ever lost two 1,000-yard receivers in the same offseason until the Redskins saw both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson depart as free agents in March. It means that Josh Doctson steps into a featured role and Terrelle Pryor will be expected to produce as well as he did in Cleveland last year, if not better.

The changes also mean that Jamison Crowder is likely to see more targets and holdovers Maurice Harris and Ryan Grant could see increased roles. It all will be sorted out in training camp starting on Thursday.

Further down the depth chart, can sixth-round rookie Robert Davis get up to speed soon enough to justify a roster spot? And can veteran Brian Quick rebound from some shaky offseason practices to claim a slot on the 53?

Two-back attack?

Last year Rob Kelley worked his way up from being an overlooked, undrafted free agent rookie to being the starting running back. This year, Samaje Perine comes in as a fourth-round pick with an eye on taking the job away from Kelley.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

It is likely that Kelley, who is a favorite of Jay Gruden’s, will be the Week 1 starter. Still, it would not be surprising if Perine led the team in carries and rushing yards in several games as the season unfolds, perhaps more.

Meanwhile, Mack Brown and Keith Marshall (if he can stay healthy) will compete for the fourth running back job—if the team decides to keep that many. They only kept three coming out of camp last year.

O-line stability

The same five starters will line up for the second year in a row. There’s really nothing to see here unless Arie Kouandjio can make a big push and move into Shawn Lauvao’s spot at left guard.

There is some intrigue about the backup center spot. If rookie Chase Roullier can’t get up to speed they may have to look at the waiver wire.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins Playbook: 5 forgotten names to remember for training camp

Redskins Playbook: 5 forgotten names to remember for training camp

When the Redskins open training camp in Richmond on Thursday, fans will line up to get autographs from Kirk Cousins, Josh Norman and Jordan Reed. Plenty of other players will excite the fans too as optimism rules the first few days of practice in July and August. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

There are other players that fans probably won't scream their names, but who could play a role or fight for a roster spot this fall. Winning in the NFL is almost nearly as dependent on the final 10 players on the roster as it is the first five. Depth is key, and here are a few players that fans might have forgotten about. 

  • RB Keith Marshall - The speedster out of Georgia has a wildly impressive resume - on paper - but just can't stay healthy. In college he started ahead of Todd Gurley for a time, now considered one of the best RBs in the NFL for the Rams. Marshall landed on the injured reserve last year as a rookie but looked healthy and capable at Redskins Park this offseason during OTAs and minicamp. The running back position looks quite full, but if Marshall can show his elite speed and make it through four preseason games, he just might push Mack Brown for a roster spot. 
  • LB Martrell Spaight - A tackling machine in college at Arkansas, Spaight missed most of his rookie season in 2015 before appearing in 14 games last season. Bad luck struck again, and he finished the year on the IR. With the addition of Zach Brown to the interior linebackers, Spaight might have a tough battle for a roster spot. Will Compton, Mason Foster and Brown all seem certain to make the team. Spaight could also start the year on the PUP list, which might be the surest way to stay on the Redskins.
  • LB Chris Carter - Signed as a free agent this year, the journeyman Carter has played for six teams in six years and looks poised to play the special teams role that Terence Garvin took on last year. If Carter makes the roster, that means trouble for Spaight. 
  • DL Anthony Lanier - An undrafted rookie in 2016 that didn't see much game action, Lanier has really impressed coaches with his work ethic this offseason. He has great size at 6-foot-6 and added about 20 pounds of muscle since the season ended, which should allow him the strength to handle the trenches. Lanier could be a sneaky important player this fall for Washington. 
  • S Will Blackmon - D.J. Swearinger and Su'a Cravens look to be the starting safeties for the Redskins in 2017. Swearinger has a proven track record in the NFL secondary, Cravens does not, but showed the ability to do so in college at USC. After those two, and with DeAngelo Hall on the PUP list, the Redskins lack much depth or experience in the defensive backfield. That's where Blackmon should help. A versatile veteran, Blackmon has the speed to keep up with most wideouts and is one of the more cerebral players on the defense. 

Bonus: RB Matt Jones - He might want off the Redskins roster, but that hasn't happened yet. If the team sustains any injuries at the running back position, Jones' fortunes could change quickly. 

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