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Is the left tackle position still important?

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Is the left tackle position still important?

The first draft pick Mike Shanahan made with the Redskins was left tackle Trent Williams. The Redskins took the Oklahoma product with the fourth pick of the 2010 draft.Williams was not necessarily the best player available to the Redskins with that pick but he was, in the eyes of Shanahan, the best left tackle available. The organization knew that he would command a hefty salary, given his position in the draft in what turned out to be the last year of the old system of crazy rookie deals.Williams signed a six-year, 60 million deal. His salary spikes at 11 million this year and then dips to 5 million this year, 7.25 million in 2014 and 10.25 million in 2015.Under the traditional way of thinking in the NFL, the salaries are worth it if Williams plays at even an above-average level. Left tackle is supposed to be one of the cornerstones of an NFL franchise. Bill Parcells called the position a part of his holy trinity of building a team, along with quarterback and left cornerback.But times may be changing. The left tackle position may not be as valuable as it used to be.Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports flat out said it in an article: The left tackles importance is decreasing.Left tackle has become like lighter fluid ad an barbecue, Cole wrote. You could use it, but you can get by without it.The reasoning is that todays passing attacks feature quarterbacks who either get rid of the ball quickly or are mobile enough to scramble away from pressure coming from his blind side. Cole points out that of the top four scoring teams in the NFL last year, the Packers, Saints, Patriots, and Lions, only Detroit had first-round pick at left tackle. That was Jeff Backus, who is much closer to average than elite.Cole goes into more detail on the subject in his interesting piece but lets bring this back to Williams and the Redskins. If the importance of Williams position is diminished can the team afford to continue to have him as one of the highest paid player on the team?They dont have much choice but to keep him this year despite the salary and his 13.5 million total cap hit. Assuming that he is at least competent it makes sense to keep him around at his 5 million salary in 2013. But should they keep him after that if the importance of the position continues to lessen while his salary escalates in seasons where the cap is expected to remain essentially flat. Robert Griffin III comes into play in making these decisions. Griffin could be just the kind of quarterback who is helping to make the left tackle position less important. We know about his mobility and his ability to scramble away from trouble could mean that the Redskins could be just fine with an average left tackle with a cap hit of several million dollars per year instead of the eight-figure cap hits that Williams commands.The change in the rookie contract system means that the contracts of Griffin and Williams both will expire after the 2015 season. It would be difficult to give both of them large deals. If Griffin even comes close to meeting expectations, the potential either-or decision would be easy. The QB would get the big bucks and the left tackle would either have to settle for less or go elsewhere.Then again, if the importance of the position has indeed diminished perhaps Williams wont command a big salary elsewhere and things will be worked out.This is all a few years down the road but for now its worth considering that the Redskins may be paying premium dollars for a position that should not command them.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.Days until: Rookies report 27; training camp 37; preseason opener @ Bills 51; Redskins @ Saints 82; home opener vs. Bengals 96

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Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Mbu first team, Smith dropping pounds

Need to Know: Redskins camp hot topics—Mbu first team, Smith dropping pounds

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 27, 36 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 207 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 45 days.

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Josh Norman press conference 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 13
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 22
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 58

Hot topics from Redskins camp

RICHMOND—Some news and notes from around Redskins training camp.

—Don’t look now but Joey Mbu is the starting nose tackle for your Washington Redskins. To be sure, being first-string at a position on the first day of camp when he was on the practice squad last year doesn’t mean he’s a lock to start Week 1. But it’s a better spot to be in than second- or third-team. At this point it’s something to keep an eye on. We’ll have to see what happens when they put the pads on Monday.

—Preston Smith dropped about seven pounds during the offseason. He went from a guy who looked like he had nearly zero fat on his body to looking like he has even less. The third-year OLB said that he stopped eating fried foods, baked goods, and other such tasty delights. Smith said that he hopes to be quicker after going from about 269 at the end of last season to about 262.

—I wouldn’t look for Jordan Reed to be back anytime real soon. In one answer at his press conference on Thursday, he said that it should be “about a week or so” before they get him on the field. But then in answer to another question Gruden said, “We will be extra cautious with Jordan.” A week does not seem to be “extra cautious.” The Redskins are off a week from today before having a single practice on Saturday, August 5. Although Reed may be activated by then it seems unlikely that he will be putting in any full-go work until after they get back from their first preseason game. In short, think later rather than sooner when it comes to Reed returning to action.

—E.J. Bibbs, signed to give the Redskins some additional tight end depth with Reed on the shelf, has just one NFL catch for seven yards. He’s the ultimate long shot to make the roster but he does appear to have practice squad eligibility so it’s certainly worth his while to come in and see what kind of impression he can make.

—Kirk Cousins says that it will take some more practice to adjust to throwing the ball to his taller receivers, Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor. “Height is an advantage if you can use it to your advantage, I guess,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to be able to put the ball in the right spot where your guy can catch it, and he’s got to be able to adjust to the football and make those tough catches at a high point. So, that’s what the reps in practice are all about is developing that rapport.” We haven’t seen much high-pointing the ball either in the offseason practices or in yesterday’s practice. But we can assume that it’s coming.

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' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working.