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Another day, another round of stories, rumors and dots to try to connect in the process of the Redskins' selection of a head coach. Three names have been the buzz the last few days. Here's one of them, the other two will be covered later today.

Steve Mariucci's name came up on Sunday night when my friend Jason LaCanfora did an excellent job of connecting some dots in his blog and saw a lot of indicators that pointed to Mooch. These indicators are tidbits like an odd conversation with Mariucci's agent, the fact that Jim Zorn and Greg Blache have ties to the ex 49ers and Lions coach and the fact that Mariucci and Vinny Cerrato worked together in San Francisco. This wasn't a case of LaCanfora adding two and two and getting seven. He couched it as pure speculation, but it was quite compelling.

Mariucci currently is employed by the NFL Network and, of course, he's working the Super Bowl this week. On the set on Tuesday morning, his response when asked about his candidacy for the Redskins job was very similar to one he gave to David Elfin of the Times. In short, it was very much a non-denial, although far from a confirmation. Here is the video of what transpired on the NFLN set.

Mariucci was 72-67 in nine NFL seasons from 1997-2005. In his six seasons in San Francisco he was 57-39 plus 3-4 in the playoffs. His record with the Lions was 15-28 before he was dismissed with 11 games left in the 2005 season.

He was fired by William Ford and Matt Millen. Ford has been writing checks to Mariucci to the tune of around $5 million a year ever since. The five-year contract that Mooch signed with the Lions ends tomorrow. Broadcasting pays well, but not that well. The gross income figure on Mariucci's 1040 is about to lose a zero from the end of it. That's pretty powerful incentive to put down the microphone and pick up the whistle.

To call him a good potential hire, you would have to write off his record in Detroit. Considering the lack of success in Motown since 1957 you certainly can rationalize doing that. He was fired from San Fran after 12-4 and 10-6 seasons; the Niners haven't won more than seven games in a season since.

His chances of ending up with the job could best be described as realistic. He wants to get back into coaching. There is one job open if he wants to do so in 2008. If the Redskins offer, it's likely that he'll accept.

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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. Terrance 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 Haha Clinton-Dox 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."


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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.