Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 17, 16 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.
The Redskins last played a game 228 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 24 days.
Today’s schedule: Practice 11:55 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 2 p.m.
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 2
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 31
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 38
Grading the Redskins’ free agents
Yesterday, colleague JP Finlay posted his grades on the Redskins’ rookies based on how they have performed since training camp started. Here, I’m going to do the same thing with the unrestricted free agents the Redskins signed this offseason.
ILB Zach Brown, B+—The only Pro Bowl player among the free agents signed, Brown has taken some time to find his niche in the defense. While many fans lamented that he didn’t start against the Ravens, he got more playing time because he went in with the second unit. In 12 snaps he had two tackles, including one for a loss. His grade could well improve over the coming weeks.
ILB Chris Carter, C—He was signed eight days before they got the opportunity to snag Brown so he must fight his way off the bubble. The former Steeler, Bengal, Colt, and Raven has not done much to turn heads but, to be fair, he likely was thought of as more of a special teams signing. There isn’t much you can do to distinguish yourself there in practice. That is the way he will have to make the team.
DE Terrell McClain, C—To be fair, it’s hard to judge the defensive line because of the way that Jim Tomsula rotates his players. I’d note a good play by McClain and then realize that it was against the third-string offense and a tackle who isn’t going to make the team. He got a quarterback hurry in 14 snaps against the Ravens. While he has had his moments, his play does not consistently pop.
DE Stacy McGee, C—As with McClain, how he performed in camp often was a function of who he was facing. He made a key mistake against the Ravens, lining up improperly and giving the Ravens the opportunity to turn a missed field goal into a touchdown. The former Raider played 15 snaps and did not show up on the stat sheet for anything other than the penalty. The Redskins should expect for the $9 million in contract guarantees they doled out to McGee.
WR Brian Quick, C—The ex-Ram was largely invisible in the offseason program but he became more productive as camp went on. Against the Ravens, he caught all three passes that were thrown to him and he will need to keep up that type of performance if he is going to beat out rookie Robert Davis for the last receiver roster spot.
MORE REDSKINS: Must-see photos from Redskins vs. Ravens
WR Terrelle Pryor, A—I don’t think there is a whole lot more to say about him that hasn’t already been said. Pryor has been standing out since the first day and things have gone up from there, thanks to his improving chemistry with Kirk Cousins.
S D.J. Swearinger, A—Even the most confident players can take a while to assume a leadership role when coming from a new team, especially at age 25 with a history of being with his fourth team in his fifth year in the NFL. Not Swearinger. He has embraced the role and has taken charge of the secondary, shouting encouragement to the defense, giving friendly taunts to the offense and taking young players aside to correct their mistakes.
NT Phil Taylor, B—Technically Taylor was not a UFA. He was not on a team at the end of the 2016 season so when he signed in January he was signed to a futures contract or, in the more common vernacular, as a “street” free agent. He has come back well after two years out of football. In 12 snaps against the Ravens, he was stout against the run and got a QB pressure.
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In case you missed it
- Practice report: Doctson, Smith return to action
- Battle at starting linebacker alive and well, says Gruden
- Should the Redskins hit more in practice?
- The pace picks up as the Redskins return to Ashburn
- Redskins rookie report card