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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners—Defense

Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 18, five days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs on May 23.


It’s been 136 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 116 days.

Days until:

—Redskins OTAs start (5/23) 5
—Training camp starts (7/27) 70
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 84

Player one-liners—Defense

Yesterday I gave you some nuggets on the 25 players projected to make the roster on offense. Today, after projecting the defense, that side of the ball is up.

Since there is always a learning curve coming to the NFL, don’t be surprised of DE Jonathan Allen isn’t dominant from the outset.

Despite playing only nine games last year, DL Stacy McGee had career highs in sacks (2.5) and forced fumbles (2).

DE Terrell McClain also is coming off career highs in sacks (2.5) and forced fumbles (2).

DE Anthony Lanier is a project and he might not really catch on and become an asset until late this year or possibly 2018.

DL Ziggy Hood will be much more effective playing 300 or so snaps as a rotational lineman than he was playing 660 as a starter last year.

A lot of fans were disappointed in the performance of DL Matt Ioannidis last year but there should be low expectations for a fifth-round pick.

It will be very interesting to see if the coaches utilize ILB Zach Brown’s speed and athleticism or if they will have him in the same role they always have had at the position.

Last year, ILB Will Compton played 91 percent of the defensive snaps and he missed a game and a half with a knee injury.

ILB Mason Foster may be one of the most underappreciated players on the Redskins.

It will be interesting to see if ILB Martrell Spaight can push for more playing time after getting a start in 2016.

No NFL outside linebacker has a longer streak of consecutive games played than OLB Ryan Kerrigan, who has played in all 96 games the Redskins have played since drafting him.

If OLB Preston Smith always played as well as he has shown in his best games he would be a defensive player of the year candidate.

OLB Ryan Anderson also will have a learning curve so don’t look for double-digit sacks this year.

I’m going to make a bold prediction that OLB Junior Galette sees the field in a regular season game this year.

If CB Josh Norman can hold on to a few more interceptions this year he can regain Pro Bowl status and perhaps be named All-Pro.

I wonder if CB Bashaud Breeland will play too hard in his contract season instead of playing under control.

The Redskins are far from giving up on CB Kendall Fuller after his rough rookie season but he needs to start justifying that faith quickly.

In 2015 I was concerned when then-rookie CB Quinton Dunbar lined up opposite Odell Beckham on some plays but he passed the test just fine.

Rookie CB Josh Holsey will create a lot of fan buzz making plays in training camp.

Like Fuller, CB Fabian Moreau was a third-round pick who may need a redshirt season before becoming an effective player.

I don’t know how well S D.J. Swearinger will adapt to playing free safety but I have a feeling he will hit some people hard trying.

I think that S Su’a Cravens will be able to cover from his relative lack of speed with preparation most of the time but he will get burned from time to time.

It may be going too far to call S DeAngelo Hall a roster lock but both Gruden and Greg Manusky have spoken as though he will be on the team.

S Will Blackmon isn’t necessarily a lock either but his versatility should help him find the right side of the bubble.

Special teams are S Deshazor Everett’s calling card and possibly his job security.

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.

In case you missed it

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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.


Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

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Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

The Redskins are going to build a new stadium. That is certain.

Where that stadium will be remains unclear.

Washington team president Bruce Allen spoke on Monday and explained that the team is ahead of schedule in terms of a new stadium.

RELATED: How the Redskins are changing up their front office

The team's lease expires at FedEx Field in 2027, and Allen expects the team to move into a new "jewel" of a stadium.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are all in play for the new facility. Currently, the team plays in Maryland but practices in Virginia.

The Redskins greatest success came when the team played in Washington at famed RFK Stadium.

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

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!