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Need to Know: 5 defensive Redskins with a lot a stake in OTAs

Need to Know: 5 defensive Redskins with a lot a stake in OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 29, 19 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Yesterday we looked at five players on the offensive side of the ball who have a lot on the line going in to OTAs. Here are five defensive players with a lot at stake between now and the end of minicamp on June 19.

DE Kedric Golston—He could be the longest tenured Redskin on the roster in September or he might not be on the roster at all. Golston has been steady and reliable but the addition of Jason Hatcher and the pending return of Stephen Bowen from injury create quite a numbers crunch along the defensive line and he will have to scramble to survive.

ILB Keenan Robinson—Rarely does a young player’s career have such a well-defined pivot point. There is an opening in the starting lineup following the retirement of London Fletcher and Robinson has an opportunity to take it. It starts now when he has a chance to show that paying attention in meetings and in film rooms will make up for being absent on the playing field with injuries. If he can take the job it could mean a long career as a starter. If not, Robinson could be destined for reserve and special teams duty.

OLB Brandon Jenkins—Chances are he’ll be lining up with the third string and that could be a tough climb. If Jenkins will need to get up to speed in a hurry and show that he catch on to the new defensive schemes designed to get pressure on the passer, his supposed specialty. He then needs to be first in line volunteering for every special teams drill.

CB Chase Minnifield—Here’s another player who needs to show some enthusiasm for playing special teams. Minnifield spent his first season on injured reserve and last year he was on the practice squad and inactive list. If he is going to establish himself as an NFL player, his third year is a pretty good time to start. The clock is ticking.

S Bacarri Rambo—Yet another player who needs to run to Ben Kotwica when special teams volunteers are needed. That would be a good start but Rambo will have to up his defensive game from what he showed last year if he is going to be in line as an eventual starter.

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—It’s been 151 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 101 days until the play the Texans in their season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 19; Training camp 55; Redskins @ Eagles 115

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

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


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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.