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Need to Know: 5 Gruden notes and quotes from Wednesday's Redskins OTA

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Need to Know: 5 Gruden notes and quotes from Wednesday's Redskins OTA

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 5, 12 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Here are five quotes and notes from Jay Gruden following the Redskins’ OTA session on Wednesday.

—Some think that Kory Lichtensteiger could get pushed out at center at some point but Gruden appears to be a big fan: “Kory's done a great job at center. He's coming, it’s a natural transition for him. He's great in the run game, he gets up to the second level with ease and in the pass protection with the calls that he's making already, he's done a great job already. We're excited about what he brings to the table, both in the run game and in the pass game.”

—For the second week in a row, Gruden indicated that you’d be a fool to bet against Keenan Robinson starting at inside linebacker Week 1 in Houston. “He's a lot further ahead than we anticipated, stamina-wise, mentally. He's doing a great job, obviously, but the linebacker position is hard to judge in shorts. But it is exciting to see him run around, he's a very fluid athlete. Like I said last week, I think he's active in the passing game and his run fits have been outstanding.”

—At some point Morgan Moses might be the starting right tackle but he’s going to have to learn how to play both sides first: “He needs to know both tackle spots. Right now, we have him at the right. He’s obviously more comfortable on the left side right now because that’s what he’s been doing the last few years in college. You can see the right side he struggled a little bit and then went back to the left side, he was a lot more natural. But he’s going to have to learn both and that’s what rookie tackles have to do.”

—Moses isn’t the only O-lineman who will have to learn multiple positions: “You have to have guys able to play left tackle, right tackle, center, right guard, left guard and that’s why we kind of brought the people in that we brought in. It’s very important for each position to not just know one spot, but to be able to move around because throughout the season you see injuries happen and the guys have to fill in at spots they’re not used to playing.”

—Like every coach, Gruden would like to see his defense get pressure without having to throw the kitchen sink at the QB: “I think the big thing is if you get pressure with four guys, you have a much better chance. You saw the success Seattle had – they had a very seldom blitz. They just got pressure with their four guys. They were able to mix their coverages up, play good sound defense. That starts right there. We have the ability, I feel like – with four, five guys that we have being able to rush the passer, keeping them fresh – that we can get pressure.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 158 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 94 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 12; Training camp 49; Redskins @ Eagles 108

In case you missed it

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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