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Need to Know: 5 questions Jay Gruden must answer before Redskins OTAs

Need to Know: 5 questions Jay Gruden must answer before Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 22, five days before the start of OTAs.

Nickel coverage

Here are the five biggest questions facing Jay Gruden as he gets ready to take his team into the meat of the offseason program with OTAs next week.

What plays should be thrown out? There are many more plays in the playbook that he and Sean McVay have assembled than can be used. Part of OTAs will be figuring out which ones will work and which ones they should hit the delete button on. The more he can figure out in advance which plays will be most effective the more efficiently the limited practice time can be used.

What does the depth chart on the offensive line look like? With a new coaching staff, everyone should have a fair shot at a roster spot and a starting job. But you have to line them up in some order to begin with and the initial order always has influence on the final order. The most important question is whether the draft status of Morgan Moses and Spencer long should trump the experience of players like Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis.

How about the wide receiver depth chart? It’s not quite as muddled as the line with the top three jobs set in stone but beyond that there are three or four spots that are wide open. Who gets first shot at lining up wit the second unit to work with Kirk Cousins at quarterback?

What is the schedule going to be? Most teams use the allotted practice time for rookie camp in one session. Gruden did it differently, splitting it into two shorter sessions with meeting in between. Will he break from the mold during OTAs? Will he give players input into the decision?

Should it be all work and no play? Mike Shanahan would occasionally give the players a break from the grind and take the players to the movies or have a family picnic day at Redskins Park. As a veteran coach with a lot of authority, he had the pull to be able to do something like this. Does Gruden want mix in some fun activities and, if he does, will he feel comfortable in doing so?

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Timeline

—It’s been 144 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 108 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.

Days until: OTAs 5; Training camp starts 62; Redskins @ Eagles 122

In case you missed it

 

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.