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Need to Know: 5 things we've learned about the 2014 Redskins

Need to Know: 5 things we've learned about the 2014 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 29, one day before the Redskins cut their roster to 53.

Nickel coverage

The offseason is finally over. The Redskins are going to cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. tomorrow, establish their practice squad Sunday, and get to work on Monday. Jay Gruden was hired as the team’s head coach on January 9; here is what we’ve learned about him and the team since then.

They are going to run the ball—Although Gruden may be somewhat reluctant to do it, the Redskins are going to run the ball a lot. “The strength of our football team would be, I would say, our running game,” he said earlier this week. With Robert Griffin III struggling to adjust to being a pocket passer and examining the entire field, that is the wise course of action.

Special teams will be better—Rob Jackson might be a better linebacker than Gabe Miller and Everette Brown but he was released this week anyway. Why? “It’s not just how well you play that position, it’s what you do that can help the team in other spots, special teams for instance,” said Gruden. Remember that when you hear about any cuts tomorrow that don’t make sense on the face of them. The answer will lie special teams. Ben Kotwica will have heavy input into the determination of the last half dozen or so roster spots.

Jim Haslett really is in charge of the defense—A more aggressive defense doesn’t necessarily mean a better defense. But after getting retained as defensive coordinator Haslett will at least get a chance to do things the same way. It seems that Gruden is keeping a proper balance between being aware and meddling.

Alfred Morris is ready for the season—This is a good thing for the Redskins due to the top item in this list. He’s been running with confidence ever since his first carry of OTAs. It continued through training camp and the preseason games.

DeSean Jackson is fast—He didn’t always turn it on 100 percent during the offseason but when he did it was eye catching. It looks like Griffin is still adjusting to having a guy with his speed as a target; they have been very much hit or miss when the media has been able to observe them work. But if/when they ever start to hit consistently it will be something to see.

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

—It’s been 243 days since the Redskins played a game; in nine days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Final cuts 1; Home opener vs. Jaguars 16; Redskins @ Eagles 23

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The best players left in the draft for the Redskins—Offense

The best players left in the draft for the Redskins—Offense

The Redskins have seven picks in the final four rounds of the draft today. Here are some of the top players available on offense. Will look at the defense a little later this morning.

Offensive line

G Dorian Johnson, Pitt—The Redskins probably would want him to add a few pounds to his frame, as at 6-5 he currently carries “only” 300 pounds. He’s smart, tough, and athletic.

G Nico Siragusa, San Diego State—At 6-4, his weight is about right at 319 pounds. A three-year starter with a great power game and pass protection skills that will need to be coached up.

RELATED: Redskins focus on defense in first 3 rounds

Tight end/receiver

TE Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech—He’s big enough to be your blocking tight end and athletic enough to line up split out wide.

WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma—One of the most productive receivers in the country and a Heisman finalist. He’s a little small at 6-0, 178 but he has excellent deep speed.

Running back

RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma—As a true freshman in 2014 he set the national record by rushing for 427 yards in a game against Kansas. He probably doesn’t have that kind of monster game in him at the next level but he will be a solid, reliable back who can handle a heavy workload.

RB Jeremy McNichols, Boise State—A very productive runner and pass catcher who posted over 2,200 yards of offense last year.

MORE REDSKINS: Three reasons to like the pick of Ryan Anderson 

Quarterback

QB Nathan Peterman, Pitt—Nobody would have batted an eye if he had gone off the board in the third or maybe even the late second round. If the Redskins are concerned about Kirk Cousins leaving as a free agent, Peterman carries a very similar set of skills.

QB Brad Kaaya, Miami—Another QB many thought may be off the board by now, Kaaya has the mental makeup to succeed at quarterback but his game needs a lot of polish.

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.

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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.

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