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Need to Know: Are there Redskins roster spots for Toler, Sudfeld?

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Need to Know: Are there Redskins roster spots for Toler, Sudfeld?

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 14, five days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden news conference 2:45; Practice 3 p.m.; player availability after both sessions

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 217 days ago. It will be 29 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 20; Cowboys @ Redskins 35; Browns @ Redskins 49

The Redskins week that was

With the Redskins on the verge of wrapping up training camp here’s are some of my impressions of what has taken place over the last two and a half weeks here in Richmond.

—Preston Smith left practice early last Tuesday with a slight shoulder injury. Plenty of players who are locked on to the roster would have used the shoulder as an excuse to sit out preseason game No. 1. But Smith did some rehab to get his shoulder ready and played 18 snaps on Thursday. He even came in for a while in the second quarter long after the other starters had departed. Smith said that he wanted to get some “extra reps”. You have to like the second-year players mindset.

—Greg Toler recorded an interception today and made a few other plays. He is making things very difficult on the coaches. To keep him they will either have to cut Quinton Dunbar or Dashaun Phillips or go with six corners. The latter is hard to justify when you already have two safeties, Hall and Blackmon, who played corner their entire careers until this year.

—Last week Matt Jones said that he worked a lot on lowering his pad level over the offseason. He has not done it much during training camp; Jones still runs upright. But last year he was admonished for lowering his pads in practice. It was a little too rough and dangerous for a limited-contact practice.  He only got two carries in Atlanta so it’s hard to tell if he really has changed his style. Green said that they want to “get him going” next week against the Jets so maybe we’ll get a chance to see.

—Did Nate Sudfeld lock up a spot on the 53-man roster against the Falcons? There has been plenty of speculation that the Redskins will go with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and hope that they can keep Sudfeld on the practice squad. But for a stretch in the third and fourth quarters the rookie looked better than he has at any point in training camp. You could picture him getting the team through a bad spot if disaster struck at the quarterback position during the season. Even considering that the opposition was the Falcons’ third teamers that was a respectable performance.

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In case you missed it 

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.