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Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

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Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 7, 23 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Read and React

A couple of weeks ago I posted and discussed some quotes that Bill Callahan gave to the media during minicamp. I found a few more good ones in the interview so here is Part 2 of that Read and React:

Why did he decide to go Washington after leaving Dallas?
“There were plenty of options out there that I was fortunate to have and an opportunity to come here and be reunited with a lot of the guys I’ve worked with. I thought it was just a great situation to come to and be in.”
I’m sure the money in Washington was very good but he was a hot commodity and he would have been paid well no matter where he went. But coaches have a tendency to gravitate towards other coaches they know. Callahan had worked with Matt Cavanaugh in New York and had coached RB coach Randy Jordan with the Raiders. In addition, Bruce Allen was the Raiders GM when Callahan was the coach there. We all snicker about the crony network but the bottom line is that if a coach is going to spend very long hours with others in a high-pressure situation he often will choose to do it with coaches he already knows.

How is the revamped right side of the line shaping up?
“Preliminarily we’re looking at a lot of combinations. Spencer and Brandon are on that right side. Certainly Compton has experience on that side. We’re lacking Moses not being in the lineup right now so we’ve got some options and some other players that we’re looking at as well. As time goes on I think it will all be settled in training camp when the get the pads on. Once we get out of these pajamas we’re going to start getting into contact and we’ll figure it out better.”
I found this interesting because of the mention of Morgan Moses. Since he was out for all of the offseason work with that Lisfranc injury we don’t know where they intend to put him. Most assumed that Callahan was referring to Moses as a backup right tackle, which could push Compton off of the 53-man roster. But was he talking about a potential backup right guard? There has been talk of converting Moses to guard, although it has mostly been fan and media chatter to this point. Also, the pajamas line drew a laugh. I get the feeling that most coaches hate the no-pads aspect of minicamp. It probably creates more questions that it answers.

Why did he put up a picture of the Hogs in his office at Redskins Park?
"I had the opportunity to be around Raleigh McKenzie about 20 years ago when I was in Philadelphia. Just learning about the history of the Hogs and, of course, having been exposed to the Redskins as a college coach way back in the early 80’s when the Redskins were rolling pretty good. I had a chance to go to Carlisle and watch them practice in training camp several times. I’ve always admired what Joe Bugel has done. He had a great reputation then as he does now. He’s been kind of a mentor in a lot of ways, watching his film and watching what he’s done with the players over the years. We’re trying to emulate that and live up to the tradition and the standards that they’ve established."
McKenzie was not an original Hog--he's not in the famed picture of the group in top hat and tails--but he was a very good one. He was drafted in 1985 and started for two Super Bowl champs. Philadelphia was one of several stops for him in his post-Redskins career and Callahan was the offensive line coach. You don’t find many coaches who are interested in those who were there before them, it’s refreshing to see Callahan show such respect for Bugel and the history of an organization he just joined.

On what they look at when drafting top talent:
"The type of player we bring in is important to the cohesiveness and chemistry of the group. It’s great to have a top-round draft choice but that’s not discluding the fact that you are going to have younger players from lower rounds just as good if not better than. So we’ve seen that dynamic as well."
He’s happy that the team spent the No. 5 overall pick on a player who is in his position group, no doubt. Just like he was happy in Dallas when the had three No. 1 picks on the offensive line. But he wanted to make it clear that he values all of the players that he’s in charge of and that the character of the players selected is very important. On a side note, I’ve been told that this is an improper use of the word “discluding”, which may or may not be a real word. But his meaning was clear, the opposite of “including”. If you want to take it up with him, feel free.

Timeline

—Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson was born on this date in 1989.

—It’s been 191 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 68 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 23; Preseason opener @ Browns 37; final cuts 60

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 24, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 48 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 17
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The offense is up today, the defense tomorrow.

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Cousins and the team didn’t agree on the contract but that changes nothing for 2017. The elimination of two-a-day practices makes a fourth “camp arm” QB unnecessary so these three will handle all the snaps from now until when the season ends.   

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

Bubble: Mack Brown, Keith Marshall

Kelley skipped the drive-through window meals during the offseason, switching to a healthier diet to get himself in better shape. He will need to be strong to hold off Perine, who will make a push for playing time. Brown could be on or off depending on numbers elsewhere on the roster. If Marshall can stay healthy, he could force his way into the picture but the health is a big “if”.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Bubble: Brian Quick

I’m not sure if Grant, who caught nine passes while playing in all 16 games last year, should be a lock but it appears that he is. Davis is a projection; he has a lot to learn but if he is showing significant progress he could push out the veteran Quick, who was not impressive during the offseason practices.    

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Bubble: Derek Carrier

Paul and Sprinkle could be considered on the bubble as well. The normal allowance is for three tight ends on the 53-man roster. Reed and Davis are locks, they need Paul for special teams, and Sprinkle is slated to be the blocking tight end. But Sprinkle needs to add a lot of polish to his game and Paul has the injury bug to fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Vinston Painter, Chase Roullier

Bubble: John Kling

The starters are locked in unless Kouandjio can come up with a huge camp and push Lauvao out of the starting job. Roullier could be the backup center but if he’s not ready the Redskins could look for a veteran off the waiver wire for that spot.

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to the Redskins.

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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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP