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Need to Know: Five Gruden notes and quotes after Redskins' OTA

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Need to Know: Five Gruden notes and quotes after Redskins' OTA

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

Nickel coverage

Here are five notes and quotes from Jay Gruden’s presser after Wednesday’s OTA session.

—Gruden did not lose hope for safety Bacarri Rambo after seeing his rough rookie season on tape. “That’s going to happen for young guys. Certain guys handle things differently, but don’t expect a Pro Bowler by a rookie safety. It’s hard. Very few and far in between as far as that position goes. It’s a difficult position. There’s a lot of checks that happen from formation checks, checks in the coverage and all that good stuff in the front, all that, so it’s a very tough position to come in as a rookie or a young kid and play.”

—Gruden called for the no-huddle offense (discussed in my practice notes) not only to help Robert Griffin III and company but also to help the defense get used to what it will face, such as the Eagles in Week 3: “We’re trying to pick up the tempo. Also, from a communications standpoint, football is a lot about communication nowadays. A lot of teams are running a no-huddle, so from a defensive standpoint, you’ve got to be able to communicate your calls, get in the right front and talk about it and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

—What we often call “chemistry” between a QB and a receiver really boils down to the receiver being where he’s supposed to be and the quarterback knowing he’s going to be there. Gruden believes that this is coming along well for Griffin and his receivers. “I’m very happy with the way it’s going. We’re not perfect and I don’t think anybody is right now. There’s been some out of route too sharp, not sharp enough, maybe a little bit short, maybe a little deep. But I think the more we watch it, the more we rep it, the more comfortable he’s going to be of knowing where people are and what depths and how they’re coming out of their cuts.”

Josh LeRibeus, a 2012 third-round pick, faces an uphill battle to make the roster. But it appears that he is in good shape and is giving it his best shot. ““LeRibeus has done good. He came in and his weight was down. He’s in good shape and he’s made some improvements from what I saw last year. You know I don’t have a lot of history with him obviously, just what I’ve seen this year, but he does look a lot better this time of year this year than he did last year from what I hear, but he’s doing well.”

—As long as he calls the signals right, Gruden is not all that worried about Keenan Robinson being able to replace London Fletcher in any sort of leadership capacity. “I think as long as he’s communicating the calls, that’s important, and as long as he’s playing hard and doing the right thing, that’s leadership enough in a lot of cases. There’s not – you don’t have to be a Ray Lewis-type of leader to play middle linebacker and be successful.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 165 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 87 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 5; Training camp 42; Preseason opener vs. Patriots 56

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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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