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Need to Know: Putting on pads the next step for Redskins rookie Smith

Need to Know: Putting on pads the next step for Redskins rookie Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 13, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

We’re about two and a half weeks away from the start of training camp and I’m starting to review my “what to look for” notes. A few days ago I went over some of what I want to see on offense; today, some defensive questions.

Will DeAngelo Hall participate in the first practice? Hall wants to be ready for the start of camp but it’s not a given. He suffered the second year of his Achilles near the end of October. If there is any doubt at all they could start him on the PUP list for the first week or two of training camp. Going into his 12th year, Hall could benefit more from a couple of additional weeks of rehab than from grinding away on the practice field.

What is David Amerson’s role? Staying at the cornerback position, where will the 2013 second-round pick line up? He suffered from a horrible sophomore slump last year after doing a solid job as the nickel back as a rookie. Many of his issues seemed to be mental rather than physical. The word is that Amerson is spending more time in the film room this offseason; if he knows his assignments better, can he beat out Bashaud Breeland for the starting job opposite Chris Culliver? Will he come in for nickel situations?

How will Preston Smith perform in pads? The second-round pick showed off his length and moved well during the no-pads portion of preparation for the season. Now we will see how he adds violence into the mix. It also will be interesting to see how much he lines up on two feet and how often he has his hand in the dirt.

Can the later-round picks stand out? I’m referring to fifth-round pick ILB Martrell Spaight and sixth rounder CB Tevin Mitchel. While most figure that both have an inside track to a roster spot, nothing is guaranteed. They are going to have to make some plays and, especially, minimize mistakes of they are going to secure a job.

What is Jason Hatcher’s role? The veteran turns 33 today and although many see his role being essentially the same as it was last year, starting right defensive end, I’m not so sure. He had the most snaps played on the line for the first 13 games before missing the last three with a knee injury. The Redskins could decide to play him less in the early going to save him for December. If he takes a reduced role in camp, playing only in nickel packages, that could be a sign that he will not be as heavily used during the season.

Timeline

—Redskins DE Jason Hatcher was born on this date in 1982.

—It’s been 197 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 62 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 17; Preseason opener @ Browns 31; final cuts 54

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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 24, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 78 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 23
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 70

The Redskins week that was

Pressure Points: Focus is on Jay Gruden like never before—So you lost two coordinators and your top two wide receivers? Well, the Redskins gave him a two-year contract extension because they think he can deal with problems like those. Gruden will be cut zero slack.

Post-minicamp 53-man roster projection, offense—Sure, there will be plenty of lip service about everyone having a chance of making the 53-man roster. But this cake is very nearly baked. But the real competition in training camp will be for the 10 practice squad spots. I picked 25 offensive players to make it and I’m confident that 23, maybe 22 of the picks will be right. There seems to be more questions on defense (roster projection here) but even on that side of the ball, few jobs are truly up for grabs.

Redskins in a no-lose situation with confident Galette—We haven’t seen Junior Galette practicing in the spring before. Two years ago, he wasn’t with the team yet and last year he was held out so he could rehab his torn Achilles. That means we don’t have much comparison to make but he did look good. Next step is to do it with the pads on.

Snyder 'THRILLED' with ruling that should protect Redskins name—The legal part of the fight to get the Redskins to change their name is over after the recent Supreme Court ruling. They will not lose their trademark protection, which would effectively force them to change the team. However, it seems likely that the political and social battle will go on.

Is a Redskins-Cousins deal not only possible but probable?—One analyst thinks that the Redskins have too much to lose to not get a deal done by July 17. I think he’s right but I’m not sure if I’ll go along with his odds. 

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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