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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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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

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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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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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