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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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Redskins don't request roster exemption for Williams

Redskins don't request roster exemption for Williams

Trent Williams’ suspension ended on Monday and the Redskins did not wait to get him back on the 53-man roster.

NFL teams often request roster exemptions for players who return from suspensions that last multiple games. Such requests routinely are granted for the week leading up to the next game. It gives the team an extra player in practice while the formerly suspended player rounds back into shape.

But the Redskins apparently are going to throw Williams right into things. On Monday, they waived cornerback Dashaun Phillips and cleared a spot for Williams right away.

Yesterday, Jay Gruden confirmed what has been widely reported, that Williams will return to his left tackle spot. Leaving Ty Nsekhe, who did a solid job filling in while Williams was out, at left tackle and putting Williams at left guard is something that will remain something for fans and media to speculate on but not something that will happen on the field.

The Redskins managed to go 2-2 during Williams’ suspension. Perhaps one upside is that Williams may be fully healthy down the stretch after having five weeks off, including the bye week that preceded his suspension.