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Need to Know: QB talk tops the Redskins' week that was

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Need to Know: QB talk tops the Redskins' week that was

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 11, 19 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

The week that was

Here are the top stories we covered this week and some thoughts on what they mean:

Scot McCloughan attends Connor Halliday workout It will be interesting to see how McCloughan handles the quarterback position in the draft. And not just in this one but over the years. When he was a scout with the Packers they took one almost every year; some became trade bait, others were camp fodder. But they kept on taking them. McCloughan didn’t do this in San Francisco but perhaps as Alex Smith struggled year after year he wished he did.

E. J. Biggers visits the Eagles There never seemed to be any chance that the Redskins would bring him back after he became a free agent. It was kind of funny as Redskins fans rooted for the Eagles to sign Biggers, a replacement-level player on his better days. The fans’ wishes were realized later in the day when the Eagles announced that they had signed him.

Marcus Mariota visit to Redskins Park cancelled There are many different ways to spin this one. Neither the Redskins nor Mariota’s camp will say who called off the visit. The guess here is that Mariota’s agent heard something that makes him certain that the Heisman winner will be off the board when the Redskins are on the clock and didn’t want to put his client through what would be a fruitless coast-to-coast trip.

Redskins announce preseason opponents This is an odd drip of information that the NFL gives us about a week or two before the full schedule is unveiled. The opponents and the order in which the games will be played were announced Thursday but exact dates and times don’t come out until the full schedule does. Redskins go to Baltimore for their Week 3 game for the second straight year.

RG3 on Gruden: Not my job to judge to coach The quote that made the headline was Griffin saying of Jay Gruden, "My job is not to characterize or judge him as a coach." That was parsed and interpreted all over the Internet and in the talk world. The most important thing that Griffin said about Gruden, however, was, “We both want to win.” If that happens, the scrutiny that virtually everything that Griffin says will magically disappear.

Timeline

—It’s been 104 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 155 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 9; 2015 NFL Draft 19; Redskins training camp starts 110

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Who will be the Redskins new top wideout?

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Who will be the Redskins new top wideout?

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay make predictions about the Redskins leading wideout in 2017 and how the offense shakes out. Plus, who will drink the most beer over Memorial Day? Bonus guest local celebrity Mitch Tischler joins the pod.

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

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

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After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

It's never been a talent issue for D.J. Swearinger. In college he made big plays and earned all conference honors playing in the SEC at South Carolina. He was drafted high by Houston, second round in 2013, and started 10 games his rookie season. 

In his first two seasons with the Texans, Swearinger started 22 games and proved to be a playmaker. He logged three interceptions and more than 100 tackles. He looked like a possible long-term answer at safety, until he was uncermoniously cut after his second year.

Reports showed Swearinger bucked at playing special teams. And over time, a reputation as a big - sometimes dirty - hitter emerged. 

None of it helped Swearinger, who was signed by Tampa in 2015. He played seven games for the Bucs but was cut mid-season. Arizona signed him late in the 2015 season, and kept him for 2016.

Last year, playing on a defense with strong leaders like Calais Campbell and Patrick Peterson, Swearinger excelled. He played all over the Cardinals secondary, starting 12 games and making plays like he did early in his career in Houston.

He finished the 2016 season with three interceptions, two sacks and eight passes defensed. He made more than 50 tackles. Pro Football Focus rated Swearinger with a +15.3 grade, by far the highest of his career and good for the 8th best rating of any safety in the NFL.

The Redskins haven't had solid safety play in years. In 2016, the team tried to address the position on the cheap, converting cornerbacks to safeties and signing low tier free agents. It didn't work.

So, finally, in 2017 the Redskins front office addressed the safety position by signing Swearinger to a three-year deal. And it sounds like the 25-year-old has grown up a lot after five years of bouncing around the league.

"I've been on a lot of teams. I want to make this home," Swearinger said (full video above). "I feel like I’m experienced enough to know what to do as a pro, know what to do to stay on top of things and be a pro. As long as I be a pro every day and make the plays I’m capable of, I’ll be a Redskin."

Swearinger's deal will keep him with the Redskins through the 2019 season, but already, head coach Jay Gruden seems excited about the new safety. Earlier this offseason, Gruden said watching film of Swearinger revealed a player hitting the highest levels of safety play in the NFL. In OTAs, seeing Swearinger in person, Gruden was impressed.

"Watching him the first two days really excites me. He just looks like a safety back there," Gruden said. "No offense to the previous safeties we’ve had before, but I just think D.J. is to a level in his career right now where he’s got a lot of confidence. He has got a lot of talent."

There was some question if Swearinger can play the free safety role in Washington. More to the point, if he has the speed to play a true center field, with second-year man Su'a Cravens moving from linebacker to strong safety. Swearinger has zero concerns.

"I'm a free safety, I think that fits my body well," he said. "As a free safety you got to have the confidence in yourself that you can run with those guys and make plays on those guys."

Swearinger doesn't lack for confidence, and he shouldn't. Combined with Cravens, along with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland at cornerback, the Redskins secondary could be a strength in 2017.

"We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out, I think this group can be one of the best," Swearinger said. "We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit."

It's normal for players to be excited in May. There supposed to be. 

Coaches, however, tend to be more hesitant with praise. Not optimism, but actual praise, though when it comes to Swearinger, Gruden isn't shy about his expectations.

"We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s going to really, really emerge as a top safety not only for this team but in this league," the coach said of his new free safety.

It's been a long journey for Swearinger, four teams in five season. He's hoping this one sticks. 

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

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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