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Need to Know: Redskins OTA notes:--Gruden impressed with Amerson's performance

Need to Know: Redskins OTA notes:--Gruden impressed with Amerson's performance

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 10, 6 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Here are some quotes with notes from Tuesday’s OTA session:

Joe Barry had good things to say about David Amerson and his work ethic last week and Jay Gruden echoed them. “The reasons why the guys are here that are here right now from last year is they all are committed to winning and they’re committed to getting better. And, that’s what we’re trying to do. As coaches, it’s our job to make them better. And it’s the players’ job to buy in and want to get to better. David is a one of the great examples of coming in every day, learning the new system and competing. We signed Chris Culliver. He could have buried his head. We’ve got [DeAngelo] D-Hall coming back. We’ve got [Bashaud] Breeland who had a great year last year as a rookie. But David has come in here, opened his eyes up, learned a new system and competed just like everybody else has, so I’ve been very impressed with David.”

—Part of the reason that Jeron Johnson and Duke Ihenacho, who are competing for the starting strong safety job, are with the team is the fact that they came from winning programs in Seattle and Denver, respectively. “It’s important,” said Gruden. “You’re trying to change the culture and we’re all working very hard to do that. You bring in some people with some great leadership skills and have been at winning programs, it’s important. They know how to win and how to prepare to win.”

—Most value cornerbacks for their coverage ability. Gruden likes Chris Culliver’s physical nature and tackling ability. “I like the fact that he’s a tough physical corner,’ said Gruden. “So if there is a running back that gets outside and he has to make a tackle, he’s going to make the tackle. You know, all these screens that you see – receiver screens – he does a great job of fighting off receiving blocks and getting off and making tackles. I like tough, physical corners and then to have one that can also cover is a heck of a bonus.”

—One thing I’m noticing is that it’s hard to get Gruden to talk about Robert Griffin III. A question about that particular quarterback turns into an answer about all three QBs. And it’s not just Gruden. I asked Sean McVay about Griffin and here was the answer I got. “I think we are seeing improvement,” said the Redskins offensive coordinator. “I think Colt [McCoy] and Kirk [Cousins] have also shown improvement as we’ve gone through the OTAs. Coach [Joe] Barry’s defense has done a great job giving us a bunch of looks where we’re seeing different types of coverages and pressures. I think all the quarterbacks have continued to improve each practice.” I'm not sure if it's important but it is something to file away.

Timeline

—It’s been 163 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 97 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 8; Redskins training camp starts 52; Preseason opener @ Browns 67

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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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!

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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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!