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Need to Know: Redskins' Reed puts in extra work

Need to Know: Redskins' Reed puts in extra work

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 15, nine days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

—One thing I neglected to mention during OTAs and minicamp is that Jordan Reed was the last player off of the field on almost every day the media was allowed to observe. He would stay out in the heat catching passes or working on techniques for 10 minutes or more while his teammates headed inside. The sight has become so common that those of us who cover the team rarely make note of it any more. Make no mistake, Reed is one of the hardest workers on the team. On a very hot day last week I walked into Redskins Park past about a dozen or so pretty expensive cars in the players’ lot as some of them were working out and doing some injury rehab. None of the cars belonged to Reed. But he was there; as I was coming in, he was mounting his bicycle to get in a little more cardio work on the way home.

—There seems to be a lot of concern out there about Jason Hatcher going through a scheme change. He suddenly blossomed into a pass rushing force when the Cowboys ditched their 3-4 scheme and went to a 4-3. Now he’s going back to a 3-4 base defense in Washington. However, what the Redskins have drawn up for him is very similar to what worked for him in Dallas. “They’re going to do a lot of stuff they did with me in Dallas,” Hatcher told me during OTAs. “They’re not going to take my strengths away, what I do to help this defense.”

—Brian Orakpo gets a lot of flak for his coverage skills and Redskins fans certainly hope that he is rushing the passer far more often than he is dropping back. But the facts don’t back up the contention that he can’t cover. According to Pro Football Focus he was in pass coverage on 105 snaps last year and quarterbacks threw at him 10 times. Seven were completed but for only 34 yards with a long gain of 11. The numbers come out to a 68.3 passer rating with QB’s were trying to pick on him. This is a relatively small sample size and, as noted, he is much better running towards the pass then he is backing away from the line of scrimmage. Still, it's not accurate to say that he was a liability in coverage.

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—It’s been 198 days since the Redskins played a game; in 54 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 23; Final cuts 46; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 62

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Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Redskins 2017 OTAs to-do list: It's time to find a nose tackle

Free agency is done. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview and the 90-man offseason roster has been filled out. Now comes the difficult part for Jay Gruden and his staff: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin on Tuesday, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will examine top priorities on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.

Up today …

Nose tackle

Finlay: There's a lot to do on the Redskins defensive line, and it starts in the middle. Expect free agent addition Stacy McGee to have a big opportunity to take over the nose tackle job. McGee ranked as a +5.5 run defender last season as rated by Pro Football Focus, and at 6-foot-3 and 308 lbs., he has the size to man the middle. McGee has plenty of talent, health has been his hiccup. He has only played all 16 games in one of his four seasons, and in 2016, he played only nine games.

Beyond McGee, the Redskins have some lottery tickets. Practice squad players A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu both have the size to play nose, but neither have the experience. Could Francis or Mbu emerge for significant snaps with the Washington defense? Sure, but it would be unexpected. 

A bigger lottery ticket remains. Phil Taylor, a former first-round pick in 2012, has shown serious talent at the nose tackle position. At 6-foot-3 and 337 lbs., Taylor certainly has the size for the spot. At the same time, Taylor hasn't played an NFL game since 2014, losing both 2015 and 2016 to injury. Counting on Taylor would be short-sighted, but if he can remain healthy, there could be big value.

According to Jay Gruden, the most important piece of the nose tackle puzzle will come from new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Gruden said he expects Tomsula to "make" a nose tackle and improve the Redskins D-line. It's a tall order, but Tomsula has an impressive track record working in the trenches. 

Tandler: The organization’s refusal to get a legitimate nose tackle either in free agency or in the draft will lead to them again spend the spring and summer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

That’s what they did last year with Ziggy Hood. He took a lot of snaps at nose tackle and he simply wasn’t a fit for the job. It wasn’t his fault that the Redskins allowed a league-worst 5.0 yards per rushing attempt on first down; he’s an end and he was much more effective there.

Matt Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, also took some snaps at nose, with similar results. At 6-3, 308, he just doesn’t have the size to be effective.

The worst part of it here is that they really can’t get too far in identifying the 2017 nose tackle. In the spring with no pads and no contact allowed they really can’t do much besides work on technique and learn assignments. Tomsula’s effort to “make” a nose tackle won’t really get going until they get to Richmond in late August.


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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Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

Planning for a new Redskins stadium, Bruce Allen says the team is ahead of schedule

The Redskins are going to build a new stadium. That is certain.

Where that stadium will be remains unclear.

Washington team president Bruce Allen spoke on Monday and explained that the team is ahead of schedule in terms of a new stadium.

RELATED: How the Redskins are changing up their front office

The team's lease expires at FedEx Field in 2027, and Allen expects the team to move into a new "jewel" of a stadium.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are all in play for the new facility. Currently, the team plays in Maryland but practices in Virginia.

The Redskins greatest success came when the team played in Washington at famed RFK Stadium.

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

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!