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Need to Know: Strange timing on releases of two Redskins veterans

Need to Know: Strange timing on releases of two Redskins veterans

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 1, 63 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

The week that was

I was on vacation last week and it looks like I missed a few things that took place during the first week of OTAs. Here are my takes on some of the major events.

—DeSean Jackson absent—He should have been present at OTAs, no question about it. Jackson has had, as noted below, 155 days since the Redskins last played a game. That’s plenty of time to take care of any personal business. Plus he has four-day weekends during OTAs and minicamp and another six weeks between offseason work and training camp to take vacation time. But if he shows up this week, which he is expected to do, and works hard, his absence will be forgotten well before training camp. Ryan Kerrigan indicated that his teammates were OK with Jackson missing three days of voluntary work so I have no idea why fans or media types should be bothered by it.

—Chris Chester cut—The only thing that was odd here was the timing. I expected Chester to be gone before the start of free agency back in March but the longer he was still there, the more I thought he had a chance to stick, if only as a backup at a reduced salary. But a day after he lined up with the first team in OTAs he was gone. Chester was an iron man (missed just a handful of snaps in four years as a starter), a class act and a much better player than fans gave him credit for being. The fact of the matter is that at age 32 with a salary of $4 million and a coaching staff favoring size and power, his time was up.

—Tracy Porter cut—Yes, injuries happen but Porter missing 11 games last year was entirely predictable based on a six-year career that has seen him play 16 games just once. This was a case of a free agent mistake made by Bruce Allen and corrected by Scot McCloughan. Again, the only thing about it that was not widely predicted about this was the timing. Perhaps they were waiting for news on DeAngelo Hall’s injury rehab before making the decision. When it was determined that Hall’s Achilles injury is very likely to be good to go by the time training camp starts Porter and his $2 million salary became expendable.

—Spencer Long moves up?—I have the question mark there because we’re all assuming that the second-year guard will move up into Chester’s spot but we haven’t had it confirmed yet. It appeared that Long was being given every opportunity to make a move up on the depth chart last year but he couldn’t push Chester out of the way. We don’t know if he did anything in particular to show that he would be a better option than Chester for 2015 or if they just decided it was time. It’s up to Long to prove that he deserves the trust of Gruden and company.

Timeline

—It’s been 155 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 104 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 15; Redskins training camp starts 59; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 115

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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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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