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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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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!