Some quick items to get your Wednesday morning going:Shanahan vs. ?? on Sept. 9The Redskins open the season in New Orleans in 46 days and the Saints still dont know who will be their head coach for that game, or for any of the first six games on their schedule. Interim head coach Joe Vitt, who is filling in for the suspended Sean Payton, will start a six-game suspension himself starting a week before their game against the Redskins.Vitt said yesterday that the identity of the interim interim head coach has yet to be determined.The discussions have taken place, Vitt said. They are in the infantile stages right now.They might want to get that figured out pretty soon.A hot one to start out training camp tomorrowThe high temperature for tomorrow, the first day of camp practice, is forecast to be 99. The players will be glad that they are not going to be wearing pads until Saturday.The news is not that it will be hot in late July. Its that next week it should be relatively comfortable, with temperatures not forecast to climb past the upper 80s. If that holds, thats a pretty good string of training camp weather.RG3 on the podium todayMedia access to Robert Griffin III will be somewhat limited during training camp and, presumably, into the regular season. Limiting access to the quarterback is normal procedure around the league these days. If its not restricted a high-profile QB could answer media questions for hours a day. That time is better spent in the film room.We get one of our opportunities to talk to RG3 today as will take the podium at 5:30. It will be his first new conference with the beat reporters since minicamp in mid June. Well ask what he did during his summer vacation and see if we can get any insight into what went on during the rookie phase of training camp. And well get his thoughts on the next first coming up for him, his first NFL training camp practice.Reporting dayThe Redskins report to Redskins Park today to check in and take physicals. The first practice will be tomorrow at 10:40 a.m. That one is a walkthrough that is closed to the public. Gates open at 1:00 for fans with the full practice getting underway at 3:00. Be advised that the CBA prohibits players from wearing pads during the first two days of practice so they will be in shorts and helmets on Thursday and Friday.Well be doing a chat in between practices at Redskins Park from 1 to 2, check back here tomorrow morning to find out where to go.Days until: Training camp 1; preseason opener @ Bills 15; RG3 vs. Luck @FedEx Field 31; final cuts 38; Redskins @ Saints 46; home opener vs. Bengals 60
Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.
- Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy.
- Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
- Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.
Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.
See you Tuesday fam pic.twitter.com/NINvMBljUT— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) May 26, 2017
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Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.
It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.
—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75
The Redskins week that was
How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.
Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.
Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.
For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.
Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.