Eight days after the Redskins picked him with the second overall selection in the NFL draft, Robert Griffin III will take the field for the first time on Friday as the Redskins start up their three-day rookie minicamp.On the field at Redskins Park with the teams new quarterback will be the teams other eight draft picks, a dozen undrafted free agents under contract, plus some more players fresh out of college who will be there to try out for one of the precious 90 roster spots.In addition, some other players who were around Redskins Park last year are eligible to participate in the minicamp. As long as a player does not have a year of pension credit--meaning that he has not been on a 53-man roster for three or more games during a season--he can come to the rookie minicamp. Some of first-year players who could be there are:DB Travon BellamyQB Jonathan CromptonRB Tristan DavisOT Nevin McCaskillWR Aldrick RobinsonWhile the rules are highly restrictive in some phases of offseason activities, for these three days the players will wear helmets and the offense will be able to line up against the defense. No contact will be permitted.Dont expect to hear too much about the first two days of the minicamp as the media will be let in only for Sundays session.After the session is over, the rookies will not be permitted to come to Redskins Park until the next phase of the offseason program starts on May 14. OTAs, where the rules are similar to those seen in the rookie minicamp, get underway on May 21. There also will be sessions on May 23-24 and 29-31 and June 4-7.Attendance at those activities is voluntary. The one mandatory session is the three-day minicamp which runs from June 12-14. After that the players will be off until training camp starts. The camp schedule has not yet been announced but it will be at Redskins Park and will start around July 25.
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 …
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.
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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.
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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.
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