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Redskins training camp report, Day 2: Speed back battle heats up

Redskins training camp report, Day 2: Speed back battle heats up

RICHMOND—The Redskins went out for their second day of training camp to much friendlier weather than the rain they encountered on Thursday. Skies were sunny and temperatures were moderate for Richmond in late July.

Here are my observations from this morning.

—Like yesterday, some players were in shells, others wore no pads at all. The CBA says that the first three days are in no pads so we won’t see the full battle gear until Sunday.

—They worked on special teams first, just like they did yesterday. This appears to be a “thing”.

Robert Malone was booming punts during that first period. Blake Clingan, his competitor for the punting job, wasn’t bad but Malone clearly was better on this particular day.

Andre Roberts showed some nice moves on kickoff return. Is he the guy for the job?

—They get to running some plays (vs. no defense) and a short completion from Robert Griffin III to DeSean Jackson drew a loud cheer from the crowd. It’s what they came to see, evidently.

— The running backs worked a drill that I haven’t seen before. With a ball under on arm they lunged forward off balance with their trunks parallel to the ground for a few steps and then got upright and ran. Perhaps this is for situations where they take a hit but aren't knocked down and need to regain their footing.

—It looks as though Lache Seastrunk is picking up some of the tricks of the pass catching trade. In some one on one coverage drills Will Compton grabbed on to the rookie running back as he tried to go over the middle. Seastrunk fought his way free and caught the pass.

—Just when some of us in the media were ready to give seventh-round pick Ted Bolser the milk-carton treatment because we had not seen him do anything at all, he caught a couple of short passes. It’s an uphill battle for him to make the roster but a few catches is a good start.

Darrel Young is known for his blocking but he knows what to do with the ball in his hands. He made a nice cut up the sideline after making a catch.

—First-year cornerback Peyton Thompson made a couple of nice plays. First he showed good closing speed and knocked down a sideline pass. Later, wide receiver Rashad Ross caught a long pass against Thompson. But the corner did not give up. He punched the ball out of the receiver’s arm and then chased it down in the end zone and scooped it up.

—Griffin finished off a short run to the right with a perfectly-executed slide. That drew some cheers from the crowd.

Chris Thompson with a couple of nice cuts after catching a short pass. If he is healthy he can be explosive. Can he beat out Seastrunk?

—In general, Griffin’s accuracy was better today. He did have to deal with a wet football yesterday but he will have to throw a wet ball during the season.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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