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RT's 5: Interesting O-line battles ahead

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RT's 5: Interesting O-line battles ahead

Rich Tandlers five things that may or may not be related to the Washington Redskins and other matters.5. To give you a sneak preview our Draft Talk Live review show on CSNwashington.com today, I really like the pick of linebacker Keenan Robinson. For the next two years hell be a special teams contributor who will come up with a big hit on a regular basis. After that, hell be all over the field as London Fletchers replacement at Mike linebacker. The Redskins were caught without a succession plan for Fletcher and were over a barrel during their recent contract negotiations with their defensive captain. They checked that item off of their to-do list on Saturday.4. One thing we will be breaking down here during the upcoming OTAs is how the offensive line is going to shake out after the Redskins drafted three O-linemen to add to nine who had game experience for the Redskins in 2011. Third-round pick Josh LeRibeus could get a look at first-team guard during OTAs while Kory Lichtensteiger continues to rehab his knee. That is, if he can stay ahead of fourth-round guard Adam Gettis and Maurice Hurt, the 2011 seventh-round choice who started half of the season at left guard. Sixth-round pick Tom Compton will battle with Willie Smith to be the heir apparent to Jammal Brown at right tackle. The end result here will be some interesting competition in training camp and some players with some significant game experience might not make the roster.3. It was somewhat surprising that the Redskins didnt take a wide receiver at some point during the draft if only because it was one of the stronger positions available. But, then again, there already is an overload of bodies at the position. Most of the year the Redskins carries six or, if you count returner Brandon Banks as a receiver, seven wide receiver on the 53-man roster. They were able to do that in part because they carried only two quarterbacks. The addition of QB Kirk Cousins in the fourth round makes it very likely that there will be three quarterbacks on the roster in 2012 with Robert Griffin III and Rex Grossman joining Cousins. That could well squeeze a receiver roster spot out and we could see an interesting scramble for the last two jobs behind Pierre Garon, Joshua Morgan, and Leonard Hankerson.2. The Redskins will have 13 players who were rookies last year (12 draft picks plus the undrafted Willie Smith) joining the nine 2012 draft picks on the offseason roster. Lets say that 10 of last years rookies and seven of this years selections make the 53-man roster. If that happens, nearly one third of the roster would be first- and second-year players. That would be a remarkable transformation as the Redskins were the oldest team in the league just two years ago. Of course, youth doesnt do you any good if the kids cant play and with the exception of Ryan Kerrigan we dont know if any of them can. And the unknowns include Griffin, who is over four months away from taking his first NFL snap. But the transformation to youth was a stated goal of Mike Shanahan and we will see what they can do.1. Griffin was impressive as he met with a media throng at Radio City Music Hall after he was drafted on Thursday. There arent many press conferences that Ive been to that Ill remember for a long time but this one of them. It will rank right up there with the return of Joe Gibbs to Redskins Park in January of 2004 in my book. The most impressive part Thursday was when he went to a smaller room behind the main interview area and dealt with numerous one-on-one sessions as well as some small groups. He answered every question sincerely whether it was the first time he has been asked it or the sixth time. If he can play at even a competent level he will become one of the most popular sports figures in the country.Days until: Rookie minicamp 4; OTAs start 21; Preseason opener 101; Redskins at Saints 132Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

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.

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.