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Need to Know: Putting on pads the next step for Redskins rookie Smith

Jul 13, 2015, 5:27 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 13, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Nickel coverage

We’re about two and a half weeks away from the start of training camp and I’m starting to review my “what to look for” notes. A few days ago I went over some of what I want to see on offense; today, some defensive questions.

Will DeAngelo Hall participate in the first practice? Hall wants to be ready for the start of camp but it’s not a given. He suffered the second year of his Achilles near the end of October. If there is any doubt at all they could start him on the PUP list for the first week or two of training camp. Going into his 12th year, Hall could benefit more from a couple of additional weeks of rehab than from grinding away on the practice field.

What is David Amerson’s role? Staying at the cornerback position, where will the 2013 second-round pick line up? He suffered from a horrible sophomore slump last year after doing a solid job as the nickel back as a rookie. Many of his issues seemed to be mental rather than physical. The word is that Amerson is spending more time in the film room this offseason; if he knows his assignments better, can he beat out Bashaud Breeland for the starting job opposite Chris Culliver? Will he come in for nickel situations?

How will Preston Smith perform in pads? The second-round pick showed off his length and moved well during the no-pads portion of preparation for the season. Now we will see how he adds violence into the mix. It also will be interesting to see how much he lines up on two feet and how often he has his hand in the dirt.

Can the later-round picks stand out? I’m referring to fifth-round pick ILB Martrell Spaight and sixth rounder CB Tevin Mitchel. While most figure that both have an inside track to a roster spot, nothing is guaranteed. They are going to have to make some plays and, especially, minimize mistakes of they are going to secure a job.

What is Jason Hatcher’s role? The veteran turns 33 today and although many see his role being essentially the same as it was last year, starting right defensive end, I’m not so sure. He had the most snaps played on the line for the first 13 games before missing the last three with a knee injury. The Redskins could decide to play him less in the early going to save him for December. If he takes a reduced role in camp, playing only in nickel packages, that could be a sign that he will not be as heavily used during the season.


—Redskins DE Jason Hatcher was born on this date in 1982.

—It’s been 197 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 62 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 17; Preseason opener @ Browns 31; final cuts 54

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Jul 13, 2015 at 5:42 AM

    Great Intel. Preston and Murphy will surprise. And both will be more consistent than Orackpo. Picking these guys up and dropping Rackpo was the right move. And a vision of our new GM era. In our old era, rack would have been given all the money and continued to wilt. We would have waited until it was too late to develop a replacement and then would have paid big money in FA for another has-been.

    It is no wonder we sit here after 15 years of mismanagement.

    This team has a chance with SCOT.

    DHall is no longer a need. In our old era we would be chomping at the bit for a daily blow by blow for his return to the field. So much nicer to just have him as a potential upside surprise.

    Another 2-3 years of SCOT and this team will be great!

    • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      You think Murphy & Smith are going to provide near 10 sacks and get as much pressure as Rak did for us when he was healthy?

      I don’t see it. Neither have any one great trait as a pass rusher. They’re going to get their sacks off of hard work, not out of speed the way Rak did.

      Murphy & Smith are poor man Ryan Kerrigan’s. I’ll be totally shocked if either of them ever gets over 8 sacks in a season.

      • colorofmyskinz - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM

        “As Rak did when he was healthy?”

        When was he healthy with a full season?

        How many combined sacks of Rack and his nickle backup over his history? Last year how many?

        This year Murphy and Preston will beat Rackpo and Murphy combination of 2014 easy.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 9:31 AM

          Yeah, maybe a combination of the two. I guess it takes two guys to replace one pro bowler.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 11:55 AM

        If I am recall correctly Redskins are moving to a 3-4 under defense. If so then the roles for the strong side OLBs changes. Neither Preston Smith or Trent Murphy will be primary on rushing the QB. As a result, expect that the sack numbers won’t be what you’d see form Orakop an edge rusher. So you may be comparing apples and oranges there.

        I also think with the 3-4 under, we’ll see Preston Smith playing more positions like strong side DE at times. This may explain how the staff will have both Murphy and Smith on the field together during the season.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM

          You can look at it any way you want in any defense you want neither Murphy nor Smith are as naturally gifted as pass rushers as Rak is. Rak’s issues were the Pec injuries, he never developed a counter move to his speed a bull rush such as a swim move or spin and he went up against two all pro LTs in the division.

          In the entire nfl Rak might have had the 4 hardest games year in year out this decade when he faced Tyron Smith & Jason Peters each twice a year.

          You definitley can’t say anyone else on the team went up against comparable competition the last 5 years. It will be interesting to see how Murphy & Smith do against the NFL’s best LTs.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:32 PM

          “either Murphy nor Smith are as naturally gifted as pass rushers as Rak is.”

          I’d say you are correct if you are talking about Trent Murphy in terms of pass rushing but I’m interested to see how he improves this year since he has been praised on his progress. However with Preston Smith, I disagree simply the semantics. Preston Smith looked more gifted to me than Rak on the inside rush. He really is a different player than Rak. So while I’ll agree it’s true Rak will likely be the better outside rusher; I disagree that Rak can match the skills that Preston has in applying an inside rush.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:37 PM

          Well I’m talking about the 3 of them playing 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE. You can line them all up against the same LT and Rak will get home before Murphy & Smith and even Keerigan for that matter.

          Kerrigan benefits by going up against some crapot RTs all

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:42 PM

          *crappy RTs all season long.

          It’s true that Murphy & Smith are different type of pass rushers.

          You’re moving the goal posts though. I was clearly talking about how each would fare as an outside rusher.

          Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if in two years Murphy & Smith are playing more 3-4 DE rather than 3-4 OLB and we’ve drafted or signed a smaller and quicker 3-4 OLB ala Rak to put more outside pressure on the LTs.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 3:52 PM

          “You definitley can’t say anyone else on the team went up against comparable competition the last 5 years. It will be interesting to see how Murphy & Smith do against the NFL’s best LTs.”

          I’m not sure if you understand the change being done on this defense with Joe Barry. I was referring to 3-4 Under Defense which is what the staff his declared would be used this season. If this defense mimics anything like San Diego’s, for example, then neither will be playing off the LT. Playing strong side means they’ll be playing off the TE. So neither most likely will be facing off against the best group of LTs any division has in the NFL today. However, the disadvantage is the edge will be play by Kerrigan instead. This is not the same defense Rak played under but if the guy could have stayed healthy he’d would have be very good playing that side off the TE.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:30 PM

          You’re right, I misspoke Rob Jackson went up against those same LTs in 2012 and got 5 sacks.

          It’s a fact that LTs are the best OL on each team week in, week out so yeah, Rak went against the best OL every week every time he stepped on the field and no one else in the front 7 did.

          The AFC South doesn’t have as good LTs as the NFCE does so Rak may put up Kerrigan type #s from last year “if healthy.” … Of course.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 3:58 PM

          “Neither have any one great trait as a pass rusher.”

          I’m not going get into a pro longed he said/she said but I think you’re the one moving goal post since I see nothing in the above statement by you that suggest outside rush only. I’m just pointing as a friendly explanation.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:49 PM

          Well I was talking about the olb position. You added the inside rush as a new category to my post hence, moving the goal post.

          Either way, I don’t see Murphy nor Smith ever having double digit sack seasons and Rak had 2 in the 4 full seasons he played. So, every other year Rak got double digit sacks as long as he played at least 15 games.

          Fans act like that production is going to be easy to replace because most didn’t value how good a pass rusher Rak was and I’m saying that production is going to be hard to replace w/o spending a top 10 pick on a DE/Olb.

          I mean there’s a reason why guys like Murphy & Snitg go in round 2 and guys like Rak & Kerrigan go top 20 and Fowler, Beasley and company go top 10 also… The guys that go higher are more explosive and better pure pass rushers.

        • Rasmus - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:55 PM

          I am no expert but doesn’t teams usually use their base defense against runs and then switch to their nickel/dime/quarter on passing downs? That basically means that what matters (talking about sacks) is where and how smith and Murphy line up their, which will probably be at DE And OLB and sometimes they might even be on the field on the same time. I’m kinda confused about everything because I’m very new to defensive football lol.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 6:14 PM

          I completely agree we don’t have the explosion off the edge that Rak provided on defense this season. There are other ways to get pressure on the QB. So my point was that while we are talking about players on the same position, Murphy and Smith won’t be used the same was as Rak. After researching how the 3-4 under defense works, I can understand the scheme attempts to mitigate this possible lack of elite edge rush explosion off left tackle. A player like Murphy coming off a TE is different than Rak coming off the LT. Also, the fact that their role in getting pressure on the rush is secondary to Kerrigan, thinking that either Murphy or Smith is replacing what Rak did here is not an accurate comparison. I do like what I have read on the scheme but we’ll see how it works in action with the current personnel.

          What is most important is getting a player who can remain on the field and perform well. Orakpo had many injuries which makes it hard to know how good of an edge rusher he could have been. It’s a shame because he had the making of a life long Redskin.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        Oh and I completely disagree about either being a poor man’s Ryan Kerrigan. Maybe you are using that term because both have less experience. However, both could easily become as good as Kerrigan if not better. I also think Preston Smith will be more versatile than Kerrigan. In many ways I envision Preston Smith being used like JJ Watt in a few seasons. He could be a up and coming star player on this defense.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:12 PM

          I’d love to see it but I disagree.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:34 PM

          Now I stated used like JJ Watt so please don’t misinterpret that as being as good. No one may be as good as JJ Watt. A guy “Ahem” we could have taken instead of Rak.

      • ajbus1 - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:41 PM

        Orakpo had .5 sacks in 7 games before getting hurt, again. He’s not worth what Tennessee gave him.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:53 PM

          Yeah but if you watched the games you would have seen that he was the team’s most consistent pass rusher. Even with Kerrigan having one game with 4 sacks, Rak was always the guy who got into the backfield faster and put pressure on the QBs or running backs to make quick decisions.

          I guess that goes to how poor our DL was last year. When you have an OLB get great pressure right away and push a qb or RB to have to step up and go right into the DL, you expect the DL to come in, clean up and make a play but our DL got NO push last year so QBs would just step up as the LT pushed Rak beyond the QB and then there’d be a clean pocket because the DL was standing like a statue at the line of scrimmage.

          You can’t just look at the sack total and determine how affective a pass rusher is or not. Pressures and hits matter also and when you have a guy get a lot of pressures, you expect other players in the front 7 to take advantage of those pressures and clean up on some sacks.

      • Brandon - Jul 13, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        Thats a heak of a comment considerin u havnt cn Preston at all othr than shorts and Murphy has put on lbs of muscle.I hope they can get to the QB othr than just bacing 1 outside rush move w/no counter off of that.Rarely even a swim move to get back inside.Rak was solid but the greats do more than play most their career on the IR.I wish him the best of luck n my homestate of Tennessee.i liked him but i like the guys our team have now.Smith is long and can keep T off of nice 1st step.cover I believe will b his toughest adjustment. We cant have RK, our best pass rusher dropping 20 times a game. I def havnt real optomism w/Scot and the coaches hes brought in.Yea Callahaghn and Fewell will b great for their young pos. Playrs they coach. I think our biggest addition will b on offense w/Coach Cavanaugh working with RG to truly get the time he needs to feel right and natural working out of the pocket. He ll get a better grasp 4 the O n his 2nd yr n/Grudens offense w/Cavanaughs help in the film room as well… Heres to a healthy yr for all our playrs and lets c our Skins get ahead of Schedule w/what Scots plans are.Building that winning culture back to where it belongs. Id b making a mistake on not bringing up Matt Jones and what i think he can do for this team. I kno hes a 3rd rnd pick but being a UT fan and cn him n the SEC i onow what we have. He s special and id almost guarantee he ll hve a better pro career than he did n college. Nimble,soft hands,and 6″2.5ht 235lbs comin out of college who loves lowerin his shoulder will complement Alf perfectly. Heres to hopin these 2 can stay togethr.could u imagine how nice/easy its gona b to wear down Offenses? Its gona b a thing of beauty when RG pulls it out of their belly for a 40 yd strike to ne1 of our many talentd WR.i cant wait!!! I love my Redskins. HTTR

      • berniebernard666 - Jul 13, 2015 at 6:13 PM

        ABANIG……..Your buddy RAK didn’t get pressure, so Murphy and Smith won’t have to do a whole lot to get more pressure than little to none. HALF A SACK last season? Most of the time your buddy RAK was 5 yards away from the QB jumping up and down….and you claim he got pressure? What games were YOU watching because none of us were on that channel.

        So you would be shocked if Murphy or Smith gets more than 8 sacks? Well barring injuries don’t be SHOCKED but as a team I think we can expect around 10 sacks between them….and who cares if one gets 6 and the other gets 4 or its 5 and 5 or whatever. I believe we are looking at around 10 sacks for THE POSITION.

        • abanig - Jul 14, 2015 at 12:14 AM

          Orakpo is a 3 time pro bowler. Let me know when Murphy or Smith do that.

          Ray wasn’t the problem on our defense just like Kerrigan isn’t, the problem is there wasn’t enough talent around them.

    • Skulb - Jul 13, 2015 at 9:10 PM

      Man D Hall is about the biggest need on this defense along with Kerrigan! Experience and young talent working together is always better, and Hall has tons of experience. Unless he`s demonstrably become too slow because of his Achilles tear he should start.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jul 13, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    Still the biggest question no one can answer:

    – why the hell did we wait until May to address the injuries of Williams, Kerrigan, and Reed when we knew they were struggling with them in January?

    Arguably our top 3 players and we waited 5 months to do something. Could have added 5 months of recovery and now we are grinding.

    Not pleaded with this medical staff at all!

    • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      I’d say that’s more on the players. The coaching staff and medic staff aren’t around the redskins already on the roster the first 3 months of each off season.

    • kenlinkins - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:25 AM

      Rich: Interesting subject, What are the CBA rules? Does this have more to do with players thinking that short term rehabs (knee scope, minor treatments etc.) should be done on company time vs. players vacation or does it have more to do with when the new business season opens or maybe doctors advice on the best time frame and treatment plan (i.e. try non- surgical treatment first)? Do HIPAA laws have any effect on reporters / media types reporting? (i.e. where are the lines drawn). I have a hard time believing that Kerrigan and Williams would wait because they didn’t want to limit the family vacation. How do the Redskins coaching and management feel about these three course’s of action? (just another subject that most of us fans really have no clue on the how and why, Thanks).

      • Rich Tandler - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        With Kerrigan and Reed, it’s simply a matter of it being better to rehab without surgery than with. Does Kerrigan missing OTAs hurt much? Not really. Reed needs the work but if he’s good to go for camp that’s what really matters.

        With Williams and Moses they are lingering injuries. Moses had the Lisfranc surgery shortly after it happened in December and he’s just on a normal rehab schedule. And Trent never did have surgery, not sure if it’s even appropriate for his injury. He probably should have shut it down earlier (he did give in a go for a week in OTAs).

        HIPPA applies to medical professionals only. If a reporter finds out something he can report it (although there are ethical concerns in,say, what Schefter did with publishing JPP’s records).

    • berniebernard666 - Jul 13, 2015 at 6:20 PM

      I ask the same questions about Redskins injuries that you do…except I ask them every single year. Last year it was HATCHER with a knee injury he suffered during his final games with the Cowboys Then he has a scope done just weeks before training camp???????????? Barry Cofield has hernia surgery just weeks before training camp???????????

      Fast forward to this year and we see everybody getting scopes and mysterious touchups just…..WHEN?????………wait for it…………….just WEEKS before training camp.

      Do the Redskins need me to come in and evaluate their medical decisions? I am not a doctor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express, and I know that if somebody is hurting after the season, SIX MONTHS OUT OF CAMP, that it would be better to have surgery in March or EARLY April than in JUNE OR JULY.

      I am available if the Skins players want me to consult them on logic. I am just thankful they have all their fingers.

      • bangkokben - Jul 13, 2015 at 7:11 PM

        Three cheers for ten fingers and ten toes!

      • Rich Tandler - Jul 14, 2015 at 4:49 AM

        Look around the league some. The Redskins aren’t the only NFL team to wait to do some minor surgeries. Again, it’s always better to see if rest and rehab will heal an injury before going under the knife.

  3. abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    I hope they use Hatcher in a reduced role this year. Last year they had to use him more because of injuries to Bowen & Cofield, but this year the Redskins DL seems to have plenty of depth.

    The skins gotta keep him healthy so they can use him when they need him most and that’s in obvious passing situations because he’s the DL’s best pass rusher.

    On first down against the run, I don’t think Hatcher needs to see as many snaps and take on as many double teams as he didn’t last year. He was beat up by opposing offensive lines because there was no other DL who provided any threat.

    • Cliff - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:53 PM

      What’s up w/ all the love for RAK ? I mean he’s a good guy, but he’s an average at best OLB definitely can’t cover, he’s again avg. rushing the QB, he wasn’t double teamed or game planned up by OC’s. He’s not a feared pass rusher nor is he a playmaker/ game all his time I can’t remember 1 game he had a significant impact, Oh wait I can – he drew a holding penalty against Dallas on last play to nullify a TD which won us the game. He’s an avg. player wanting elite $ best of luck to him but not here

      • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 5:03 PM

        Very few 3-4 OLBs are good in coverage, I mean let’s not act like Kerrigan is. They are there to rush the passer and set the edge, two things that Rak was good at.

        I just think he’s going to be missed. I don’t think the ROLBs we have now are as good as pass rushers. Neither Murphy or Smith can turn a corner like Rak. Many people questioned Murphy’s speed around he edge all year long last year and didn’t believe he would ever be a good ROLB. Then you have Smith who predominantly played strong side DE in college on the left side and yes, he moved around but his main prosition was strong aide DE

        • berniebernard666 - Jul 13, 2015 at 6:22 PM

          abanig……..I don’t know how to tell you this, so I am going to come right out and be frank. May I be frank with you? Good. Here goes……YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT YOUR BUDDY RAK.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 7:38 PM

          It’s fine for you to have that “option” but the facts bare out that he was the malt consistent outside pass rusher this team had since Bruce Smith when he was here.

          I hope we don’t miss him, but I fear we will. Yes, Murphy will improve as will Smith but neither have Rak’s speed as an outside rusher do I don’t ever see either of them being pro bowl OLbs.

          I honestly think they’ll be our DEs in a few years and we’ll draft a smaller quicker ROLB who weighs 250 to 260.

  4. mr.moneylover - Jul 13, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    I wanna find out which undrafted player can make the 53 man roster last year was akeem davis ….and witch late round player who can possibly get some reps with the starters in training camp ? My heart is telling me tevin Mitchell but my gut tellin me martrell spaights…deangleo hall wont be ready so david amerson will start and struggle tevin Mitchel will be forced into the fire like breeland

    • mr.moneylover - Jul 13, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      I think Martrell spaights will show off his tackling skills to the point were they would want to put him next to keenan Robinson and see what he can do starting with the starters…..alot of players cant show off they skill set simply cause they skill set is bein physical matt jones,Preston smith,and martrell spaights they all love bein physical and they didnt like OTAs and mini camp because they cant be physical

    • Brandon - Jul 13, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      Silas Redd last yr, not sure if A.Davis was even a rookie…. Both Mitchel and Spaight were draftd and will more than likely make the team.especially if they show out on teams.

      • berniebernard666 - Jul 13, 2015 at 6:25 PM

        Silas Redd is not making the Redskins Roster, unless they have an added spot for another ball boy. He adds nothing special. With him on the roster we won 4 games. No loss if he is gone and Scott M as good as told us all that by drafting a running back with a THIRD ROUND PICK.

        • abanig - Jul 13, 2015 at 7:02 PM

          So, you’re saying Chris Thompson is a lock over Silas Redd

          Color me skeptical of that opinion ….

  5. Rasmus - Jul 13, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    If the Redskins are going to play a 3-4 under base defense, I don’t see any one other than Hatcher on this roster whom could play the 5-6 technique (pass rushing) LDE spot IMO.
    I would really appreciate someone explaining why he potentially fits on the right side in example nickel packages since I’m very new to defensive football alignments and formations and etc!

    • abanig - Jul 14, 2015 at 5:36 AM

      You have the sides mixed up. The LDE spot is the bigger more physical DE. The RDE spot is the pass rushing side. Same with OLB, generally you put your best OLB on the right side to go against the LT.

      The only reason Kerigan plays LOLB is because he’s deaf in his left ear.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 14, 2015 at 9:26 AM


      You are probably correct that Hatcher would the LDE or strong side C-gap. I think abaniq is still mixing the 3-4 under with other base defensive schemes.

      See links below that do a pretty good illustration of this scheme.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 14, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        Below is my best guest from what I’m reading off the 3-4 Under using the Redskins D-Line personnel in a pass rush scenario.

        Stephen Paea will be in the 3 technique playing the 2 gap on the right side DE with Murphy on his outside wide known as the “will”. “Pot Rost” will be on the nose tackle and strong side will be Hatcher which is also known as the pure pass rusher with Kerrigan playing the 7 technique who would also be the primary pass rusher.

        • abanig - Jul 14, 2015 at 9:40 PM

          You guys are right, I was confused with our old scheme. I didn’t realize it was that much different. That was really good info and a good breakdown. Thanks for posting it.

      • Rich Tandler - Jul 14, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        Just FYI, comments with multiple links go into the spam folder. I try to check there every once in a while and fortunately I found this pretty quickly. But just a warning in case you end up wondering where a post is.

  6. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 14, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Below is my best guest from what I’m reading off the 3-4 Under using the Redskins D-Line personnel in a pass rush scenario.

    Stephen Paea will be in the 3 technique playing the 2 gap on the right side DE with Murphy on his outside wide known as the “will”. “Pot Rost” will be on the nose tackle and strong side will be Hatcher which is also known as the pure pass rusher with Kerrigan playing the 7 technique who would also be the primary pass rusher.

    • abanig - Jul 14, 2015 at 9:42 PM

      I agree. After reviewing the nfl breakdown I think Hatcher and Paea will be flipped from what I thought previously. Archives

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