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Need to Know: Under the radar Redskins storylines

Jul 4, 2016, 5:56 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 4, 24 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Happy Independence Day!

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago. It will be 70 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 11; Preseason opener @ Falcons 38; Final roster cut 61

The Redskins week that was

Some under the radar storylines as we head towards the start of training camp.

Who starts at right DE?—There is plenty of chatter about what they are going to do at nose tackle but Pot Roast Knighton isn’t the only starting D-linemen gone from last year. Jason Hatcher was cut and he doesn’t have a ready replacement. Kendall Reyes took a lot of snaps there during offseason practices that were open to the media. It seems like the team would like Stephen Paea, who signed a four-year, $21 million free agent contract last year, to take control of the job. He could but we won’t know until they put on the Pads down in Richmond.

Who plays nickel cornerback?—It looks like it’s Kendall Fuler’s job to lose but he might lose it. His surgically repaired knee seems to be doing well but we will see how it holds up. Quinton Dunbar had a nice rookie season and he isn’t going to let Fuller move ahead of him on the depth chart without a fight. Dashaun Phillips got some snaps at nickel corner in OTAs and looked pretty good. And veteran Greg Toler isn’t going to fade into the sunset. It will be a fierce competition. Fuller is the favorite but he is by no means a lock.

How many O-linemen will they carry?—They’ve carried as few as eight in recent seasons and there were 10 on the roster last year. One of the determining factors will be who wins the competition at left guard. If it’s Shawn Lauvao then Spencer Long stays around as a reserve. If Long wins then they may not want to keep Lauvao (with his $5 million cap hit) around as a backup. It also will depend on whether they are comfortable with Ty Nsekhe as the lone backup tackle on the 53 or if they want to keep a second one like first-year player Takoby Cofield.

In case you missed it 

  1. wvredskins - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    I have to disagree on the Nickel Corner position. Although Fuller was drafted for the position, I see it as Dunbar’s job to lose. Either way its a good position to be in. And I know that Rich has way more insight then me. Just my opinion, based off Dunbar’s play from last year, not to mention his size and speed. I am very excited to see how all things play out.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 4, 2016 at 10:35 AM

      Playing a zone coverage is a complex scheme for most CBs that even played the position in college. I’m not sure Dunbar is ready to take that role full time. Last season, I saw many instances where he was playing man possibly because of his learning cure. He has the right size for a zone cover corner and appears to have very good instincts. I’m intrigued about how good he can get. There’s just way too much for him to learn to feel confident he can be the starter this season. Honestly, I think Dunbar is better suited playing outside coverage. I think Fuller could perform the best out of this rookie class this year but he has his own share of questions being a rookie losing much of his last season to injury.

      I think Phillips is the best bet to be the starter at Nickel at least early into the season.

      • wvredskins - Jul 4, 2016 at 11:12 AM

        True. I would agree that he would be better suited playing outside. Time will tell. Coaches got him penciled in as the Nickel starter going into Training camp (if they keep it the same as ota’s depth chart), so they have to like his progression. Like I said its a good position to be in due to having all this talent to choose from. And if anything happens like last year with injuries at least we are better prepared.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 4, 2016 at 11:47 AM

          There’s no denying the better depth at corner this year. Most of it right now I deem more as promise than proven talent, but those guys have giving good reason to be high on expectations. I like the future there even if I’m one of the few that preferred hanging onto Amerson last season.

      • charmerci - Jul 5, 2016 at 10:35 AM

        What? Dunbar played last year and has had a whole offseason to learn, what? – 50 plays. So you think a rookie can out play him?

  2. troylok - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    I think Cofield will get some snaps at guard this preseason to check his versatility. I am pretty sure they want to keep him and Nsekhe. If Lauvao ends up hitting the bricks, and Cofield shows some ability to play guard, they might keep him around. LeRibeus has to be on his way out.

  3. bk70 - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:15 AM

    Happy Independence Day! Let’s get the fireworks started…
    It’s pretty much a given that Lichtensteiger will be the starting center in training camp and beyond barring injury.
    It should be a good battle between Josh LeRibeus and Austin Reiter as BU. If Austin has a great camp and preseason and beats out Josh, then its a goodbye Josh. If Josh rises again then Austin may be back to practice squad.
    For future depth, I’m sure coaches and GM will watch the waiver wire for center. Maybe Marcus Martin or Zach Fulton will become available (2014 draft picks) or the 2016 undrafted Matt Skura or Ruben Carter deserve tryouts with Washington after leaving Miami or Baltimore camps. Under the radar.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Happy 4th of July!

    Rich, if Dunbar were to win the 3rd CB spot, would he play in the slot or would Breeland move inside for nickel formations?
    ~

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      I think Dunbar would play the slot and Breeland would stay where he is. I think Dunbar can handle it just fine and they would rather not shift Breeland around.

  5. smotion55 - Jul 4, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Kouandjio is the under the radar guy I am interested in, if he steps up and Long gets better at Center who knows. I believe LeRibeus was re-signed because Reiter did not get better on the practice squad , and Matt Skura being free is news. I thought he might be worth a try out or late round pick. Coming from Duke he is smart enough to play .
    I am not sure Fuller is under the radar being a high draft pick and Dunbar has been good and getting better and with another spring under his belt who knows. Dunbar has the perfect size and speed for the position, and is willing to study film, unlike Amerson who they cut because of work habits.
    Craven’s is in the same boat as Fuller, not really under the radar but interesting. Lots of talent not sure how all these guys get on the field , this year anyway. Depth for the future is promising.
    The battle at DE has a lot of bodies to compete and if Paea doesn’t have a big time bounce back year then his signing will be a bust. Reyes might be the answer and Corey Crawford is under the radar and was on the practice squad last year. Ioannidis could play end and by mid season they might be starting different people on the line.

    • wvredskins - Jul 4, 2016 at 11:25 AM

      Yeah Cravens is definitely an intriguing prospect. He is going to help us in one way or another this year. Im just really excited to see how that all plays out.

      Corey Crawford could push his way into to the mix also. Not much is known about him. It would be nice to have one of these young guys come out of know where and solidify their selves on the D line. It would really be a surprise if Trent Murphy could resurrect his career switching to Dline. To many questions that wont be answered for a month or two.

      All you can say is Redskins -TRENDING UP!-

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 4, 2016 at 11:52 AM

      I hope you’re right about Kouandijo but think that was a reach for a starter when drafted. He is a far less talent than his brother and his biggest issue is mobility and particularly with his lower body. He moves slow but has tremendous power. Playing Guard is certainly his best chance but I seem him as more of a situational player and not a future starter.

  6. bangkokben - Jul 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    Paea

    Philips

    Nine

  7. wncskinsfan - Jul 4, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Camp is going to be great. I hope the injury bug avoids us this year, and straight competition determines the starters and depth.

    • redskins12thman - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:03 PM

      I like these story lines and I agree 100% with the comments immediately above.

      Other secondary “under the radar” storylines include:

      1. How healthy and effective are Lauvao, Paea, Riley, Thompson and Marshall?

      2. Who backs up Jones?

      3. Does Garvin emerge (as expected) as one of the special team leaders and who joins him?

      4. Do Ross and Crowder return kicks and punts again?

      5. Which CFAs shine once the pads come on?

      6. How do the transitions of Hall, Blackmon and Murphy go?

      • redskins12thman - Jul 4, 2016 at 9:10 PM

        Also, who do the Redskins want on the field when the opponent is in no huddle / no substitutions mode?

  8. sidepull - Jul 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Does Gruden give Cousins a shot even though he has named RG3 the starter heading into camp? Is Almos job in jeopardy with the new rookie Matt Jones in the fold? Who is this Jarrett kid anyway? Hope you all had a happy 4th. Looking forward to some Redskins football. Left MD to head to Utah this summer. Wife looking at houses. Realtor was showing us around, first day he reveals he hates the Nationals and shows a Braves tattoo off as we are ending our tour of the area. He says hes never been to a real NFL game. I tell him one of my favorite moments was Aikeman fumbling the handoff in the endzone and Smith trying to pitch it out of bounds as the Redskins beat the Cowboys in a heck of an ending. Itell him the whole stadium was shaking. Next day, two hours in he tells me hes a huge Dallas fan, but had to go look the play up on the net.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 9, 2016 at 3:43 PM

      Are you stuck in some sort of a time warp? Should we alert NASA?

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