July 24, 2014

Jay Gruden to put his stamp on Washington Redskins training camp

“Nothing is worse as a coach than when you let somebody go and they go on and kick your ass later on.” –Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden

The Washington Redskins reported to training camp Wednesday, and new head coach Jay Gruden faced the media for the first time at camp. He addressed the lingering injury situations of Jason Hatcher, Leonard Hankerson and Stephen Bowen and of course, talked about his quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

But he spent much of his first media availability talking about himself, his training camp, and how he expects things to go with him at the helm for the first time.

“Every coach wants to have great energy and great tempo, and that’s the big thing,” Gruden said from the training facility in Richmond, VA. “We want to get in and out of the huddle. We want to have great tempo and try to simulate game fashion as best we can. It’s going to be hot. Practices, sometimes they roll into period after period after period.”

“They can be mundane, but it’s important for us as coaches to motivate and keep the tempo moving at a quick pace and make sure we’re learning and coaching and the players are getting needed work – running to the football, pursuit, discipline. All that coachspeak that you hear, it’s what training camp is all about. Fundamentals of football need to be taught every play, every day. The tempo needs to be taught and worked on. The pursuit angles, the pursuit drills need to be practiced and worked on, and we strive for perfection.”

Gruden made sure to point out that he would lean heavily on his assistants.

“I try to use input from everybody. Coach [Jim] Haslett, obviously Coach [Ben] Kotwica, Sean McVay, [Director of Football Operations] Paul Kelly, we’ve all been at different systems and different programs and we’ve seen how different teams do them. Some have been successful, but we try to do what’s best for our team and for this place.”

“We thought practicing in the morning was the best option for us. Just walking out there today, it was hot, so I’m kind of glad we’re going in the morning. I was sweating. This jacket was a bad choice. I used everybody’s input on that as I do in coming up with game plans, and every decision I make will have input. Obviously I’ll have the final say, but I really expect that from the coaches.”

Gruden was asked how his training camp might be different than his predecessors’.

“I don’t know,” Gruden admitted. “I haven’t been to every coach’s training camp, so we’ll see. The big thing is we have a schedule drawn out. Now, how much we stick to that schedule will be determined on how we do. We might have to take a period out or add a period, a live tackling period or something along the way and change it up. I don’t think there’s any special drill in football I’m going to do that nobody’s ever done before. I hope not. It’ll be football.”

Gruden said that choosing the right mix of players for the opening roster is the first priority of the camp.

“I want to make sure we make the right decisions on players, No. 1. We have to make sure we get a good look at all the young guys, all the free agents, all the undrafted free agents, the draft picks, the veteran free agents, and make sure when we make our final cut-down we make the right choices and hopefully these players will make it very difficult on us in making those decisions.”

“When you play four preseason games and you scrimmage against the New England Patriots, hopefully we’ll get enough reps where we do make the right decision because nothing is worse as a coach than when you let somebody go and they go on and kick your ass later on. We want to make sure we get these guys the reps necessary and keep who we think are the best 53 and make the right decisions.”

Addressing the holdovers from last season’s debacle, Gruden said he hopes the players come in with a chip on their shoulders.

“Any time you lose the last one – whether you go 2-14 or we were 11-5 in Cincy and lost the last one – you should have a chip on your shoulder. You should want to get back on the saddle and compete. I think we have the type of guys here that all want to compete, whether they are coming from another team – we don’t have anybody coming from Seattle so everybody in this locker room should have a chip on their shoulder and should be eager to get back on the field and excited to play.”

“Football is a great game, it’s a privilege to play this game and I know they all love it and they want to do well. They are excited. We have worked extremely hard with the strength and conditioning coaches in the offseason program and you see them out there today running. They are all in good shape. Moving forward I feel good about where we are. Now it’s just a matter of getting them out there and playing.”

Washington Redskins report to camp with injury updates

by Justin Byram

The Washington Redskins have now reported for training camp, but not everyone is quite ready to participate yet. Defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen will both open training camp on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Pperform); joining them on the PUP list will be Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

All three players are recovering from knee injuries, however, each is in different stages of their recovery.

Jason Hatcher is probably the closest to returning to action, but the Washington Redskins aren’t taking any chances on their biggest defensive addition, and he will return when he is 100% ready. Head coach Jay Gruden was optimistic Hatcher would play at some point during camp. “He’s being monitored closely by Larry [Hess], our trainer, and as soon as they see fit, he’ll be ready to go. But we want to make sure he’s obviously ready to go.”

Hankerson suffered a nasty ACL injury in 2013, and with the receiver depth the team has there is no reason to rush Hankerson back before he’s fully ready. However, Hankerson was seen doing conditioning workouts, running and cutting, so it seems that Hankerson is recovering well.

Stephen Bowen is the most interesting situation. Bowen underwent microfacture surgery this off-season and is fighting to prove that he can still be effective and worth his high cap number (he is the fifth highest paid player on the roster). The longer Bowen is out of camp, the less likely he is to make the team. Bowen is in the most danger of losing his job/roster spot, so he will be the player to watch closest throughout camp.

The cornerback position will be at full strength to start training camp with Tracy Porter and Richard Crawford Jr. being cleared for all football activities. Porter was expected to be fully recovered from an off-season shoulder surgery, however Crawford is a bigger surprise to be fully ready to go this early in camp.

Crawford suffered a nasty knee injury, tearing just about every ligament in his knee last pre-season. Crawford was playing his best football before going down, and if he can return to form he will be an asset to the Redskins not only in coverage but in the return game.

It is also worth noting that although he didn’t come out and say it, Jay Gruden implied that Bowen and Hankerson are far behind Hatcher. Gruden confirmed that he expected Hatcher to return to action sooner than later, but when asked about Bowen and Hankerson he wouldn’t commit saying: “I never like to try to make predictions on when guys are going to come back”.

Brian Orakpo feels like he has nothing to prove to Washington Redskins

Redskins LB Brian Orakpo can only watch from sidelines in Week 2 loss to Rams. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Murphy)

Redskins LB Brian Orakpo can only watch from sidelines in Week 2 loss to Rams. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Murphy)

The deadline for franchise players to sign long-term deals has come and gone and Brian Orakpo’s future with the Washington Redskins remains uncertain. The franchise tag will keep him in D.C. for this season, but beyond that there is plenty of reason to wonder if Orakpo will remain here in the future.

Orakpo was a first-round draft pick in 2009 when he was selected by the Washington Redskins and is a three-time Pro Bowler. The problem, however, is money. [Read more...]

OPINION: Time for Washington Redskins to change name

I have long resisted entering this debate, but the time has come that I commit my opinion publically, for whatever that is worth. Being one-eighth native American, I have long wrestled with whether my affinity for the NFL team that resides in Washington (technically, Virginia and Maryland, but I digress) should override the just plain wrongness of its nickname. It should not.

The Washington Redskins should change their name.

I have been a fan of the Washington Redskins since I was a child. One of my first real memories was Super Bowl VII, huddled around a small black and white television in our home in Fairfax with my mom. I remember the excitement when Mike Bass returned the blocked field goal for a touchdown, and the disappointment when the team lost to the “perfect” Miami Dolphins.

I was in high school and college during the championship years of Joe Gibbs and the Hogs and the Fun Bunch and Riggo and believed it was my birthright for my team to win the NFC East and have a chance to truly compete for the Super Bowl every year.

As an adult, I had season tickets to the games for a couple of years until the misery associated with 10-hour Sundays at FedEx Field got too much to bear.

I understand the feeling of camaraderie in being associated with a group of fans that take pride in their team. That’s what sports is all about. There’s nothing better than the euphoria when your team wins the big game. All those years going through the “bad times” are rationalized away when the team finally wins.

But that euphoria doesn’t justify institutional racism.

There are no winners in this game. The “defenders” are too busy crying “political correctness” to see the big picture, the team is too busy defending what they think are its rights, and those that are offended — truly offended — continue to suffer in silence as they have since colonial times.

There are three reasons it is beyond time for the team to change its name:

THE TERM “REDSKIN” IS DEMEANING AND PEJORATIVE

There are studies on both side of the origin of the word “redskin.” The origin of the term is immaterial. The term was widely and publically used as a pejorative for many decades and, according to the literal definition in the dictionary, still is.

It does not matter if you are not personally offended by the word, or if I am or not. it doesn’t matter if a large group — even a majority – of people are not offended. It does not matter if you use the term solely to describe the NFL team or not. It only matters that there is a segment of people — by the way, AMERICAN PEOPLE — that are offended and demeaned by the term’s use.

Like any other type of harassment, the intent of someone using the term is irrelevant to whether another finds it offensive.

That’s the very definition of institutional racism. Because so many (non-offended) people use a word that was once demeaning and pejorative in a manner that is not necessarily so, that term has now been, more or less, accepted as a society to have taken that second meaning. That, my friends, is a perfect example of institutional racism.

History shows how native American people have been systematically oppressed damn near to the point of extinction. No amount of public relations fluffery can make a dent in the damage that continues in the name of “team pride.”

Ironically, everyone that opposes the name change is a victim themselves of the institutional racism they oppose and they are completely unaware of it.

And that is very, very wrong.

THE TERM “WASHINGTON REDSKINS” NOW REPRESENTS EMBARRASSMENT

The very first thing that comes up when one identifies themselves as a fan of the team is the name debate. The second is the other person’s opinion of Daniel Snyder. Maybe the third thing is RGIII, and not how exciting a football player he is, but how the whole mess about how his injury was handled.

This is how the Washington Redskins are perceived from outside the beltway. As a joke, at best. A punchline. An embarrassment.

Not with words like “pride” or “history” or “legacy”, as the team’s promotion material so stridently tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the fervent, defending their trademarks and wordmarks until the very end.

In other words, most of the country doesn’t even think about football at all when the term Washington Redskins is brought up. Through the team and ownership’s own actions and words, the very ideals they claim that the name represents are rendered an afterthought.

There’s no talk nationally about how the team will fare on the field. It’s just the incessant talk about the name change and the dysfunction surrounding the team. Eventually, fans of the team will die off (figuratively and literally) and new ones won’t take their place because of the embarrassment associated with the team.

I think even the most fervent “defenders” would agree that the headache associated with being a fan of the Washington Redskins outweighs whatever benefit comes from the arrangement.

THE TEAM WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE MONEY REGARDESS THE OUTCOME

There have been lawsuits over the past 20 years, and so far the Washington Redskins have come out on top. Maybe that actually fuels the hubris by the organization with regards to the name change. But they face another challenge in the courts, as Wednesday’s ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registrations for the team’s name Wednesday, claiming it is “disparaging to Native Americans.” 

The case, brought to the PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board by five Native Americans in 2006, removed six federal trademarks that included the word “Redskin”…

“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiff’s attorney told Politico. “The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place.”

The team issued a sternly-worded press release, vowing to continue its fight for its name and trademarks.

We’ve seen this story before.   And just like last time, today’s ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo. [ed.--team's bold face]

 -snip-

We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal.  This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.

As for public opinion, well, we’ve been down that road already. But the most recent and obvious example of public opinion swaying against the team was the two minute PSA that appeared during the NBA Finals on national television, sponsored by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of native Americans. It was moving and poignant, and of course was met with derision and contempt by “defenders”.

But eventually, public opinion will win. Scores of colleges and high schools have changed their names over the past several decades. More will follow. It’s not enough that the once socially acceptable nicknames are “history” and used with “pride” by those associated with those institutions. As we detailed above, it’s institutional racism.

The Washington Redskins, despite years of futility on the field, are still one of the most profitable franchises in the league. They will continue to do so even if forced to change the name and mascot. The NFL has a license to print money. Between the massive broadcast contracts, merchandise sales, stadium and parking concessions, and overwhelming dominance in the sporting landscape, the team will continue to thrive regardless of what it is called.

Despite their adamant defense of its trademarks and wordmarks, the team stands to heavily profit from a name change, when the eventuality finally presents itself. It is only due to the hubris of its ownership that the team still fights so fervently against public opinion and governmental interjection.

***

Going forward, as Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page I am instructing all of our writers to refer to the team as “Washington Redskins”, in full, in any mention of the team in any game story, article, analysis or opinion. We will no longer use the term “redskins” or “skins” as a stand-alone references to the team in any form.

I realize that our reach and scope is limited. I also realize that it’s a fine editorial line I’m making between the protected wordmark “Washington Redskins” and the pejorative “redskins” or “skins”. Until the team changes its name — or is forced to — we’re left with imperfect options.

Redskins Respond to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Decision

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six of the Washington Redskins’ trademark registrations, ruling that the team name is “disparaging of Native Americans.”

Below is the press release issued Wednesday afternoon by the Redskins:

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The following is a statement by Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins, regarding today’s split decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board:

“We’ve seen this story before.   And just like last time, today’s ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo.

  • ‘Redskins Are Denied Trademarks’ -Washington Post, April 3, 1999
  • ‘Redskins Can Keep Trademark, Judge Rules’ -Washington Post, October 2, 2003

We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal.  This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.

As today’s dissenting opinion correctly states, “the same evidence previously found insufficient to support cancellation” here “remains insufficient” and does not support cancellation.

This ruling – which of course we will appeal – simply addresses the team’s federal trademark registrations, and the team will continue to own and be able to protect its marks without the registrations.  The registrations will remain effective while the case is on appeal.

When the case first arose more than 20 years ago, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled on appeal in favor of the Washington Redskins and their trademark registrations.

Why?

As the district court’s ruling made clear in 2003, the evidence ‘is insufficient to conclude that during the relevant time periods the trademark at issue disparaged Native Americans…’ The court continued, ‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion.  We are confident that when a district court review’s today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.

In today’s ruling, the Board’s Marc Bergsman agreed, concluding in his dissenting opinion:

It is astounding that the petitioners did not submit any evidence regarding the Native American population during the relevant time frame, nor did they introduce any evidence or argument as to what comprises a substantial composite of that population thereby leaving it to the majority to make petitioner’s case have some semblance of meaning.

The evidence in the current claim is virtually identical to the evidence a federal judge decided was insufficient more than ten years ago. We expect the same ultimate outcome here.”

OPINION: For Washington Redskins, a name change is just a matter of time

In the midst of a busy offseason for the Washington Redskins, there are plenty of story lines we could be discussing. We could be talking about if Robert Griffin III can return to the dynamic playmaker he was in his rookie season, the surprise signing of DeSean Jackson and how he will fit into the offense, how first year head coach Jay Gruden intends to rebuild the Redskins, etc, etc, etc.

Yet, the topic of conversation continues to be the team name. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins Position Battles: Corner Back

This summer, District Sports Page will be taking a close look at some key position battles leading up to Washington Redskins training camp. In the first installment, we examined the battle for playing time at the running back slot.

This week, we take a look at the depth chart for cornerbacks.
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by Justin Byram, special to District Sports Page

The bad news for the Washington Redskins is that the secondary position has been a weak point of this team for far too long now. The good news is there is reason to be optimistic that is now changing, in particular the corner back position.

The Redskins re-signed captain DeAngelo Hall this off-season after coming off arguably his best season as a pro to a four-year extension worth $20 million. Last year, the 30-year-old veteran collected four interceptions and three defensive touchdowns while recording 78 tackles. He even forced two fumbles for good measure.

 Last year’s second round pick David Amerson looks to take over the starting position opposite Hall. Amerson, a second-round pick in ’13, showed consistent improvement throughout his rookie season with two interceptions and 48 tackles. If OTA’s are any indication, Amerson will be even more improved in 2014.

Outside the starters, the depth chart becomes a little less clear. The Skins signed fourth year free-agent Tracy Porter away from the Raiders. He should provide solid depth and an upgrade over former slot cornerback Josh Wilson. Porter picked off a pair of passes for Oakland last year, while making 67 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

The Redskins also added a new face from this year’s draft class with fourth-round pick Bashaud Breeland. Breeland (5’11”, 197 lbs.), out of Clemson, should an immediate impact on special teams and push for playing time in nickel packages. Breeland brings physicality to the corner position the Redskins, though his 40-yard dash times at the combine (4.62) might leave something to be desired.

With the four previous corners listed basically locks to make the 53-man roster, everyone else will compete for the final one or two roster spots.

E.J. Biggers – The Skins re-signed Biggers in the offseason to compete in a depth position at left corner. He played in every game for Washington last season with an interception, two passes defended and 35 tackles while also playing on special teams.

Richard Crawford – Crawford, 5’11”, 188 lbs., expected to compete for playing time last season and be involved in the return game, but suffered a season-ending ACL injury that required surgery. The third-year player out of SMU was not cleared to participate in May’s voluntary minicamp. Once is cleared to participate, he should compete for a backup role.

Chase Minnifield – Minnifield bounced between the active and inactive roster last season. The 25-year-old is 6’0”, 185 lbs. out of Virginia.

Peyton Thompson – Thompson was signed to a futures deal in December. He’s a 5’11”, 180 lbs. 23-year-old from San Jose State.

Washington Redskins Position Battles: Running Back

This summer, District Sports Page will be taking a close look at some key position battles leading up to Washington Redskins training camp. In this first installment, we look at the battle for playing time at the running back slot.
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by Justin Byram, special to District Sports Page

There is only one thing certain about the Redskins Running Back position: Alfred Morris is the starter. After that, there isn’t much clarity at the position. The battle for playing time at the running back spot should be one of the most interesting position battles of the summer. Although Alfred Morris is the clear starter, the third down and receiving back jobs are wide open (something that is pivotal in Jay Gruden’s offense). Whoever wins these jobs will have a big role in the offense and an increased role from years past.

The Running Backs currently on the Redskins roster include Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Lache Seastrunk, Evan Royster, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson. Obviously one of the three roster spots is occupied by Morris, but who will prove worthy of the other two spots?

Roy Helu is the next safest bet. Although Helu is set to count more against the salary cap than starter Alfred Morris, two other running backs would have to shine during pre-season in order to knock Helu off the roster. Helu does provide good pass catching skills (31 catches for 251 yards in ’13) and offers a change of pace to the plodding Morris (62 carries, 274 yards, four TDs), but Helu’s actual results have been average at best throughout his time in Washington. But we’ll assume he retains his spot as the No. 2 back.

With two of the three spots likely filled, it will be a battle between the remaining four for the final position, and the ability to play on special teams may very well provide the difference.

Evan Royster has showed some versatility (the ability to play fullback) however, little else. He carried just twice in 2013 for zero net yards. Silas Redd was a solid back collegiately at Penn State and he is now supposedly 100% for the first time in a while. If fully healthy again, Redd is a dark horse candidate to make the roster and a player to keep your eye on in training camp and pre-season.

The battle for the final roster spot will likely be a battle between Chris Thompson and 2014 draftee Lache Seastrunk. This early in the process you have to like Seastrunk. Unlike Thompson, Seastrunk was drafted by Gruden, which means he is already on the head coach’s radar. Thompson has showed no durability, failing to stay healthy throughout his career, and his production on the field has lacked. At the end of the day, Seastrunk is a more durable version of Thompson, and will likely bump him off the roster.

The team went out of its way to describe Seastrunk as a dynamic kick returner during the draft process, and it’s definitely an are of need for the Skins. Thompson averaged 20.0 yards per kickoff return last season on eight attempts, but his longest was just 28 yards. He also returned seven punts for 36 yards, a measly 5.1 yards per attempt average.

My final prediction is Morris as the starter, Helu as the backup and third down back, and Seastrunk as  a change of pace back and return man, unless he displays enough aptitude during training camp to take on a larger role.

However, with Helu’s cap hit, it could be interesting if Redd shows something during camp and in preseason now that he’s fully heathy.

Running back will be one of the most intense competitions in training camp and throughout pre-season. It will be a fun roster battle to watch, and with a lot of competition a good player will likely be cut or make the practice squad rather than the 53-man roster.

Washington Redskins 2014 NFL Draft Profile: TE Ted Bolser

This week, District Sports Page will take an in-depth look at each player the Washington Redskins selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, including quotes from the Skins brass and player reaction to being drafted.

Part I: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford, Second Round.
Part II: Morgan Moses, OT, University of Virginia, Third Round.
Part III: Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska, Third Round.
Part IV: Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson, Fourth Round.
Part V: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane, Fifth Round.
Part VI: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor.

Part VII: Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana

  • 6’5″ Height
  • 257 LBS. Weight
  • 4.74/4.78 40-yard dash
  • 19 reps bench press (225 lbs.)
  • 31-inch vertical jump
  • 111-inch broad jump
  • 7.11 3-cone drill
  • 4.50 20-yard shuttle

Ted Bolser is the Indiana career record holder for tight ends with 117 receptions, 1,337 yards, and 15 TDs.

Asked what Bolser is best at, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden responded, “Pass catcher, probably. He is split out a lot, I think he is probably known for his pass catching skills. Talking to their coaches, they feel like he could be an inline blocker, they just didn’t do it a whole lot but they did it. He has done it. He’s got good size. He is 6-foot, 5-and-a-half, 258-plus pounds. So he has got the frame to do it.”

As a receiving tight end, Bolser offers a large target, the strength to fight off linebackers jamming him, and the ability to catch balls in his vicinity.

“Everybody there, they’re just going to expect my full-out effort on every single play no matter whether it be on offense or on special teams. I’m there. I’m coming there to compete and I’m ready to play right away, so they’re going to get my effort and my heart on every single play,” Bolser said.

Gruden said, “He is a solid tight end, got good hands. He’s played outside, he’s played fullback, he has played tight end in the core. He has been very productive at Indiana. Obviously I think he is the leading tight end in the history of Indiana football or right up there. So I like his position flexibility, being able move around, but really what kind of stuck out, he runs down on kickoff like a war daddy. He is a fun guy to watch running down on kicks and obviously I’ve mentioned special teams on here a lot. We were the 32nd category and it was a major item for us in the draft and Ted is a good special team player as well as a tight end.”

Gruden talked about the matchup problems Bolser’s size presents, “It really does. The way Jordan [Reed] can move around outside, inside, it creates mismatches for you against corners, safeties and linebackers. There is different ways to get bigger guys matched up on smaller guys, and with Jordan’s flexibility and Teddy’s flexibility, it will help.”

NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki sees these drawbacks to Bolser as a receiving tight end: “Has very small hands and short arms,” “Lumbering mover,” “One-speed route runner with minimal burst and acceleration to separate,” “Much of his production is schemed — creates little on his own,” and “Can be fazed by traffic (hears footsteps) — hands are suspect.”

“Well I came out of high school as a wide receiver, so I didn’t really put my hand in the ground at all,” Bolser said. “Throughout my process at Indiana, I got a lot better at blocking, which a lot people like how I block, and they see my effort in every single play. I play with a chip on my shoulder. I just go out there and try to do my best.”

For all the potential Bolser’s large frame offers as a blocker, currently he plays too upright and needs to add upper body strength as he bench presses 225 lbs only 19 times.

Fred Davis’s departure through free agency and drug suspension opens up a spot behind starter Jordan Reed that the new coaching staff will consider Bolser for. Newly promoted offensive coordinator Sean McVay will also evaluate two tight ends he worked with last year as tight ends coach in Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.

It remains to be seen whether Gruden and McVay will continue Mike Shanahan’s experiment of converting Paul from a receiver into a tight end. Shanahan had likened Paul to Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. Paul is a valuable special teams contributor in coverage, but ideally, with faster players like Lache Seastrunk, the Redskins won’t have to run Paul out there as a kickoff return man.

Scouting report courtesy of NFL.com

Washington Redskins 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Lache Seastrunk, RB

This week, District Sports Page will take an in-depth look at each player the Washington Redskins selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, including quotes from the Skins brass and player reaction to being drafted.

Part I: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford, Second Round.
Part II: Morgan Moses, OT, University of Virginia, Third Round.
Part III: Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska, Third Round.
Part IV: Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson, Fourth Round.
Part V: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane, Fifth Round.

Part VI features Lache Seastrunk, RB from Baylor. Seastrunk played with current Redskins Robert Griffin III while at Baylor.

Lache Seastrunk

  • 5’9″ Height

  • 30″ Arm Length

  • 201 LBS. Weight

  • 9 1/4″ Hands

  • 4.51 SEC 40-yard dash
  • 15 REPS bench press (225 lbs.)
  • 41.5 INCH vertical jump
  • 134.0 INCH broad jump

Of all the running backs compared to Lache Seastrunk, you could say he is this year’s Chris Thompson, last year’s fifth round pick, who like Seastrunk, has breakaway speed, unlike the other running backs on the Redskins roster: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Like Thompson, you can only hope they can at least use his speed on special teams.

Comparisons have been made to Giovani Bernard because Redskins head coach Jay Gruden coached him last year as the Bengals offensive coordinator. Bernard was the Bengals’ second round pick last year.

“Well, Gio had a lot more experience out of the backfield catching the ball,” said Gruden. “If there’s a reach about him, it’s projecting him to be a third down guy who’s catching the ball. What we’re envisioning for him early on is not so much a third down guy but a guy that can spell [running back] Alfred [Morris] and hit the home run. He’s got the breakaway speed and hopefully in time he will be able develop into a pass blocker/receiver,” Gruden continued.

Seastrunk’s profile reminds me of Bryce Brown, the running back the Eagles just traded to the Bills for a fourth round pick. In the action he has gotten in two years as an NFL running back, a lot of you may have picked him up on the waiver wire a couple of years ago in fantasy football when LeSean McCoy was out with a concussion. Brown responded with an Eagles rookie record 178 yards. He also cost the Eagles the game the next week with his fumbling. I make the Brown comparison because he was a seventh-round draft pick of the Eagles who once was a top-rated high school running back prospect whose career went off track after a controversial recruitment and transfer. Unlike Brown, Seastrunk had a college career at Baylor, but may have never escaped the cloud surrounding his recruitment by Oregon.

Seastrunk redshirted his only year at Oregon. However, the NCAA placed Oregon on three years probation with scholarship losses when it was discovered that Seastrunk’s advisor, Willie Lyles, pocketed $25,000 from Oregon after Seastrunk signed his letter of intent. Seastrunk transferred to Baylor in the face of the upcoming sanctions on Oregon, and lost a year of eligibility. Seastrunk was named the 2012 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after carrying the ball 131 times for 1,012 yards (7.7-yard average) and seven touchdowns in 13 games (six starts). He also caught nine passes for 107 yards (11.9) and one touchdown. In 2013, Seastrunk led the Big 12 with 107.0 yards per game after putting up 158-1,177-11 (7.4) on the ground in 11 games (eight starts). Seastrunk scored five of his 19 touchdowns on plays of longer than 68 yards.

“Obviously, Lache Seastrunk is an interesting guy because of his speed. He was sitting there later on in the draft, I think he was in the sixth round, and we had him ranked a little bit higher than that and obviously [quarterback] Robert [Griffin III] knows him very well, and so we know a little bit about him. So he’s an interesting guy, I want to see him compete. The only weird thing about him is he didn’t catch any balls at Baylor, but they just don’t throw to their backs. We feel like he can catch the ball good enough.”

Asked what he brings to the Redskins, Seastrunk said “I think I can say my speed and my toughness, being able to be a home run threat.”

In addition to his speed, Seastrunk has elusiveness and the ability to break tackles. While he doesn’t run with his shoulders square, Seastrunk does runs low with balance and shiftiness. While Seastrunk is at times impatient and doesn’t let his blocks develop, he is an ideal zone runner with his ability to hit the cutback lanes.

However, the Baylor offense with its fly sweeps, lateral runs and big running lanes are not preparation for the NFL. Neither is the de-emphasis on blocking and receiving skills.

Scouting report courtesy of NFL.com

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