20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

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20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
CSNwashington.com20 questions in 20 daysAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 1: Is RG3 the answer?The background:The NFL is a quarterback league and for the last 20 years or so the Redskins have been bringing a knife to a gunfight. They havent even enjoyed an extended period of competence at the most important position in sports. They have settled for a good season here, a nice stretch of games there. They gave up a record haul of high draft picks to try to solve that problem and they drafted Robert Griffin III. Can he be The Guy?Tandler:The chances of Griffin playing the role of Ryan Leaf or Heath Shuler, two highly drafted QBs who were huge busts, are extremely small. Like those two and other failed high picks Griffin has the physical tools to succeed. But what separates Griffin is what he has from the neck up. His football IQ is off the charts, his mental approach to the game is perfect, and he has been and will continue to be the first player to arrive at Redskins Park every morning and among the last to leave at night. There are no guarantees but it would be a major upset if Griffin is not a major improvement for the Redskins at quarterback immediately and one of the elite QBs in the league within a few years.El-Bashir:Given what was surrendered to get him, failure is not an option when it comes to Griffin. He has to become the franchise quarterback the Redskins have sought since Joe Theismann retired almost 20 years ago. As Rich pointed out, Griffins work ethic is unsurpassed, while his aptitude athletic ability are second to none. Time will tell if he can thrive in the NFL, but the early indication is that he possesses the all the tools necessary to become a top-10 quarterback. That said, two questions come to mind when pondering Griffins future. First, can his relatively slight frame (6 foot 2, 217 pounds) withstand the weekly pounding a dual-threat quarterback can expect to receive? And second, will the Redskins surround him with the talent elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees always seem to have? If the answer to both is yes, the sky is indeed the limit for Griffin.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 Aug. 26Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 Aug. 27Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 Aug. 28Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 Aug. 29Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 Aug. 30How much can Hightower contribute this year?
9 Aug. 31Was making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?
8 Sept. 1Will Josh Morgan be worth the investment?
7 Sept. 2What can Jarvis Jenkins contribute?
6 Sept. 3Is the offensive line depth good enough?
5 Sept. 4Will a running back by committee work?
4 Sept. 5Is the defense ready to carry the load?
3 YesterdayHow many wins is enough?
2 TodayHow much should RG3 run?
1 TomorrowIs RG3 the answer?

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When does NBA free agency begin? When is the NBA Draft? Important offseason dates for the Wizards and the NBA

When does NBA free agency begin? When is the NBA Draft? Important offseason dates for the Wizards and the NBA

The NBA offseason is still a few weeks away, as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers do not begin their NBA Finals rematch until Thursday after a full six-day layoff. If it goes seven games, their series will not end until June 18.

But for 28 other teams, like the Washington Wizards, the offseason has already started. Here is a look at the most important dates to watch this summer as the Wizards and the rest of the league prepare for the 2017-18 season:

June 1: NBA Finals between the Cavs and Warriors begin

June 13: Deadline for early entrants to withdraw from draft

June 22: 2017 NBA Draft (Wizards hold the 52nd pick in the second round)

June 24: Deadline for restricted free agents to use their player options (Wizards have no players that apply)

June 26: NBA awards show hosted by Drake (Wizards have no finalists)

June 29: Deadline for all player and team options (Wizards have no players that apply)

June 30: Last day of league year, deadline for teams to make restricted free agents qualifying offers of 125% of their salary (Wizards will have to decide on Otto Porter, Bojan Bogdanovic and Trey Burke)

July 1: First day of new league year, free agent moratorium begins allowing teams to negotiate with players and reach verbal agreements

July 1-6: Orlando Summer League

July 3-6: Utah Summer League

July 6: Moratorium ends to start free agency and trades

July 7-17: Las Vegas Summer League (Wizards will participate)

July 13: Deadline for teams to revoke qualifying offers to RFAs

July 15: Deadline to sign first round picks

September 5: Deadline to sign second round picks

September, TBA: Training camp opens

As you can see, it will be a very busy offseason for the league. For more on the free agent options for the Wizards, check out these links:

Top free agent forwards who could help Wizards, Morris

Top free agent shooting guards who could help Wizards, Beal

Top free agent point guards who could help Wizards, Wall

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Scouting the Stanley Cup Final: Possible Caps’ Free Agent Targets from the Nashville Predators

Scouting the Stanley Cup Final: Possible Caps’ Free Agent Targets from the Nashville Predators

Yesterday, JJ Regan took a look at pending free agents on the Stanley Cup-bound Penguins that could be of interest to the Caps.

Today, I’m taking a look at Nashville’s expiring contracts and evaluating whether anyone could be of help to Washington as the team looks to retool on the fly this offseason.

(All contract info via www.capfriendly.com)

Mike Fisher

Position:C
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:37
Last contract:2 years, $8.8 million/$4.4 million annual cap hit
Season stats:18 goals and 24 assists in 72 games

Fisher, the Preds’ second line pivot and team captain, enjoyed a bounce-back season after struggling through a down year in 2015-16. In addition to racking up 42 points, his highest total in four years, Fisher plays on both special teams units. He does the little things, too. He led all Predators’ forwards in hits (160), ranked second in blocked shots (66) and won a career-best 54.9-percent of his draws. Long respected for his work ethic and leadership, Fisher was give the ‘C’ last year after Shea Weber was dealt to Montreal for P.K. Subban. He’s also married to country music star Carrie Underwood. The bottom line is Fisher has been a good player for a long time in the NHL. But given the fact that the Caps have three centers under contract for next season (Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle) and are likely to ink Evgeny Kuznetsov to a long-term extension, there’s simply no fit here in Washington. Not to mention, it wouldn’t seem likely that the Preds would want to lose their captain two summers in a row.

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Vernon Fiddler

Position:  C
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:37
Last contract:1 year, $1.25 million
Season stats:2 goals and 2 assists in 59 games with the Devils and Predators.

A solid fourth liner who returned to Nashville via a trade from New Jersey in February, he’s good defensive player, can kill penalties and is effective in the faceoff circle. Although he’d likely come cheap, I don’t see a fit with the Caps. It’s also possible he’ll retire following the season. Fiddler did, however, play his first six NHL seasons under Barry Trotz in Nashville and remains a favorite of the Washington coach.

Harry Zolnierczyk

Position:  LW
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:30
Last contract:1 year, $575,000.
Season stats:2 goals and 2 assists in 24 games.

A depth player who spent 24 games in the American Hockey League this season, the bottom-six winger made his postseason debut last month and has drawn into the Predators’ playoff lineup eight times (1 goal, 1 assist, 9:05 of average ice time). There could be an opening on the left side of the fourth line if the Caps don’t re-sign Daniel Winnik, and Zolnierczyk, who has an economics degree from Brown, would come cheap. The Caps, however, can fill that role with a younger player who’s already in the organization.

P.A. Parenteau

Position:  RW
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:34
Last contract:1 year, $1.25 million
Season stats:13 goals and 15 assists in 67 games with the Devils and Predators

Acquired by Nashville in March from New Jersey to provide postseason scoring depth, Parenteau is one of the game’s most well-traveled players. In fact, he’s played for eight teams since 2006, never spending more than two seasons in the same city. He’s played in one game in each of the three playoff rounds this spring but has not recorded a point. Again, Parenteau would likely come on the cheap but the Caps will have younger options.

Yannick Weber

Position: Defense
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:29
Last contract:1 year, $575,000
Season stats: 1 goal, 7 assists in 73 games

Weber is a third pairing D-man for the Predators who doesn’t see time on special teams. That said, he’s a reliable vet, a right shot and wouldn’t cost much. And the Caps have a lot to sort out on the blue line.

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