If the Redskins offensive line improves this season to the point of surprise, many a pundit will have that proverbial egg on their face.That's because right now, most outside observers are not viewing this unit with anything close to sunny-side up optimism.Rotoworld's Evan Silva is the latest to rank the NFL's 32 offensive lines with the Redskins slotted way down the line at 26. No stunner there. Silva stated hisprojections were based on his own notes from the dozen or so games he watches each week; research from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus; factoring in"the impact of blocking schemes, rookie expectations, and free agency additions".His evaluation assumes the typical starting lineup with Kory Lichtensteiger at left guard andJammal Brown at right tackle plus rookies Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis joining reserves Maurice Hurt, Tyler Polumbus and Erik Cook (not sure why, but tackle Willie Smith, not listed). "Overview: This is another group that could have benefited from continuity that is so vital for zone-blocking teams. Trent Williams (6), Lichtensteiger (11), and Brown (4) combined to miss 21 games due to injury and suspension last season. Though a system fit for the Shanahans' scheme, Chester's game lacks requisite power for right guard. Lichtensteiger, considered a solid starter when healthy, is now coming back from ACL and MCL surgery. Hurt and Cook gained valuable spot-starting experience due to the injuries in front of them, but this year's priority needs simply to be staying healthy. If the Redskins somehow find durability on the line, this could shoot from a bottom-seven unit to the middle of the pack. Robert Griffin III should definitely make it look better."After drafting three lineman and the primary portion of free agency in the books, any improvement figures to come from the current members, though the Lichtensteiger and Brown injury scenarios linger.For comparison's sake, the Eagles (7),Giants (14) and Cowboys (16) all ranked well ahead of the Redskins, though others might quibble on the gap.Of their 2012 non-NFC East opponents, only the Rams (32) finished behind the Redskins while five units ranked among the league's top 10.
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 26, 32 days before the April 27 NFL draft.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 22
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 47
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 59
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 111
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 159
Redskins starters quick hitters—offense
QB Kirk Cousins—No need to worry about him; he has plenty of incentive to play well even if he remains a “lame duck”. His is long-term contract, wherever he may be, can be either enhanced or reduced by how well he plays in another contract year.
RB Rob Kelley—The word is that they like Kelley and that he will line up with the first team when the time comes for them to do such things. But it could be a “love the one you’re with” type of situation and if someone bigger and faster is on the draft board Kelley could find himself in a serious competition to hold on to his spot.
WR Terrelle Pryor—I’ve never been a big fan of the Wildcat formation but it may not be a bad idea to get Pryor behind center occasionally. He was a 57 percent passer the one season where he got over 150 attempts and in 2013 he had a 93-yard touchdown run from the quarterback position.
WR Jamison Crowder—His 126 receptions are the most for any Redskins player in his first two season in pro football and his 1,451 yards are the fourth most. The acquisitions of Pryor and Brian Quick should allow Crowder to stay in the slot where he is best suited to be productive.
WR Josh Doctson—Although he got extremely limited practice and playing time last year due to his Achilles injury don’t underestimate the value of time spent in meeting rooms and around the team. The point is that he’s not going to be a raw rookie out there. He could surprise some people.
TE Jordan Reed—Over the last two years, Reed’s stats project to 95 receptions for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns if he had played 16 games per season. Those aren’t just Pro Bowl numbers for a tight end, they’re first-team All-Pro numbers and, if they are extended over a decade or so, Hall of Fame numbers.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0
LT Trent Williams—Speaking of first-team All-Pros, Williams had a great shot at getting those honors last year but he had that bump in the road in the form of the four-game substance abuse suspension.
LG Shawn Lauvao—He’s not a fan favorite but the coaches plan on having him with the first team. As with Kelley, if a better option pops up on the draft board Lauvao could find himself in a battle. The difference is that even is Kelley doesn’t start he isn’t going anywhere; the team may not want to pay Lauvao $4 million to be a reserve.
C Spencer Long—He didn’t allow a sack in 13 games until the Giants got one on him in the last game of the season.
RG Brandon Scherff—He also didn’t have a sack on his record all year until the season finale. The Redskins are hoping that 2016 was the first Pro Bowl season in a string of many for the 2015 fifth overall pick.
RT Morgan Moses—He proved his mettle by playing through an ankle sprain that would have sidelined many others. Moses suffered the injury the game before Trent Williams was suspended, forcing top reserve to play on the left side. Don’t be surprised to see him get a contract extension at some time prior to the start of training camp.
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 25, 33 days before the April 27 NFL draft.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 23
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 48
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 60
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 112
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 160
The Redskins week that was
Ihenacho's Redskins career appears to be over—This is based on some tweets he sent out; the team has said nothing officially or unofficially. Duke Ihenacho started 10 games at safety for the Redskins and they still don’t have enough at his position to fill out a depth chart. But apparently, they believe that Ihenacho is not part of the solution going forward and they will not offer Ihenacho, an unrestricted free agent, a contract. I think he’ll get another shot somewhere; he turns 28 in June and when he’s healthy he can play a role on defense and do some special teams.
Will the Redskins shift to drafting for need? Scot McCloughan always preached drafting the best player available rather than drafting for need. However, no GM drafts purely BPA and none draft strictly for need. How will the Redskins go with Bruce Allen having the final say and with Jay Gruden likely to have a strong voice in the draft room? Check out the post.
2017 NFL Mock Draft 6.0—A good job by Ben Standig here although I’m kind of skeptical of his first-round pick for the Redskins for reasons outlined here. And I kind of like his second round pick but I’d think he would be better in the fourth.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0
Could Miami's Kaaya be the Redskins' heir apparent at quarterback? I think that some Redskins fans have their fingers stuck in their ears and are yelling, “I can’t hear you” when it comes to the quarterback situation. The reality is that there is a very good chance that Kirk Cousins will be gone in 2018. Why wait until he’s gone to start developing his replacement? You can argue that Kaaya is not the guy but there has to be a plan.
Setting the odds on the Redskins' first-round draft pick—Mock drafts are all over the place with the Redskins picks, which is to be expected with pick No. 17. While I respect any analyst who can do a full first-round mock draft, it’s just impossible for them to be up on every team’s depth chart and thinking. As noted, nobody is sure how the dynamic of Allen and Gruden (and we could throw in college scouting director Scott Campbell there as well) will work in the draft room. While things might clear up as April 27 approaches, a big surprise at No. 17 wouldn’t be a surprise, if you know what I mean.
Tandler on Twitter
@discoque5 I could pass on him and not think twice. A major leap of faith to go DE to ILB. Combine warrior. Can’t gamble w/ No. 17.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) March 24, 2017
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