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Enemy Intel: Tandler looks around the NFL—What's up with Dez?

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Enemy Intel: Tandler looks around the NFL—What's up with Dez?

Here is this week’s Redskins-centric look around the NFL, Week 4:

—For the first time this year there are no intradivisional games. The Eagles are on a bye so perhaps coach Doug Pederson can use the extra time to find the brake pedal to slow down the Carson Wentz hype train. Comparisons to Peyton Manning and Bret Favre, made by Pederson himself, can’t be good for a player who was slated to sit on the bench all year until about a week before the season started.

—The Cowboys get their first schedule break from finishing last in the NFC East last year as they travel to San Francisco. They are visiting the 49ers because they both finished in fourth place in their respective divisions. The Cowboys a two-point road favorites. I’m not sure how good the Cowboys are. Their first two games, against the Giants and Redskins, could have gone either way. They impressively took care of the Bears, who are one of the worst teams in the league. We probably won’t know a whole lot about the Cowboys until after this week, when they host the Bengals and visit the Packers before their Week 7 bye.

—The Dez Bryant situation in Dallas is just bizarre. He hurt his knee against the Bears on Sunday but he didn’t show up for an MRI, treatment and meetings on Monday. It turns out he was afraid that he was seriously injured. So, somehow, staying at home was going to make it better. This is a professional football player, and a presumed adult who will turn 28 next month, mind you. And Jason Garrett, his professional football coach, wrote it off to Bryant being a “very, very passionate person.” The problem is there are a lot of passionate players on the Cowboys. Can they simply do whatever they want to when they are afraid that they’ve been injured? Can they blow off treatment and meetings with impunity? In any case, it doesn’t look like Bryant will be able to play against the 49ers. After that he’s day to day, assuming he shows up.

—On Monday night the Giants are at the Vikings. Minnesota is undefeated despite losing their quarterback, running back and left tackle to injuries. They owe their record to their defense and their plus-eight net takeaway margin. The Giants are at minus-six in turnovers, an indication that maybe they are fortunate to be 2-1. New York is a highly flawed team but they have Eli Manning and three legit weapons at wide receiver so they can score enough to stay in any game. The Vikings are favored by five. If the favorites prevail the Redskins (favored by 7.5) would be tied with the Giants for third in the NFC East.

—The Ravens, Washington’s Week 5 opponent, are 3.5-point favorites to remain undefeated as they host the Raiders. Baltimore is getting some players back from injury including pass rushing linebacker Elvis Dumervil and RB Kenneth Dixon. Oakland is 2-1 with an impressive road win against the Saints and a puzzling home loss to the Falcons on the ledger.

—This week I like three underdogs with the Bucs +3 at home over the Broncos, another home dog with the Jets +3.5 over the Seahawks, and the Raiders +3.5 at Baltimore. I posted an 0-2-1 mark in Week 3, getting a push with the Packers, who won be exactly seven over the Lions, and losing with the Jaguars (what was I thinking?) and Steelers (what were they thinking?).

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!