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Five reasons Redskins fans should watch the Super Bowl

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Five reasons Redskins fans should watch the Super Bowl

Here is a bonus edition of Nickel Coverage, five reasons Redskins fans should watch the Super Bowl.

1. Free agent shopping—Many Redskins fans watching will be imagining Denver wide receiver Eric Decker and/or Seahawks receiver Golden Tate wearing burgundy and gold next year. Those players might be out of the Redskins’ price range but some practical acquisitions who will be on display today are Broncos G Zane Beadles, DE Robert Ayres, or S Mike Adams and Seattle CB Walter Thurmond.

2. Potential for Seahawks misery—Most Redskins fans have no love for the Seahawks, who have knocked their team out of the playoffs the last three times they’ve been there. There are many tales from Redskins fans being verbally and physically abused going to Seattle in 2007 with many of the taunts involving the recently deceased Sean Taylor. And many have the impression that the Seahawks, Richard Sherman in particular, did not take their win at FedEx last January gracefully, to say the least. And that whole 12th man thing is, well, tedious. The potential for Peyton Manning to get hot and rip through the Legion of Boom is out there. Either that or a last-second loss that rips the heart right out of that 12th man is an outcome worth rooting for.

3. A chance for Champ to be a champ—If you’re one of those who is still mad at Champ Bailey for leaving, skip to the next item. He was a heck of a football player for the Redskins and he wasn’t satisfied with how much the team was willing to pay him after his second contract. The Redskins franchised and traded him. Bailey really hit his stride and Denver but Mike Shanahan could never get him to a Super Bowl. Now he gets his chance and Redskins fans should be pulling for him to get a ring.

4. You bet it will be a great game to watch—It doesn’t matter how competitive it is, there are plenty of ways to bet on the game (for entertainment purposes only, of course). Starting with how long it will take opera singer Renee Fleming to sing the National Anthem (139.5 seconds is the over/under), you can bet on just about anything. The over/under on “Omaha” calls for Peyton Manning is 28.5 and Erin Andrews is a 55-45 favorite over Pan Oliver to be the first sideline reporters shown on FOX.

5. It’s the last football game of the season—This is the biggest reason for Redskins fans—make that all football fans—to watch. After the clock hits 0:00 at about 10 o’clock tonight it will be 213 days before another meaningful NFL games is played. That’s a long time. But you knew that and that’s why you’ll be watching.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.