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Need to Know: The draft will be the key to improvement for the 2017 Redskins

Need to Know: The draft will be the key to improvement for the 2017 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 20, 38 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 28
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 53
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 65
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 117
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 174

Monday morning three and out

1. The Redskins’ offseason workouts start four weeks from today. At that point it’s really more conditioning and pumping iron than it is about actual football. The date also happens to be 10 days prior to the NFL draft. The coaches will get one last look at what they have before they draft replacements for some of them.

2. A fan complains about the lack of progress in free agecy.

I warned anyone who would listen that the Redskins were not going to get much better in free agency. I said it when Scot McCloughan was the GM and I said it again recently. The free agent pool was very shallow and there were a lot of teams with a lot of cap space. Once the top handful of players at each position were gone the players left were not a significant upgrade.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

3. If the Redskins are going to get better this year they will need to get significant contributions from their top two draft picks and have a sleeper pick or two come through from one of the seven players they will be able to pick in rounds 4-7. It’s a deep draft so upgrading there is doable. Not easy, not a given, especially after the team gave McCloughan, one of the best draft talent evaluators in the business, the boot but possible. 

Out—it appears, is Duke Ihenacho.

Ihenacho’s career with the Redskins never really got any traction. He landed on injured reserve early in both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The ’15 injury was particularly bad for him because he had won a starting job in training camp, beating out free agent acquisition Jeron Johnson. Last year he was inactive early but he wound up starting 10 games due to injuries. The coaches thought the freelanced too much and he missed team-high 15 tackles even though nine players played more snaps. Between the game tape and the addition of D.J. Swearinger, the move of Su’a Cravens to safety, and the likely return of DeAngelo Hall, there apparently wasn’t any support for keeping him around.

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.

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Someone commented that it may be difficult to tell a Redskins best player available pick from a need pick.

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 CSN; Redskins vs. Raiders 8:30 NBC

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 29
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 35

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Raiders

—With Rob Kelley out and Jordan Reed unlikely to play, per Adam Schefter, Samaje Perine will get his first NFL start and Jeremy Sprinkle will be active for the first time. Perine got rolling as the game went on vs. the Rams. In quarters 1-3 he had 11 carries with an average of 2.2 yards per. In the fourth quarter, the rookie carried 10 times for a respectable 4.3 average. If he can get that 4.3 average all game and carry between 15 and 20 times, the Redskins will be fine on the rushing front.

—It was in Week 3 last year that Kirk Cousins got rolling. After throwing one touchdown and three interceptions in his first two games he threw two TD’s and no picks against the Giants. His pattern as the starter has been to start slowly and then pick up steam as the season gets going. Looking at the injury situation and at a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium looming next week, today would be a great day for him to get going. The talk in Oakland is that the Raiders will load up to stop the run and challenge Cousins to beat them through the air. Cousins will need to take them up on that challenge.

—The Redskins have four sacks in two games. It will be difficult for them to add to that total today because Raiders QB Derek Carr gets rid of the ball so quickly. The best way to get pressure on a quarterback like that is to take the shortest route. It will be important for Jonathan Allen to get some push up the middle and perhaps Greg Manusky will send Zach Brown or Mason Foster blitzing into the A-gap occasionally. The pressure is also on the secondary to make sure tackles after Carr gets those short completions to make sure they don’t turn into big plays.

—I was skeptical of the impact that Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch would have in his return at age 31 after a poor (417 yards) 2015 season followed by a season in retirement. And although there may be reasons to wonder about his durability over the course of a 16-game season, right now he’s healthy. The Redskins’ worst nightmare would be for Lynch to get 15 carries and grind out four to five yards per pop. That would set up Carr to do whatever he wants to do.

—This looked like a tough one even when it appeared that the Redskins would be at full strength on offense. If Kelley and, especially, Reed are out, the game looks to be an even more daunting task. The Washington defense is going to have to step up and force Carr to make decisions sooner than he wants to. Offensively, the Redskins are going to need to keep Carr and company off the field by controlling the clock. They did it last week against the Rams. If they can take time of possession 35 minutes to 25 again they have a chance to pull off the upset. It’s possible but I’m going to go against it happening.

Raiders 28, Redskins 21

2017 predictions record: 1-1

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.

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

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Report: Rob Kelley out vs. Raiders, Reed unlikely to play

The Redskins could be without two key offensive players against the Raiders tonight, according to a report.

According to ESPN, Redskins starting running back Rob Kelley (rib) is unlikely to play and that Jordan Reed (chest) is a game-time decision but it also is probable that he will sit out. Bot players were listed as questionable on the final injury report on Friday.

RELATED: CRAVENS JERSEY GIVEAWAY A BIG HIT

Kelley was having a career day against the Rams last Sunday before he left the game in the second quarter with a rib cartilage injury. He practiced on a limited basis all week.

Reed, a key target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, missed some snaps after sustaining the injury to his sternum during the game against the Rams. He was out of practice on Wednesday and limited on Thursday and Friday.

Rookie Samaje Perine saw his first NFL action last week and he likely will get his first NFL start in Kelley’s spot tonight. If Reed can’t play, Vernon Davis will start and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle, who was inactive the first two games, will be in uniform.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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.