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Need to Know: Redskins 3 and out—Measuring fan optimism, Cousins contract offer

Need to Know: Redskins 3 and out—Measuring fan optimism, Cousins contract offer

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 31, 27 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 17
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 42
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 54
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 106
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 154

Three and out

1. I did a Twitter poll yesterday to gauge the optimism level of the Redskins fan base after I wrote about Jay Gruden ticking off a list of reasons why people should be excited about his team.

It’s kind of a split result. The plurality is on the optimistic side, with 41% at “somewhat optimistic”. Overall, however, adding up both replies on the pessimistic side shows a slight endge in favor of the pessimistic veiw (somewhtat and very pessimistic totaling 51%) with those seeing things in a more positive light.

The takeaway here is that while what I see on Twitter and Facebook and hear on talk radio is more negative than positive, that doesn’t reflect the fan base as a whole. However, the Redskins had better pay attention if half of their fans are pessimistic about the future. Often the next step from pessimism is apathy and that is a feeling that few sports franchises can withstand.

Finally, I got a lot of tweets like this in response that seem to sum things up:

2. Every offseason a few rather obscure backups become fan favorites. One of this year’s faves is ILB Zach Vigil. I’ve seen a few tweets like this during the offseason.

Vigil made the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Utah in 2015. He played 16 games as a rookie, starting two. But last year he was on and off of the Miami game-day roster and was released after Week 15. The Redskins claimed him and saw some action on special teams in the final two games.

This is from his NFL.com draft profile: “One of the most productive linebackers in college football. Never quits on a play. Active pass rusher who worked well in team blitz scheme. Team leader.”

That was from the “strengths” area. Under weaknesses: “Gets overwhelmed by offensive linemen. Not a take-on linebacker and below average at slipping blocks.”

I haven’t seen enough of his play to add much to that. But he sounds like a “football player” and if he responds to coaching he could get a shot at some snaps on defense.

3. A site that could work for a new Redskins stadium appears to be opening up for development.

This site happens to be about 10 minutes from my house. It’s adjacent to the Silver Line Metro Station, which is good. Another positive is that there are plenty of roads leading there so not everyone would be coming from the same direction. The down side is that it is a long way from DC and an even longer way from the Maryland suburbs. But a tract of land big enough that is close to the population center may be too costly to make the project work.

As I said here recently, I think that a stadium announcement could come this year, before Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is term limited out of office. There are still a lot of moving parts and then a long way to go after something gets announced.

Out—Albert Breer of MMQB reported a contract offer to Kirk Cousins that was for five years beyond this coming season. But beyond the $23.94 million he is already guaranteed for this season there are no financial terms reported by Breer. Allen told Breer that the offer is “proof” that the team is serious about keeping Cousins for the long term. But the length of the deal is only a part of getting something done, perhaps a small part.

While the length of the deal may provide two pieces of bread, you need to see the meat to evaluate the sandwich. The team’s offer of $20 million per year that was reported during the NFL Combine is like a slice of baloney. This sandwich needs to be piled high with lots of quality cold cuts, to the tune of at least $24 million per year with at least $52 million fully guaranteed. Otherwise, it’s a Blues Brothers wish sandwich.

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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Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Need to Know: The five Redskins under the most pressure entering camp

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 21, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 51 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 20
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 29
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 43

Five Redskins who are under pressure going into training camp

QB Kirk Cousins–Going first with the most obvious. He’s under pressure to get this team back to the playoffs. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine will help the running game and perhaps the defense will improve. But this team still will rise and fall by scoring points through the air. From his point of view, he’s on a one-year deal. If he is going to get a record long-term deal next year–or get the Redskins to cough up $35 million on the franchise tag–he’s going to need to play well.

WR Terrelle Pryor–He also is in the one-year contract situation so he needs to impress all 32 teams to drive up his value. He’s also being counted on to replace the 1,000-yard production of either Pierre Garçon or DeSean Jackson. Or maybe both. That’s a lot to put on the plate of a player in just his second full-time year at his position.

CB Josh Norman–Cousins has the highest 2017 salari on the team but Norman has the biggest contract on the team and he didn’t have the impact to match it last year. It’s not that he had a bad year but it’s reasonable to expect more interceptions and fewer penalties. It’s fair to give him a pass with it being his first year in the system. However, the Redskins have a window to release him without a debilitating cap hit after this season and if the value isn’t there you can’t rule out them pulling the trigger.

S Su’a Cravens–Everyone knows that Cravens is perhaps a step slow for a safety. He needs to make up for it with anticipation, which means paying attention to all the details in practice and doing a lot of extra film study. There is no questioning his work ethic but it’s a lot to absorb in a hurry.

OLB Preston Smith–When he is on, few are better. When he’s off, he can disappear for games on end. Consistency is the key for Smith this year. If he catches on and starts playing at his best all the time, he may be in line for a lucrative contract extension next offseason. If he falters, Trent Murphy, Junior Galette, and Ryan Anderson all will be waiting to lay claim to his snaps.

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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Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

Rob Kelley hopes cutting out his favorite fast food restaurants means a better 2017

While his job and athletic ability separate him from most commoners, Rob Kelley is just like you and me when it comes to his diet. Well, when it came to his old diet, actually. 

Like many, the second-year Redskins running back loves him some crispy fried chicken, buttery, pillow-like biscuits and piping hot french fries. He also can get down with piles of nuggets, double cheesburgers and creamy milkshakes. 

But during this offseason, Fat Rob is looking less and less so, and that improvement is largely due to some new eating habits.

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"Changed the diet up," Kelley told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay this week at the former's youth camp (full video above). "Slowed down on the fast food and processed food and tried to eat more healthy."

When asked what places he's specifically cut out from his rotation, Kelley answered with a laugh. It wasn't a happy laugh, though — it was like one of those laughs people let out when they're feeling major pain but not trying to show it.

"Popeyes. McDonald's," he said. "Not trying to discredit those fast food places, but just, it's not working well for me."

Limiting trips to those establishments can no doubt be a difficult task (it's OK to nod your head in agreement) but it's also working for the 24-year-old. He told Finlay he thinks he's lost about six pounds since OTAs and now checks in at 229 thanks to his workouts and an increased reliance on Whole Foods, vegetables and his grill. 

But just because he's shedding pounds doesn't mean he's shedding the moniker that caught on during his rookie campaign. He may be trending closer to Svelte Rob than he is to Fat Rob these days, but No. 20 is going to keep his nickname moving forward anyway.

"It's always accurate," he said.

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